Advertisers seeking to crack the code on reaching Facebook's growing audience have a new weapon in their arsenal: polls.
Tag: product development
Everyone says Google doesn't "get" social media. What Google gets better than anyone else in the world, though, is search - combine the two and the company may have found a winning recipe. Today Google announced that its real time search feature now has its own home page at Google.com/realtime and a number of new features. The new Google Realtime is well executed, useful and certainly better than Twitter or Facebook's own search implementation to date. The downside? There's a lot that's missing that will limit the cool things that could be done with it.
My last column, “Specifying Behavior,” focused on the importance of interaction designers’ taking full responsibility for designing and clearly communicating the behavior of product user interfaces. At the conclusion of the Design Phase for a product release, interaction designers’ provide key design deliverables that play a crucial role in ensuring their solutions to design problems actually get built. These deliverables might take the form of high-fidelity, interactive prototypes; detailed storyboards that show every state of a user interface in sequence; detailed, comprehensive interaction design specifications; or some combination of these. Whatever form they take, producing these interaction design deliverables is a fundamental part of a successful product design process.
With the increasing focus on innovation and speed to market comes a need for efficiency, discipline and creativity in the new product development process. New product teams are being pressed to think differently, do differently and find more reliable ways to evaluate in-market potential. Whether you subscribe to the classical, stage-gate approach to product development found in most B2B or B2C enterprises or you take a more entrepreneurial, throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks attitude, there are steps along the product development path that can help reduce the risk of wasting time and resources on ideas that won't survive in market.
Ultimately, consumers decide what a brand means to them and how brands become a part of their lives. Elevating a brand to iconic status requires not only a great product, but the advocacy of our most loyal consumers. In addition to making the physical product available at the appropriate places, marketers must make the brand a critical part of their core fans' culture. It is important to study and to become a valuable part of that culture. By living and breathing in the same space, marketers will uncover details about their brands that will heavily influence all aspects of their businesses. Moreover, they will discover that consumers--individually and collectively--will seek to engage with the brand through co-creation and collaboration.
Since late 2005, Apple's stock has quintupled. With a market capitalization of close to $250 billion, Apple is (at least today) the third most valuable company in the world, behind ExxonMobil and Microsoft. It's a stunning story that's been dissected to death, but still remarkable enough to warrant reflection. Ten years ago — three years after Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs had returned to "rescue" Apple — the company was still largely treading water, with a relatively meager $3 billion market capitalization. Its personal computer products had a loyal following in niche markets, but that was about it. Over the past decade, Apple has launched five legitimately game-changing innovations.
To many, the process of developing a successful product can be a mystery. Sometimes companies will spend months of development time to create a product that doesn’t reflect the needs or the scope of its intended market. And other times, successful products are developed completely on accident. Because of this, it can often seem impossible to develop successful products. However, if one takes the time to listen to their marketplace and plan the development process accordingly, they are more likely to succeed.
PSFK attended the recent Search Engine Strategies Conference in New York for an opportunity to catch a panel on the development of trends in Internet search behavior and product development. Panelists included Stefan Weitz, the Director of Bing, Larry Cornett, VP of Consumer Products at Yahoo! Search, Brett Tabke, CEO of WebmasterWorld.com, and Robert Murray, CEO of iProspect. The panel was moderated by Graham Mudd, VP of Search & Media at ComScore.
In July 2008, Unilever executives convened 16 regular young men and women from around the world at a meeting in New York. Why? To tap them for ideas for a new global fragrance for Axe, a brand of men's body spray, antiperspirant, and shower gel. The company had previously experimented with consumer-driven product development for local launches, but never for one on such a large scale.
Author Peter Drucker’s adage that a business enterprise has two basic functions—marketing and innovation—certainly resonates in the quick-service industry today. Marketing and innovation serve as critical drivers of growth at a time when the limits of cost cutting have been reached. While the innovation function is steady across all chains, marketing strategies vary greatly.
Gatorade took a huge step in the revitalization of its brand this week by revealing a new structure for its mainstream product line called the “G Series”: three functionally complementary types of drinks to meet the various relevant need states of consumers, and an alliance with GNC for the launch of “G-Series Pro” products with a similar structure for serious athletes. Gatorade’s chief marketing officer, Sarah Robb O’Hagan, shared the rationale behind the new brand architecture with financial analysts in New York. Gatorade “is a formidable franchise,” said O'Hagan, the former Nike marketing executive, who joined the PepsiCo brand nearly two years ago. “But we haven’t had the right performance the last few years.” In 2009, she said, “We started a multi-year journey to turn this brand around."
A recent Advertising Age article caught my eye and I think it’s important. The gist: key consumer packaged goods manufacturers are promising to roll out innovative new products in 2010 after a major slow-down in 2009 due to the rocky economy. The article: “Package-Good Players Plan New-Product Surge for 2010” states that some of the largest global consumer product companies “have said or signaled that they expect to step up new-product activity, and by extension, marketing support in 2010.”
With flat-panel TVs selling for the prices comparable to ordinary televisions a few years ago, manufacturers searching for the next profit boost are preparing a big push with models that can display pictures in 3-D. The world's biggest TV companies are hoping the move will let them capitalize on the billions of dollars they have invested in display technologies this decade and stay a step ahead of the discount brands that have taken a sizable bite from their market share. But the potential gain from 3-D TVs hangs on whether consumers will immediately flock to the technology, and whether there's enough appealing 3-D content to draw them. A delay will allow other manufacturers time to catch up, leading to the price competition that routinely whittles down profits in electronic goods.
Imagine crowd-sourcing the entire world before launching a product and not spending one penny for a marketing campaign. You could gain insight from reporters, analysts and consumers about the types of services that would and wouldn't work. The online audience segment you address could become your buyers. You might even determine a fair market price for the product, or gain insight into the continent where the product should launch first. And if the product happened to be a mobile phone, you could even determine the best carrier to bundle services. Even if the phone doesn't exist now, Google has proven that the market is ripe for the company to jump on in. And to think it all started with a blog post and a few Twitter tweets from Google employees.
At a McDonald’s Corp. test kitchen in an unmarked Illinois warehouse, next year’s menu plan for the U.K. has hit a snag. When the visiting British team adds wrap sandwiches, service slows. “This is the place to find out,” said Jeff Stratton, McDonald’s chief restaurant officer, as he considered the fate of the wrap. It’s among dozens of new products being tested at the Innovation Center to make sure service isn’t disrupted. “We will probably not recommend they add this one until the bugs are worked out,” he said. Speed is increasingly the focus, as McDonald’s tries to increase customer satisfaction and gain market share amid an economic slowdown that’s driving people to eat at home.
Have you seen anything lately that you thought was a creative approach to a consumer business? I'm talking about something that isn't a social networking or mobile business, but instead is an established product or service that is extending its brand in a way that puts competitors on the defensive. While speaking at a recent event, the moderator asked my co-panelists and me if the pendulum had swung too far toward short-term returns rather than long-term marketing and new product development. We collectively agreed that while improving analytics and financial discipline is a good development, marketers are currently shortchanging the creative side of the equation.
Wired Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson is now speaking at Y Combinator’s Startup School about Freemium Business Models. Anderson likened freemium to handing out muffins on the street to entice people to start eating your muffins. But with muffins there’s a significant cost to giving away each muffin. With digital goods, you can give away 90% of your product for free, without any cost for those goods. He says ‘free users’ aren’t free loaders, and that it’s okay to let the minority (paid users) subsidize the majority. Because the free users will recommend to friends, it’s a great form of marketing. And for those paid users, many of them are very strong customers — they may be price insensitive, with very little churn.
As loyal Search Insider readers know, I've been fleshing out marketing lessons learned from Google for three consecutive columns as a precursor to a book I'm writing -- Everything I Need to Know About Marketing I Learned From Google. I figure it's never too early to start working on a sequel so, today, I'd like to focus on lessons learned from Google about product development. The Google corporate site outlines "Ten things we know to be true." (Wish I'd seen these before I set out to capture my last twenty lessons!) These "core principals" can certainly be applied to many facets of business but I think, more than anything, they provide a blueprint for successful product development.
A video took the web by storm today entitled “Incredible, amazing, awesome Apple.” Basically, it boils down Apple’s latest event into a series of superlatives. It’s a funny video because Apple really does have a pattern of using these types of words over and over again in its demonstrations. Cynics will say this is how Apple brainwashes the masses into buying their products, and gets people jazzed about the tiniest features. But I think there’s something much deeper here. While certainly there is some element of hearing something so many times that you start to believe it, that’s nothing new, any good salesman will do the same thing. But why I think the tactic works so well with Apple is because they actually believe what they’re saying.
Starbucks is a brand that grew from the ground up and always flirted with marketing in a a way that it never felt comfortable with. However, given a year of declining comp store sales and an erosion of the brand, marketing appears to be firmly back on the agenda. At a recent Goldman Sachs conference, the CFO of Starbucks talked repeatedly about marketing initiatives that are doing to be driving the company forward.
We try so hard to build the first circle. This is the circle of followers, friends, subscribers, customers, media outlets and others willing to hear our pitch. This is the group we tell about our new product, our new record, our upcoming big sale. We want more of their attention and more people on the list. Which takes our attention away from the circle that matters, which is the second circle. The second circle are the people who hear about us from the first circle.
The series on brand value creation continues today with a look at how brands create value for companies in their Internal Business Processes. Although a brand’s ability to create value from the Financial and Customer perspectives is probably the most important, its impact on Internal Business Processes is the most fundamental.
Traditionally, new product development has been a linear process. The "new product" team creates many alternative versions of the core idea, winnows them down in various stages of testing and re-development until a winner emerges and gets launched. Things are changing. Great ideas are not only coming top-down; they're coming from interns, they're coming from customers sharing their best ideas out of love for your brand (like Dell Idea Storm), from ethnography in third world countries. Innovation is about inspiration coming from continuously listening for the unexpected which can come at anytime from anywhere; nothing linear about that!
The product-development laboratory at Smart Balance Inc., a food marketer keen to grow through innovation, contains chemical analyzers, lab benches and refrigerated cases. But there are rarely people.
ConAgra Foods’ new product pipeline has been sizzling, despite the recession. The maker of Hunt’s tomato sauce and Chef Boyardee saw sales rise 6.1 percent to $3.1 billion for its most recent quarter. New product introductions like Healthy Choice Café Steamers, the No. 1 food launch in 2008—according to market research firm IRI—contributed to that growth. That product brought in $95 million in first-year sales alone (excluding Wal-Mart). While private label and consumer cutback did eat into its bottom line (net income fell 37.5 percent to $193.2 million), CMO Joan Chow still thinks there’s plenty of demand for more new products in tough times. Not to mention some revamping of old favorites.
When Jerry Springer: The Opera opened at The National Theatre in London almost every critic raved that this most unlikely of operas would become a worldwide smash. Its success was surprising for two reasons. First, who would have imagined that an opera about Jerry Springer would prove so popular. Second, the way in which the opera was developed offers a best practice approach to product development.