Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Marketing Waste

Last month I posted about Food Waste in America.  Today I want to address marketing waste.                                                                                               
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Recently I received in the mail, a 626 page catalogue from a company specializing in shipping supplies addressed to the Manager Shipping Dept. SMARTKETING, Inc.  626 pages! 

I am an advocate of Social Enterprise currently advising numerous companies:

1.)   The benefits of the new collaborative tools of Web 2.0 are to implement digital marketing movements and connect with their existing/potential customers.

2.)   Utilizing marketing automation software to target buyers at select times in their purchasing journey.

3.)   I operate electronically out of my home/office here in Philadelphia.  I cannot even remember the last time I printed out a report and sent it out via an overnight service.

This catalogue further validated to me how much marketing waste continues in the business world today thanks to companies still not adapting to all the new marketing touch points, still settling for the status quo (a.k.a. same old/same old).  Yes, I do understand the benefits of some product catalogues (e.g., Macy’s) as a means to cover all touch points (non-tech savvy customers).  However, if I ever needed to ship anything, I would get online and find a local service provider.  Think about the costs associated/wasted with putting together a 626 page catalogue (photography, copy/editing, printing, distribution, etc.).  Think about how off base this company was targeting my company without even qualifying what my company is all about.  Better yet, think about deforestation?

Marketing folks!  Stop wasting your marketing dollars! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cocktails on Demand

“Before apps, when there were attention spans, before I’ve got five bars, when bars were for boozing, we got by just the same.”  Roger Cohen (Journalist)                                                                                            
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The above quote is an excerpt from a classic Roger Cohen op-ed titled Change or Perish.  I thought about it this past weekend when I read about the new Onthebar mobile app which connects bartenders with their guests in Boston.  It will soon be expanding into the Big Apple next month.  Onthebar was designed to make peoples’ bar hopping experiences better by allowing them to connect directly with bartenders, as well as learn about drink specials, reviews, etc.  In Boston, the app is being utilized by bar personnel in more than 1,000 locations; 75 of which have taken it a step further by utilizing iBeacon technology.  Eventually Onthebar seeks to generate revenue by connecting wine and spirits companies with their consumers, as well as bartenders to build awareness to advertise their brands.

Today’s query: What is the upper limit to the number of apps people will utilize?  According to a recent Nielson study (Q4 2013), mobile owners used 26.8 apps an average of 30 hours, 15 minutes per month.  That represents a full half day more than the 18 hours, 18 minutes users spent back in Q4 2011.  No surprise, the number of apps and time usage varies by age group led by 18 to 24 year olds who use on average 28 mobile applications a total of 37:06 (HH:MM) compared to 22 mobile applications a total of 21:21 (HH:MM) per month for mobile owners 55 plus.

I think the Onthebar app is clever.  Potentially a great way to connect with a bar tender that shakes the perfect martini.  However, even though I have slowed down in the amount of time I bar hop these days, thanks to experimentation, I have connected with some great martini makers here in Philadelphia.

When Onthebar comes to your area, will you download the mobile app for cocktails on demand or will you get by just the same? 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Networking Terroir

I often refer to my network (a.k.a. “social capital”) as my vineyard drawing similarities to wine making.  The key to a great vineyard is terroir which describes its unique characteristics – soil, topography and climate.  Do you know the key characteristics of networking terroir?                                                                                                  
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·         Medium (Soil) – Great networkers understand there are multiple touch points when it comes to building their community.  They understand they need to be equally adept at working all the new collaborative tools of Web 2.0, as well as working the room at an event.  Online and offline mediums.

·         Community (Topography) – Understand the audience you are trying to reach, thus map out (set objectives) of how best you are going to make connections that will strengthen your community long-term.  Quality vs. quantity.

·         Business Cycles (Climate) – All industries have business cycles.  Conferences/trade shows always are scheduled annually.  Slow periods are inevitable like the summer or the last few weeks of December.  Plan accordingly.

Do you understand networking terroir?  If so, are you ready to cultivate a vintage network?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Food Waste in America

I recently went on a Mid-Atlantic road trip.  As a result, I ate three morning meals (what I described back in February as Fastbreak), one at a conference, two at hotels.  I was appalled by how much food waste I witnessed.  Folks, we have to stop wasting our food!                                                                                                               
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It truly amazes me how much food we waste in the morning, especially when breakfast is served buffet style.  I would like to share one key statistic about food waste in America:

Approximately 40 percent of all food, worth an estimated $165 billion is wasted. 
(Source:  National Defense Council – 2012)

There are a multitude of reasons food waste is a major issue we need to address:

1.    Lost resources, annually 25% of all freshwater and 300 million barrels of oil that is utilized to produce food wasted.

2.     Food waste is a major component of landfills responsible for 135 million tons of greenhouse gases (methane) annually.

The one statistic that troubles me the most that we tend to overlook is that approximately 14.5 percent (17.6 million) of U.S. Households experience food insecurity – households that are uncertain or have difficulty acquiring enough food to meet the needs of all their members because they have insufficient money or other resources for food.  One solution: Let’s start the conversation about food waste among family, friends, work peers, etc.  For example, on my trip I observed a teenager eating breakfast with his mother.  She was busy reading her newspaper; he was busy on his iPhone.  When they left, I estimated that more than 50% of what he ordered was left on his plate.  New Yorker writer Adam Kopnik once said it best: “Parents teach, institutions instruct.”  Let’s start the conversation at home.

Folks, stop wasting your food!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Last week I wrote about hybrid marketing.  Today, given I am in the food business, I thought it would be a good time to post a new trend, hybrid food, also referred to as Frankenfood
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I found the word Frankenfood in Urban Dictionary, an online dictionary that was originally established back in 1999 that primarily defines cultural slang (words or phrases) not typically found in standard dictionaries.  Urban Dictionary defines Frankenfood as “revolutionary culinary creations that mash up original and unexpected food combinations and ingredients, resulting in delicious dishes or awful misses.”  Some Frankenfood that have made headlines this past year you might be familiar with are Cronuts, ramen burgers, Mac & cheese burgers and dessert pizzas.  Back in April, Oreo launched a marketing movement called Snack Hacks challenging celebrity chefs/food innovators to develop new ways for consumers to enjoy their product.  Consequently the term “food hacking” was born.

Is hybrid food a passing fad or future trend?  Based on what I have read and observed, especially with the increased popularity of food trucks in America, hybrid food (a.k.a. Frankenfood) and food hacking is part of our overall new food culture.  Recently I read an article on The Salt, NPR’s online food news feed about artisanal ramen noodles.  Instant ramen has become a college staple for either quick fuel or a snack/budget meal (approximately 30 cents per package).  Now students are getting creative and hacking culinary creations like ramen noodle grilled cheese sandwiches, ramen frittatas filled with bacon, cheese and tomatoes, ramen used in lieu of a bowl for ice cream smothered in chocolate syrup, etc.

Have you experienced a Frankenfood surprise creation yet?