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At Issue } essential reading

How To Give Your Business A Stress Test

Deborah L. Jacobs,
Mar 1, 2013

To succeed and to stay successful, companies must be “on their game” 24/7. That warrior mindset begins and ends with the business owner.

3 Things You Don't Know About Old Spice's Success

Aug 26, 2010

Hello marketers. Look at your marketing. Now at this Old Spice campaign. Now back at your marketing. Now back again. Sadly, your marketing isn't the Old Spice campaign. And guess what? Even if we want to switch to the Old Spice campaign strategy, few of us will ever have the resources for that kind of effort.

An Open Tweet to Marty St. George (in 140 chars or more)

Feb 18, 2010

Proving #sneaky is as #sneaky does, Ad Age's Kunur Patel "outs" JetBlue's senior VP of marketing and commercial, Marty St. George who earlier, had posted this tweet. It was an innocent tweet and to Marty's credit, he responded quickly and with the same cheek, personality and tone that is very much "on brand". In other words, he did a great job with a Mea Culpa that was a little irreverent and self deprecating (my personal recipe). So in the same spirit, I thought I'd share some thoughts and feedback with Marty on his approach and more importantly his hypothesis or experiment. I would've tried 140 characters or less, but there's already a pun for that. For starters, you don't need to learn anything from agencies (at least the traditional ones); they could learn a lot from you...after all you (Jet Blue) were the first brand (or one of the first) to amass 1,000,000 followers. That's a pretty sublime critical mass to tap into during both good and bad times.

Google Jolts Telecom Rivals

Feb 11, 2010

Google Inc., putting more pressure on cable and phone companies, said it plans to begin offering ultrafast Internet services to consumers in a small number of U.S. cities. Under the plan, the Internet search giant will take its biggest step into supplying Web connections rather than the services that run atop them. Google said it will build and test a few fiber-optic networks that reach homes, aiming to serve 50,000 to 500,000 people. Google executives said the move was designed to accelerate the deployment of faster networks and show off the sort of services that high-speed connections can enable, such as rapid video downloads.

McDonald’s Speeds Orders by Seconds to Keep Customers

Nov 6, 2009

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.

NAD: The Plug Stops Here

Nov 2, 2009

Welcome to a day in the life of the National Advertising Division, an arm of the national Council of Better Business Bureaus that, outside of advertising's legal circles, is pretty much unknown to the public. But since 1971 the NAD, an adjudicative body made up of fewer than 10 attorneys, has had one of the most powerful and influential jobs in the marketing universe: It gets to tell brands what they can and cannot say in their advertising.

Usability Testing Demystified

Oct 6, 2009

There seems to be this idea going around that usability testing is bad, or that the cool kids don’t do it. That it’s old skool. That designers don’t need to do it. What if I told you that usability testing is the hottest thing in experience design research? Every time a person has a great experience with a website, a web app, a gadget, or a service, it’s because a design team made excellent decisions about both design and implementation—decisions based on data about how people use designs. And how can you get that data? Usability testing.

P&G Taking Its Marketing Back to the Store

Sep 21, 2009

If it doesn't work at the store, it's no longer a good marketing idea for Procter & Gamble Co., which increasingly is driving home this concept, known as "store back," with all its agencies, not just its so-called shopper-marketing shops. Global Brand-Building Officer Marc Pritchard dealt with store back at length in a presentation at P&G's agency summit in Cincinnati earlier this month and has been briefing agencies on it since at least January. Spokeswoman Martha Depenbrock said store back is meant to be "a mind-set," not another process in a company that already has plenty.

Recognizing the CMO's Role When It Comes to Crisis

Dean Crutchfield
Sep 15, 2009

Crises are particle accelerators for brands that reveal their fragility, as we've recently witnessed with bankrupt banks, tampered-with pizzas, poisoned pistachios, dodgy cookie dough and lethal drugs. While there are impressive tomes on crisis management, we still are littered with embarrassing reminders of the recurring gap between preparation and accomplishment. It's time to stop repeating the same mistakes when it comes to crisis management. It's also time to recognize the CMO's role in negotiating crises. As social media has enabled consumers to more actively participate in brands, the CMO arguably now has an even greater role to play in activating customer support or other mechanisms necessary at a time of crisis. That's because CMOs are more in tune with consumers; they are using social-media tools to interact with them, and they can harness those tools in a time of crisis, turning those most loyal consumers into brand ambassadors.

Everything I Need to Know About Marketing I Learned From Google

Aaron Goldman
Aug 27, 2009

Last month I shared what search taught me about running a business. Today, I'd like to list 10 lessons Google taught me -- and the rest of the world, for that matter -- about marketing.

GM Creates ‘The Lab’ Blog to Test Transportation Concepts

Aug 12, 2009

GM is continuing to push ahead with a company reinvention and in an unprecedented move, has created The Lab blog to post concept work from the design studios online. Two concepts have just been added which are results of an ECOinitiative project aimed at understanding and developing greener transportation alternatives. The two concepts explore the theme of the ‘Bare Necessity’ which as GM Designer Therese Tant writes is a back-to basics approach, less is more, less cost, less complexity = efficiency.

Unilever to Test Mobile Coupons

May 29, 2009

Seeking to marry a ubiquitous device with a time-tested marketing technique in a sour economy, Unilever plans to begin a trial run Sunday of a new technology that lets consumers redeem digital coupons by having a supermarket cashier scan their cellphones.

Mini Versions of Big-Box Stores

May 22, 2009

Retailers like OfficeMax are opening scaled-down versions of their stores or inventing outlets entirely to test new concepts without a hefty investment. The stores are a relatively safe bet despite the recession because the space is cheaper and the stores require less inventory, fewer employees and smaller spaces.

Papa John's One-Day Google Test Was Pie-Seller

Dec 9, 2008

Papa John's launched a one-day Web campaign with a display ad on Google last Friday that resulted in online weekend sales that were up between 15% and 20% over a typical weekend, the pizza giant says. Mobile orders also rose.

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