In what seemed like a tribute to the cute little kid from Jerry Maguire who kept repeating "the human head weighs 8 lbs," Fast Company recently published a Mr. Egghead infographic that illustrated an astounding fact from the brainiacs at UC San Diego: the average American, on the average day, consumes 34 gigabytes of information. And from 1980-2008, bytes consumed increased 350%. That eight pounds can sure pack a punch. For the purposes of explaining the infographic, writer Maccabee Montandon uses information, content and data interchangeably to argue that Americans are ravenous for "data." But hold up -- do we want to gorge on data? I'm not sure I buy his conclusion about our appetite.
Insight used to be considered a personal quality and one that was essential to be a successful marketer. While other corporate functions, such as finance and logistics, were driven by cold, rational calculation, marketers were supposed to thrive at the human side of business.
Much like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and other newsmakers before him, Lance Armstrong opted to tell his story to Oprah Winfrey. In the wake of Armstrong’s tell-all, there are three crystallized marketing insights that we can all learn from.
What’s caused U.S. firms to lose the most shareholder value in the last 10 years? A new Booz study — actually, a repeat of one it did in 2004 — once again came up with the same result. The culprit wasn’t external shocks like the Great Recession.
Whether it is Walmart or Metro, I have found that many of the global retailers’ expansion plans are irrelevant and hurt the bottom line. Tesco is a good example.
Ask yourself: do you know how much more valuable these customers are than others? If you could turn another 10% or 20% of your client base into loyal, enthusiastic patrons like these, do you know how much more growth that would generate?
One dirty secret of web analytics is that the information we get is limited. If you want to see how someone came to your site, it's usually pretty easy. When you follow a link from Facebook to The Atlantic, a little piece of metadata hitches a ride that tells our servers. There are circumstances, however, when there is no referrer data. This means that this vast trove of social traffic is essentially invisible to most analytics programs.
As the digital interface continues to grow, many companies struggle to find the most effective channels in which to reach customers, and given the infinite number of connections that can be made via the Internet, the task of predicting the best course for communication seems nearly impossible; however, a new start-up has promised to do just that.
While there is a lot of Hadoopalooza in the technology press about the tools for managing big data, and they are wonderful, it's also true that they are a) widely available, and b) mostly free. Neither can be said of data scientists. Simply put, you can't do much with big data without data scientists. They are the magicians who transform an inchoate mass of bits into a fit subject for analysis.
Despite its growth, investors see the carmaker’s structure and the founding family’s grip on ownership as a liability. Why is a company that is widely admired for its industrial performance and well on its way to meeting lofty growth targets viewed with such scepticism?
Human behavior is nuanced and complex, and no matter how robust it is, data can provide only part of the story. Desire and motivation are influenced by psychological, social, and cultural factors that require context and conversation in order to decode.
My most important decisions are about adjusting to change. Over the last 20 years, we’ve reinvent-ed ourselves five or six times. Some were positive reinventions, some were very painful.
With an estimated $2.1 trillion in spending power, moms influence 85% of all purchase decisions and buy nearly everything for everybody. What’s more, we now know that moms are even better shoppers than might be perceived in the marketplace due in large part to neurological research that didn’t exist until recently.
Paul Matsen can only shake his head when he reads yet another study about marketers failing to measure the impact of their work, especially in today’s bottom-line-driven environment. As chief marketing officer at Cleveland Clinic, a highly rated non-profit academic medical center, Matsen says measurement is as critical to marketing success as understanding consumer insights, developing strategy, and evaluating creative.
Following a sales increase of 26 percent in 2011, and 20 percent in 2010, this is a far cry for a company that considered pulling out of the U.S. market in the early 1990’s, when sales plummeted to 40,000 vehicles. The company plans to deliver double-digit growth this year and next, CMO Tim Mahoney told me, terming it “Quality growth”, meaning it has to be profitable and sustainable. That should put VW comfortably over the 400,000 vehicles mark.
Marketers overwhelmingly recognize that leveraging massive data sets can help them improve business, but most feel they lack the tools to mine customer insights adequately, according to a study from marketing technology company DataXu Inc.
When an aircraft crashes, investigators are able to retrieve useful information about what went wrong from the flight data recorder, more commonly known as the black box. (The data recorder itself is actually not black, not until it’s retrieved from charred remains.) Statistically speaking, plane crashes are rare occurrences compared to car crashes, so why not install a black box for cars?
Companies are learning to turn Big Data into Big Dollars. How are they doing it? With the help of data scientists, a new generation of business leaders who understand that today, data drives revenue.
Social media and the power of peer-to-peer recommendation can boost revenue streams and brand loyalty, according to a new survey from CNN. The results of a CNN inaugural study into the power of news and recommendation (POWNAR), showed a "halo effect,” with substantially higher engagement around recommended content compared with randomly consumed content, said Didier Mormesse, senior VP of R&D and audience insight at CNN International.
With the insane amount of data out there, it's tempting to skip the human element altogether and rely solely on statistics. But performance metrics alone can't tell you what motivates your audience to start a blog, share a video or post about their breakfast on Facebook. And it can't tell you the exact point when first-time moms realize their new little bundle of joy means a 54% increase in laundry, leaving them running to the appliance store. These are the types of insights that result from a consistent two-way dialogue with an audience over a long period of time.
Some ideas are a banquet. They go on and on, and invite us to consider what they really mean for hours or days - or sometimes much much longer. Then there are the flashes of insight. The quick sparks that we immediately react to and understand when we hear or see or touch them. These are the types of ideas I wish I could find and share more often. Ideas that inspire in a moment. Starting a movement, for most people, is much more complicated than just having an idea. If you happen to work in a place where this is part of your goal, your questions are often about stakeholders and messages and creating something "viral." We are all seeking the formula that turns that idea into a movement.
For today’s Signal topic, I’d like to talk about marketing as a portal to understanding your business. Now, before you roll your eyes and click away, stick with me for a minute. If you’re reading this post, chances are you are in business. And chances are also pretty good that business is media or marketing, because that’s the focus of Signal, after all. So, what business are you in? Or, more to the point I’d like to make: What is your business? You’d might be surprised at the number of folks I’ve met with in the past year who pause when I ask that question. Because, in the main, that number is exceedingly low.
Planners, account directors and researchers are typically busy people. Under a barrage of internal and client demands, it's hard for us not to fall into shorthand approaches sometimes. For instance, when targeting different age groups. But it's time for a wake-up call. Standard age-related targeting can't be relied on any more, thanks to a new social trend: flip-flop generations. Many adolescents today are acting in ways we might expect middle-age Americans to do, while older consumers are maintaining their "adolescent" interests, outlooks and behaviors into middle age.
The other day, one of my colleagues asked me, "What exactly do you mean when you use the word 'innovation?'" Answering the question led to a productive discussion about what really inhibits innovation inside large organizations. When I use the word innovation, I think of three interlocking components.
NBC calls it "the world's biggest focus group." With an estimated 185 million unique viewers over a 17-day period, the Olympic Games provide a special audience microcosm, and one that NBC believes will be particularly useful for measuring new-media consumption habits and trends. NBC touts all the different platforms it is bringing to bear for the Games, which began Friday in Vancouver. Viewers can watch on the network, NBC Universal's many cable channels and NBCOlympics.com. They can download clips to their iPhones and receive mobile updates on a favorite skier or figure skater.
Despite lip-service to two-way communication, branding has often been a one-way effort: we decided what we wanted people to think about our companies and designed marketing and communications that made that happen. Or so we hoped. But a brand is the collective impression people gain not only from you and your marketing efforts, but from all of their interactions with you—and the interactions others have as well (newly amplified through social media). That means we need to look at the process of branding in different way: through a social lens.
At first glance, Foursquare, the location-based mobile application capturing the fancy of hip, young urbanites, is a fun bar game that lets users compete for points and badges for going out at night. But dig a little deeper, and the service, which I just profiled in The Times, is also a handy, user-generated city guide. “The game elements are fun and people definitely like competing against their friends,” said Dennis Crowley, co-founder of the company. “But getting people to do something they haven’t done before — that’s where Foursquare gets really interesting.”
If you have recently searched for "Kenya safari," "gold jewelery," or "insurance price comparison" lately, you are responsible. Responsible, that is, for an article published last week in the Financial Times that claims how these search terms and others like them "suggest that consumer confidence is perking up." According to the FT, search query patterns suggest that "consumer sentiment in the UK is up 6 per cent since the beginning of the year." These figures are based on data from Google's Barometer, which tracks a basket of 50 positive keywords and 50 negative keywords to gauge the health of the overall economy. Created in response to the recession, this type of trend spotting within Google search data is part of a wider effort at Google to demonstrate how patterns in search queries can not only alert marketers to emerging trends but also accurately model real-world phenomena.
It is tempting to start slicing and dicing the spend now, even if we don't know how to precisely define waste in the marketing plan. Perhaps some rules of engagement are in order.
Do you find yourself having to defend the decision to conduct qualitative research? Looking back over the almost 25 years I've been in marketing, I'm struck by how often the insights that drove true competitive advantage came from qualitative, rather than quantitative, research.
Coors Light has enjoyed fourteen consecutive quarters of sales growth but back in 2003 that brand was tanking. What turned it around so dramatically? On the surface it appeared to be a simple new marketing strategy focused on the refreshing nature of cold beer. But what really drove the success was a disciplined approach to the management of creative ideas and insights inside the company.
The first reaction many people have to Twitter is befuddlement. Why would they want to read short messages about what someone ate for breakfast? It’s a reasonable question. Twitter unleashes the diarist in its 14 million users, who visited its site 99 million times last month to read posts tapped out with cellphones and computers. Individually, many of those 140-character “tweets” seem inane. But taken collectively, the stream of messages can turn Twitter into a surprisingly useful tool for solving problems and providing insights into the digital mood.
If you're in business to add value to people's lives, especially stressed out and time-starved people, you should think twice before adding even a drop more information into the fire hoses they're presently drinking from. Instead, help them synthesize transcendent patterns. Help them make sense. Help them achieve their goals and advance their agendas. What people really need today are ideas, not information. Ideas are the filters most people are so desperately lacking.