Thursday, October 25, 2012

Data and politics

While other bloggers have made predictions of how the outcome of the Presidential elections will have an impact on the Supreme Court or the economy, those weighty issues fall beyond this blog’s purview.  However, we should ask “what will happen to interactive marketing if President Obama wins re-election or if Governor Romney unseats him?”

Here’s why: the Senate recently opened an inquiry into data brokers.  While a representative of the Direct Marketing Association dismissed the inquiry as “a baseless fishing expedition” (translation: oh, shit), the inquiry could have an impact on what marketers now consider standard marketing practices.

Moreover, the man who will sit in the Oval Office will have the choice to broaden or narrow that impact.  In turn, marketers will have to adjust to these two possible worlds.

The short answer: hedge against potential legislation by making the most of your own data.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Status and STATUS

How come status updates don’t actually confer capital-S-Status?

I had an enlightening conversation with a fellow dad while we dropped of our second-graders at school.  Said dad works as a video engineer.  Among other projects, he helps independent filmmakers by handling a lot of the more unglamorous tasks of producing a film.  Yes, even less glamorous than editing.

Among other things, we talked about how social media has an impact on our jobs.  However, he had an entirely different frame of reference on “social” than I did.  That is, he talked about his current project, which involves turning a critically-acclaimed novel into a film.  He mentioned that the film’s investors put money into the project, not because they expected to participate in the artistic process, not because they wanted to make tons of money but by-and-large because they wanted the capital-S-Status of a production credit.

And that, friends, points to a glaring deficiency of social networking.  Everyone participates as an equal.  However, this deficiency offers itself up as a potential opportunity for marketers.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Strategy = Economy

Pity the poor word “strategy.”  Marketers--and pretty much everyone else in the white-collar world--throw it around like a Nerf ball.  Every marketer has a creative strategy, a brand strategy, a media strategy, a social networking strategy and for all I know a bathroom strategy.

Funny thing is, no one ever stops to ask “what exactly does strategy mean, anyway?”

The term tends to conjure up images of people wearing heavy black glasses (thanks, Henry Kissenger) and maybe the war room from “Dr. Strangelove.”  However, a working definition remains rare.  I’ve give it a go, then.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Will Marketing Become Politics?

Familiarity breeds contempt.  

Nowhere does this adage seem more appropriate than in the realm of the current Presidential election.  Voters have now seen so much of President Barack Obama and of Governor Mitt Romney that they can now hate them for any number of reasons based on policy, their wives, choices of attire or hand gestures.  Moreover, their supporters and detractors seem to have fossilized into violently opposed camps.

Welcome to marketing, circa 2025.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ambient TV

Well, the wife left the TV in the living room on HGTV over the weekend, and since I find it easier to think about marketing than to fish the remote out of the couch cushions, I now have an idea to share.  Namely, what I’ll call Ambient TV offers marketers a great opportunity not on the small screen, but on the smaller ones--PC and mobile Internet.

Marketing pundits sometimes talk about “lean forward” and “lean back” media.  “Learn forward” consists of media that engage consumers heavily, such as web and mobile while “lean back” refers to more passive media such as TV and radio.  While this distinction serves as a good dividing line, it shades over another worthy distinction--the degrees of leaning back.

On the one hand, viewers engage very directly with certain kinds of programming--sports, awards shows, the news, popular dramas and so forth.  On the other hand, networks like HGTV, The Weather Channel and the Food Network seem to invite behavior more like grazing than active viewing.  

I can’t imagine that we’re the only family in America who tunes into Local on the 8s only to realize an hour later that we haven’t changed the channel.  I also can’t imagine that other car guys don’t find Mecum Auctions programming on Speed TV oddly soothing with their mixture of shiny cars, vintage auto specs and the droning of the auctioneer.

Since these programs often sit in the background, I think they serve as Ambient TV, much in the way that Brian Eno developed Ambient Music in the 1970s.  However, the real action doesn’t happen on TV, it happens online.

Monday, October 1, 2012

How to Use a Subject Matter Expert

The photography world descended on Cologne, Germany last week for the biennial trade fair known as Photokina.  Sony showed off at $2,700 compact camera.  Leica, the Duesenberg of the camera world, showed off their latest and greatest wunderkamera, the M, yours for just a tick under seven grand.  Of course, you cheapskates can make do with the lowly M-E for $5,450.  And Hasselblad, purveyors of Neil Armstrong’s moon camera, previewed their latest bijou, the as-yet-unpriced Lunar.

So what did Adorama, the mighty camera emporium, feature in one of its email newsletters this week?  A oversized frisbee for $17.  And that, friends, is how you use a subject matter expert to enliven your communications.

Don’t get it?  Let’s discuss how this approach works.