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June 2008

social media transparency - drawing the lines

I recently had a horrible experience with one of my client's customer services.  Their failure to deliver on their brand promise caused significant inconvenience and discomfort, both yesterday and today.

If this business were not a client, I would be calling them out on this blog.

But they write the checks that fill the account that feeds my paychecks. 

So I am not writing about my experiences with this brand over the past 24 hours.

Am I wrong for not writing about this client?  Am I wrong for not calling them out?

Is silence a minimal form of non-neutrality when I regularly write about customer first marketing and media?

Where do we draw the line?  Am I a coward?  Or a savvy business person?  Or maybe a bit of both?

when a series of tubes go tubeless - the evolving natural web

The Windows Network and Internet icon employs the 'tube' metaphor

Image via Wikipedia

The internet is just a series of tubes, right?

It's a connection, it's a lifeline, that can be turned on and off.  It's a utility.  That's why we need net neutrality, right?

While the world of the internet within the browser or within a dedicated connected application (ex - widgets or Outlook) is far from gone, the time has come for marketers and technologists to look at the internet as more then a channel.  The connected web is the natural evolution of the human experience.

Higher speeds, open platforms, more intuitive development kits, these are all small pieces in a larger puzzle.  There is a greater endgame at play.


  • Social media has evolved via digital connectivity, and it continues to evolve.
  • Video viewing has evolved, and will continue to evolve.
  • Mobile connectivity has evolved, and clearly will continue to evolve.

We cannot look to the future without remembering the past.  The media and technology landscapes have greatly evolved over the past century.  And they will continue to evolve.  But the world didn't turn on a dime, it will not change with a single keynote.

The world is going to continue to change, but without looking through the lens of the historical human perspective, we are doomed to chasing waterfalls.

Dreaming is great for ideation, but insight is what fuels the future.

So what are your insights?  What are the key factors driving tomorrow?

life without the internet (w video)

A month ago my laptop died.  While I was in a state of occasional disconnect, my life changed.

Without regular internet access, life changed.  Suddenly,

  • I needed to ask PEOPLE for directions.
  • My home phone stopped working.
  • My social life changed.
  • My wife couldn't study for her NCLEX Nursing Exam.
  • My wife couldn't access her coursework from school.
  • We couldn't order baby-proofing solutions from Babies R Us or Amazon.
  • We couldn't share pictures or videos of our son with my parents.
  • I couldn't post, Tweet or more importantly, read digital social media from home.

Our lives were disconnected.

What would your life be like without the internet?  How would our lives change if the entire web went down for one day?

South Park may satirically humorous, but I don't know that they are too far off.  Enjoy the video below!

Kudos to Annie Heckenberger for sharing.

teaching someone to need - pavlov, marketing & recession

Pavl When addressing a group of parents, a communal leader on Long Island recently stated, "As a community, we appear to be blessed.  We rarely have poor kids.  Our kids are wealthier than ever, but far too many parents are poor."

His point was obvious: parents will overspend and overexert themselves for their children.  Parents will render themselves "poor" so that their children's "needs" are met.  Parents stress over giving their children the best while sacrificing their own sanity in the process. 

But how much do our children really need and how much do they want?  And how much of this want is fueled by social and marketing driven trends?  Think about all the effort parents have gone through over the past couple years, struggling to find that last Wii, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Elmo TMX, and before that, Beanie Babies and Furbies... all because of a marketing driven need.

We as parents, have been raised on marketing messages.  From Cabbage Patch Kids through Heman, I have been sold to, and told how to reach fulfillment via buying into trends since I was a toddler.  And as a parent, which of us doesn't associate bringing the family to Disney World with family moments that last a lifetime?  Have we reached the point where marketers can define our needs for us?

To that point, what do we really need?  Are we conditioned (ala Pavlovian responses) to look to marketers for messages and meaning?

There are few things in life that we need.  We need food.  We need shelter.  We need social belonging.  We don't need iPhones.  But for many of us, we feel that we do need them.  Marketing and messaging position brands as empowering our lives, at times by addressing needs we never had before.  But now that we have accepted these products into our lives, we feel that we need them.  We expect them.  These products and product messages have become part of our lives, part of our day-to-day human experiences.

There is no stopping this trend.  This is a movement that cannot be undone.  Market regulators may seek to control the message and the medium, but they ignore the larger issues driving our consumption: the unstoppable machine that is modern human existence (at least in the US). 
  • We drive virtually everywhere because we view driving as a part of our lives. 
  • We eat fast food or eat out because we are pressed for time and have often come to view eating as a grab-and-go or social experience beyond the home.
  • And we wear jeans because everyone else does it.  Not because we need them.
A recession may force us to reconsider our spending habits and occasionally make sacrifices.

But it's not going to change the way we as consumer and marketers interact with one another.

We may look for a sale, but we're still going to buy jeans.  And when it comes to our kids, we won't sacrifice an ounce of their happiness unless absolutely necessary.

Recession marketing cannot redefine our needs. But it can change the way we perceive consumption and needs.  Brands may market themselves around "sensible living", but they will only be successful so long as they continue to redefine our needs for us, further empowering our perceived and often warped view of what it means to live and be happy.

Commercialism/consumerism is part of our lives.  I for one, fail to recognize how anything short of a massive depression will shift this deeply ingrained human (and at times social) behavior.

next gen marketing checklist

  • Multiple data-point aggregation
    • Dynamic cross channel tracking, segmentation, learning and activation
  • Smart segmentation and automated high level trending of data
  • Live optimization across all marketing efforts
  • Mobile and email alerts around campaign or market volatility
  • Volatility planning (What to do in case of extreme of last minute emergencies and/or opportunities)
  • Smart tool built on historical performance to balance push, pull and branding across multiple channels
  • Perception Differential Planning
    • Experiential and contextual relevancy scoring
    • Lifestream micro-targeting
    • Point-of-interaction design strategy
  • Cross-channel integrated planning (while maintaining channel tailored experiences and messaging)
  • Dynamic sequencing across multiple channels
  • Advanced behavioral, psychographic and/or social tracking, learning and activation
  • Incremental innovation planning
  • Flexibile progression planning (how does your offering adapt to where it should be tomorrow without hurting the business today?)