Friday, January 31, 2014

Today – 1/31/14

Today (1/31/14) is the first day of the Chinese New Year, the Year of Horse.  To the Chinese, the horse is a symbol of traveling, competition and victory.  Today is also National Brandy Alexander Day.

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A quick Google search indicated that the first Brandy Alexander, a tasty chocolate cocktail (a concoction of brandy, crème de cacao and heavy cream) first surfaced in London at the wedding of Princess Mary and Viscount Lascelles in 1922.  The adult beverage immediately developed into a pop culture icon.  For the record it was John Lennon’s favorite drink which he called his “milkshake.”

By now you are probably questioning the relevancy of this post.  The fact is mixed drinks due to the evolution of our “Cocktail Culture” are on the rise again.  Millennials are the driving force behind this trend.  Mixologists, formerly known as bartenders, blended 130 million finished gallons of mixers in 2012, a 2.5 percent increase versus 2011.  (Note: A mixer is defined as non-alcoholic beverage ingredients like juices, carbonated soft drinks, purees, energy drinks, etc. that are used in spirits-based mixed drinks and cocktails.)  Food marketing research firm Technomic recently projected this favorable trend will continue in 2014.  Overall, spirit sales have evolved into an integral part of the restaurant industry, an effective way to increase check averages.  Technomic reported a 5.6 percent increase in overall spirits sales in all on-premise channels (e.g., bars, lounges, Chain restaurants, etc.). 

What cocktail will you drink to celebrate the Chinese New Year?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Lessons from Down Under

For the past two years I have written posts about the Australian Open: Unforced Errors and Unforced Errors – One Year Later.  Once again I enjoyed watching another great Australian Open.  Congratulations winners Li Na and Stan Wawrinka!  Detailed below are this year’s Lessons from Down Under.

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·         Hybrid Smarts!  The benefit of blending new methodology with the wisdom of classic experience.  Due to improved technology as it relates to equipment and extensive training regimes, tennis has evolved into a power game.  Stamina/endurance key!  However, this year in their quest to achieve the slightest edge, several of the men’s top stars hired tennis legends from the 80’s to be their coaches, players that had already been to the top of men’s tennis.  Imagine today’s tennis stars, all of whom are Millennials learning from the wisdom of players ranging in ages from 41 to 68.  A great lesson for some of today’s startup businesses or the new wave of digital marketers.  Learn from business veterans who have been to the top.  Acquire hybrid smarts!

·         Patience & Fortitude Builds Perseverance.  Seven months after contemplating retirement, having been one point away from elimination in the third round, Li Na on her third attempt (third time lucky), went on to finally win an Australian Open.  On the men’s side, the other Swiss (Stan Wawrinka) at age twenty-eight, waited eighteen months to find/hire the right coach, worked hard over the last nine months, went on to defeat the number one player in the world, Rafael Nadal to whom he had previously lost all twelve matches they played.  Both winners validated that if you believe in yourself, patience and fortitude builds perseverance. 
·         Winners Have Game Plans!  It is clear that the great players due to scouting their opponents in advance have a well thought out game plan.  Consequently, they know throughout the match what to technically execute in order to win.  On the journey to winning, great players make a few minor tweaks, but overall they believe in their plan.  The same can be said for champion marketing movements – well thought out strategies/tactics, a few tweaks along the journey, but bottom-line winning/great marketers believe in their plan.

What is your game plan?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Big Data Skeptics

1010data, Inc., a market leader in the evolving discipline of Big Data recently published that a majority (79%) of the executives they interviewed across numerous verticals believe Big Data will reach its potential in one to five years.  Why the slow adaption rate?

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Disclaimer: The 2013 Big Data in Business Study published by 1010data Inc. captured the viewpoint of 158 executives which is a relatively small statistical representation.  However here is a summary of some of their key findings:

·         62% indicated that they need more education on how Big Data solves business problems; 53% need concise Big Data solutions to better address the needs of business users.

·         49% of the executives interviewed want simpler tools/solutions (less moving parts); 40% need prices for tools/solutions to be reduced.

·         12% believed that Big Data has reached its potential; 35% believe it will reach its potential by the end of the year; 44% believe it will reach its potential in the next five years.

Today’s query: Why is everyone waiting?  One to five years?  Big Data as I have shared in the past is an integral pillar of Social Enterprise.  Yes, I do agree that organizations will need skilled resources to perform analytics.  As a marketing geek, I understand crunching numbers is not a fun task.  Ask any marketer what they enjoy most about their jobs and they well tell you launching new products, coming up with the next great advertising slogan, etc., etc., etc.  However, continual analytics of business performance is a necessary key to any company’s success.  Therefore, it is time for more companies to get on the bandwagon and begin to understand how they are going to turn Big Data (all the mountains of information that technology is documenting) into measurable results.    

Are you still a Big Data skeptic?

Friday, January 17, 2014


I continually read articles, especially in the food business, about marketers targeting by demographics – quantifiable statistics (subsets) of a given population.  I call these demographic labels buckets! 

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The number one demographic group (a.k.a. bucket) that receives all the buzz are the Millennials.  Approximately 80 million strong and growing; by the year 2030 it is estimated they will outnumber non-Millennials by 22 million (source: The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs).  Operators in all restaurant segments are fixated on this group. Specifically they are planning their concepts to comply with their all-day eating behavior – convenient, healthy/fresh food with a dash of indulgence for their late night munchies.  Another group that is gaining prominence is the Latinos.  In addition to their rapidly expanding population (53 million strong), marketers project their spending power will reach $1.7 trillion by 2017.  Restaurant experts also point out Latinos tend to eat out in larger groups.

The newest “Bucket du Jour” that I just read about are labeled IndieWoman.  They are women 27 and older, who live alone and do not have children; approximately 31 million strong.  They spend an estimated $50 billion annually on food and beverage.  Based on their lifestyle, they suffer from time deprivation, thus have little time to cook.  They are very health and budget conscious, but on a whole they visit restaurants less frequently than men, so price/convenience will be their driving touch points when it comes to making dining decisions.  Dating too!

What is the label on your bucket?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Burberry Gets Botox

I have long been an advocate of hybrid marketing – balancing traditional marketing strategies with the new collaborative world of Web 2.0.  One brand that has excelled in hybrid marketing is Burberry.  Their utilization of digital marketing has been comparable to the 158 year old iconic fashion brand receiving botox injections.

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Back in 2011 Burberry was named Luxury Marketer of the Year due to their masterful marketing movement that blended traditional marketing (print, direct mail, runway shows) with digital marketing (customized ecommerce, mobile, social media).  This past December, for the third year in a row, they retained the top spot in a digital index created by L2 Think Tank which examines the digital adeptness of 85 fashion brands.  The index was created by L2’s founder Scott Galloway, a marketing professor at NYU.  His company evaluates several criteria; website navigation, digital marketing, mobile marketing and social media.  

Three innovative digital marketing strategies that Burberry implemented last year were as follows:

·         A rotating banner ad on Vanity Fair’s mobile-optimized site that featured their fall/winter collection when consumers clicked through the ad.

·         A tool called “Customer 1-2-1” that enabled store associates to access customer data in real time, connect and deliver customized content.

·         They introduced an animated catwalk that was delivered digitally to augment their live runway shows.

Could your brand use a shot of botox?