Tuesday, April 28, 2009

conversation on a train...

I'm sat on the train looking through the bits of twitter I've missed during the night from the West coast USA lot and my Oz posse (and the early morning UK) on my BlackBerry. Bloke sat next to me see's what I'm doing and starts up a conversation...

Bloke: 'Is that Twitter?'
Me: 'Yeah, I'm just catching up with what's been going on while I was offline'
Bloke: 'Who have you got?'
Me: 'Eh?'
Bloke: 'Who are you following?'
Me: 'Oh, ok. A bunch of people I know plus some geeks, and advertising/marketing types, that kind of thing'
Bloke: 'Yeah but which celebrities? Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross?'
Me: 'Erm....none. Hang on....Scoble?'
Bloke 'Who?'

Monday, April 27, 2009

growth category

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

digital connections : timeless marketing classics

Graeme Harrison has asked a few people to recommend their choice of the most important or influencial marketing related books for a series of posts at his blog digital connections.
Here's what i wrote...

Seth Godin: Purple Cow

I first encountered Seth Godin’s ‘Purple Cow’ around 2004, I think it had been out for a year or so. At the time I was working as Creative Director with an online gaming firm, I had a gut feeling that we were approaching both the design the marketing of our product from the wrong angle.

I was under pressure to conform the look and feel of our games to look similar to the other casinos and gaming sites and the press ads, online ads etc were just not delivering the traffic.

I knew we had to do something but was not sure what.

I was pointed to ‘Purple Cow’ by the manager of one of the local branches of a well know book retailer. He was a convert and had used the principles of Purple Cow to turn around the fortunes of his store the previous year. He had been voted store manager of the year at the company’s conference and also went on to receive industry wide recognition at the national book awards as bookseller of the year.

I’ll have some of that, I thought.

In a nutshell, Seth describes ‘Purple Cow’ as:

‘a manifesto for marketers who want to make a difference at their company by helping create products and services that are worth marketing in the first place. It is a plea for originality, for passion, guts, and daring. ..Today, the one sure way to fail is to be boring. Your one chance for success is to be remarkable."

Some say that Seth Godin can be too simplistic (the advertising plannersphere may look down it’s nose at him) I prefer to call him accessible.

Anyone can pick up this book and get something out of it., and it gives you a framework for judging the worth of an idea - simply ask yourself ‘why is this idea totally remarkable? Why would anyone bother to tell anyone else about it? Where is the ‘purple cow’ in this idea?

I’d like to be able to finish off the story by saying I used the cow to transform the gaming company from also-rans to world beaters. No such luck.

But reading this book was the first step for me in realising that it was not enough to just make pretty pictures, I had to get interested in the ‘reasons why’. I also realised that this was not going to happen in the job I was in so I quickly left (see another essential Seth title ‘The Dip’).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

gurus of new marketing #239 - arsene wenger

Good one from the ever quotable 'le professor' in this mornings Metro...

Monday, April 20, 2009

i wish i was a nine inch nails fan

The latest in a long line of disruptive, innovative, 'connect-with-fans' initiatives from the nine inch nails people.

NiN:access is a simple iphone app which (amongst other things) not only connects NiN to their fans, but CONNECTS THEM TO EACH OTHER. It's location-based tech, via google earth, means fans in specific geographical areas can connect. See below. Sandwiches are a hot topic in post-grunge land ;) So what, it's up to them.

Found via chrisbrogan.com - he says 'Location plus peer-to-peer interactions = a huge win'.

We agree.

Now if only the music was not such a godawful racket.

Friday, April 17, 2009

behavioural targeting = spammers delight

Here’s why I am extremely skeptical over the idea that behavioural targeting is anything other than spammers flavour of the month.

Out of curiosity I attended the IDM seminar on ‘Emerging digital trends’ last night at The King’s Fund over in Cavendish Square.

The first speaker up was a chap called David Walmsley who is head of ecommerce for UK department store, John Lewis, his presso centered around behavioural targeting as the secret to their success with e-marketing.

The idea of behavioural targeting is that by collecting information about people’s activity online - web sites they visit, what they click, time spent, following their travels round the internet. etc - marketers can make decisions on how best to target advertising, email etc at them.

Aside from the issues of privacy (Phorm et al) - these have been well documented elsewhere, most notably by Sir Tim Berners-Lee - so I won’t go into them here - I doubt whether, for advertisers, behavioural targeting actually delivers any better than any other form of interruption based marketing.

What I found most ironic was that John Lewis’ brand is built solidly around it’s customer service. In the physical store the real-time human interaction with the staff is some of the finest to be had on the UK high streets. I’m a big fan and regular customer.

Would it not make sense for John Lewis to spend the time and money to connect that human interaction and service onto the online experience rather than spend on elaborate interruption robots?

David even admitted that at Lewis’ they have not figured out how to make that connection between customers in-store visits and online visits.
And their e-crm mechanic is still based on that old chestnut segmentation.

Even for high value big spending customers.

A real future trend in digital marketing is the seamless integration of people’s on and offline lives. Behavioural targeting does not address this.
It still adopts a brand to consumer messaging approach. One to many.
Ads is ads is ads. The key is permission.
And the object of permission is to build personal relationship, which leads to high value customers. Not just in value of spend but these people are the ones who will tell the story to others.

Traditional advertising holy grail was about showing the right message to the right person at the right time. Behavioural targeting is just another fangled technologically advanced trick to attempt the same thing. Except creepier.

If anything it actually accomplishes less than traditional broadcast advertising. On a very basic level, how does it know who is using the computer, for instance.
In any home there is likely to be more than one user.

In broader terms it does not know why I am visiting any given website.
I might spend a week researching underground Croatian hip hop for a magazine article I’m writing. While I'm being stalked what kind of ads are going to be flung at me? And for how long?

Where is the relevance there?
At least SEM is relatively contextual as it’s based on intention - I’m potentially in a funnel.

Bah, humbug.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

gurus of new marketing #238 - joe strummer (rip)

Classic Strummer-ism from circa 1976 as far as I can glean.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

'advertising not dead' shocker

It's a popular misconception that the bbc does not feature advertising. Of course it does, it's just that it only advertises it's own products.

This advertising is effective because contextual and relevant - and it's also permission based.
Albeit the level of permission is low. At best it's at the second rung of the permission ladder - 'brand trust' - but mostly it's at that first level of 'situational' permission.

For the same reason the ads in Vogue magazine or GQ (or even something like Fisherman's Monthly or whatever) are permission based.
The ads are integral to the content - and in the case of fashion mags they are part of the reason these mags are bought in the first place.

If i'm watching Waterloo Road, a good bbc drama, I'm more than happy to see the trailer for the new series of Ashes to Ashes, for instance.
In fact I am actually interested, which is good news for them.

Bad news, though, for the advertisers on commercial networks because they are no nearer solving the permission challenge than they were on day one.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

self confidence #2 : henry ford

Some of his politics were a bit muddled but you can't argue with his one-liners.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Touchscreen Turntables

It was inevitable that touchscreen technology would eventually extend its searching tendrils into that most tactile of activities.

Rocking 'da' house on the wheels of steel.

As a club dj of some repute/infamy - back in the day - this was of particular interest.
My description above of said disc jockey-ness will indicate how far back in the day that was...

This digital touchscreen deck was premiered as part of the Picasso & His Collection exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) of Brisbane, Australia.

'...the brilliance of the turntables lies in the linking of a platter taken from a Numark HDX deck with an intuitive touchscreen. As the platter spins, the user is able to manipulate a range of adjustable filters onscreen to build, rearrange and reinvent the MP3 songs on the drive. While relatively easy to pick up and play, the turntables also possess a steady learning curve, letting the more committed and ambitious users create works of intimidating aural dexterity.'

Hat-tip to Becky in the office who found it at coolhunter.

Pattie Maes - the 'Sixth Sense'

Ive watched this through 3 or 4 times and I'm still loving it.
Pattie Maes' TED talk on 'wearable technology' that enables 'interaction' with objects and environment. I'm supposing this is kinda connected to Kevin Kelly's 'internet of things'- another great clip from the TED archives.