Brand Marketing Feed

Framily Planning

My family is mostly made up of people that had no choice.

For the most part they are familiar to me or at least I know who they are.  Some of us share a family cell phone plan from Verizon which promises "More Everything" but in reality always costs more and doesn't deliver everything.

Then along comes Sprint and the Framily Plan.

Is it marketing genius? Encourage related and unrelated people to to form groups of 7 to 10 people, "the framily" that gets them max discounts on Sprint services.

Or marketing madness? Take a confusing behavior, switching, in a confusing category, cell phone contracts and subscriptions, and predicate discounts on hanging out with a stranger named Gordon.


This is Gordon, a character from the Sprint campaign that mooches off his Framily

Photo Credit: Sprint

While I love watching the campaign, I can't imagine it working. Sure it gets my attention, but so do lots of things I'd never do or buy.

Particularly when T-Mobile promises that they will cover switching fees and even provide a phone for a free 1 week test drive.

On Sprint in order to get max savings I need to do the work.  If I change carriers I piss off the framily, Gordon, my mom, the kids and all.

I always go for clear and straight forward in advertising and this isn't it....and leave my framily out of it.


Watch for the Coin Mobile Payment System in 2014

Web design and mobile payment technology come together with the clever use of the parallax scrolling effect seen on this introductory landing page developed for Coin.  Instead of trying to change credit card related consumer behavior, "Coin" mimics what we already do and improves upon it in a new device. They then demonstrate how it works as you scroll through the introductory page.

Coin combines all of your credit cards in one electronic card that looks, feels and works like a credit card. It works alongside your iPhone, which validates the card, provides some protection against theft and makes it ready to use. Note how the page scrolls from:

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to a single all-in-one card

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To card swipe.....

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One simple value proposition, demonstrated in a continuous visual demo, ending with a call to action - pre-order.

If the card works as well and is as well thought through as this landing page, this could the breakout mobile payment system of 2014.



OPower Taps Behavioral Energy at TED

Everyone that makes their living from advertising and communications knows that consumer behavior is a funny thing. What motivates the masses is often unexpected and essential for convincing someone to chagne or replace an existing behavior.

Take the example of energy consumption. As Alex Laskey, a friend and co-founder of O-Power points out in this Ted talk, behavior is the key to action. For example, guess which of these messages motivated households in to save energy:


All messages encouraged consumers to reduce air conditioning use. The "save money" message suggested that housholds turn off their air condition in favor of a fan. The other messages are self evident.

The answer is ....none of them worked.  What did work was this:


Competition with neighbors was the only message that worked. Self interest, money savings, save the planet all failed.

The lesson for marketers is clear. Until you do the hard work solving the behavioral problem...said another way, why should I care? what problem are you solving? how important is this? , there will be no behavior. To quote Gad Romann "tt is a great example of digging for deep insights and coming up from the merky world of consumer language and finding it. It's finding the truffles in the complexity of human behavior."

I'll let Alex in the Ted talk below descrobe how OPower users behavioral understanding to convince consumers to save energy.  Alex, congrats on a great talk, and the success your company is having in changing the world.

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Social Media Use Lowest for Brands

A study conducted by USA TouchPoints shows of all uses of social media, brand interaction generates the lowest levels of target reach.  Numbers range from a high of 7.5% weekly reach among 25-34 year olds to 4% weekly reach among 18-24, 45-54 and 50-64 year olds. The implication is that social, while an important part of the marketing mix, cannot generate the reach, and possibly influence of more traditional forms of media.


While the numbers are low, they are understandable given the main communication/sharing use of the medium. Social may also appeal to the most involved and loyal consumers, an audience that may project more influence than the numbers indicate.

Other Other findings include widespread use of Pinterest and Facebok, and high levels of social media penetration in older age groups.

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What We Searched for in 2012


 According to Time Magazine students are more likely to remember where information is saved then to remember the information itself. Search is changing the nature of how we learn, how we think, and to all the organic search enthusiasts out there, how we write. Search is also a time capsule of our culture as depicted in this video on what we searched for in 2012.

From What we Searched for in 2012 to The Rogue Marketer Home Page
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Seven Marketing Trends to Watch in 2013

It's that time of year again, where we need to think about 2013 marketing trends and the implications it has for the industry. Here are some thoughts on the year ahead.

A satellite television dish, an example of an ...Dish Network is a pioneer in addressable TV. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1.Addressable Cable and Satellite Television Moves from Test to Mainstream: Addressable cable enables a marketer to target specific households with a TV commercial. Targeting is based on multiple proprietary and syndicated data sources including television viewing habits, on-line activity and overlays from shopping, demographic and behavioral data. The challenge for addressable is to demonstrate that household level targeting will justify the higher CPM's charged by local television providers combined with the cost of labor and database analysis required to execute these types of campaigns.

To date, only Dish Network, DirecTV and Verizon have offered these types of targeting capabilities. Starting early next year, Cablevision will be offering the service (3M+ households), exponentially increasing the available footprint.Expect other cable companies to follow.

The potential of the technology is to change the way marketers target. It can also make television accessible for advertisers that can only justify the expense when viewing households have a higher concentration of prospects.

Any marketer with a large television budget will be testing and rolling out addressable television technology and programs. For example, Wireless companies will be able to utilize customer databases to broadcast up-sell messages to customers and acquisition offers to prospects. Car companies such as General Motors will be able to target Ford households. Watch platform such as Visible World for the latest

I'm personally looking forward to working with MMB advertising clients and experts such as Caroline Horner on how to deliver a measurable return using this technology.

Image representing Offerpop as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBase

2. Plug and Play Marketing Technology: It used to be that marketers had to hire programmers to power game, social and on-line initiatives. That era is coming to a screeching halt as marketing moves from the "program it for competitive advantage" era to the "discovery era" where everything imaginable exists, it's just up to the marketer to connect idea to implementation.

Take social media as an example. In the early days of Facebook advertisers needed to both conceive of promotional ideas and then under go the complexities of implementation. Today, with platform providers such as Offerpop, best practices on Facebook are pre-defined combined with plug and play implementation technology. Common Facebook engagement techniques such as coupon distribution and "fill in the caption" contests can be implemented in minutes.

The challenge in 2013 is to work with a team that stays on top of new technologies, and then having the funds and bandwidth to act faster than the competition.

3. Marketing Systems Become Standard Operating Procedure for CMOs: Coming off of plug and play marketing technology, the next challenge for marketers is to integrate these systems into workflows that enable end-to-end execution. These work-flows need to be optimized overtime and then applied to multiple businesses.  At MMB New York our goal is to develop marketing demand systems that enable clients to trial new marketing channels.  A systems approach includes the required implementation and measurement technologies, combined with the know-how to execute the program and generate results.

Systems reduce risk by providing turnkey methods for trialing marketing channels. One system we offer at MMB is a Search Engine Optimization system, where we have predetermined how several best in class analytical, execution and measurement tools can be used to provide better insight into client opportunity, and then another set of systems which use a combination of trained people assisted by technology for content creation and syndication.

4. We Learn Where to Search: Time Magazine recently reported that today, students are more likely to remember where a piece of information is stored than memorize the information itself.  Search plays an obvious role in providing access to information, resulting in +9% annual growth in search activity year after year. Search becomes even more important in a world driven by single results, such the technology behind "Siri." When someone queries into their iPhone - "best restaurant in Plainview New York" the answer better be a restaurant you own.  Search engines are everywhere, including search on and Craig's List.

English: White hat seo symbolizes good ethic t...English: White hat seo symbolizes good ethic techniques in search engine marketing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The key to all of this is to continually demonstrate that you deserve to answer the consumer's question. Why should  your restaurant be considered the best? Do you have the best reviews? Do you have video on You Tube that showcases a superior culinary experience? Do you have multiple friends in your Google+ circle highly recommending it? 

The challenge for marketers is to determine how to best organize around search. This is harder than it sounds given that their are typically multiple constituencies within an organization battling for the same search term. Let's say you are an insurance company and need to own the phrase "health insurance." If you are organized into a small, medium and large business division, ownership of the term becomes confused since cross-organizational decisions need to be made regarding who controls the inbound traffic flow and what content will be used to demonstrate competency to the search engines. Few companies are structured to tackle these issues without some organizational pain and chaos.

Having a clear and organized system for executing SEO is now becoming normative for most marketeers. The good news is that turnkey solutions like those offered by MMB New York make it easier to ge validate search as a channel.

5. Outsourcing becomes a way of life for marketers. Lean Marketing teams replace bloated organizations: With the proliferation of marketing channels, technologies and platforms, there is a temptation by CMO's to continually add platforms and staff every time a new channel becomes available out of fear that not to do so would result in failure. The problem is that expansion ahead of ROI validation leaves behind bloated staffing levels and platforms that fail to deliver required returns. 

Outsourcing Services CompanyOutsourcing Services Company
(Photo credit: FreelancersElite Graphics)

The proliferation of social media and CRM platforms are examples of the temptation to expand. While CRM or structured communications (life-cycle emails etc.) might appear to be an obvious need, it does not apply to all organizations. For example a sales driven B to B might have difficulty proving the worth of the investment vs. the ability to hire incremental sales personnel for the same cost. In the case of CRM, a CMO is required to commit to an annual contract as well as the staff required to develop strategy, structure a program, execute creative and measure results. 

Let's say for argument that the CRM program fails to deliver any return. The CMO is now responsible for incremental staff and investment. Now play this out across other perceived "must have" platforms such as Social Media management, Social Media monitoring, Organic Search, Paid Search, Content Management and Content Development.  Each piece of complexity, driven by the need to balance innovation with ROI, results in a gradual increase in CMO risk that ultimately ends in staff reductions.

Instead. CMOs can and will seek to reduce the size of corporate marketing teams and the risk of platform investment in favor of outsourcing. This way costs can be aligned with the channels they support, with the only risk coming from the length of the outsourcing contract. Instead of annual contracts for CRM platforms, companies can test the ROI of these capabilities using outsourced companies. Once channels are tested and validated, a decision can be made regarding outsource vs. in-source. Even if validated, the rapid pace of change still points to the maintenance of a team of outsourced experts instead of the less efficient approach where staff is continually hired, only to watch skills fall out of sync with marketplace realities..

Anyone running the marketing group in a Fortune 500 company should be thinking of a marketing organizational design that has a staff of no more than 20 on staff instead of 200.

Visualization of all editing activity by user ...Visualization of all editing activity  on Wikipedia)

6. Big Data Drives Us to the Marketing Dream: Marketer's access to data continues to exponentially increase in 2013. Many of the aforementioned trends such as addressable cable combined with shopper data and on-line behavioral data will provide new insights into how to target consumers. We've already seen the digital marketing world move from website level targeting to targeting actual purchasers.  Who would of thought we'd be able to execute a program for a major salad dressing brand that targets only people that frequently eat salads. Now imagine doing this with targeting across television, on-line, mobile, direct, auto (yes advertising to individual cars), game platforms or wherever we can get the consumer's attention, and then taking all of this data, understanding it, only then to turn it into actionable programs.

7. New Video platforms and Multiple Screens: Anyone that works with Google Analytics must have already taken note of platforms such as XBox as a source of on-line traffic. With the proliferation of screens, and the emphasis at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show of multi-screen viewing, we can expect this added opportunity to be a part of breakout marketing programs in 2013. With the average person spending 4.4 hours a day in front of screens, the opportunity is in understanding how to structure communications which coordinate the time and the place these screens are used.

Multiscreen-marketingAdding to the pressure, consumers are forming expectations on how brands need to operate across screens. A new study from Google on multi-screen marketing shows how consumers expect the real world and the virtual world to be in perfect sync. The average person spends 4.4 hours a day in front of screens. They will be quick to judge brands the feel out of sync with their multi-screen expectations.

Strategy will be driven by the two modes of multi-screening used by consumers. They are sequential usage (phone to laptop) or simultaneous usage (multi-taking, or complementary usage). In sequential use, most activities start on s a smartphone and then transition to a PC. The exception is a complex task with the PC is in the lead. In erms of simultaneous use, the biggest overlap is between Smart phones and television (81%), with most people on average using three different screen combinations daily. TV commercials account for 17% of Smartphone searches and 6% of PC searches. 

To quickly get up to speed on consumers and viewing, download the Google Multi-screen study here.


From 2013 Marketing Trends to the Rogue Marketer Home Page


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Google and Microsoft Tablets Destined to Fail

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBase

Once again we are about to witness a marketing disaster perpetrated by two market leaders that are letting ego get in the way of sound judgement. The laws of marketing physics describedt by Trout and Ries in the book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind are at play and like any law of physics, they cannot be broken.  To quote the law, "on average, the market leader gets 2x the market share of the #2 brand, and 2x again as much as the #3 brand.

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

Apple's share of tablets currently stands at roughly 72.1% followed by Samsung and the Kindle Fire. Also in the hunt are the Barne's & Noble Nook and a Leveno tabet.  There are too many products selling undifferentiated features that are competing for the limited attention span of the consumer.  What makes this category even more competitive is the iPad's leadership in both share and perception.

The problem that Google and Microsoft face is that the value proposition of each company is irrelevant to the sale of a competitive tablet.  While Apple is selling art, design, fun and education, Google's Nexus 7 is selling ? and Microsoft is selling ?  Both companies have little device credibility as they hope to go head to head with Apple. Unfortunately the Nexus 7 and Microsoft tablet products are largely undifferentiated and do little to demonstrate how they can win against existing competition. Even a weak effort where each company seeks to create a new category or reinvent the existing category would be a better strategic option than what we are seeing. Instead, each is competing based on criteria established by Apple, instead of playing the games along a new set of criteria. It's the difference between the excitement of Google Goggles, a product based on Google's search heritage vs. the lack of news associated with a a tablet based on a better operating system that might steal a sliver of share from the Kindle.

Corporate ego and size doesn't win the marketing race. Better features do not win. Positioning, smart marketing and an understanding of marketing physics does.  There are ways for new products to compete with leaders, but it usually involves the equivalent of throwing a hand grenade into a market or by creating an entirely new market (think Tylenol and Advil vs. Aspirin).

My advice to Google and Microsoft would be to go back to basics, figure out what you stand for with consumers, and then launch a new breed of devices that deliver on this promise (Google Goggles anyone).  Delivering poorly on the promises of others is a strategy doomed to fail, no matter how large you are, or how much money you have to spend.

Update: As of 9/24/13 the Surface is #10 in terms of consumer market share. Microsoft is making some headway in the professional market with the Pro model as a laptop/notebook productivity replacement.


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I Had Cartier Advertising for Breakfast

Cartier S.A.Image via Wikipedia

This morning in between my orange juice and Kashi I was stopped mid-chew by a new long form TV commercial from Cartier. To understand the impact this had, you have to understand my purposely dull and monetenous morning routine. On most mornings the TV would actually have to explode for me to glance from the endless crime stories in the newspaper to the endless stories on the Today Show. If anything, the mornings are by design meant to unfold according to schedule, with the bits and pieces from my "friends" Matt, Ann, Al and Natalie providing soothing and familiar background noise as they struggle to make the latest update on LIndsay Lohan look like news.  This is then followed by an endless stream of advertising that is filled with important updates such as the day for the latest Macy's super de duper sale, or the slightly more interesting new campaign from JCPenney (everyday low prices, but really low prices on every other Friday, or something like that).  All this while thinking about the day, checking email and gulping down my breakfast in under 15 minutes so that I can catch the morning train with about 5 seconds to spare.

But not this morning.  No this morning, out of no where, came a tiger racing through a dreamscape.  Not one of those dreams that last :15 seconds or :30 seconds, but one that took over the entire advertising block.  An eternity by today's standards.  It was filled with images and music that were telling a story and taking you to a place that was beyond the ordinary.  To call it an advertisement is to diminish my appreciation for the craft that went into its' production.  To say it was a movie would not fully capture how impactful it was and how far it stood apart from anything I've seen before.... on morning television, let alone on television at all.

The "film" was released to celebrate the 165th anniversary of Cartier.  It is a fitting tribute to the brand.  The "film" was bold and original, making the programming that preceded it appear trivial, compared to the majesty of what just happended.  Congratulations to Cartier and the marketers behind the brand on your 165th.  The "film" is a fitting tribute and fresh start for a great brand.  

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What is Branding?

Great article in Monday's Fast Company Magazine by Graham Button titled "Daddy, What's a Brand? and 9 More Awkward Questions for Uncertain Times".  It's a thought provoking summary of how brands work, and their relevance to the next generation of consumers.  The net of the article is that the nature of brands is rapidly changing as new target audiences such as Millennials, and new technologies change our expectations and the way we communicate.

Graham described the new economics and the constant state of change, and how the Economist Intelligence Unit describes a "gap between market awareness and business readiness," particularly in light of the arrival of a new group, the Millennials.

He describes the passing of delayed gratification and intimacy for the instant gratification and remote connections offered by today's communications tools. We've all heard:

"he friends her, she IMs him, he emails, they tweet, he texts, they iChat, she calls, they reach altered states with designer cocktails, have sport sex and never see each other again."

As a result, Graham mentions that relationships between people and possibly between companies are now more transactional, and wonders what the implications are for future brand relationships.

Great visual taken from the article.

He goes on to mention how Millenials "live on a real time drip of real-time connection and are fiercely independent."

He ends the article with an exhortation that companies stay as close to their customers as possible followed by a plea to the advertising industry that all of this talent be deployed in much more creative ways.

The article ends with a great video that summarizes the nature of the way the Millennial generation speaks:

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.