Monday, October 31, 2011

The Hardest Advertising There Is

Check out Stuart Elliott’s column today for a look at an interesting approach to a classic advertising problem--advertising a media vehicle.  In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that advertising a media vehicle such as a TV channel, magazine, newspaper or, in this case, a radio station, ranks as the hardest challenge in advertising.

Let’s take a look at the campaign described in the paper, for WQXR, New York’s classical music station.  Hope you weren’t expecting anything too sedate:

(Disclosure: I like it.  It’s a “Clockwork Orange” thing)

Friday, October 28, 2011

NMA (No More Acronyms), Part II: a solution

In my last post, I detailed my objections to compacting complex consumer traits into simple acronyms (DINK, EMEA, etc.).  In short, these acronyms trivialize consumers’ needs to the points where marketers find themselves communicating to stereotypes rather than actual people.

Marketers who do so, however, might counter that they need to simplify things because they simply cannot market to every last consumer need.  And they’re right; they can’t.

However, why should we stop there when marketers can effectively communicate with greater nuance than a handful of consumer groupings?  Why, you’d need some kind of machine to do that, wouldn’t you?  (Disclosure: if you don’t see where this is going, don’t bother reading past the jump.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

NMA (No More Acronyms), Part I

Stuart Elliott dropped a new marketing acronym on me this morning.  Buried about halfway into this article, Mr. Elliott quoted Dana Anderson, senior vice president of marketing, strategy and communications at Kraft as saying “we are living in a ‘VUCA’ world.”  “VUCA,” you see, stands for “volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.”

All at once, I realized what I hate about marketing acronyms and why we, if we truly want to understand our audiences as marketers, should avoid them.  Today, I’d like to discuss why acronyms fail marketers.  In a later post, I’ll discuss the cure, which I suspect may make some of you wonder what I’ve been drinking.  (Disclosure: this stuff)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Blog: Night of the Living Net Promoter Score

It’s baaaaaack!

Even though I promised that I’d stop talking about Net Promoter Score (NPS), I just can’t help myself.  In this post, I’d like to outline an approach for NPS that really has less to do with the value of the score than how a marketing organization can make the most of single data point when integrated with other data points.

OK, that sounds boooooorrrrringggggg, so let me put it another way.  You can use NPS to find out who your true friends are.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

American Marketers for NONE OF THE ABOVE (Satire. Maybe.)

American politics have slumped to a new low.  The Democrats wage class warfare.  The Republicans engage in inflexible and deleterious partisanship.  On the fringes, Tea Partiers sound like angry drunks and the Occupy Wall Streeters sound like potheads.

What’s the problem?  Influence of money?  Callous disregard for liberties or human rights?  Outright corruption and lying?  Pish tosh, I say (disclosure: neither I nor any other actual English speaker really says “pish tosh”)!  The problem stems from bad data.

Not only will I explain this problem, I will suggest the solution after the break.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Et tu, Kohl's?

So apparently, FIAT isn’t the only company to use JLO as a spokesman.  Moreoever, yet another advertiser insists on using JLO in her natural habitat, the former estate of Jonas Bronck so lovingly bordered by the Hudson and Harlem Rivers, Long Island Sound and County Westchester, aka the Bronx.

I don’t want to turn this blog into the I-hate-JLO show, as a) I’d like to spark a broader conversation about marketing and b) I honestly don’t have anything against her.  But I really want to spark a discussion on what Kohl’s or FIAT could actually achieve with hiring JLO, and her borough, as a spokesperson.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Son of Net Promoter Score

So sue me.  I’ve got Net Promoter Score on the brain.  I mentioned in passing how marketers could use Net Promoter as a sort of early warning system.  However, explaining Net Promoter is kind of like handing a dog a saxophone.  Nice, but what’s he supposed to do with it?

Let me give you a concrete example of how it works.

Early on in a new customer relationship, marketers can use Net Promoter to identify customers’ satisfaction and use that information to drive additional purchase and to prevent attrition.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

UR still Doin it wrong: Fix it again, JLO

Last week, I severely criticized FIAT for putting an ad on TV that commendably encouraged consumers to explore the car online but that did not give them any reason to do so.

Turns out, they were guilty with an explanation, your honor.  According to this post from Adweek’s blog, FIAT, or their agency, edited the spot from a JLO video.  All agency folks have had a similar experience: short deadline, client insistent on leveraging a specific brand asset, do the best you can.  All is forgiven.

Or would be.  The follow-up spot makes even less sense.  Click below to see it and to see why it doesn’t work, either.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How to Stop Worrying and Love Net Promoter Score

In a post last week, I referred to the Net Promoter Score.  Net Promoter serves as a highly-sensitve indicator of overall customer experience.  Because I like this approach, I wanted to spend a little time discussing it firstly to give it the attention it deserves, but secondly because I think it has very clear pluses and minuses.

I’ll outline the methodology briefly and then spent more time on its usefulness, since methodology matters less than usefulness.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Now going into its fourth week, the Occupy Wall Street Protest, known by its hashtag #OWS, has only grown in strength despite, or perhaps because of, its refusal to clarify its demands.  I would argue that the medium is literally the message: the protesters haven’t occupied Pennsylvania Avenue, Hollywood Boulevard or I-95.  They’ve chosen Wall Street as the locus of their discontent because they believe that the financial masters of the universe have ruined America.

Makes me wonder: what would happen if they had decided to occupy Madison Avenue instead?  So, in the interest of a thought experiment, I offer some thoughts on Occupy Madison Avenue, or #OMA on Twitter.

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Barber is Smarter than a lot of Marketers

I got a haircut yesterday from my barber, Otis.  As I am mostly bald, I choose my barbers by price and convenience.  When I first met Otis, he had a chair in the Times Square subway station and charged $12.  Having hit the big time, Otis moved his chair around the corner to a third-floor shop above a dirty movie store on 8th Avenue and now charges $15.

How did Otis do it?  He knows a secret about marketing that many marketers don’t.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Making the Link

Since I began this blog in August, I’ve often talked about linking communications tactics to business results.  Sounds great, but how do you do it?

Making the link really lies in finding the right measurements, because only measurement tells the marketer if a tactic has succeeded or not.  Again, this statement sounds easy, but how can marketers figure out which measurements matter when they typically have more data than they know what to do with?

Turning really huge amounts of data from a coal seam of information to a diamond of insight really requires commitment in terms of executive buy-in, analytics know-how and technology integration.  However, most marketers who have some access to data can get a good start on the work with a little elbow grease.

I’ll explain how and give a recent example.

Monday, October 3, 2011

UR Doin it rong: FIAT 500

New advertising for the FIAT 500 broke over the weekend.  If you’re not familiar with the little Italian car or the ad, here it is:

At first blush, it looks as if FIAT thinks the way I do about TV, that it serves as an excellent way to drive traffic to the web and, beyond that, towards a sale.  Indeed, the supers “Like the car?” and “Go online” (at 0:22 in the clip) speak directly to the idea.

However, I think the ad falls short in one critical way.