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Archive for the ‘10 Lessons from 2010’ Category

As the U.S. Census Bureau releases data from the 2010 census, there have been a number of surprising stories (to me, anyway) that have made headlines:

  • Detroit’s 25% population loss to 713,777 (the lowest count since 1910),
  • New York City’s paltry population gain of  2.1% to 8,175,133 — a number hotly contested by city politicians
  • Hispanics now outnumber African-Americans for the first time in most U.S. metropolitan areas

But, it’s the changing face of the country’s children (increasingly Hispanic and Asian) that should have every one of us in marketing and advertising paying attention: Minority is mainstream.

Diversity is in.

Between 2000 and 2010, the population of Asian and Hispanic adults and children surged while that of Whites and Blacks shrank.

Aside from the obvious political ramifications of state’s gaining (Texas) or losing (New York) seats in Congress, the changing face of the nation will require evermore diligence on the part of marketers to understand an increasingly heterogeneous audience and tailor every message accordingly.

Exciting times, indeed. Mass marketing is dead. Long live target marketing.

Check out the USA Today interactive graphic to see what the new census data tell us county by county, across the U.S.


Photo: wallyg on Flickr

We tweeted last week about our unhappiness with the much-anticipated announcement from the New York Times that, beginning March 28, they will charge a subscription fee for digital content.

With all due respect to the agency Twitter team, I am glad to see that the “paywall” is finally going up.

As much as we marketers love the word “free”, it doesn’t require too much calculus to realize that no business can give away its product on a consistent basis and continue as a going concern.

Yes, the free website (NYTimes.com) is “the most visited newspaper site in the world” which has helped the paper see it’s online advertising revenue go “from being a drop in the bucket to more than a quarter of The New York Times Company’s overall advertising revenue,” according to an article about the paywall decision by Jeremy Peters.

But, just as the web changed news consumption by creating a user expectation that content should be free — and ad supported — the next generation of technology is changing the game, yet again.

Witness the birth of  The Daily, which MarketWatch.com founder Larry Kramer describes in a recent blog post as “the first news source from a mainstream media company (News Corp) designed purely for the iPad,” which, prior to launch, “was going to change the game.”

While The Daily’s detractors may suggest that it hasn’t changed the game, it certainly shakes things up a bit: it makes liberal use of video, both in stories and in ads, and instead of just ordinary photos, there are plenty of 360-degree panoramic shots that you can swipe around. Personally, I think it’s a bit light in the content department, but it does demonstrate that there is tremendous potential for publishers to create a new way to experience news.

Which is why I think we should all expect to pay for the sort of curated content the Times produces.  From here on out, it’s not jut the content quality that matters, but also how it’s delivered.

As Patricio Robles writes at eConsultancy:

“Newspapers are hurting, and the Times is no exception. The business models of the past aren’t the business models of the future. While it’s still unclear which business models will win out, it seems likely that they’ll have to include some form of paid content.

By launching a paid offering, the New York Times is at the very least trying to step into the future instead of burying its head in the sand and believing that the status quo is sustainable. This is a very important step for the newspaper.”

For about 40% of the cost of a home delivery subscription, the price/value equation for me more than works. Although there is no public disclosure of the number of digital subscriptions the Times hopes to generate, “company executives have said privately that the goal for the first year is 300,000.”

As a die-hard devotee of the newspaper of record, who’d like to see its fine journalistic tradition continue in ANY platform, I certainly hope they succeed.

A few weeks ago, Christopher Steiner at Forbes.com wrote an amusing and somewhat thought-provoking piece about the business world’s unfortunate and seemingly unending reliance on jargon in communications.

Steiner quotes Karen Friedman, author of  Shut Up and Say Something: Business Communication Strategies to Overcome Challenges and Influence Listeners when attempting to explain why jargon is so persistent and prevalent: “People use jargon because they want to sound smart and credible when in fact they sound profoundly dim-witted and typically can’t be understood, which defeats the purpose of speaking in the first place.”

Ouch.

Well, I suppose we could all take a breather and think a bit about what we’re really trying to say before we lapse into jargon-speak, even though it does seem to be the lingua franca of business.

Brevity being the soul of wit (at least as far as Shakespeare’s concerned), I’ve pulled my favorites from the Forbes list (there are 26 in total, all of which can be found here) and added a couple of my own to create the following list. I’d love to know which phrase you find most annoying:

 

We’re reading and watching and listening to lots of discussion about the coming creative revolution — fomented by the ascent of the digital domain.

In an article published last November in Fast Company, entitled The Future of Advertising, Danielle Sacks writes about the “mayhem on Madison Avenue” brought on by the rapid pace of change in the advertising business model — the same sort of change that has already turned the television networks and music and publishing worlds upside down.

Illustrations by Tavis Coburn

The bottom line: “Digital dimes won’t replace analog dollars.” We’re witnessing a sea-change in the way the business of advertising is conducted and all of us — marketers, advertisers, clients, agencies — will be profoundly affected. And, in the destruction of the old ways comes new opportunity — the coming creative revolution.

The article’s case study on Mullen is particularly illustrative of how the entire industry is changing:

“The agency recently caught the industry off guard after being awarded the business of two extremely progressive social-media clients, Zappos and JetBlue. Says Marty St. George, JetBlue’s SVP of marketing and commercial strategy: “I don’t think any of us expected Mullen to win. But we all noticed through its pitch process that you couldn’t tell who the creative people were from the media people or the planning people. They all finished each other’s sentences, regardless of what we were talking about.”

For anyone contemplating how to navigate all this chaos, I highly recommend you take time to read the article — it’s well worth the investment.

Santa was very good to all of us at Wilson RMS last Christmas.
Everyone got an iPad!

Besides the sheer joy of the moment, what’s been very fun to witness is the way the devices are being seamlessly integrated into our everyday work. We’re using them in meetings, while walking down the hall and while eating breakfast, lunch and dinner.

And because not one of us seems comfortable with the idea of ever being disconnected –we’re watching, reading, playing and blogging while in transit to and from work.

Since we all have an iPad, we’re able to share what we’re doing with them. And so, we’ve created the first of what I hope to be many videos to share that with you:
7 Apps We Love Now

After all, the power isn’t in the technology. It’s in the people who use it.

If you’re interested in owning any of what we shared, here’s the app list:
iGuitar
Dragon Dictation
Newsy
Bebot
Elmo’s Monster Maker
Go Skywatch Planetarium
uTalk Italian

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At Wilson RMS, we’re fortunate in that we develop creative and place media in many different channels — we work on everything from e-mail to TV to online display ads to insert media — and more.

One of the channels we’ve worked in consistently since we opened shop is direct mail and, boy, have we seen it experience change. From the heyday of direct mail spending in 2006 ($55.6B) to the precipitous decline in spending in 2009 ($43.7B), the ride down was steep and, for many in the industry, quite painful.

But, in 2010 the ride down stopped. And, in that, there is very good news.

How so? Well, the impact of the recession and shifting consumer preference for all things digital was supposed to kill direct mail. And yet, there it is on the chart below, second only to TV in terms of share of total estimated ad spending in 2010.

While the big winners for year-over year increases in ad spending in 2o1o were TV (up 17.5%, thanks, in part, to cable), and digital (up 8.3%), the big losers were the traditional print channels — newspapers (down 9.2%) and magazines (down 6.2%) — that are often lumped together with direct mail when marketers talk about the end of dead-tree media.

To be sure, direct mail has its challenges as more and more marketing dollars are allocated to the digital darlings — social, mobile and search — as well as e-mail and online display.

But,  as a recent survey conducted by Winterberry Group indicates, marketers consistently rate direct mail higher than any other form of direct marketing for “effectiveness across customer acquisition and retention missions”.

Click here to register for the very comprehensive presentation download.

Direct mail is still alive and kicking — because it still works.

And with the increasing sophistication of technology and data processing power that is being employed by service providers and clients alike, my prediction is that direct mail will become an ever more effective tool for generating new customers and engaging existing ones.

The days of carpet-bombing mailings are gone — and true target marketing lies ahead.

Next up: Technology is great, but it’s still about the people.

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Over the weekend, as I was contemplating what to include in today’s post (#2 in the series, 10 lessons from ’10), I opened an e-mail from Digital Buzz Blog — which is an excellent source of news and commentary about all things digital — and in a moment of pure serendipity, there was this beautifully illustrated infographic comparing the ways social media are being used by big business. I love stats — and these are really interesting:

Of the Fortune Global 1000 —

  • 33% have a corporate blog
  • 50% have a YouTube channel
  • 54% have a Facebook fan page
  • 65% have a Twitter account

If you’ve read any of my early posts, you know that I was a skeptic about the whole social media thing for some time — until we started using them ourselves.

Much like our colleagues at the businesses with the behemoth brands, we’re tweeting and Facebooking because that’s where the people are. We all know this, but the user stats of these two social media giants are something to behold. Check out the comparisons in this infographic from Digital Surgeons:

Facebook:

  • 500MM users
  • 30% are in the US
  • 12% update their status everyday
  • 40% follow a brand
  • 51% of brand followers will purchase that specific brand

Twitter:

  • 106MM users
  • 40% are in the US
  • 52% update their status everyday
  • 25% follow a brand
  • 67% of brand followers will purchase that specific brand

With numbers like these, it’s impossible to stay on the sidelines while everyone else is out having all the fun.

So, here’s my Wilson RMS forecast for 2011 — when it comes to using social media to create awareness and to generate highly-sought buzz, we’re just getting started — because the party’s only just begun.

Next up: Direct mail is alive and well and happy to be invited to the party.




  • None
  • Chris Cushing: Nice list. Although the most annoying for me is the new corporate catch phrase "bandwidth." Ooh, Makes me shrug everytime I hear it in a meeting.
  • Maile: Sweet write, great site layout, continue the great work
  • Nate: I have DISH Network and a Sling adapter connected to my receiver and I was surprised to see how many devices that this work on with DISH. I know Comca