Thursday, March 25, 2010

Man’s Best Friend – An Update

Blink:
Subsequent to suggesting in my previous
blog that spring is in the air, I have set up residency in Washington Square Park here in Philadelphia. Plenty of fun observations, but again validated cell phones, not dogs, are now man’s best friend. It’s a good time for an update.

Read On:
CTIA, the International Association for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry is wrapping up its spring show (CTIA 2010) in Las Vegas today. They reported, that as of June 2009, there were 276.6 million wireless subscribers which equates to a wireless penetration of 89% of U.S. Households. That compares to 39% of U.S. Households that own at least one dog; there are approximately 77.5 million dogs in the U.S.

In my original
Man's Best Friend blog, I utilized Nielsen statistics that indicated there were 263 million subscribers of which 203 were texting. On average, people were texting more than calling (357 texts vs. 204 calls per month). No surprise, teens lead the pack. Nielsen now indicates American teens send an average 3,146 texts a month, an average of 10 per hour when they are not in school or sleeping. According to Nielsen, overall texting will continue to grow as this segment of the population ages, plus older generations’ text with them to stay in contact.

All these statistics were floating around in my head as I sat in Washington Square Park, since I recently had the opportunity to present my current stump speech Cell Me The Snacks at an industry conference. I addressed how mobile marketing is exploding, based on the potential of short codes, marketing messages sent via text messaging and the advancement of smartphone technology. Consumer behavior will be monitored 24/7. As a result marketers have developed five different psychographics of cell phone users. Two popped to top of mind as I sat in the park observing more people on their phones than walking dogs. The first being mobiratis, 19% of mobile phone owners that represent a generation that has grown up with cell phones and could not imagine life without them. The second being social connectors, 22% of mobile phone owners – communication is central to their lives, their phone is the conduit to their social world.

The mobiratis and social connectors have been out in full force this past week in my local park, but candidly no one appeared as connected as the few dogs that showed up. Observe dogs; they have a nose for connecting.

Monday, March 22, 2010

March Madness

Blink:
Between following the social media pundits tweeting last week from
SXSW 2010 to monitoring the NCAA Tournament, in concurrence with my daily internet surfing, I am experiencing March Madness.

Read On:
Last month I read an article in the Economist titled
The Data Deluge. The crux of the piece was how the quantity of information is soaring. One source estimated that the world created 150 exabytes (billion gigabytes) of data in 2005; this year it will create 1,200 exabytes. If my math is correct, the amount of information in the last five years has increased 8 times. The increase resonated for me, since I have committed myself to working the various social media platforms in the last six months. Between navigating discussion groups in LinkedIn, reading numerous daily blogs and following select social media gurus on twitter, I actually think my information intake has far exceeded 8 times the amount I experienced a year ago at this time.

Now it is March 22nd. Thanks to all the tweets from Austin last week, ranting about the benefits of Social Media and the excess of news items related to the NCAA Tournament, I am finally experiencing my own personal March Madness. As a result, I am suffering from a bad case of TMI (too much information) overload. Here is a recommended plan moving forward for all those in a similar situation:

· Time to get back to basics when it comes to marketing. Despite all the buzz regarding Social Media, we must not take our eye off the ball as it relates to the DNA of marketing – listening to our customers, providing solutions for our customers and concisely messaging/communicating our POD (point-of-difference) to our customers.

· We must filter through the staggering mountain of information we are faced with on a daily basis and find those bytes that are relevant to our immediate and future goals. The rest is noise. Let go! One way to filter through the information is to connect with reliable Mavens via twitter or within your valued network you can trust. They will assist you in mining for those special bytes.

· Practice time management. Balance life and Social Media. In regard to college basketball, remember there are still 15 more games until a NCAA Champion is crowned in April. More importantly, remember that spring is in the air. Go down to your local park, sit on a bench and watch your neighborhood come back to life after a long, dreary winter.

One last thought: Don’t forget to listen to the birds chirp. They are not suffering from TMI.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Women’s History Month

Blink:
March is
Women's History Month. To celebrate, below are some words of wisdom from Eleanor Roosevelt.

Read On:
Many people will walk in and out of your life,
But only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.

To handle yourself, use your head,
To handle others, use your heart.

Anger is only one letter short of danger.

If someone betrays once, it is his fault,
If he betrays you twice, it is your fault.

Great minds discuss ideas,
Average minds discuss events,
Small minds discuss people.

He who loses money, loses much,
He who loses a friend loses much more,
He who loses faith, loses all.

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature,
But beautiful old people are works of art.

Learn from the mistakes of others,
You cannot live long enough to make them all yourself.

Friend you and me, you brought another friend and we started our group,
Our circle of friends, and like a circle, there is no beginning or end.

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Portion Distortion

Blink:
National Nutrition Month initiated by the ADA (American Dietetic Association) in 1973 as a week-long event, morphed into a month long observance by 1980. Their campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices, as well as cultivating sound eating and physical activity habits. What about portion distortion?

Read On:
The ADA’s theme for this year is
Nutrition From The Ground Up. I recommend spending some time on their website. Great content! A recommended reading list, as well as educational resources covering off on a range of nutrition and lifestyle topics, interactive games (e.g., Nutrition Sudoku), quizzes, promotional ideas, etc. A majority of these materials are also available in Spanish. Good thinking!

In spite of this wealth of great information, there was minimal reference about portion sizes which is now one of the driving forces behind more reliable nutritional labeling being championed by the FDA. It is called portion distortion. Portion size is the amount of food served in a single eating occasion (meal or snack). Serving size is the standardized unit of measuring foods established by the FDA. The FDA is now considering updating the serving sizes listed on nutritional labels in recognition that their portion control recommendations are outdated. One example would be potato chips – a serving size is one ounce or six chips. How many servings did you eat during the Super Bowl? Muffins are usually sold in sizes that constitute two servings. Do you only eat half a muffin with your coffee?

The restaurant industry, despite its attempt to become more responsible by posting nutritionals, tend to offer large or super size portions. Large portions communicate value – value drives customer traffic. Think about the last time you ate a steak in a restaurant. What was its portion size or the size of the bake potato that accompanied it? In my last blog I referenced pizza. A good industry friend Nick Sarillo, founder and owner of
Nick's Pizza & Pub challenged my pizza example. He shared with me the nutritionals of Nick’s 14” Cheese pizza: only 240 calories, 80 calories from fat for one slice and then commented: “The point needs to be over consumption and lack of a balanced diet. The point could be made about almost any food group over done is going to be unhealthy in some way.”

Caloric intake (calories in, calories out) is integral to weight management. Beware of
Portion Distortion.

Oh by the way, for anyone living in or visiting Chicago, I suggest you go to Nick’s Pizza & Pub. I bet you cannot stop at one slice. His pizza is that good.