Sunday, November 30, 2008

3 Screens Intelligence

A lot of marketers write about the convergence and synergies between the three main consumer screens: TV, computer, and mobile. I think there is time to develop a deeper understanding of consumer’s behavior and their usage pattern across these three screens. I don’t know of any major research initiative that tries to uncover the key trends across these three screens. One of the key obstacles seems to be that there are not too many neutral players in this ever changing consumption and interaction world of the three screens. Traditional marketing service companies prefer consumer’s usage of the TV, the phone companies would like to focus on the mobile device, and tech companies try to center around the laptop usage. 

Any research tackling this issue should focus on a few key questions:

  •  What are the daily usage patterns across these three screens and what are the major usage occasions throughout a day and during a week?
  •  How strong are the screen replacement behavior patterns and how often are consumers using screens simultaneously?  
  •  How do consumers predict their three screen behavior for the next three to five years?
  •  What are the price sensitivities around the three screens and the consumers’ willingness to pay more for incremental or exclusive content? 

If you know of any meaningful research projects or published results and insights in regards to the three screens and consumers interaction with all three, please feel free to comment.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Reasons to blog

A good friend of mine sent met last week the link to an interesting Indian blog by Bhupendra Khanal. He put my blog as one of the top 5 blogs to follow.  His assessment of my blog writing as “lazy” and “not well marketed” was very interesting. Bhupendra absolutely right; he motivated me to think again about my reasons for blogging and my audience. Here are a few thoughts:

  • I am somewhat of an unusual blogger due to my less frequent postings. My writing is more self than audience focused. Marketinggeek is for me a constant motivation to push my thinking, reworking it, and then putting it into words. It’s less about engaging with a large audience than about working on some marketing issues by myself and than publishing it. This is the reason why I don’t spend too much time on marketing the blog. Therefore I don’t care too much about my Blog ranking.
  • It seems that a large amount of reader blog comments (especially in the US) are nasty and mean spirited. I will never understand why readers post comments about the stupidity of the blog that they are reading: No one forces them to read it. I don’t want to waste my team in getting drawn into this vicious cycle of responding to negative comments. It might drive traffic and stronger blog community but I consider it unproductive and irrelevant.
  • I estimate that half of my audiences are colleagues from my company. Thjs blog helps to start conversations with my colleagues whenever I meet them. It’s unbelievable powerful tool in a company with almost 10,000 employees. It creates a sense of loose community and transparent sharing of thinking that could not be created otherwise.
  • Today’s New York Times has a good article by Sharon Otterman about a movement called “Slow Blog”. She quotes Todd Sieling, a technology consultant from Vancouover who published a “Slow Blog Manifesto” in 2006: “Slow Blogging is a rejection of immediacy. It is an affirmation that not all things worth reading are written quickly”. It seems that the fast pace of Blogging that we have seen two or three years ago moves stronger into the Twitter world. I will definitely stay stronger in the blogger world of 2005 and 2006. 

There are a lot of different reasons to blog. It might be time to outline a smart taxonomy of blogs, not by interests or disciplines but by inherent blog characteristics and blogger intentions. 

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Binary Thinking

Barack Obama’s win last week and all the related discussion about a “Post-Racial” era in America made me think that we might enter the end of binary thinking. The fascinating element about Barack Obama is that he is not easily classified in binary terms, especially in regards to his race, upbringing and personal history. He is less the one or the other but more a continuum of a lot of different things. He is black and white, he is American but he grew up in foreign countries, he is a guy from Chicago but he only moved to Chicago in his twenties, he is an elitist and intellectual but he was a community organizer, too. 

Most the data analysts I am working with are used to think and to model in binary terms. It’s either 1 or 0, you are either in segment 1 or in segment 2, the campaign has either worked or not. The root of this approach resides in the long tradition of philosophy of dualism and binaries. It’s tough to move beyond it, especially for mathematically trained brains who believe that everything can be reduced to a 1and 0 formula, as any computer program is proof of. 

But life is rarely truly binary, and the models that we are building should attempt to reflect this life more accurate by moving beyond a simple binary structure. It’s often more useful to think less in opposites than in a continuum of elements, less in strong colors than in shades of something. Things are rarely true of false but more often a bit truer or a bit more false.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Someone doesn't like "Mad Men"

In the current edition of “Artforum” Greil Marcus writes a pretty critical piece about the TV show “Mad Men”. It’s a rare exception in the sea of extremely positive reviews of the show. Unfortunately it’s not accessible free online, so you need to try to read it wherever you can get a hard copy. It’s worth a read. 

Marcus’ key point is that there is strong emptiness in the TV show below the surface of outstanding actors and 1960ies furniture. It’s close to the emptiness of today’s ambiguous and mostly self ironic and self referential promotion of products and services in today’s advertising world. The advertising of the 1960 were much more naïve but honest in their belief to improve people’s life. Unfortunately advertising plays only a minor role in the "Mad Men".

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Channel Economics

Mediaweek just published the following article from Scott Johnson and me: Channel economics. Scott Johnson is one of the smartest and strategic thinking marketer in our industry, so it was fun to collaborate with him on this article.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The fallacy of analytical arrogance

The new book “Numerati” by Stephen Baker is one of the many recently published books that claim a new age of data and analytical driven wisdom across numerous disciplines that enters everyday lives to an increasing extent.

One of the more interesting quotes in the book is the sentence “We turn you into math” explaining the ever expanding attempts of  understanding human behavior by analyzing vast amounts of data. I believe that the real challenge is though in uncovering something new and insightful that will change human behavior. A lot of the published examples, not just in this book, talk about something interesting but without any meaningful derived actions besides some slightly optimized marketing programs. 

We are encountering the danger that analytics becomes a discipline of churning through vast amounts of data while turning up only mildly interesting insights.  “We turn you into math” expresses the unjustified arrogance that more and more analytical minded experts start to believe in. There is no reason to feel that.