Thursday, December 31, 2009

TO NEW ADVENTURES IN 2010!



Pogo is an emerging electronic music artist in Perth, Western Australia. He is known for his work recording small sounds from a single film or scene and sequencing them to form a new piece of music.

His most notable track, Alice, a composition of sounds from the Disney film Alice In Wonderland, was received with much success gaining over 4 million views on YouTube as of December 2009. Pogo has since produced tracks from films like Mary Poppins, Harry Potter, The Sword In The Stone, Hook, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

This one is his best yet - enjoy and here's to our new beginnings in 2010!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One Idea, One Voice, Change

Have you ever felt passionate about an issue, shaken your head, and decided not to take a stand because you were only one voice and "one person can't possibly make a difference?"  I have.  But I know that one voice can make a difference.  Here are a few examples.
  • In 1645, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England. 
  • In 1776, one vote gave America the English language instead of German.
  • In 1876 , one vote gave Rutherford B. Hayes the presidency of the United States
  • In 1923, one vote gave Adolf Hitler leadership of the Nazi Party. 
  • In 1941, just weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor, one vote saved Selective Service.
  • In 2003, one vote gave the United States the third largest tax cut in our history. 
  • And remember the unknown man in the Old Testament, Ecclesiastes (9:13-17) who saved the city because of his one voice. 
Today with the technology available, one voice can be heard more quickly and more loudly than ever before.  People from all walks of life are using social networks to share their ideas and have their voice heard.  What will your voice be in 2010? 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Guitar Hero + Christmas Lights = Best Game Ever!

Ric Turner, a former Disney "Imagineer," rigged up his Christmas lights with a Wii wireless guitar controller to create an interactive holiday light display. The set up is an actual working game, and, according to Turner's description on Youtube, "Optional TV screen is available if you get in trouble, but if you use the screen, you don't get your name in the high score list."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Beer, Video Games and Live Shows!

Prediction - in 2010 we'll see more brands, like Kraft, through clever new uses of social media, increase their connectivity to consumers by using content that consumers want (content that entertains and/or is utilitarian). Also more use of online streaming of live concerts and award shows to sell beer and, video games (for sure). Check out what Mark Stewart, Kraft's VP Global Media Services, has to say in this 3 minute Ad Age.

Kraft Foods as Growing Publishing Company


 

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Joy of Great Teamwork!

 
And may the conversation from family and friends and the creation of a memorable meal, go as smoothly in your home this Thanksgiving!  Wishing you happiness!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Online its Social Media, Offline its Life

We call it social media because we're describing how we're communicating using new technology channels.  When we talk with a friend in person, in the mail, on the phone, we're just communicating.  Yet when it comes to using technology, we often mention (at least in my circles) the source (like Facebook or Twitter).  And to easily describe these new communication channels, we've lumped them into a category we call social media.  As communication channels continue to converge (phones, radio, TV, Internet) into one device, I wonder what word or words we'll use, to describe the process.  I'm guessing that it will depend in large part on what we call the tool that emerges from all this convergence.  So as tissue is to Kleenex or fluorescent paint is to Day-Glo, so is social media to.....?  

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Look! There's the 300 Pound Gorilla!

What is the largest US population segment in history? Well they’re called Baby Boomers and there are about 77.2 million between the ages of 45 and 64. What might surprise you is that they constitute over 30% of the online population.

According to a study from market research group NPD, roughly 61 % of baby boomers said they visited sites that offer streaming or downloadable video (e.g., YouTube and TV network Web sites), and 41 % had visited social networks (e.g., Linked-In, Facebook). Plus, the web-savvy Boomers who visited video streaming sites were 15 % more likely to buy DVDs, CDs and go to the movies and these numbers are growing.

So when you’re putting together your marketing strategy get over your misperception that Web activities are the exclusive domain of young people. If you discount Boomers you’ll find your brand ignored and distrusted by the largest US population segment in history. That's a lot of dollars to turn your back on.

Check out - Social networking’ appeal to older Americans grows and Social media for an older crowd

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What Predicts Success?

If you said intelligence, you're wrong! At least according to a study pioneered in part by a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, Angela Duckworth, who found that people who focus on a goal and stick with it long-term seem to achieve more professional success than those who jump around.

Duckworth said in a recent Boston Globe article, "grit is very much about the big picture, ...It's about picking a specific goal off in the distant future and not swerving from it." She evidently became interested in the whole idea of "grit" from observations she made about her Harvard classmates' behaviors after graduation. "Those who were less successful were often just as smart and talented, but they were constantly changing plans and trying something new," she explained.

So as a job seeker I'm taking heart in that fact that I'm loaded with resilience, stamina, persistence, determination, perseverance and conscientiousness .... or grit. And I'm heartened by the fact that it isn't only prevalent in my marketing career but also in my personal life. Yes, when it comes to predicting who is going to succeed in this new economy, ask yourself one question ...Got Grit?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Forecasting Social Media's Future & Yours!


No surprise, according to Veronis Suhler Stevenson's (VSS) infamous "US Communications Industry Forecast", 2009 advertising spend is down by 7.6% overall, with a 1% decline to follow in 2010. The segments hardest hit - newspapers, consumer magazines, radio and broadcast television.

There is good news. VSS predicts that in the U.S., the media industry will become the third-fastest-growing economic sector in the next five years. Most of that growth will come from the internet, mobile devices, branded entertainment, word of mouth marketing and public relations. What this means is marketers right now need to develop strategies around mobile, social networking and digital video (for phones and computers).

You know, corporate America is by nature, not social. Most corporations are still wedded to a traditional marketing approach, based on TV, radio and print ads, and aren't sure how to integrate social media channels or where to start. There is also this sense of panic that comes from ignoring the profit potential of millions customers who are consuming media in new ways. Except for marketers with their heads in the sand, many of us fear that the train is leaving without us (not Charlene Li and her team at Altimeter of course, who are on the train). I believe that the customer experience holds the ticket.

Companies want to know how to begin and offering up simple solutions to complex issues is a good place to start. First steps should include discovering best practices in their industry and understanding their customers' current perceptions. Then they should take a look at improving the customer experience. I start with customer experience because it is, after all what social media is all about - engaging the customer through helpful and ethical dialog (not shouting out and hoping they'll hear you). And it goes without saying, but I'm saying it anyway, customers are how you make your money.

With customer experience improvement as the overall goal, the strategy will naturally include traditional methods and can be enhanced by offering up social media tests. Starting with small moves in new territory is less daunting but can lead to some wonderful long term success.

Of course, long term success looks like one thing now and will be completely different in 6 to 12 months. Business needs to understand, that social media is a tool and while waiting to employ it is not an option as it involves loss of audience share, its inherent benefits are so revolutionary that it will take time for the technology, the methods and the key players to solidify.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What do Public Service and Jackie Kennedy Onassis have in common?

In 1972, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr., and Sam Beard founded the Jefferson Awards for Public Service with the idea of creating a Nobel Prize for public service. The Jefferson Awards are given annually to volunteers in the United States who provide extraordinary public service. Here's a link (currently in beta) that showcases some of the Jefferson Awards recipients and their stories - http://sharingservicestories.org. Also to find out how you can help, go to www.jeffersonawards.org.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Educating For The Future - Insightful and Funny

Sir Ken Robinson is a creativity expert. In this entertaining, insightful TED Talk, he challenges the way we're educating our children, and champions a radical rethinking of our school systems to better cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence. His latest book, The Element, (published January 2009) looks at how we find our creative passion. He's well worth your time.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Is Everyone Just Sitting Around?

A local company said that with their business levels so low, everyone was just sitting around. What I saw was under-utilized human capital. I suggested that to get business ticking again, they should put these people to use to connect to customers and discover un-met or under-served needs. Also, I suggested that they study their competitors and look to employ those best practices in their own business. I suggested that EVERYONE shop both the competition and themselves and experience first hand customer service and sales. By getting out of their own jobs, breaking through those silos and immersing themselves into the customer experience, they'll uncover better ways to do business, better offers and more sales. Plus now while business is slower, they'll have the time to put their changes into effect and perhaps even test a couple of improved approaches.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Have You Seen Your Twitter Report Card?

If you have a Twitter account, then you take a minute to check your grade. You might be surprised by what you find. TWITTER.grader.com uses a proprietary algorithm to score and rank Twitter accounts on six weighted factors, compliments of Hubspot. It's quick and fun!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Jump curves (or am I late to the party again?)

Something that Guy Kawasaki has been espousing for a long time (since 2006 I think) is that innovating is harder than just staying a little bit ahead of competitors on the same curve. "If you're a daisy-wheel printer company, the goal is not to introduce Helvetica in another point size. The goal is to jump to laser printer."

That's easier in some businesses than others. Kawasaki noted how in the days before refrigeration, the ice industry consisted of ice harvesters in cold climates using horses, sleighs and saws to collect ice outdoors during winter months. Ten million pounds of ice were shipped in 1900 that way. Then came "Ice 2.0" -- factories that could freeze ice anywhere and an ice man who would deliver it to establishments and homes. Finally came "Ice 3.0": home refrigerators.

Of course, none of the ice harvesters got into the ice factory business, and none of the factories got into the refrigerator business. That's because "most organizations define themselves in terms of what they do," Guy notes, "instead of thinking - what benefit do we provide the customer?"

Guy suggests that true innovation comes when you jump curves, not when you duke it out for 10%. Good advice I think. Here's a nice cut of Guy's popular "Art of Innovation" presentation from Cisco Live 2009 that makes it possible to enjoy all of his key points in eight minutes.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Having an Event? Here's an Easy Social Media Trick.


I'm a new Clary Shirky groupee, thanks to TED so it isn't a surprise that I bought his book, Here Comes Everybody, (on Half.com since I'm still job searching and my cash flow is challenged). I'm just about 30 pages in and he's writing about Coney Island's Mermaid Parade and the photographs, taken by a variety of folks, that were uploaded onto Flickr (and yes, you should check it out, think of it as a photographic search engine and please note that I'm not the only Shirky groupee.)

Clay is making the point that an institutional dilemma exists since "the minimum costs of being an organization...are relatively high, certain activities may have some value but not enough to make them worth pursuing in any organized way." Then along came new social tools like Flickr, which are "altering this equation by lowering the costs of coordinating group action."

He points out that Flickr didn't have the funds to identify the event or coordinate photographers. (Also it really isn't their focus or function.) But photographers of the Mermaid Parade, when they uploaded their photos to Flickr, tagged them with the event's name, making it easy to find these pictures.

So if I'm managing an event, I would be wise to include a Flickr tag in my publicity materials so that anything posted to Flickr or any other social media site has a good chance of being readily accessible after the event by interested audiences. (Puts an interesting spin on naming conventions as well, doesn't it?) Most importantly, think what my event committee and I can do with that reconnaissance for creating future publicity, improving the event and enlisting volunteers!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Email and Snail Mail


I’ll admit it. I’ve willingly given out my email address in order to subscribe to an electronic newsletter and found myself the victim of the rapid gun-fire spray of one-sided product pitching emails, similar to all that direct mail that I religiously pull from my mail box.

I know that used effectively email marketing can be cost-efficient especially when compared to its senior counterpart, direct mail. (Look Mom, no paper, no printing, no stamps!). But just like direct mail, it is also a great way to lose our shirts when it doesn’t get delivered or fails to elicit a response.

Another factor I keep in mind is in the implementation. Email marketing while an effective business channel, is still maturing. Technology, audience expectations and legislation governing commercial email communication (CAN-SPAM) are constantly changing the rules of engagement. Direct mail is more mature with fewer surprises.

But irregardless of whether it’s paper or electronic, the reasons for failure are the same - poor audience definition, bad mailing lists, dull content or an unclear call to action and also don’t forget, the lack of a customer relationship. So keep these areas in mind, and remember that the secret to success is test, test, test.

Cartoon from weblogcartoons.com



Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yesterday's Marketing versus Today's

Slide 1
Yesterday’s Marketing
Today’s Truth
Remarkable advertising sells
Remarkable products are brought
You can target consumers
Consumers can target you
Seduce the market
Honesty invites and wins customers
Marketing is about control
You never have control
Your time, your place, your message
Consumer’s time, place & content
Push your message
Engage to get their pull through

Monday, June 1, 2009

Your Online Reflection - Or - Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

Over the weekend, a friend asked me what actions I'd use in checking my company's online presence and reputation. And although I'm sure you'll think of more , I came up with this short list.

I'd secure my URL to protect my name and I'd make sure my company was in the top ten listed in Google search. To see if yours is indexed on Google (or Yahoo or MSN) you can type in the search box - site: your domain name.com. For instance, with my site, I typed in site: marionguthrie.com. The reason why is that your company's site should be built and indexed to accommodate high search rankings otherwise you won't appear as credible to your prospects and peers. This will give you a starting point, a "you are here" perspective. Then to raise your search ranking, before you utilize the talents of a consultant, check out Wikipedia, skim through Peter Kent's Search Engine Optimization for Dummies and give me a shout.

Next I'd set up a Google Alert for my company. Simple enough to do and it will tell you what is being said about you (as well as companies or people with similar names), where your reputation stands and insights into flaws in your service or delivery that should be corrected. If your customers are complaining, this alert will help you find out.

Just like having a corporate brochure or a business card, I'd create a company presence on LinkedIn so that interested prospects could look up your company and find a description and a mission statement. Also, depending on your offering, you might consider establishing a group for clients so that when they use your service, they are encouraged to join that group and post your company's logo on their personal site. Within that group you (and they) will be able to post questions and responses (for example, on your service and how they are using it successfully) which will encourage customer dialog and build credibility with prospects. Build your own profile on LinkedIn and join a group so you can see how this works.

If you're thinking about putting your company on Facebook, I'd be cautious as it has a non-professional feel. Let's face it rock stars and families use Facebook to stay in touch and build fans. Coke uses it because 2 loyal fans decided to start a group which was sanctioned, much later, by the company. If I was a cereal, a baby product, an automobile or a movie, I'd probably be on Facebook but especially as a service business I'd be careful because I want you to believe that I'm intelligent and serious about helping you make money. Check out what some of your competitors are doing.... are they on Facebook?

Most importantly, don't think first about the technology -- think first about your target customers. Do you know who your new business prospect is and where they're looking, reading, and interacting? Once you have this nailed down, the rest (objectives, strategy and tactics) will come naturally and you won't be, for example, on Twitter just for the sake of being on Twitter. If you use it, it will be a technology tactic that is part of an overall business and identity development strategy.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

For My Single Female Friends - With Love from HARO!

Started by Peter Shankman, Help A Reporter Out, HARO, is an online service that hooks journalists up with resources. You can join HARO too, it's free. You'll receive topics that journalists are working on and you have the opportunity to help them out with your contacts. So if you're in marketing and PR, as I am, it's another way to get your clients in front of the appropriate source. Less often there are casting calls like this one for an ABC reality show. Read on....

Summary: Casting Single, Successful, Beautiful Women for TV Show
Name: Alexis Diamond
Category: General
Email: adiamond@me.com
Title: Casting Director
Media Outlet: Television
Specific Geographic Region: N
Region:
Deadline: 01:06am PACIFIC - 20 June
Query: ABC MEDIA PRODUCTIONS is NOW CASTING SINGLE WOMEN who are LOOKING FOR LOVE anywhere but here!!! Casting real women ages 25 to 40 who are successful in every aspect of life except one…finding love. You're climbing your way up the corporate ladder, just put a down payment on your own condo... you have everything except the right guy to share it with.

"Holidate" is similar to the movie "The Holiday" with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet; single women seeking true love in another city. We provide the new city, the new digs, the new guys… even the plane ticket. The girls just have to believe in love…and get on board!

This is NOT A COMPETITION SHOW, no eliminations, catches or surprises… just a genuine search for love! The time commitment is about 5 days this summer.

If you are interested or would like to nominate someone, email the info below to adiamond@me.com: 1. Recent photo (face and full body) 2. Full name, age, occupation, city of residence 3. Phone number(s) 4. Tell us a little about yourself.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Direct Vs. Online Marketing, Closer than You Think!

Since my frame of reference is direct marketing I’ve been thinking about what similarities exist between direct marketing and marketing in a Web 2.0 world. Here's what I've come up with so far.

Search engine optimization to my direct response eyes looks like the list business. People who respond to snippet copy in search results are similar to responders on a rented list of names that share an affinity. Maybe it’s cooking. Maybe it’s national parks. When people express their interests by subscribing to a certain group or magazine, those list procurers are harvesting that information and putting those individuals on certain lists. It’s similar to when people search online using “key words” (like national parks or cooking utensils). They are looking for information, or items or services of interest to them and that interest defines them as desirable or undesirable customers.

The Johnson Box, that's the copy block and offer at the top of a sales letter - Direct Mail’s “Johnson Box” lives in email snuggled up against many people’s preview panes. Some research shows more people are using preview panes, and some even read their entire email within the preview pane and never open the email to full screen. Long live the Johnson Box.

Measurement is another similarity. Thanks to analytics, we can measure a customer’s activities like click-throughs and time spent on the site and where they drop off in the shopping process. All this is comparable to direct mail or DRTV where we’re measuring responses, eligibility and actual products purchased.

Testing is also on the list. Real direct marketers never stop testing. So it isn’t a surprise that when confronted with an online campaign we seek ways to test one approach over another. Especially with email, we test subject headers, different offers and the same offer but with different copy. Online, we test one video against another like we do off line or one landing page against another. And even when we launch the best of all the testing, we’re probably running some type of small test inside that launch. It’s obsessive, but we’re direct marketers after all.

The challenge for me right now is getting my head around, when and how to effectively utilize these new technology channels like Twitter and YouTube, for example. But again I am reminded that in direct we’re always charting the customer’s activity, from the time and place they become interested in our offer through the sale. So the solution lies in focusing on the customer’s activities and their level of online sophistication. 

We need to first know our customers and look for ways that they want to be engaged by us … online.  The answer is in the customer experience and part of that in today’s world means building a conversation that turns into a trusted relationship.  Anyway, that’s my two cents. Have you thought of other similarities? Let me know!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Television Viewing Redefined?

As television starts to morph with your computer, could it be that the familiar call to action, "Stay Tuned" is now becoming "Stay Connected"?

P.S. - check out this post too - More People Are Using PCs to Time-Shift TV, Skip Ads by
Mike Vorhaus on Digital Communications, May 04, 2009, http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=136391

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Cost of Infomercials - Run, Spot, Run!


I was recently asked if I had a ball park figure for the cost of producing a direct TV "long-form" commercial, also known as an infomercial. You're probably familiar with these 30 minute advertisements that simulate a TV show. Possibly the most famous example is Ron Popeil's Showtime Rotisserie where he coined the phrase, "set it and forget it". I checked with several sources and have these figures from 2007 (so astute business people beware).

For additional information on DRTV see Ron Perlstein's blog. If you're looking for assistance, get in touch as I know trustworthy folks in the biz. Speaking of which, you could easily trim these costs by having everyone bring their own lunch. No more deli trays ...

A Gathering Storm of Viral Videos on Gay Marriage!

A few weeks ago, a group called the National Organization for Marriage put out a striking video commercial called “A Gathering Storm.”In it, with a backdrop of menacing clouds, a clutch of people talk about their fears about allowing gay marriage. It has garnered 576,319 views so far. Now, a passel of celebrities on the Funny or Die comedy Web site has released a spoof version of the NOM commercial, called “A Gaythering Storm.”It features a “gay rain army” and a giant gay repellent umbrella. It has 440,616 views, although it just went up yesterday. Here are both of them, so you can vote with your click. But watch both, whatever you think–and that includes you, Miss California!

originally posted on All Things Digital, April 22, 2009 at 5:30 AM PT, written by Kara Swisher.

NOM:

Funny or Die:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Have a Vision. Make a Plan

In case you haven't been taken in by Susan Boyle's recent viral phenomena from her extraordinary performance on "Britain's Got Talent", here is the link - Susan Boyle's Performance. I think the key to her success is grounded in her wish (to be like Elaine Paige) and her development and realization of a plan of how to achieve that vision. Perhaps the reason we all are enamored is that her actions inspire us to ask; "What do I want to be and how do I realize that aspiration?"


Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Primer - What's Happening out there on the Web?

I recently had a chance to pick the brains of my eldest daughter, Gretchen, and her husband, Ryan, who are both very technosavvy. We chatted about a few sites that might help me get a better understanding of what's happening out on the web. Here is where we "netted" out.

Whatever: http://www.scalzi.com/whatever/
John Scalzi is an author who blogs on whatever strikes his fancy. Some times its politics, sometimes its about sci-fi writing, sometimes it's just random internet geekery. He's easy to read, and can give you a good baseline for blog style writing and some understanding of net culture.

Lifehacker: http://lifehacker.com/
Good all around software geekiness with some other lifehacks built in. Good for keeping up with Firefox extensions, Google updates, and what's happening in the tech world. Not too hardcore, and there's always some fun stuff mixed into the feed.

Boing boing: http://www.boingboing.net/
This is the original source of web geek culture. This will give you a good idea of what issues and trends are currently on the radar of global geeks.

Freelance Switch: http://freelanceswitch.com/
Mostly about the freelancing world, but it will help you get a good knowledge designing for the web and can clarify terms like Web 2.0

And this recommendation is mine -
Seth Godin: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/
The guy behind Squidoo and the author of Meatball Sundae, who's a Marketing Guru. His short posts are always a good read and his comments focus on industry trends and insights about the Internet and about marketing.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Diamond in the Rough, SEO

My girl friend asked me the other day if I knew anything about jewelry artists. She was thinking about giving her daughter, who had just had her first baby, a piece of jewelry to celebrate the moment, a symbol of her mother's love. I wasn't familiar with designer jewelry so we came back to my house and googled it on the home PC. After about 20 minutes we gave up. We just weren't finding enough information to educate ourselves or make any type of purchase decision.

It got me to thinking about my experiences with web searches and working on projects involving search engine optimization (SEO, for short). Defined in it's simplest form, SEO is the practice that companies use so that when you type in the words of what you're looking for, their web site rises to the top of the search, preferably on the first page of the listings. Eureka! You've found what you were looking for, click on it and buy it! So it is easy to understand why sometimes companies see SEO as a kind of marketing panacea.

But this search effort reminded me that SEO isn't a shortcut to success, at least not for a large percentage of the companies out there. You and I won't win even if we are successful at fooling Google into putting us first on that search list. Instead we need to figure out who the likely prospects are, what they want and how they're asking; so we can turn them from interested to educated, from strangers to friends, and then into customers.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Clever, Succinct, True




Wisdom from Hugh MacLeod.






Hugh is a cartoonist and professional blogger, known for his ideas about how "Web 2.0" affects advertising and marketing (gapingvoid.com, Stormhoek)


Friday, February 13, 2009

For Valentine's Day - Women Buy Flowers, Men Date Online

Forget Valentine’s Day Stereotypes - Valentine’s Day is the second-biggest card-giving holiday in the US, according to Experian Simmons. And though many Valentine’s Day advertisements feature men showering women with flowers and cards, research from Experian Simmons reveals that women actually buy more online flowers, and eCards enjoy as much popularity as traditional ones.

In 2008, more women visited flower websites than men, according to Hitwise, a sister company of Experian Simmons. In fact, 63% of the visitors to US flower websites in the four weeks ending Feb. 16, 2008 were by females.

Interestingly, the analysis found that only younger and older consumers are most likely to give flowers - because they can’t think of another present. Experian Simmons suggests that this could mean that flowers are either a last-minute gift choice, or that consumers think flowers are appropriate for any occasion which is of course, what florists have been telling us for years or is it eons?

Dating Site Visits Up Around V-Day - Because not everyone has a Cupid’s-Day mate, Simmons research reveals that many single American adults attempt to brighten their Valentine’s Day by using online dating websites. Data from Hitwise shows that there typically is a spike in the number of visits to dating websites in the weeks before February 14, and that males are the predominant visitors to these sites. In February 2008, 57% of the visitors were male - a considerable increase from two years earlier when visitors to dating websites were only 51% male.

Among the four dating websites reviewed by Experian Simmons, men are 36% more likely to select Date.com over the three other prominent competitors (17% for AmericanSingles.com, 19% for eHarmony.com, 13% for Match.com).

E-Cards and Traditional Cards Given Equally - The research also investigated if greeting-card purchases have been overshadowed by e-cards in the past several years. Looking at four geographic areas shows little difference between the use of traditional greeting cards and e-cards. However, those in the West US are less likely to either use/visit greeting card stores like Hallmark.com or purchase greeting traditional greeting cards.

taken from Marketing Charts, 2/13/2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Baby Boomers, TV and the Internet

Once, the three-channeled rabbit-eared centerpiece in the American living room, that “small screen” has left the decorative walnut cabinet our parents were so proud of, and now can be found in flat screen computers and on mobile phones. Driven by consumer demand for entertainment and good old American capitalism, we’ve gone from rooftop antennas, to cable and satellite transmissions. Our station selection has increased far into the hundreds and in the meantime, with the introduction of broadband and high speed wireless, our computers and cell phones started to host visual experiences like the news, music videos and real time interactive conversations.


A recent broadcast first at Obama’s inauguration is one example of many that demonstrates the experimentation and evolution going on with the “small screen”. CNN changed the viewing experience by integrating Facebook, into their broadcast. While the CNN.com broadcast was seamlessly displayed, Facebook followers watching commented, on the same screen, on the event in real time to their friends.


In fact our “small screen” is experiencing explosive growth particularly on the Web where TV shows are downloaded by the millions and streaming is gaining remarkable momentum. Just look at the popularity of free downloads of TV shows and movies on BitTorrent.

In addition, according to a research report (June 2008), conducted by The Nielsen Company for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) when asked to choose among seventeen online content categories, online viewers said they prefer to watch shorter video clips when they go online. Specifically these “small screen” choices included: movie trailers (53%), user generated videos (45%), music videos and general news segments (37%), comedy programs (31%), and sports clips (31%).

So is anyone watching the set in the living room? Well, according to that same Nielsen study commissioned by CTAM, roughly 94% of cable and satellite subscribers prefer to watch “TV” on their TV, (not on their computers). A good indication about who these folks are comes from another study released by Magna Global's Steve Sternberg (June, 2008), which discovered that the five broadcast networks' average live median age was 50.

Who are these 50 somethings? Well, you’ve heard of them. They represent the largest US population segment in history. There are about 77.2 million between the ages of 44 and 62. They’re called Baby Boomers and the enormous size of this group makes them key influencers in the evolution of the “small screen”. For starters think about this, Boomers have spent years sitting down after dinner not in front of their computers but the TV, and you’ll understand Steve Sternberg’s 50 something statistic. Old habits die hard.

What might surprise you is that it isn’t the younger set but Boomers who make up the largest group of US Internet users. At 56.7 million strong, they constitute nearly 30% of the online population. Like the three hundred pound gorilla in the room, what Boomers want and what they do, matters a lot to merchants, marketers and people who want to make money. And even if they haven’t all given up their VCRs, baby boomers are starting to buy, download and stream media online.

According to a September 2008 study from market research group NPD, roughly 61 % of baby boomers said they visited sites that offer streaming or downloadable video (e.g., YouTube and TV network Web sites), and 41 % had visited social networks (e.g., Linked-In, Facebook, and MySpace),. Plus, the web-savvy boomers who visited video streaming sites were 15 % more likely to buy DVDs, CDs and go to the movies.

As opposed to those younger folks, in general, boomers have a different attitude toward the Internet, as pointed out by Lisa Phillips, eMarketer senior analyst. It’s more of a convenience and less of an entertainment vehicle. Also, how boomers use the Internet today is indicative of how they will use it as they age into their 70s and 80s. Their influence is not going away any time soon.

Want to be successful on the “small screen” to this large and lucrative segment? Take these words of advice from Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for the NPD Group, to heart. “There’s an ongoing misperception that certain Web activities are the exclusive domain of young people. That misperception could cost the entertainment industry, in terms of lost opportunities to target valuable consumers." Not convinced? Here’s an additional warning from Ms. Philips. “Marketers who pigeonhole boomers as just aging seniors will find their brands ignored and distrusted by this generation.”

Friday, January 23, 2009

TV viewers: Home vs. Everywhere

My friend, Chas Kutchinsky, at iBox (http://www.iboxfilms.com/), and I recently discussed this very issue, that TV and in fact traditional marketing and traditional marketing venues are evolving as a result of new consumer behaviors created by new technologies and here's a recent example highlighted in Shelly Palmer's MediaBytes.

Nielsen
is reporting that nearly 40 million Americans watched the Inauguration of President Barack Obama on television. While the largest television audience recorded during an inauguration came for Ronald Reagan in 1981 (41.8 million viewers), a pure TV rating is hardly accurate in measuring the event. The figure does not take into account online video, which drew millions of Americans, many of whom were at work.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Woody Guthrie’s “The Land is Your Land,” at the Inaugural Celebration

Here's a video of folk legend Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen singing Woody Guthrie’s “The Land is Your Land,” at the inaugural concert yesterday. Pete Seeger, at 89, must have particularly relished singing at the Lincoln Memorial after being blacklisted as a commie in the 50s. This is not the original version however. This was shot by a German team and posted on YouTube. (Here it is Woody Guthrie’s “The Land is Your Land”.)

The original version was created by HBO, who made a fuss and had it removed complaining that their exclusive rights to the event were being violated.
Well now that we're all aware of HBO's "rights", their Public Relations should, if they're smart, put the original version back on, as a "courtesy". An action that will undoubtedly create positive press.

By the way, did you know that Guthrie clan's motto is "Stands for Truth"?
For more details check out Peace Arena -

http://peacearena.org/2009/01/this-land-belongs-to-you-and-me-but-the-inaugural-concert-belongs-to-hbo/.


Friday, January 16, 2009

ProAge

I'll admit it. I'm an 'oldersomething' and have for a number of years indulged my skin and hair with moisturizers. Hence based on a product review, I wanted to try out a new line that Dove has introduced called ProAge. So I went out and purchased (with my glasses on) the body wash, shampoo and conditioner. The products are good and not that expensive. The issue is the packaging. I don't wear my glasses in the shower and the type face, color and size of the labeling, i.e. "shampoo", "conditioner", "body wash" is very difficult to read with my glasses off (art directors take note - reverse type is not always easy for us boomers to read). In addition the bottles are all the same size and color. My recommendation to Dove is if they are going to introduce a product line for us 'oldersomethings', they should at least make the typeface on the package large enough for us to read or perhaps introduce different colors. Don't despair, my home solution has been to put each bottle on a different rack in my shower. But shame on Dove for not thinking through their customer's experience.