Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Short Takes: 4.23.08

Here are some interesting XM and online marketing news items and links for your perusal:
  • Your Outsourced Insight & Information Department: Tom Martin is mad as hell, and he's not going to take this any more. Okay, he may not exactly be having a Howard Beale moment, but he voices his frustration that small agencies and marketers cannot get the same access to Insight & Information as the larger players. Rather than complain, he's setting out to do something about it. Tom has created Insight & Information, a site at which he is soliciting registrants to fund an outsourced research department. For $135 and $189 a year, you can be one of 5,000 select members to receive a monthly report that will "cover what you should be paying attention to, what you can ignore and suggest what you should be on the look out for in the near future." It's a bold experiment, and I'll be interested to see how many marketing professionals sign up. You can read more about Tom's frustrations and ideas on his Ad Age blog.

  • One "C" Is More Important Than The Others: Dave Friedman offers the "Six C's of Social Influence Marketing" on His list is fine--Content, Customization, Community, Conversation, Commerce, and Commitment--but there is little substance to his brief post. I would've found a deeper discussion more insightful, and sometimes Dave disagrees with himself. In the course of a few sentences he says, "There is one factor around social influence marketing that can give marketers more immediate satisfaction: commerce." But then he says, and I agree, "The community has not come together to help companies sell products." He also gives short shrift to the most important "C" of all--commitment. Social media is not well suited to short-term campaigns but instead is ideal for building relationships over time. It is this factor that has many suggesting social media is not solely the purview of marketing but also of the customer service and PR functions.

  • Does This Career Make Me Look Immoral? It will come as no surprise that I happen to passionately believe in the role of marketing in our world. Done right, it brings benefits to consumers, brands, employees, and shareholders. But every now and then I come across something that makes me feel a little uneasy about my profession. For example, while I believe marketing is appropriate for pharmaceuticals just like any other product, the marketing investment and tactics must be carefully considered so as to benefit and not harm the health of consumers. In recent months, I've seen a slew of news reports that raise some concerns about pharma marketing. For example, one study found that advertising may have more influence on prescriptions than science. Brandweek reports that the pharmaceutical industry spends nearly twice as much promoting itself as it does on researching new drugs. And another study claims some of Merck's academic reports about the arthritis drug Vioxx were written by company employees, and doctors were paid to put their names on the research. This sort of news is bound to shake consumers' confidence in the pharma industry in specific and the health industry in general, and it points to the need for better industry oversight and more established ethical practices.

  • Starbucks Giving It Away: Starbucks sure has been making headlines recently. They closed their stores to retrain employees, launched a consumer idea and feedback site, and now they're giving away their product. The wisdom of this strategy is debated in an article on Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, says "I think it's desperation." But Larry Light, former chief marketing officer at McDonald's, defends Starbuck's strategy of offering multiple free trials, saying "The first time somebody tries something new in package goods, we call it trial. The second time is retrial, and the third time is a repeat purchase. So just getting someone to try something once and hoping they will repeat is not as effective." Whether or not you agree with the giveaway strategy, one thing is certain: Starbucks is working harder than ever to earn consumers' loyalty. Notes Passikoff, "There was a time that they didn't need to coupon."

  • Miss Manners for Twitter: Some people have found Twitter addictive and indispensable. I still struggle to find substantial value with the service and have begun to cull my "follow" list of those people who simply share too much Twutter. For those who use Twitter, I highly recommend a visit to The Toad Stool, which offers a great list of tips for using Twitter. He addresses some of my pet peeves, such as when people broadcast a personal message directed at one person to their entire Twitter list. Other tips include, "Live posting from SXSW is one thing. Live posting from your dinner with your college buddies, quite another." And, "Tweeting that you’ve reached a new milestone in the number of people following you is always in poor taste." If you're new to Twitter, check out the list of "12 Ways to Improve Your Twitter."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to Insight & Information Augie. Now I know why I've seen an uptick in registrants.

- Tom