Tuesday, May 31, 2011

me watch, me wallet, me spectacles, me testicles

CRM has always been about how companies 'engage' and sell to you, not how you engage with them.
They collect the data - some you know about, some you don't - and use that data to put together programmes and offers that they think you might like.

Done well it's personal, relevant and expected but even in extreme permission marketing circumstances it's still almost always been a seller driven mechanism.

Yes, I'm simplifying but...

What if you want to advertise what you’re after?
What if you can access all of your purchase history, in detail and use your own data to invite vendors to pitch you with relevant offers based on your actual wants and needs at any given point.
What if you can tell them what you're willing to pay and back that up with other data you are willing to share- about your relationships, your movements, other stuff going on in your life that might make you a valuable customer.

The VRM mantra has been 'everyone is making money off consumer data except the consumer'.

It's early days but Google Wallet could be the next major shift in the transference of power.

They say...

'In the past few thousand years, the way we pay has changed just three times—from coins, to paper money, to plastic cards.
Now we’re on the brink of the next big shift.

Google Wallet has been designed for an open commerce ecosystem. It will eventually hold many if not all of the cards you keep in your leather wallet today. And because Google Wallet is a mobile app, it will be able to do more than a regular wallet ever could, like storing thousands of payment cards and Google Offers but without the bulk. Eventually your loyalty cards, gift cards, receipts, boarding passes, tickets, even your keys will be seamlessly synced to your Google Wallet. And every offer and loyalty point will be redeemed automatically with a single tap via NFC.'

In Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media (2008), Tomi T Ahonen compiled the then '7 Unique Benefits of [Mobile].

1. The first personal mass media channel
2. Permanently carried
3. Always on
4. Has a built-in payment mechanism
5. Available at point of creative impulse.
6. Near-perfect audience data
7. Captures social context of media consumption

In 2008 point 4 indicated that certain purchases, of digital inventory principally, were possible as part of your plan - plus full blown  mCommerce albiet still a bit of a twinkle.

In 2011 people are now in control of nearly all their experience in terms of how and when they decide to interact with or notice messaging.

Almost the only thing left to take back is the 'control' of one's own data.

Perhaps the Personal Data Vault might be an 8th Unique Benefit?

Monday, May 30, 2011

shiny objects part 346

According to The Australian this morning, department store Myer trying their luck (sic) with a social media presence on Facebook and twitter

' [Myer] has a team of 20 working on a digital strategy that began less than three years ago and now encompasses TV, internet and social media, integrated with print.

...the strategy is to enhance the in-store experience, not just driving sales into online. We need to provide information and inspiration to drive them back into the store.'

Which is just as well.
If you've ever tried to actually BUY ANYTHING from their website you'll know what I'm talking about.

this is actually happening

The problem I have with talk of 'the future of advertising' or the future of anything is that very context of the future.

The future gives people an excuse to not do anything right now.

The future is coming later, somewhere down the line.

I love this quote from Pete Townshend, he reputedly said this after stumbling into an early Sex Pistols show at the same time as he was personally grappling with The Who's relevance in the 1977 landscape.

'When you see the Sex Pistols you realise that THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING.'

Pete wasn't witnessing any future of rock'n'roll, he was witnessing what was happening right now.
The Who were only just over 10 years old but their chops were developed in a different era.
They still had something to say but would have to adapt to the new environment.

With the immediacy of mobile and social, with the tsunami if data and information, with the expansion of digital technologies into every area of communications we are not witnessing any future of advertising/marketing.

This is actually happening. And it's inevitable.

If advertising still has something to say then it needs to adapt to the new environment.

Friday, May 27, 2011

how do you like them apples?

I'm paraphrasing Winston Churchill in reference to the bad news for lazy marketers that Facebook recently issued.

Among the notes is one  to the effect that [brands] must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.

This is good news for me, in my parallel role of Chief Prevention Officer, as it's one less gimmicky tactic that I have to chase round and try to stop.

'Gentlemen, we have run out of Like buttons.
Now we shall have to THINK'

Thanks to @iboy for the prompt

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

a day in the life of the digital innovation director

08:00 Arrive in the office, catch up on any arguments left over from previous day via email

09:00 Daily stand-up argument with Producers

09:15 A couple of ad hoc arguments with various Account teams 

10:30 Specific project related arguments for the rest of the morning

12:30 Email based arguments [various] plus half an hour or so arguing on various blogs
and twitter

13:00 Lunch argument with client

14:30 Couple of hours spare to argue with myself over some strategy documents

15:45 Cheeky 15mins following up on the morning's Twitter arguments

16:00 Back to arguing with myself and accepting/declining argument requests

16:30 General philosophical arguments with Creative Teams

17.30 Catch up argument on progress with the days work

18:00 Use commute time to prepare argument material for following day

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

post for bob dylan

Bobby's alright, he's a natural born poet, he's just outta sight.

Happy 70th birthday.

spam and bre.ad

Not sure I'm buying into bre.ad despite it being flavour of the week.
In essence it's URL shortner that doubles as 'promotional tool'.

The premise seems to be that when you clicks on a bre.ad shortened link that someone has shared you are first taken to a promotional page called a 'Toast' (ie an ad) before you get to the piece of content being shared.

The Toast is created by the person who originally shortened the link.

Bre.ad founder Alan Chan says:
'People have causes they want to promote, whether it’s their company or a charity they fervently support, so he wanted to find a simple and novel way for them to display their passion.'

Although they've pitched it as 'promote a cause' you kinda know where it will end up.

Is it like pre-rolls for tweets or just pop-up ads by another name?

The bre.ad blog's Toast of the Week kinda tells it's own story.

And just wait til those 'influencers' get their hands on it.

[wtf, I've requested an invite anyway]

market research conundrum

Ever present and yet so far away; so close at hand and yet so elusive; so familiar and yet so poorly understood.

'O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!

Self knowledge.

'It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion:
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
An' ev'n devotion!

On the upside we are, however, quite good at noticing what other people are doing, have done and predicting what they might be doing in the future.

Reliable self-knowledge would be much more useful as a market research tool, unfortunately we're just not that evolved yet. We'll just have to work with what we've got.

*This post sponsored by The Serious Burns Unit.

Monday, May 23, 2011

newman street W1

As a football obsessed youngster I devoured Shoot Magazine every week.

It was a step up from comics, a serious football mag full of stats and stories, interviews with players and weekly columns from the likes of Kevin Keegan, George Best and Bobby Moore.

The first section I scanned for was a regular feature, Focus On...
Each week a player answered ten or so questions which gave the reader a bit of an insight into what made them tick.

One of the questions was always 'who has been the biggest influence on your career?'
Of course I imagined myself as the star player and myself answering those questions.
I imagined answering 'Bill Shankly' or 'Brian Clough'.

As it goes I never made it beyond the odd appearance for the school X1 but the question still remains.

'Who has been the biggest influence on your career?'

He'll probably laugh at this but that question takes me back to early 2005, a basement bar across the road from FCB's offices in Newman Street W1 and a conversation I had with Mark Brown, Strategy Director with the then fledgling interactive advertising agency Weapon7.

After several years in web and interactive product development and marketing and with a head full of Cluetrain and Seth I fancied my chances at having a pop at the advertising business.

Weapon7 worked out of a corridor in FCB's building in Newman Street. There were the three partners plus 2 employees, I was hopeful of being person number 6.

FCB were in the doldrums a bit at the time (I think they are out of them now, happily) and so had let certain areas of their building to boutique agencies to try and raise the energy levels in the building.

As I wandered around those corridors the line from Dexy's 'Come on Eileen' would play in my head...

'These people round here wear beaten down eyes, sunk in smoke dried faces they're so resigned to what their fate is..

Mark said to me 'See those guys in there? They have had it. We are going to completely revolutionise the world of advertising. Are you in?'.

I never bothered to ask 'how?' or 'what?'
I was sold immediately.

The years have passed and jobs have changed but the mission continues to this day...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

chunky chuggers

Some of you may know that back in the day I was a club dj of some noteriety.
Broadly of a classic Balearic flavour.
My forte was in the area of what we used to call the 'chunky chugger'.

I was trying to explain the chunky chugger concept to some youngsters the other day.
They were struggling to 'get it'.

The easiest way to explain is to post here my top 3 Balearic chunky chuggers.

These are all from circa '90/91 and in the 106-112bpm realm for optimum chunk.

Jesus Loves You - Bow Down Mister (The Grid Remix)

The Mock Turtles - Can You Dig It (Yeah) (Steve Proctor Remix)

The Mad Jacks - Feel The Hit (Justin Robertson Spice Mix)

Never get out of the boat? Absolutely goddam right. Unless you were going all the way.

repeat business vs loyalty

Just a note on the group buying thing. In Australia we've got Scoopon, Spreets, Cudo, Groupon, Living Social and numerous others.

These sites are great for us punters looking to pick up a bargain or two. No doubt.
And if your company can sustain it, being part of those deals great for repeat business.

But let's not confuse repeat business with loyalty.

Deal-hunters, opportunists and coupon cutter-outers can be a short-term fix but it doesn't play out in the long run.

Constantly being on-sale or in promotion literally cheapens a brand.
Like these carpet warehouses or furniture stores.
Only a mug would ever buy a full-price sofa.

I'd rather go to Ikea. Where the price is the price. End of story.

Apple products are the same price wherever you shop. If you're not going to get a better price at Discount Electronics Inc then you might as well shop in the Apple Store.
The value-add there is the fantastic retail experience.

Repeat buyers will keep buying until a better deal comes along.
Loyalty is when your customer will turn down a better 'deal' to keep buying from you.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

four hashtags you rarely see coming out of social media conference twitterstreams

Just sayin'...

Thanks for the reminder @umairh

twelevision on your tech life

Thanks to Trever Long from the Your Tech Life video podcast outta Sydney for his nice review of Twelevision.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Here's a great clip of The Angy Birds story, as told by Rovio CEO Niklas Hed and the game's designer, Jaako Iisalo.

Angry Birds is reasonably unique - yes, it's approaching Thomas proportions but one of the first entertainment phenomena to have began as a mobile application and worked outwards rather than coming at mobile as an extension from a.n.other media eg a film.

Niklas explains how Angry Birds emerged from a side project to design 10 small games specifically for the iPhone platform an see what happened, to experiment and light a few small fires.

The story?

'The game itself doesn't explain the story that much...the pigs are coming they steal the eggs, then they are gone...this leaves space for imagination...this is why people are building their own world around it'

It also plays nicely to the by-products notion.

Angry Birds was developed as an in-house project by the fledgling Rovio in the down-time between client work, iterated and refined over time.

'You have to have passion to make great things, but you must be naive too'

Getting excited and making things. Always a good bet. 

planner survey 2011

Every year Heather from Strawberry Frog in the 'Dam conducts the Planner Survey, taking the temperature from plannerville globally.

The survey takes anything from 10-20 mins depending on how much you want to extrapolate.

Though I'm not strictly a planner - I've got one foot in strategy, one foot in creative and my arse in technology, I just about qualify.

For the results to be meaningful it's a case of 'the more the merrier' so If you feel inclined then join in.

Here’s the link to the survey: http://sgiz.mobi/s3/The-Planner-Survey-2011

And the link to sign-up for the results: http://bit.ly/kEYC67

Thursday, May 12, 2011

moby's destroyed

We're liking what Moby has done with the launch of his new album Destroyed.

The playback is streamed via Soundcloud through the Destroyed website, and illustrated by photos taken by Moby on tour placed in an interactive map of the world thingy.

Also fans can add their own photos to the map via Instagram and using a #destroyed twitter hashtag.

He says:
'I don’t sleep very well when i travel. and as a result, i tend to be awake in cities when everyone else is asleep. that’s where this album, and the pictures that accompany it come from. it was primarily written late at night in cities when i felt like i was the only person awake (or alive), a soundtrack for empty cities at 2 a.m, at least that’s how i hear it. the pictures were taken on tour while i was writing the album'.

He's also employed a versioning tactic to the product.
There's a big hardback photo book with CD and digital versions of the tracks.
CD digipack with a smaller book of photos.
The heavyweight vinyl souvenir edition that also includes a poster and the CD and digital versions.

It's not the scale of a Nine Inch Nails job, but still does the trick.
Connect with Fans + Reason to Buy = Business model.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

press pause play

Here's a sneak peek of 'Press Pause Play', a film by Swedish (?) directors David Dworsky & Victor Köhler.

The film documents the 'digital' revolution of the last decade as described by many of it's key voices - many that have inspired and influenced the thoughts expressed in these humble pages over the last few years - including Seth Godin (in the clip), Bill Drummond and David Weinberger plus other interesting, and perhaps less immediately obvious choices like Hank Shocklee, of Public Enemy fame and Moby.

Press Pause Play asks:

'..does democratized culture mean better art, film, music and literature or is true talent instead flooded and drowned in the vast digital ocean of mass culture? Is it cultural democracy or mediocrity?'

Get the full scoop at presspauseplay.com

Monday, May 09, 2011

can we decommoditise the advertising agency?

Aside from being a decent all-rounder on the art front Pablo Picasso had a few good hats and an extensive repertoire in one-liners.

'The paintings are not important, who the artist is, that is what matters'.

In other words, superficial differentiation on simply an outputs level is a sure fire way to commodotise oneself.

Stood on a packed South Yarra station the other evening I looked around at the millions of dollars of 'value' the surrounding billboards were supposedly delivering for the advertisers.

Close on half a million sets of eyeballs must ebb and flow through that station every day.

The problem is, none of them were looking at the billboards, they were all tweeting, reading email or playing Angry Birds on their mobiles.

This is the challenge facing the 'advertising' industry, for sure.

There is no there, there.

Thinking in terms of WHAT and HOW the agency produces 'advertising' is the road to commoditisation, at best, irrelevance at worst.

This narrow 'WHAT' perspective was the downfall of the music business model that we have just seen crash, and it will be the downfall of advertising agencies who fail to recognise they are in the communications business not the advertising business.

The real question is not WHAT? or HOW?, it's WHY?

Asking WHY? gives different answers.

Can we decommoditise the advertising agency?
Yes we can. But it's not by making 'better' ads.
That's 'a faster horse'.

forget about SEO

A fantastic post from Dan Thornton this fine Monday morning.

Double points for Dan for using the classic Peter Guralnick tome 'Searching for Robert Johnson' as his springboard.


'SEO, targeting social media etc are all extremely useful, but they boost interest [when you have] great content and writing....[forget about] SEO and marketing when you first start writing something. If not, you’ll spend hours or days in fear as you build up the worries about putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. And when you finally do, it’s likely to appear faked when you’re shoehorning in keywords and sticking on an irrelevant linkbait headline.'

Read the full post at Way of The Web.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

don't lose your dreams

For some reason Pete Wylie and the various Wah! incarnations have been on heavy rotation on the Boat iPod in recent weeks.

Probably connected to the truth that PW is a long standing battler against the forces for mediocrity and for the power of positivity.

Synchronicity further compounded by the discovery via soundtracking that @topfife has an uncle that was long time Wylie/Wah! drummer.

Perhaps one of the Mighty Pete's lesser know anthems is 'Don't Lose Your Dreams' from which this couplet is extracted.

'...when people criticise your schemes, your wild extremes, don't you ever lose your dreams'.

You're on, Pete.

Or as my old friends at Unfrozenmind (whatever happened to them?) put it.

'Your dream is a collect call from the future. You pay the price either way whether you choose to ignore it, or follow its call.'

the ebook reinvented?

Not only is Push Pop Press's ebook version of Al Gore's 'Our Choice' a fantastic piece of design, experience and application of technology but it's also probably disrupted bourgeois parlour gaming for good.

'...it's a book'
'...it's a film'
'...its a mobile app'
'...it's a website'

It's all of the above, and more in one self contained unit.
Charades can never be the same again.

Defying categorisation, testament to convergence theory (new media does not replace old media, it transforms it) and also that mobile is fast becoming everything.