Shopper Marketing and Digital Marketing are one and the same

March 31, 2008

Over on The Hub, I came across a great article by Stuart Armstrong on where retail will play in the marketing mix.  Armstrong writes:

“Which means that the future of marketing—the convergence of retail, the emergence of digital media networks and the cellphone as the linchpin—is not really the future at all. Because, as Geoffrey Frost noted, in a nod to science-fiction writer William Gibson’s famous quote, “The future has already arrived. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.”

I find this point on convergence/emergence really interesting.  While P&G has placed increasing importance on Shopper Marketing, it is an area that is still in its infancy.  The same holds true for experts in digital (not interactive…but digital).  Digital experts are learning the world of not just interactive (ie traditional media applied to online) but also social media, mobile, consumer generated media and everything else that is digital today. 

The case can be made that the worlds of retail and digital are going to collide and they are going to collide very soon.  But I’m not sure if many clients OR agencies are recognizing this fact.  If you look at the major agency holding companies, most of them have their digital shops AND their shopper marketing shops.  Likewise you arent going to find many marketers that have spanned the world of both digital and shopper marketing during their careers.  Sure many have taken traditional brand / mass media backgrounds and layered on shopper marketing.  And many have done the same thing with digital. 

But it is only a handful of marketers that have thought how to take a traditional background and layer on expertise in both shopper AND digital.  It made sense just a few years ago when they were seperate worlds.  But these worlds are now converging and we all need to change…we need to change fast.  We need to understand that consumers can now become shoppers at any moment.  They no longer have to step into a store to shop.  It can happen online, on their cell phone or even on Xbox Live.  Those transactions taking place outside of traditional retail might be small now but that wont be the case in several years (ask the music industry about how fast iTunes made that happen).  Sounds like now is the time to start thinking about how shopper marketing and digital expertise are going to play together.  Will your brand be ready?  Your agency(s)?  You?


Unbelievable trip

March 31, 2008

Back from Vegas and I cannot even find the words to describe the trip.  We spent Friday night at the Hardwood Suite at the Palms Casino (instead of the Crib Suite).  10,000 square feet and a basketball court in the room.  Unbelieavable….Replica


Viva Las Vegas

March 26, 2008

So I am off to Las Vegas for the 2nd time this month (heaven help me).  This time it is in celebration of my buddy’s upcoming wedding and to watch the Sweet Sixteen/Elite Eight basketball games.  Sure to be a great couple of days capped off with a Friday night party at the Palm’s Crib Suite.  Needless to say, I won’t be posting for the next couple of days while I try to find that money I left in Vegas at the tables last time.  Wish me luck and talk to you on Monday.


Principles of Innovation from Google

March 26, 2008

Just came across a really interesting presentation from Google’s SVP of Product Management & Marketing, Jonathan Rosenberg. On Brain Sells, you can watch a video of his speech with highlights. What I love is that the presentation doesnt focus on just marketing but instead on creating a great organziational foundation. Here are what caught my eye as my favorite takeaways:

Hiring Brilliant People: A’s hire B’s…B’s hire C’s and so on. You can train A’s to hire A’s, but you can’t train B’s to hire anything but second rate B’s or Cs, because they are threatened by A’s and can’t understand them anyway. Maintain a high bar.

Antibodies in Companies Try to Kill Big Ideas: Most people in a company under promise, and over deliver. That’s wrong. Creates fear, complacency and rewards mediocre work. Google looks at it differently. You are only expected to achieve a mark of 60% on your Objectives, but your Objectives must be big. People may not achieve the big goal, but reward people who do reasonably well, instead of them under-performing in hopes of maybe over-delivering and ending up just being mediocre.

Avoid Hippos: A hippo kills more people than any other animal. In business, hippos kill more products & ideas than anyone, A hippo is the highest paid person’s opinion. Hippos say “I think…”

Rewarding Innovation: Most companies have profit sharing…HP gives 6.5% to 8.5%…everyone gets about the same. Instead, pay the people that deliver more. The best guys in an investment bank make more, shortstops on a baseball team gets more, etc. At Google the guy who made Google News has made us lots of money, millions of dollars, so we pay him millions of dollars. Life is not fair…I’m not as pretty so I got less dates…I can’t shoot slam dunks so I don’t get to play in the NBA. Reward innovation.


The V Curve of Risk Taking in Brand Management

March 25, 2008

When I was just starting off at P&G as an Assistant Brand Manager, I had a chance to have lunch with John Pepper. Pepper is the former CEO/Chairman of the Board at P&G and is currently Chairman of the Board at Walt Disney Company. Needless to say, the guy knows management and marketing. V Curve of Risk TakingOne of the things I have never forgotten from that lunch was what Pepper said about risk in our careers. He said that marketers inherently act on a V curve of risk taking with time/seniority on the X Axis and comfort with risk on the Y Axis. When you are junior, you can take risks because you have nothing to lose, there is nothing but upside if the risk pays off. Likewise when you are very senior, you can make strong statements about risk taking because your career is set and all you face is a golden parachute if the bet fails. Where we run into problems is middle management, those people around the Director level that are at a critical point in their career. They’ve put in enough time that their career is a good place and they are on the right track. They probably are now married with young kids, a mortgage and all the other responsibilities in life. In other words, in their eyes there is a little upside with risk, but a lot of downside. They are comfortable with how things are and they aren’t going to place many bets or experiment. Read the rest of this entry »


Microsoft makes things right

March 24, 2008

So apparently I am little slow on picking this up, but xbox 360 bottomI heard about the story of Nathaniel, a passionate Xbox gamer who suffered a serious loss when he sent his Xbox 360 into Microsoft for repair.  You can read the whole story here, including the amazing response by Bungie Studios (Makers of Halo) and the equally cool response by Microsoft.  The short of it is that Microsoft suffered a major breakdown in Customer Service 101 by making a promise and then not living it up to it.  However, thanks to the power of blogs and the connected economy, they redeemed themselves and then some.

Now this story really rang true to me because of my own bad experience with Microsoft customer support.  Read the rest of this entry »


How do you measure Social Media?

March 24, 2008

Ian Schafer points us to a great article/discussion over at Adweek on the metrics of Social Media.  In my opinion, this is one of the biggest issues facing the industry right now.  The largest advertisers (like P&G) have embraced the traditional aspects of social media, putting up banner ads on MySpace, etc.  We are experimenting in order to figure out how to fully embrace social media but measures are the struggle in order to get total buy-in.  As the article points out:

That makes it hard to compare data from social media with other measures, said Marcel Lebrun, CEO of Radian6, a social media tracking firm. “The online ad world has page views, impressions and clicks,” he said. “That kind of thing doesn’t exist yet” in social media. 

I highly encourage you to read the full article here.  Also, I would love to hear your thoughts on how the industry should think about social media metrics?  How can we overcome the hurdle?