Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Unforced Errors – One Year Later

Exactly one year ago I wrote about the epic Australian Open Men’s Singles final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.  This past Sunday Djokovic repeated as champion.  Congratulations Novak!  Consequently I thought this would be a good time to revisit Unforced Errors.

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Last year I shared my observations about the new era of power tennis.  A majority of the top tier players now generate statistics where they produce a negative ratio; more unforced errors to winners.  Sunday was no exception.  I am not going to bore you with the final numbers, but both players had a negative ratio further illustrating their great defensive capabilities.  However, that was the spine of last year’s post – defense might work in tennis, but not in business.  In business you need to play for winners versus waiting around for the competition to make mistakes.

The winner of the 2012 Mobile Marketer Award, Starbucks (note: their second time in three years), is an example of a company that is not following in the steps of its competitors by playing defense.  Instead they are constructing winning shot after winning shot when executing their mobile movement.  Their strategy is to take advantage of multiple channels/platforms to create an ongoing relationship with their customers starting with SMS to drive their successful My Starbucks Rewards Program.  They utilized strategically placed QR codes (linked to mobile optimized sites) to promote their different blends; most recently their Blonde roast.  Their biggest shots have been their mobile payments and loyalty applications which were first introduced back in 2010 now making them one of the major players in mobile commerce.  Starbucks even experimented with augmented reality in 2012 to bring their holiday cups to life.  To round out their mobile marketing game, Starbucks has invested in mobile advertising and apps.  Sounds like more winners to unforced errors to me for a winning, positive ratio.

Are you training to be a winner?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Data Proliferation

According to IBM, every day we create 2.5 quintillion (2.5×1018) bytes of data.  Experts project the world’s data will expand 50 times in the next decade.  Sounds overwhelming!  How are marketers going to conquer data proliferation?

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Mobile technology is contributing its fair share of data to the runaway world of Big Data.  As smartphone penetration continues to grow (currently 53% of all mobile according to Nielsen), so does the amount of mobile data consumption, as users watch more video, play more games, access social networks, etc.  Mobile Marketer Daily reported that mobile data traffic is currently 3.89 trillion megabytes and forecasts it will grow ten-fold to approximately 40 trillion by 2016.  Please note, these numbers do not reflect the mobile data consumption of tablets.  Currently there are approximately 55 million U.S. tablet users.

IBM just released the results of a worldwide study they conducted back in October and revealed that the primary Big Data objective for companies moving forward will be to employ the numerous tools at their disposal to achieve customer centricity; 49 percent to be exact.  However, other studies indicated that companies were experiencing difficulty mining Big Data for consumer insight.        

Here are my recommendations as it relates to working with data proliferation:

Baby Steps!  Start small, think big. 

      1.    Select a market or two. 
      2.    Examine the different points of available data capture. 
      3.    Analyze. 
      4.    Summarize key learning. 
      5.    Develop potential indicated actions.
      6.    Execute!  Execute!  Execute!
      7.    Repeat the above process; select a geographic region.
      8.    Repeat the above process; Go Global!

Are you prepared to master data proliferation?   

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Over the holidays I scrutinized a bombardment of marketing blogs and whitepapers forecasting marketing’s future.  I could draft my own set of predictions, but I would only be repetitive.  Instead, I plan to share some observations this month about the topsy-turvy world of marketing starting with Retro-Innovation.  

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I have always been an advocate of Hybrid Marketing; a blend of classic marketing and Web 2.0 interactive, collaborative platforms.  What I am observing is marketers are moving further away from classic marketing (push or outbound tactics) and leaning more towards inbound marketing.  In addition, due to the increased penetration of mobile devices, sellers are now being challenged to engage with their buyers in real time.  Through engagement, companies have learned the benefit of identifying their dedicated, loyal customers (a.k.a. Brand Evangelists, Super Fans), individuals who spread the word about the benefits of their products or services.  Smart marketing!  However, now I believe it is time step back and add a dash of classic marketing back into the hybrid blend.  I call this process Retro-Innovation – taking a classic, proven marketing concept and updating it. 

There are numerous ways companies are connecting with their online Super Fans – real time engagement, rewards, discounts, etc.  Suggestion: Get offline and meet your Super Fans live by creating an event (a.k.a. party).  Event marketing is an old concept, but with a dash of Retro-Innovation, it has the potential to go viral.  Rationale
  •   Everyone loves a freebie.
  •   A well orchestrated marketing event exercises the principle of exclusivity.  People still value exclusivity.
  •   A great way to sample products/services and get live feedback.  Surprise your guests with a take home goodie bag.
  •   Satisfied guests will share their experiences via social media.  
  • Documentation of the event (e.g., video, photographs, etc.) can be utilized as content for a company’s ongoing online marketing initiatives.
Does your organization’s marketing need some Retro-Innovation?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Blink Trumps Remarkable

re•mark•able \ri -‘mär-kə-bəl \ adj. (1604)  worthy of being or likely to be noticed esp. as being uncommon or extraordinary.  According to best selling author, Seth Godin, acclaimed “America’s Greatest Marketer,” ridiculous is the new remarkable!

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Back in 2003 Seth Godin wrote a great article for Fast Company magazine In Praise of Purple Cow.  He advocated that in a media saturated marketplace there was no room for average products and services or relentless ad spending.  Instead, there was only room for remarkable products or services; winning ideas that people were going to remark about – the viral effect of word of mouth.  

Last month, Seth wrote a new post titled “Ridiculous is the new remarkable.  Godin is now challenging us to think beyond normal to standout.  Paraphrasing Seth: “If it's not ridiculous, it's hard to imagine it resonating with the people who will invest time and energy to spread the word.  We embrace ridiculous as the sign that maybe; just maybe, we're being generous, daring, creative and silly. You know, remarkable.”

Godin’s new interpretation of remarkable is a clever marketing strategy.  However, given the level of clutter/noise out there (ridiculous!!), I believe those companies or individuals that can deliver consistent, relevant content in a blink will be tomorrow’s movers and shakers.

Blink = brevity!  Blink trumps remarkable!

Thursday, January 3, 2013



My apologies, but I could not resist posting a special list to ring in the New Year – Dinosaurs!

Read On:
      1.    Pay phones, dusty fax machines
      2.    Newspapers, newspaper routes
      3.    Shoe repair shops, tailor shops
      4.    Main Street U.S.A. (e.g., independent pharmacies)                     
      5.    Doctors’ house calls
      6.    Christmas cards
      7.    Sunday family dinners
      8.    Sixty minute lunches, eight hour workdays, forty hour workweeks
      9.    Two week vacations
     10.  Travel Agents
     11.  Airport Porters
     12.  Free luggage check-in, ample overhead space on airlines
     13.  Attendants – toll booths, parking lots, gas stations
     14.  Head Hunters
     15.  Three piece suits
     16.  Middle-aged Naysayers! 

      Are there more Dinosaurs out there?