The End Of Marketer-Blogger Relationships?

By Sean Corcoran

The FTC made it official today.The proposal to update the guidelines governing endorsements and testimonials were approved and are now essentially the law. The bottom line is that anytime a blogger or any other endorser receives "material connections" from a company (e.g. cash payment, product samples, etc.) that a reader "would not expect" then that blogger must disclose the relationship. If the blogger does no disclose, then the blogger or even the company could be held liable - which could mean a hefty fine. And keep in mind the FTC doesn't care if you're paying a blogger in cash or simply sending free product, either way it is a "material connection."

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Gourmet's Demise: What Forrester Consumer Data Tells Us

I am in mourning over the death of Gourmet Magazine. There's a revolution going on on Twitter (follow @savegourmet and search gourmetmagazine to see how it's developing) that I've been contributing to. But I'm taking off my fan hat and putting on my analyst hat to contribute something data-driven to the conversation.

I've been looking at some new, as-yet-unpublished data that I'm using in an upcoming Forrester report on reinventing magazine and newspaper subscriptions. Here's a preview:

Forrester magazine data1
And here's the same question cut by subscribers to any of Conde Nast's publications:

Forrester magazine data2
In other words, 19% of Conde Nast subscribers think their magazine subscriptions are "surprisingly inexpensive," compared with 13% of US consumers in general. The takeaway: Conde could probably be charging more for its subscriptions.

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Securing Interactive Budget Takes New Skills

[Posted by Neil Strother]

As interactive marketing has taken on greater influence within businesses, leaders of IM teams have emerged to shape strategy and win approval for the interactive marketing budget. We've identified this team leader as the senior interactive marketer, and we've outlined some of the unique challenges facing this person in a  new report now up on our site: "How Interactive Marketers Can Secure Budget From Their CMOs" (full version available to Forrester clients).

The senior interactive marketer must not only gather essential data for budget proposals - including the crucial metrics and ROI expectations - he or she must skilfully present plants to a CMO (and other senior management in some cases) that demonstrate the value of interactive, that align with corporate goals, and that get delivered in a manner befitting the CMO's style. The savvy senior interactive marketer must master this part of the job to have success.

What works for you in seeking new budget for interactive marketing campaigns? What budget approval challenges have you faced and how did you solve them? Post a comment below.

Forrester's Consumer Forum 2009 Coming Up

Reineke Reitsma [Posted by Reineke Reitsma]

Forrester’s Consumer Forum 2009, October 27 and 28 in Chicago, is fast approaching. This event will help you understand how consumers' evolving online behavior demands that firms step up efforts to engage them, and we have great speakers ligned up from companies like Microsoft, Acxiom, Hewlett Packard, Best Buy, Pizza Hut, InterContinental Hotels Group, Hearst Magazines Digital Media, Hilton Hotels, and E*TRADE, who'll share their companies' best practices for creating breakthrough multichannel relationships, .

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One more attempt from Napster to attract the masses

Subscription based music services have a niche appeal. But under Best Buy’s ownership, Napster is truly attempting to go mass market. First it came up with its 5 for 5 offer, whereby you pay $5 a month for unlimited streaming and you can keep 5 MP3s at the end of the month. And now it is giving that away for free for a year (i.e. 60 MP3s and unlimited streaming for a year) when you buy select Dell PCs from Best Buy or directly from Dell. 


It’s a great offer for consumers. It’s also a no brainer for Dell. Free Napster for a year can really help them differentiate in a highly commoditized PC markets. How it will work out for Napster remains to be seen. In order to be successful, Napster will have to hope that


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The Great Escape: Role Model For Enabling The Great Sale

Endeca and hybris Team Up To Form An eCommerce Suite: What It Means


by Brian K. Walker

Endeca Technologies and hybris have recently announced a joint product offering. This joint offering combines Endeca’s Information Access Platform (IAP) with hybris’ e-Commerce Suite including the hybris eCommerce platform and product information management (PIM) solution. Looks like this combined product will go by the name “Endeca Commerce Suite” in North America.

I recently had a chance to sit down for a briefing with the Endeca and hybris teams to discuss the joint offering and explore what it means for our clients. A few key takeaways and thoughts:

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London's Evening Standard goes from paid to free - will it work?

The announcement that London’s Evening Standard is moving from paid to free is the latest twist in London’s newspaper wars, following the closure of Rupert Murdoch’s free Londonpaper, which failed to make a quick enough return for its owner in the face of its free (but inferior) rival from the Daily Mail publisher DMGT. Now the long-established Standard, with its new Russian owner, is coming out fighting by abandoning its cover price. With many other publishers now considering going in the opposite direction (online at least), who has got it right?

Neither is an easy route for publishers, and I speak from bitter experience. A long time ago I edited a free movie magazine, distributed in cinemas, with a circulation of more than 1 million. Happy days? Not quite. It was a struggle to make a profit, once those hefty print and distribution costs had been met. The message from elusive advertisers was that readers who didn’t pay for a mag were not worth a lot, that active buyers were what they wanted.

Long story short, we shifted to a paid-for version, hoping that our newly engaged readers would please the advertisers. We ended up with a paid circulation of around 40,000 (which I know now is an eminently respectable conversion rate of 4%), but the message from advertisers was just as unhelpful. We now didn’t have enough readers. Funny that.

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The Data Digest: Why People Buy Online

Reineke Reitsma [Posted by Reineke Reitsma]

There are many reasons why people are buying products online, but we wanted to understand the main driver. Data from our North American Technographics online survey shows that when consumers are forced to make a choice low price wins but is followed by high quality.


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The Role of Social Media in Creating Customer Engagement

Laura Ramos [Posted by Laura Ramos]

Customer reference programs, advisory boards, and customer councils are vital activities in B2B marketing. But these activities risk sliding into second-class status among
executives if marketers fixate too much on numbers and not enough on
creating community involvement among these highly-engaged customers.

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