Media spend is not following media consumption

November 7, 2009

Today, digital media accounts for nearly 35% of the average US consumers’ media consumption yet less than 15% of ad spend is directed toward these new channels.

I think the issue is non-trivial. Not only are the digital channels more addressable, more trackable and accountable by their nature, they also represent the direction consumers are taking. Also of interest, looking at the largest spend and media consuming traditional channel, TV, younger audiences are consuming an appreciable and increasing portion of their media through the Internet… while double and triple tasking with games, IM, text, etc. Oh, and don’t forget that nearly 20% of households have DVRs and habitually timeshift their favorite shows.

The world is changing, consumers are multichannel… are you?

Love to hear your thoughts.



The fit of independent variables to the personalization scenario

October 1, 2009

Regression analysis can determine the “fit” of independent variables to a dependent variable.

Not all independent variables are a good fit.

Relying upon a small set of independent variables may produce an incorrect fit -> destroy your chances of doing anything that’s successful in your personalization program.

Thought for the day:-)


Consumer-centricity starts at home

June 11, 2009

To effectively position a business as centered around a target audience the whole organization needs to deliver a resounding brand message that is consistent with the strategy intent. Leadership style and a connection to the organization are equally important as messaging and marketing strategies when it comes time to deploy customer centric marketing strategies.

Pulling from notes and other articles, I’ve found several points that describe the customer-centric leader and things that marketers need to consider as they develop marketing strategy:

  • They see their team is the face of the company. Beyond ads or collateral or a website, your employees are delivering a clear message to your customers and prospects… is that message in line with your customer-centric aspirations?
  • They see trust as the lever to bring their teams in line with their customers. When you deliver a message to your customers, do they hear what you tried to say or do they parse words and wonder what you “really” tried to say. Consistency and sincerity deliver the environment for team members to foster a trust relationship with clients, and visa-versa. Trust is hard to get a first time and nearly impossible to get a second time.
  • They use customer insight as the guiding light for the organization. Largely it’s a communication issue; beyond gathering information, they seek to spread that information into broad areas of the company. Ironically, in most companies, the team members closest to the customer are the most likely to know what is working yet least likely to have a communication channel to upper management and product teams. Conversely, many top management teams sponsors consultant research projects to learn about their customers and then they don’t share the learning deeply into the organization.
  • They get their hands dirty. They go to clients, they engage with teams at different levels and internal organizations. More than a decade ago I worked at a global technology distributor and asked that I spend a few days working in a warehouse… it was probably the single best learning experience I had. I “knew” what it took to make the business operate, how difficult the operations part of that business was, and all of that helped me greatly understand how to communicate shipping issues to clients in the ensuing years.

Have you factored internal organizational dynamics into your customer-centric marketing strategy?

Personalization versus Targeting

March 10, 2008

website personalization, dynamic targeting

I’ve read articles and blog replies where others try to distinguish between the terms personalization and targeting, referring to personalization as one-to-one and targeting as one-to-many. As a person who has actually created terms and pioneered strategy in this marketplace, I see the two as more or less synonymous with far fewer distinguishing dimensions than others see.

While trying to create a communications strategy for Kefta’s multi-channel personalization solutions, we determined early on that we wanted to distance ourselves from the failed software based personalization solutions of the late ’90s. They were an expensive, IT driven failure. The key failure was that they were too “heavy” a solution to ever get off of the ground. From a marketing strategy perspective, they were a failure because they relied upon users to self express differences before they could start targeting content, and they simply served a different message, as if that was supposed to be better than the original message.

Targeting became a term that was descriptive yet avoided a reference to the prior perceived failures of what was called personalization in the late ’90s. Using this learning as a guidepost, we landed on “dynamic targeting”. Prior to our use of this term, little was used with reference to targeting and no one in the online marketing space had ever used the combined term “dynamic targeting”.

Today, few people use the term personalization as a description of a type of technology. It’s more frequently used as describing a type of experience, leveraging the term personal. Beyond that, personalization has been a dead term and trying to describe it beyond it’s prior history is futile.

Love to hear your thoughts –


E-Commerce News: E-Commerce: Enthroning the E-Shopper

March 6, 2008

In a recent article on E-Commerce news, Enthroning the E-Shopper, Paul Korzeniowski brought up some great points about the value of personalization in the e-commerce world. Specifically, he identifies the youthful state of the approach, its’ ability to increase customer loyalty, and he details several personalization opportunities and functionality. He summarizes the situation very well… “Building brand loyalty has become a struggle for retailers; however, personalization has the potential to help them to enhance customer allegiance and differentiate their products in highly competitive markets. Though in an early stage of evolution at the moment, customized shopping experiences are expected to become more common as the e-commerce market’s ongoing maturation continues.”

Etailers have historically been slow adopters of new technology, preferring to watch for success at competitors before dipping their toe in the water. Examining the evolution of dialog in this industry, just recently simple testing scenarios were all the rage and today we’re hearing this great dialog about targeting consumer needs… this is a huge shift in thought and a wonderful thing to see! In some regards, this is probably an evolution from consumer generated content, more than a shift from testing to personalization, regardless I love it!

One area I would like to elaborate upon is the forms of personalization he details:  from targeting online behaviors to physical goods. The point I would like to make is that these really shouldn’t be viewed as separate efforts, rather, a continuation of a strategy to learn more about prospects and customers and start servicing their needs. That is, if you’re going to manage a program for customization of physical goods, say jeans, why would you not augment that with a program to reinforce those expressed needs when a user comes back to a homepage or receives an email?

Using this example, when a consumer designs a personalized pair of jeans, how much more successful would the campaign be if the ensuing communications on the website, email, and direct mail offered a coordinated communications effort focused on: showing matching accessories and additional fabrics that fit the same genre of jean, then later, as the seasons change, offer different styles and fabric weights that are appropriate for the temperature.

Creating additional sophistication in this campaign, consider the efficiency a retailer could generate if they were to track the responses of this consumer, as they respond to the different communications channels. Over time, one could determine more than just the relevant message, but also, the preferred methods of communication.

It’s the same customer. They have the same needs regardless of product or communications channel.

Yes, there is a lifespan associated with behavioral learning, relevance decays rather quickly. These types of campaigns are most successful if the retailer can generate a response in the first few weeks. However, the reality is that the rate of decay is very specific to environmental variables associated with each use-case. This decay should be a part of the measurement and analysis process so one can optimize their program over time.

Wrapping up my point, focusing on single slice of your relationship with your customers and producing a personalized communication is a great start but must be seen as the first step of a larger program. Learning from consumers that cross your path, storing that data in a central data database where future programs can consume and contribute visitor level data, is the single largest key that a marketer can build into their strategy to increase relevance.

Personalization campaigns must transcend individual contact points – web pages, emails, banners, and even physical goods.

Love to hear your thoughts –


1 to 1… holy grail or Monty Python?

February 20, 2008

One of the key values in building a powerful brand is that it conveys a message that lifts a marketers offering above the competition to provide sales inertia, acceptance and resulting revenue. Implied in this statement is the point that there are shared values, ones that people can pass along to others. A good example is the prestige that a beautiful luxury car connotes to others. The car is psychologically an extension of the buyers persona, and others who see this person in the car connote certain similar thoughts and feelings to the owner and reinforces their desire to be an owner of a similar car.

So, if one of the great powers associated with a great brand is the ability to communicate particular feelings and thoughts about consumers to future prospects, how can this be accomplished in a world where everyone receives a different message? If the brand attributes, communications, are tailored at an individual level, how can one effectively transfer the message to others?

The answer is that 1 to 1 is more suitable as a tactic within a broader consumer strategy and not a strategy in and of itself. That is, having the ability to communicate 100% customized messages to each and every customer and prospect doesn’t mean that doing so is actually better. Extending the example of the car, above, consider a prospective buyer who first expresses interest in the car by going to a dealership to test drive the car. This person has obviously bought into the brand message. In this situation, should the sales person construct a tailored follow up to the prospect, sending a personal letter or email that details their conversation and then follow up with a personal phone call? Of course!

A message that is attractive to the target audience allows others to be persuaded by the brand message; however, a 100% targeted message would be beneficial in certain instances where a marketer is trying to leverage the self expressions of a prospect who has already identified themselves as an adopter of the brand message.1 to 1 marketing, multi-channel marketing

Even if you disagree with my premise, you have to love this… the original script for the 1975 blockbuster, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them.


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