Posts filed under ‘Marketing’

Wheel of Marketing Misfortune

I loved this article by David Armano and his Wheel of Marketing Misfortune. It’s a fresh way to exhort everyone in the digital marketing business to just, you know, chill out a bit.

Read the whole thing here.


July 9, 2008 at 4:33 pm 1 comment

The long tail: digital myth or not?

The “long tail” has been a theory accepted as fact in the digital community. It described and explained what we believed in so well, and it all makes sense. In fact, to some of us it was a source of credibility for whatever it was we’re doing, selling, or referring to: the power of the individual, individual experiences, tailored and customized offerings in a distributed and digital world that makes all of that possible.

Now, some people are rocking the boat and saying that it was all a hoax. Not a surprise, really. Every theory has a counter-theory. Surprising is that it took this long.

Found on Alan’s friendfeed

July 2, 2008 at 4:35 pm Leave a comment

On PR 2.0 and killing version numbers

In our network, we also have a global PR agency. Recently,we have been working more closely with them, and it’s been a great experience that has given me insights about a totally different way to work on brands. In this collaboration, I’ve come to notice the changes that are going on in the PR world too. Obviously, the fact that everything has changed for traditional marketing communication because people have been empowered by digital technologies has also arrived in the PR world. In fact, the say they knew it before the old traditional agencies even started thinking about changing their ways.

And some of that is true. If we look at Al Ries’ book “The fall of advertising, the rise of PR” which was authored around 2000, we can see that the trend was there for many to see. And it is true, that in the type of brand work PR agencies do, they have always focused on the more immediate human opinion and context in which they can positively influence brand opinion. But the thing is: it’s not that PR agencies were rising by because their work got better, or their approach drastically different. Isn’t it more likely that traditional agencies, which were the main mass media opinion shapers for brands started sucking? Or to be fair: ad agencies were conveniently repressing the fact that mass media started bleeding its effectiveness to digital channels and 1:1 and social media interactions.

What will be interesting for me to observe is: will PR agencies make some of the mistakes that ad agencies made? Like: “Hey, here’s an idea, we’ll just start an interactive agency that can adapt our stuff online,” or will they be less prone to the “channel-adaptation” mistake? I think they might. Why? Well, since the PR guy’s job is to influence opinion of people in a way that is different to regular mass media communication (the staple of the ad agency), it has always been about word-of-mouth, even before the web. Think about it: if, on one side, you have an expert of influencer opinion and how to use it to influence others, and, on the other side, an expert on creating single-minded propositions for mass media: who has an advantage in a landscape where single-minded messages are being fragmented, spoofed, barely measureable, and generally ineffective and where everyone can have an opinion, influence product design, brands and author about everything on a free blog? Yes, it’s definitely the PR guy, not the ad guy. So this is where they have the leg up, but I think they’ve had this advantage rather unconsciously. Now that the web is mainstream, even traditional PR (even if it was more modern than the traditional ad business by design), has to think about PR 2.0 just like advertising has to think about advertising 2.0. And they do, and they might want to break some of the negative PR stereotypes as they go along.

Okay, you say, but digital agencies obviously knew before. Yes they did, and if we again look at Al Ries’ book, you will notice it doesn’t even go into any detail of the potential of how digital channels are changing peoples’ behavior. And here is my point: while some PR agencies had started working closer to the context of the people in order to influence human behavior than traditional ad agencies, most of them still did it in a traditional channel mindset. The reevaluation of what a traditional ad agency has to do, or if in fact, it is still advertising it needs to create, is also taking place consciously in the PR world now. In fact, the question is: if the word “advertising agency” is passé, is “public relations” also a bit yesteryear?

The funny thing is, as the process of redefining the ad agency and the PR agency is underway, look at the schools of thought out there on this topic:

  • Markets are conversations, not messages
  • it’s about listening not talking
  • Engage people on their level, not as abstract consumers, insulting their intelligence
  • and so on and so on…

Doesn’t that sound all too familiar? Isn’t everyone saying the same thing?

Yeah, again, nothing new to anyone who worked in a digital agency, in, say 1995. The only difference is: now everyone is talking about it and it’s mainstream, oh, and bandwidth is better. This is good, mind you, but it also let’s me beg EVERYONE who works in this industry, whether they are in ad agencies, PR agencies, media agencies, digital agencies and even marketing people: don’t we all say the same thing, no matter who said it first, or who put out the best “integrated” campaign? Can’t we just decide that communication is a people business, not a brand business and that therefore everything we do should start with people, not brands, or products or categories or marketing toolkits?

And for chrissakes, can’t we stop putting version numbers on our respective displines (advertising 2.0, web2.0, PR2.0 and media 2.0) just because we want to tell everyone that we finally got the fact that people are in control?

Acts, not ads!

PS: I will be off on a vacation, so there will be no posts for a while.. Cheers.

May 26, 2008 at 1:26 pm 2 comments

The Paradox of choice

I recently read a great book by Barry Schwartz, entitled “The paradox of choice” which outlines various scenarios to propose the theory that the more choice you have the unhappier you get. From my own life, I know this to be true in a lot of cases. I am not talking about existential situations where it is always nicer to have an option other than, let’s say, chemotherapy. I am talking about what marketers do with consumers everyday: providing choice, where there is none necessary or essential. As a result, the decision making process of making the choice leads to insecurity, stress and resentment, and even regret. If you can choose from 24 different pair of jeans, you either need a lot of time (which equals stress) or you will make a decision before you really know which one is the best for you, and before that you still need to narrow it down. Even if it is better than the pants you were wearing before, you still wonder: Is it the best one? It’s only natural that, in the last years, the trend to human simplicity and less choice has become a marketing strategy. However, it is a brand promise only a few can keep.

Anyhow, now I recently found this on e-marketer: a study and testimonials about this exact topic, essentially mirroring Barry Schwarz’s thesis, albeit in slightly changed framing.

Check it out

March 10, 2008 at 4:42 pm Leave a comment

Whopper Freakout

I just found this.  I don’t think I would have reacted any differently.

December 17, 2007 at 1:13 pm 2 comments

Facebook Case Studies

An interesting slideshow from Charlene Li from Forrester. For all those who were looking for cases when convincing or keeping clients from doing something on Facebook.

November 22, 2007 at 5:36 pm Leave a comment

Facebook “Social Advertising” plans already generating backlash responses

It’s not surprising that right after Facebook announced that they would open up Facebook to more to advertising, taking advantage of the referral-based nature of the web, true web freaks are responding harshly.

To me, “Social Advertising” is an oxymoron at best.

If Advertisers can’t change their mindsets from mass media messaging to conversations, including their brand management and marketing process, they will never be able to join social networks with a meaningful conversation with their customers.

It’s time to realize that within the Customer Life Cycle, generating Awareness is more an more something people do among each other and by themselves. It works  not because, but despite all the mass media advertising out there. Advertisers so far are just reducing brand intimacy by trying to join the fray with their mindsets unchanged. And yes, Facebook is risking losing its credibility to its users, too.

What marketers should worry about way more, is to invest time in understanding human behavior, improve their products and start owning the brand experience people have with their products. If you provide meaningful experiences people will do the advertising for you. Duh.

November 8, 2007 at 3:03 pm 2 comments

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