We are beginning to work on a Forrester Wave focusing on brand monitoring, scheduled to be published next quarter. What's a Wave? A detailed vendor evaluation using proprietary methodology (click here to learn more).
Last week Charlene Li and I talked with Josh Walker-- a Forrester alum and all around smart guy -- about his new company CityVoter. Here’s what CityVoter does and why it matters to media outlets, local businesses and national advertisers:
Last week SSA Global — which acquired Epiphany in August 2005 — announced that it will be acquired by Infor. Who is Infor? Frankly, I know virtually nothing about the company. But, my colleagues that cover the ERP market tell me that this acquisition makes Infor the third largest ERP vendor behind Oracle and SAP. The company claims nearly 25,000 customers in 100 countries and focuses its efforts on the manufacturing and distribution industries.
Spam works because it pays. Whether through phishing, selling lists, or otherwise, spammers make money. Sure, some do it just for kicks too. The real problem is that spam makes life more expensive for everyone. Legitimate bulk emailers (e.g. the number of order confirmations that a large e-commerce site sends out in a day could be considered "bulk") already spend time and capital to ensure delivery - this cost is already passed on to customers in one form or another (directly via service fees or indirectly via seller charges, passed through into pricing/margins).
Wednesday night marked and interesting evening in television. I was watching ABC's Lost on my DVR 30 minutes after the original airtime (so I could skip commercials, of course). During the final commercial break, I noticed an ad fly by at high speed and I saw a logo for The Hanso Foundation. Lost fans know that the Hanso foundation is an element of the plot line, but what was it doing in a commercial break? I went back to view the ad and find out what it was all about.
It turns out that the ad is all part of the Lost Experience, a cross-channel marketing effort integrated with the show's story line. The commercial was about human knowledge and extending human life (find the add on YouTube or on http://www.thehansofoundation.org). The ad concluded with a phone number (877-HANSORG) and a URL (http://www.sublymonal.com). Small text at the bottom of the TV ad stated that it was paid for by Sprite, connecting it to the ‘lymon’ portion of the URL. After solving a simple puzzle on the extremely slowly loading website, you were given a code: “heir apparent.” Then you clicked on a barely legible link to the Hanso Foundation website.
Within the last week there has been a lot of buzz about the online search businesses of the three search engine giants: Google, Yahoo! and MSN. We anticipated some of the buzz -- MSN announced its US launch of AdCenter at its Strategic Account Summit in Redmond beginning 5/2; and Yahoo! announced a new platform and set of services for its advertisers on Monday. But last week a surprise WSJ article generated quite a stir. Here’s the excerpt that got everyone talking:
One faction within Microsoft Corp. is promoting a bold strategy in the company's battle with Google Inc: Join forces with Yahoo Inc.
That would be a major departure for Microsoft, the software maker that is legendary for toiling on its own until it captures a new market. However, people familiar with the situation say that Microsoft has considered the idea of acquiring a stake in Yahoo, and that the two companies have discussed possible options over the course of the past year.
Earlier this week at the ANA's Financial Management Conference, AdAge reported on a proposal led by 10 marketers including Wal-Mart, Microsoft, and Lexus to create a $50 million advertising auction test. eBay demonstrated a prototype for the "media marketplace" which could work in forward or reverse auction format.
In theory, the use of a marketplace would introduce microeconomic efficiency to the buying and selling of advertising. With a reserve price set at a network's cost and buyer's ceiling set at an advertiser's internal rate of return (IRR) for marketing investments, competitive market dynamics would set an equilibrium price somewhere in-between the two.
After a week that included no less than three conversations about the difference between "integrated" and "multichannel" marketing, I felt the need to raise the topic here. Most experts and practitioners generally agree that integrated marketing is more than mere coordination of the marketing message across channels. Way back in early 2003 we too noted this. In The Essentials Of Integrated Marketing, Forrester defined the next evolution of integrated marketing as:
Weaving together digital and physical channels to engage consumers' emotions, deliver brand experiences, and form ongoing relationships.
Fast forward more than three years to today and compelling integrated marketing case studies are still few and far between. Why?
We think it's because true integration of the marketing process requires that firms make a philosophical shift in how they approach marketing. Today, most marketing organizations have three centers of power that vie for predominance: brand marketing, direct marketing, and interactive marketing. Furthermore, these functions are all goaled and measured differently – often with competing metrics. Of course, reorganizing marketing to inherently support an integrated approach is easier said than done. As Pete Kim pointed out in our conversation: "inertia is easy – it's much easier to stick with the status quo than to risk failing." We're not going to let Pete off the hook that easy, however. Stay tuned for his new research later this quarter that will focus on how the role of marketing needs to change to meet corporate demands, capture the voice of the customer, and ensure ongoing innovation.
During a recent breakfast meeting with B2B marketers, someone asked “We sell many products, with each buying cycle involving multiple decision makers. Do I need to create a persona for each?” Persona is a word that has made its way into the business marketer’s vocabulary of late and we admit we’re doing our part to promote this approach as well. But are B2B marketers ready to use personas as a launch pad for establishing a more relevant dialog with prospects and customers?
Most are not. Judging from our customer interactions, the typical B2B firms’ approach to segmentation is quite rudimentary — they group customers by size, industry, and geography. These categories closely match their sales organization’s structure, but are divorced from marketing strategy. Few go further and extend buyer profiles to include role, behavior, demographics, or preferences.
With the declining efficacy of the 30-second spot, more advertisers have been turning to branded entertainment. Now, some players with big budgets are taking their efforts one step further. Ford is mulling a reality show that's part American Inventor (the ideas), part America's Next Top Model (the aesthetics), part The Apprentice (the commercialization). Procter & Gamble is planning a Martha Stewart-type show based on their Home Made Simple campaign.
Great strategy - if you have the money to do it. Marketers should be careful though to not stray too far into the TV production business - it's a lot deeper than making commercials. No word on whether networks will prevent competitive advertising during the shows - otherwise get ready for some interesting placements ala Domino's/Papa John's. Either way, networks win.