Narrow solutions lead to false impressions

December 30, 2011

Subtitle: If all you have is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail

I recently read an article in digiDay, written by the CEO of a modestly large online personalization firm. The title drew me in… “Outsourcing Data Management is a Mistake“.  As I read, I was consistently impressed with the idea that narrow solutions, while interesting, lead to profound mistakes.

An open reply to the article –

If the proposal is that better management of online data needs to drive towards online personalization, I believe the premise and conclusions of the article are too narrow. While interesting, they are incomplete. Consider this, even if the premise is executed perfectly, advertisers will still have not solved 60% to 80% of the problem. A growing portion of media is being consumed online and a growing number of transactions are occuring online, but it’s still a minority.

The root of my point is that the writers premise solves only a small portion of all consumers interactions with a brand… not all portions of some consumers. In a world where more than 60% of consumers act in a multichannel manner and bring 4 to 5 times more value (Forrester research), solving the larger problem of multichannel insight has become the new table stakes. Using the writers premise, relying solely upon online actions to drive personalization, success would rely upon shere luck that a media impression would actually be triggered by the appropriate marketing reason.

 Until we have a data management solution that leverages the knowledge, segmentation and targeting of a brand as the primary data select and targeting methodology, we’re going to be chasing after the big money with small solutions. Consumer behavior is more complex than the distillation of online data. Consumer expectations are greater. The problems marketers are trying to solve are larger.

 What you propose isn’t wrong, I feel it’s just incomplete.

Love to hear your thoughts!


#QuoteOfTheDay – “never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity”

December 28, 2011

Whether competitive intelligence or personal relationships, consider this quote. It’s easy to get wrapped up in trying to figure out why people do or say something… flip the equation and first figure out if they actually knew enough to have intentionality.

Attribution –

Great infographic – Incredible things that happen every 60 seconds on the Internet

December 26, 2011

If you’ve ever wondered why people say that consumers, not marketers, have control of todays brands… here you go. Compound this with a stat from Forrester Research from 2009 (larger today)… consumers generate more than 500B social messages each year regarding products and services… and you see a pretty good picture as to the scale of the impact of the empowered consumer.

Comscore identifies 14MM US mobile users have scanned QR codes

August 12, 2011

Boy, that’s a LOT more than I would have anticipated. Maybe I live under a rock but I rarely see QR codes. I wonder what percent of US mobile users have seen a QR code, bet it’s not a lot… that would make that 14MM users a huge percentage, relative to those who have seen a code:-)

On a similar note, have you seen the Autonomy Aurasma application yet? Extremely cool! Here’s a YouTube video demo. Basically, it turns the entire offline world into a potential QR code. Take a look, it’s worth it!

Believing “data” is more than behavior

August 11, 2011

I read MediaPost on a regular basis and find great value in their content. Maybe it’s a matter of timing, having just read several similar articles on DigiDay, but I have to express my deep concern over the lack of substance the digital marketing community expresses regarding marketable data. Behavioral data is interesting and for in-market, bottom of funnel, DR marketing efforts it may even be critical; however, it is by no means the “Pandora’s Box” of insight.

The article that triggered my entry today is “eXelate’s CEO Coins Term For DMP”. A main point in the article is to call out the clever twist on the acronym that the CEO of eXelate is espousing… it’s a Data Marketing Platform, not a Data Management Platform. Missing the point, is the concept of what “Data” is, not the nuance over managing data for marketing or marketing itself. The article starts off by declaring data as being behavior. Tacoda conducted research a few years ago to test out the concept of online behavior versus the purchase of a flat screen TV… using the implication of this article one would expect that the behavior of looking at flat panels would be the strongest intent indicator, right? Wrong, it was #22 on the list. #1 was viewership of military content. You’re probably asking yourself the question, “why military?” I don’t know. People are complex beings. What I’m asking myself at this point, and trying to communicate today, is “why behavioral data?”

Behavior, context, 3rd party data, and the myriad of proprietary segmentation models are all great… though each is incomplete. Not until we start to look towards the insight that brands possess regarding their target audience will the industry start to attract the brand dollars we’ve all been anticipating. The concept of marketing data and our identification as to what it is needs to expand, to include what marketers know it to be.

My $.02

500 years of marketing…

April 12, 2011

Over the last 500 years there were very few inflection points to the advertising and marketing ecosystem. In the last 5 years we’ve seen hundreds more infection points…

In the beginning… 1440 to 1940…

  • Guttenberg invented mass printing in 1440.Yet, it wasn’t until 1704 that the first newspaper advertisement, an announcement seeking a buyer for an Oyster Bay, Long Island, estate, is published in the Boston News-Letter.
  • Fearing there may be a pattern occurring, the first convention of advertising agents is held in New York in 1873.
  • Still not knowing which portion of his advertising is wasted, department store founder John Wanamaker is the first retailer to hire a full-time advertising copywriter, John E. Powers, in 1880.
  • Not until 40 years later did KDKA air the first commercial radio broadcast in1920.
  • 21 years after that, with 7,500 TV sets in New York City, NBC’s WNBT aired the world’s first legal television commercial July 1, 1941, costing the Bulova Watch Company a whopping $9.00.

Fast forward 37 years…

  • The first recognizable email marketing message was sent on 3 May, 1978 to 400 people on behalf of DEC – a now-defunct computer-maker – This is also noted as the first SPAM message.
  • In 1990, the very first tool used for searching on the Internet was launched, Archie.
  • Then, in1993, the Internet becomes a reality as 5 million users worldwide get online.
  • In 1994 HotWired coined the term “banner ad” and sold the first clickable advertisement to AT&T

During the last 15 years we’ve seen a flood of new media and advertising options: comparison shopping, SMS, mobile advertising, social media, games. As well as the digitization of our analog world: mobile phone, Kindle, addressable TV, HD radio, digital variable print.

Five years ago, who would have thought that MySpace would now be a worn out social network? Who’s next?

Digital Promiscuity

April 12, 2011

In conversation with a team of people far brighter than I, I had a glimmer of resolution and coined the term… “digital promiscuity”. Framed in the idea that consumers have too limited an idea as to how marketers have developed data traps… facebook apps, mobile apps, and even cyber crime attacks like phishing. In the abscense of an informed public, organizations are pilaging an unknowing public. The public unwittingly partnering too deeply with too many partners.

MediaPost article: “ISP subscribers have no expectation of privacy”

September 14, 2010

“US District court judge Rosemary Colyer ruled that Web users cant quash subpoenas to their ISPs because subscribers don’t have a ‘cognizable claim to privacy in their subscriber information.’ “


I’m not going to purport that I actually read the entire ruling or that I’m a legal expert… but from my window this looks a whole lot like courts allowing private businesses to legally intrude on private consumers because the business thinks they did something wrong. What’s next, wire tapping their phones? As well, what about NebuAd… didn’t they just fizzle out of existence because of privacy concerns in their business model – aggregating consumer activities from ISPs? If a subscribers activity online is not private, let’s just go ahead and publicize it, how about blog format… sure, that makes a lot of sense. NOT!

I’m in no way advocating the sharing of copyright protected material, the substance of this court case. However, this is the US, right? There certainly are other ways these big businesses can work with folks like the FBI to defend their IP content rights.

In any case, here’s the full article…

MediaPost Publications Judge Rules ISP Subscribers Have No Expectation Of Privacy, Allows Filmmakers To Unmask P2P File Sharers 09/13/2010.


Consumer trust and social media marketing

July 19, 2010

I came across a new chart today, Consumer trust and purchase behaviorand found the relationship between source of input for decision-making and the resulting usefulness and trust they found in the content – people tend to trust content at approximately half the rate that they find it useful.

Point #1 – Consumers trust AND value the usefulness of information gleaned through conversation with friends, families and co-workers (peers) at an exceedingly high level around the globe. I suppose the only interesting point here is that the observation is global in its’ nature.

Point #2 – Those same consumers trust comments and blogs less. Core social content is seen as less valid in decision-making. In fact, comments are trusted and found useful at about half the rate as personal relationships, and blogs at half of that.

Point #3 – Not just that, but they tend to trust the content half as much as they find it useful. THis is probably the more interesting stat… seen from a different dimension, people consciously use the latter two sources of content at twice the rate that they find it trustworthy. This doesn’t seem sustainable. It seems to beg for a new solution… consumers around the globe appear open for new social solutions to amass decision-making content.

Love to hear your thoughts!

The world is multichannel, are you?

July 4, 2010

Recent research identifies that nearly 50% of all in-store purchases are influenced by online research.

As marketers we tend to view the term multichannel as an aspirational goal, to use multiple channels to communicate with our audience. The reality is, we’re just trying to catch up. Those pesky consumers, who do they think they are? 🙂

I’m a tremendous fan of the “low hanging fruit” approach to driving change. That is, to identify high value, speed to market, low effort and high yield executables – to quickly deliver high value. Here are some ideas:

  • Retailers –  whether you know it or not, if you sell high consideration or high priced items, your shoppers are already reviewing their purchase through digital channels prior to making a purchase. Sure, low consideration and low priced items are probably researched far less. In any case, how can you enable shoppers who are already using their smart phones to better view your offering and enable them to see your offering in a better light while in-store? Take what they’re doing already and try to bend the behavior or experience towards you.
  • Leverage highly adopted channels – we’ve all read a lot about the interaction of search and display advertising, how about the enabling capability of email to bring your audience into new channel relationships with you. Email has an incredibly high adoption rate in the US, more than 90%. Chances are, you already have a sizable database… use them as your starting point. The missing piece of the puzzle is likely consumer data that ranges outside of your general purview. While I do work for a company who excells in this area, my intent is to paint an opportunity more than pull out  my carpet bag. Information about cell phone ownership and social media participation are available for you to use in the expansion of your marketing relationship.

Love to hear your thoughts!


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