Marketer's Diary Feed

The World is Going Mobile

Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

Gartner released a study today that indicates consumers will spend $6.2 billion on mobile apps in 2010 ($4.2 billion in 2009) with $.6 billion spent worldwide on advertising.  Downloads of mobile apps will total 4.5 billion downloads in 2010.

The most popular mobile apps are games followed by shopping, social networking, utilities and productivity tools.

As a new owner of the Verizon Motorola Google Android, I continue to be amazed by what you can do on the phone.  Email from multiple accounts set up in minutes.  The exercise app keeps track of my routine and has short videos demonstrating how to use the equipment.  A new shopping App from CNET scans bar codes and lets you know what you should be paying.   An iPhone app let's you scan a color and gives you ordering instructions for Benjamin Moore.  Games occupy my mind in those spare moments.

These phones are already transforming the shopping experience.  When shopping I immediately compare the store price to other prices found online (save $100 last week).

Mobile is here....and it's amazing and transformative.

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Election Day Marketing 2008

Great roundup today by Seth Godin on election marketing and today's Presidential race.  I'd like to add a few thoughts:

1. The Polls are Wrong - Phone polls are inaccurate in the age of the cell phone with a bias against those who use them as the only line.  This will under report young voters.  Obama's numbers are probably higher than we think.

2. All Choice is Compromise - No marketing choice is ever perfect.  Americans want a candidate that stands for lower taxes, yet is socially progressive.  That spends less and provides more.  A candidate that is comfortable and different.  McCain was a great compromise between experience, independent spirit and progressive thinking.  When he brought in Pallin he shifted his perception from independence to dependency.  Americans hate dependency although we are all dependent on others.  I would bet that Americans couldn't accept a perfect candidate since we are all trained to compromise.

3. Community Math Rules - Individuals like to join communities or be part of a tribe (it's the latest marketing speak).  The trick with tribes is that behavior follows a passion bell curve.  The top 5% are passionate, involved, lead and participate.  The bottom 50% are casually passive.  The key to tribes is to grow the size of the tribe to the point where the participation math works your way.  McCain's media blitz in the last 3 days worked to grow his tribe and thereby increase the number of voters that might vote.  It's hard to judge who has the biggest community which is why Carl Rove understood the math down to the County level when Bush was running for President. 

Over the past 12 months Keyword Discovery is showing 68,456 searches for Obama.  In comparison McCain had 16,056 searches.  You do the math.

4. Narrative - Each candidate needed to articulate a point of view using distinct language and methods for getting the message out to the voter.  These narratives needed to be managed across online and offline media.  Obama's facebook type approach broke new ground here.  I wish he was a bit more original than the tried and true "change".  In the worlf of Google ownership of phrases and language rules. 

5. Market to the BAse - Obama and Biden emailedi the opt in permission list every day.  He used direct mail tactics like offers to drive donations - win an all expense paid trip to Chicago on election day  if you donated $5 to the campaign.  Clever yes.  Do I like to be marketed to no.  Do I forgive the tactic.  Yes.

While I'm not going to reveal who I'm going to vote for, I do believe that Obama will win by more than expected.  Errors in polling will work to Obama's favor to given him the victory. The search statistics are startling.

May the best man win.

Jeff (9AM 11/4, 2008)

Is Business School Good Business?

I spent the weekend at my alma mater, Binghamton University, and couldn't help but wonder if all the beer drinking was part of an avoidance strategy regarding the thousands of dollars each student incurs in tuition costs.   I've been having similar thoughts for my own children who have a choice of spending $200,000 at a private university or $60,000 at a State University.

What if the business schools have it all wrong.  If education is an investment, does the potential return warrant this kind of debt.  If I were running a business school I'd give every student the opportunity to produce earnings that pay down that debt.  With great web business development tools like SiteSell  why wouldn't a business program set up every student in their own web based business as a condition of graduation.  In the spirit of NorthEastern University and Drexel with their internship programs that all but ensure employment, each student would have the ability to immediately service the debt with a business entity that they formed.   

Students would graduate with practical knowledge of all things digital and find getting a job significantly easier.  The business curriculum would include a real world learning lab.

It's what I should have had when I graduated.  It's what my children should have when they graduate.


Lifestreaming  is the newest phrase used to describe what happens when a person creates "an online record of a person's daily activities, either via direct video feed or via aggregating the person's online content such as blog". 

It's what happens when you combine your minute by minute Twitter posts with your activity on the Advertising Club Meetup message boards,  posts, LinkedIn profile, music listening and posts on our blog that tracks developments in on demand printing.   And I forgot to mention and of course Plaxo.

The next wave of companies are going to begin aggregate this collection of lifestreams.  New apps such as Friendfeed promise to simply all of this....I hope they do because lifestreaming is challenging enough without the added burden of tracking it all.

Service Logic - Home Depot, Circiut City vs. Best Buy, Starbucks and Southwest Airlines

I just got home from Home Depot where I watched two separate couples storm out of the store due to bad service.  One couple couldn't find anyone competent enough to handle a large custom blinds order and the other was charged for the order of the person in front of her.  In both instances salespeople that were standing nearby just watched.  At Circuit City I wanted to buy a TV and like the other 5 people waiting couldn't find anyone to help....for an hour.

Compare this to Starbucks where I've never had a bad service experience or Southwest Airlines where on a recent flight someone that was off duty actually volunteered to help the on duty personnel because the line for help was so long.  When I walk into Best Buy 3 people rush over to help.

It's easy to see which retailers are going to win in the long run which ones aren't.  What is amazing is that the management of those that aren't delivering can 't just adapt the best practices of the service leaders.  Maybe the answer can be found in the words of the Home Depot salesman that I convinced to help me...."what kind of service do you expect for $10 an hour".  Enough said.

Elvis is the King

When traveling on business you get to visit cities that wouldn't always be included on your list of vacation hot spots.  This week I was in


and instead of kicking myself for failing to visit


, I decided to pay the "king" a visit.

With expectations of Polyester, bad gift shops, poorly crafted exhibits and the song "Love Me Tender" in my ear, I made my way to the


visitor center which is across the street from Graceland.  You buy your ticket and enter a shuttle bus that takes you to the mansion.  You are given headphones and a device that lets you take a self guided tour through the grounds.

With low expectations in hand, I began my journey through the land of Elvis.   The first three stops are the living room, dining room and kitchen.  Nothing extraordinary.  From there you move to the basement recreation areas and start to experience the times he lived in, and his transformation to stardom.

You begin to feel that what you are seeing is a bit more profound than what you expected. 


is a time capsule of life in the 50's and early 60's.  The birth of Rock and Roll.  The evolution of television from black and white to color and satellite.   Eight track tape players giving way to cassettes and compact disks.

You are sent back in time to a place when rock and roll was being discovered.  He was one of the first to have television and movies turn him into a legend.  You have to be impressed as you walk down a long hall filled with gold and platinum records.  Testament to his staying power are the many sales awards he received in the past several years.  The tour of his home ends at the family grave site and a tasteful tribute to his life.

If the records don't get you, then Elvis's car museum will.  The cars represent the height of the American auto industry with chrome covered fenders and big powerful engines.  What I'd give to drive any one of them. 

Elvis the brand lives on today as strong as it did forty years ago.  It's a testament to the man and his music.  I  listened to the CD of his greatest hits all the way home.

Nissan Altima Problems and Complaints

Nissan  should re-evaluate the way they deal with customer complaints regarding the Nissan Altima.  Regardless of a warranty, there are certain things a product should not do.  Cars are personal and building a car that rusts even for an owner that baby's his car is unacceptable.  My Nissan Altima only 14,000 miles in 3 years.

I called the dealer who told me that since it is 2 months past my 3 year warranty, and even though the rust obviously occurred during the warranty period, the only thing they could do would apply for a goodwill repair, but I would have to take the car to the dealer to be inspected.  I took time off from work, drove to my dealer, and without even inspecting the car (which tells me that this is a common problem), the paperwork was completed.  The next day I got a call telling me that it was turned down, but I can appeal via the Nissan 800#.

Nissan Customer support informed me that the wheels have protective covers (formerly known as hubcaps) and that they should not rust.  Since I park at a train station filled with 2004 Nissan Altima's (for some reason Altima is the third best selling car on Long Island), I noticed that the "protective covers" do not protect the wheels on anyones car.  I calmly explained that each "cover" is not solid, but has triangular cut outs where the rust forms.   

They told me that a regional manager will call.  No one called.

The car business is competitive and up to now I was so thrilled with Nissan that I was going to buy a Nissan Murano in December and a Nissan Sentra for my son. 

The marketing lesson.  According to the book "Ultimate Question", every customer in the bottom 2 boxes on a 10 point user satisfaction scale will result in 7 lost sales.  All I can say about Nissan and the complaints I've made against the Nissan Altima is that I hope they sell 7 less 2007 Nissan Altima's this year.

Viva Las Vegas

Just came back from the SHRM show in Las Vegas.  The show was packed with 21000 visitors from the Human Resource industry.  It was tough to get attention for our  booth with and dominating the show.  This year we improved our tracking of booth visitors with scanning devices that let you indicate the quality of the lead.  I was amazed by the show attendees that brought suitcases to carry home the loot they picked up from each exhibitor.

As for Vegas itself, much as changed and much as stayed the same.  Danny Ganz is still headlining at the Mirage, but is now joined by a great Beatles Cirque Du Soleil show called Love .  The show takes place in the round and is non stop.  A nice touch is the speakers built into every seat that enhances the feeling of immersion into the music.  I also caught David Copperfield's show at the MGMGrand.  I figured once in my life I had to see the worlds greatest magician.  He made 10 audience members disappear and then instantly reappear at the back of the auditorium.  Great stuff.

The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch

Sometimes the best television shows are found in unexpected places.  I've become a fan of The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.  Every night Donny has on a variety of celebrities, entrepreneurs or just interesting people.  While early episodes were a little rough, Donny Deutsch  has emerged as an interesting and engaging talk show host.  Not bad for a former Ad Guy.  I now have a show to get my fix of Donald Trump, people that have made their first million before age 10 and Skate Board pro Tony Hawk.  Go Donny.

The Latest Endangered Species - CMOs

Marketing is a full court press every day balancing the vision of what you want to achieve against the realities of what you can implement.  After collapsing in my seat on the Long Island Railroad it was great to see a headline in today's  New York Post   in an article by  Holly M. Sanders declaring  "Put CMOs on List of Endangered Execs."   Oh good, yet another reminder that I have chosen a career path fraught with more failures than successes.  I can hear my mothers voice directing me at a young age to a job in an accounting firm like the rest of the family or something in civil service with good benefits.  What my mom failed to realize is either one is less attractive a career option than getting severe rope burns.

The Post article points out that while the CMO position carries great risk, it is now truly a "C" suite executive position.  Jane Stevenson  from recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles is calling it the year of the CMO.  Wow, it's the year of the Pig and the year of the CMO.  Need to think about that one.

Some Happy Highlights:
- The Gap, Sears, Coca-Cola, T-Mobile, HSBC, VW, Verizon and ConAgra all blew through their CMOs. 
- The average CMO lasts 23.5 months.

It's clearly the job of the CMO to hold a mirror up to the organization and reflect it out to the world in a compelling and persuasive way  Our job is to clarify, define, and invigorate.  I'll never forget my first job as part of the AT&T "You Will" advertising team.  The television campaign used Industrial Light and Magic special effects to bring to life in consumer terms technologies that were deep in the laboratory, years away from fruition.  The campaign defined AT&T, focused the company mission and set their direction for years.  If they only stayed on it before going out of business and then being resurrected from the dead by SBC.  But that's for another blog post.   Long live the CMO.  It's the best job on the planet for people with 9 lives, a masochistic tendency or some form of mental impairment.