The day the DVR’s stopped: Lost takes a leap in cross-channel marketing

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 The ad concluded with a phone number (877-HANSORG) and a URL ( 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.

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Amp ' d Mobile: From Media to Minutes

Was at E3 yesterday. Ironically, my first chance to check out the Amp'd mobile service on a "live" network. As most of the display/booth area was filled with women doing photo shoots, I was mostly left alone. No one even wanted to scan my card while I played with their device/services for more than 20 minutes. They definitely fit in to the environment.

I overheard a gentleman ask an employee if the 22,000 subscriber number that we all ready about earlier this week was a true number. She said that she thought they had closer to 5,000 subscribers. Who knows. No judgement here ... customer acquisition is very very hard. I think MVNO's like Amp'd and Helio can play a role in pushing the envelope in terms of how consumers view their handsets and how carrier sell services so we like to see them stick around.

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MSN, Yahoo! and Google: What's with all the buzz?

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.

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MobiTV Moves Beyond Cell Phones

See MobiTV's press release.

Our research on mobile video shows that consumer interest in "live" streaming TV on a portable goes up dramatically when consumers have the option of a laptop. Ok, you can do the same with a Slingbox at no extra charge, but most people don't have those. And, yes, once you are online there are lots and lots of video options from MSNBC to iTunes. But for those who don't want to surf about ....

Cool that there is a "day" rate as well for those who don't want to be locked into an annual rate.


National advertisers ponder $50 million ad auction test

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.

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Don't Confuse Integrated Marketing With Multichannel Marketing

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.

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Are B2B Marketers Ready For Personas?

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.

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A Scary Definition of " opt ' ing in " for Cell Phones

New billboards are going to begin popping up in France that send messages to your phone when you are in the vicinity. See this article from the International Herald Tribune.

In theorgy, the mobile subscriber opts in initially. The idea of being permanently opted in with just one SMS until I opt out scares me. Sounds eerily like the Starbuck's scenario that people have been talking about since the late 90's. Our research shows that mobile subscribers want to opt in to not only relevant products, but specific companies in many cases. See research.

Delivering value and exclusive content to the consumer is the right idea, but frequency, among other things needs to be managed. Also, interest in free digital content - especially that tied to branding - is not that high even among the younger adults.

That said, the idea of symbols, shortcodes, etc. on posters and billboards is an interesting one. I envision them more as one time opt in's for information, content (e.g., a game) or service (e.g., movie times for one movie in my zip code).


Meow Meow Meow Meow on My Cell

Check out this campaign done by for Purina. It's a good example of free, branded content. The barking dogs ring tone scared my cats. The meowing cat ring tone made them run searching for the unknown cat. Fun campaign.

On the down side, it suffers from the challenges of all mobile content developers - only works on a limited number of cell phones and none of the handful I own.


A phone in my ipod?

Why does a wireless iPod have to be a phone? Why does every device with wireless (cellular) connectivity have to be a phone? or data modem in my PC? Why can't I just have a wireless ipod tied into an existing account and be billed for the airtime? or have it bundled into a $1.25 price point for a song? I'm not the device analyst or music analyst - just the wireless analyst, but I'd love to see some new paradigms besides one phone number = one account = one device that is only available when tied to a two-year contract. Perhaps when the IP infrastructure is in place.

See article from Fierce Mobile Content.