Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Micro Addressable Media Coming to a TV Near You

The emergence of IPTV as a viable platform and advances made by tech providers and cable TV companies will mash up two worlds - one where ensuring relevance based on data is second nature and the other with lean-back receptivity. We have been able to target TV ads to the zip-code level for some time - the next step, to the household, is full of promise.

Visible World - a leader in the field and Cablevision are about to launch a campaign to test TV spot targeting on the household level. Consumer demographics plus viewing and shopping habits will be used to pinpoint the commercials. Imagine knowing that viewer X has a car lease due for renewal in 3 months and being able to get a specifically messaged ad to her...

If we can integrate the results of a given spot in real-time then the possibilities are endless.

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Network Neigbours – More Effective Targets?

Direct and relationship marketers (such as my company) make marketing decisions based on what we know about our customers and potential customers. We use demographic, behavioural attitudinal, and geographic data to better target our audience -- age, sex, education level, income, zip code, past purchases etc. According to a recent study by Shawndra Hill, Foster Provost of NYU's Stern School and Chris Volinsky of AT&T Labs Research there's another important variable that we should be considering: Who is connected to whom? Their research found that consumers are 3 to 5 times more likely to buy a company's product if they are "network neighbors" with existing customers.

Following an in-market test for a telecommunications company, the authors of the paper said: "We provide strong evidence that whether and how well a consumer is linked to existing customers is a powerful characteristic on which to base direct marketing decisions. Our results indicate that a firm can benefit from the use of social networks to predict the likelihood of purchasing."
The availability of information concerning links between consumers will allow companies to do "network targeting,". While traditional marketing research and data mining techniques can create detailed profiles (or personas) of potential customers, it doesn't reveal the social connections that exist between those consumers.

Now if we can just clear up the privacy questions….Download the full paper - "Network-Based Marketing: Identifying Likely Adopters via Consumer Networks".

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

And Now... From the Producers of....

Skype and Kazaa the unveiling of the code -named Venice Project; Joost. Joost is an IP-based TV software system which radically challenges the way TV is distributed (as Skype did for phones and Kazaa did for music). Without going too deeply into the details - the software works much as Skype and Kazaa did, that is to say a lightweight software download and P2P networking, benefiting from your largely under-utilised upstream. The software features networking tools such as chat and a rating system. As one of the founders said (Joost is) "a new way to watch TV, free of the schedules and restrictions that come with traditional television. Combining the best of TV with the best of the Internet." Who said convergence...?

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Who Are You Talking To?

Understanding the demographic profile of your site's visitors is both an essential and pretty easy step in optimizing the value of your site. Microsoft's adCenter provides several tools that marketers will find useful. One of those tools will give you the demographic (sex and age) breakdown of your audience. Obviously the more visitors you have, the larger the sample and the more accurate the results. The image below represents the results of an adCenter demographics scan on my company's website....

Payments by Cell Phone....Priceless

Visa announced at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas the launch of a global cell phone payments system. In the initial phase the system will work by customers passing the phone near a scanner. The company stated that they will make services such as: contactless payment, personalization of mobile services, coupons and other marketing features available at launch. Additional functions would roll-out over time.
IBM, Nokia and Verisign were amongst the partners who helped in development of the system. Actual launch date is yet to be announced. This announcement follows the Visa Wave Payment Pilot in Malaysia last year, where 200 consumers were given specially equipped Nokia phones which they could use to make payments at 2500 outlets equipped with a special reader. A suivre...

Friday, 12 January 2007

A Boost for Mobile Marketing?

Will the iPhone change the face of mobile marketing and provide the injection of energy and focus that the category is yearning for? The new device's ability to handle high quality video could become the killer app of mobile marketing....
Reading the press, you would be forgiven for thinking that the iPhone was the only announcement of any note made this week -Monday saw the launch of a plan by Verizon and Qualcomm's MediaFlo to stream live TV to cell phones, which should also provide a leg up for the development of mobile video ads.

In short the iPhone (and the numerous similar devices which will surface in its wake) could become the key platform for both mobile marketing and the emerging mcommerce sector.(more about this later).

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Microsoft Moves on Hosted CRM

Microsoft have made the next move toward making their Dynamics CRM product available via the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. They will offer three flavours - hosted at Microsoft data centers, hosted at partners and hosted on customer premises.

The core target of the product is the SMB segment, departments of large organisations will also be interested.

The CRM Live application and the next version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, code-named "Titan," are scheduled for release this summer.

Salesforce.com and Oracle on-demand watch out?

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

If You Think Of It As A Website...

...then you will forget that it's really a customer journey, a window through which your customer views you, evaluates you, talks to you and otherwise interacts with you. If you see it as a website you are viewing it from your angle not that of the consumer and you will not be able to connect the dots to enable the site visitor to achieve her goals.

See it more as a series of connected steps that lead to either a success event (some form of conversion) or to frustration and abandonment. Where that journey starts is vital (landing Page) and each subsequent step needs to clearly, simply and naturally lead to the next.

In one sentence: a series of facilitated actions which lead to mutual satisfaction.

An excellent set of guiding principles were written decades ago by the Chairman Emeritus of my company - Lester Wunderman 19 things all successful direct marketers know.

Monday, 8 January 2007

Plinking or hyperlinking video content

Plinking is an interesting term invented by Entertainment Media Works (EMW), a media firm. It means product linking in video content be it advertiser or consumer generated. Another often used term for essentially the same thing is hot-spotting. A similar technique has also been launched by Dr. Mookie Tenembaum of United Virtualities, using a flash overlay to video. A start up that I was recently introduced to - Seambi also has an interesting approach. With the growth in on-line video, be it consumer generated or otherwise, there will be much more to say about this...

Friday, 5 January 2007

Pay Per Post - Blog Advertorials

(Not Sponsored)

Over the last year a new form of Blog Marketing has developed - Pay Per Post. Essentially, this means a client can now pay to have articles about their product or services written and published on a group of relevant weblogs. The ethical implications are obvious and the FTC stepped in in December 2006 with the observation that relationships with sponsors must be disclosed.

ReviewMe, CreamAid and PayPerPost and Blogsvertise are the leading players in the field.

Bloggers are generally required to write between one and two hundred word pieces (not always necessarily positive, depending on the service....) for which they are paid between 25 and 1000 USD. The cost is based on the importance of the blog as measured by Technorati etc.

Thursday, 4 January 2007

Forrester Podcasts on Interactive Marketing

Freely available podcasts from Forrester Research focus specifically on interactive marketing. All of the podcasts which feature a series of interviews with analysts and industry leaders are available here. The subjects include:

  • Humanizing the Digital Experience
  • Social Computing
  • Reinventing the Marketing Organization
  • The Changing Interactive Marketing Organization
  • Tapping The Power Of Consumer-Generate Media
  • Mobile Marketing

Since there is no RSS it’s just an audio file — not a podcast, Forrester say they will introduce this if the experiment is successful

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

The Ginza Gets RFID'd

In a large scale experiment the Tokyo Ubiquitous Network Project installed 10,000 RFID, infrared and wireless transmitters throughout Tokyo's Ginza shopping area. The tags and transmitters will provide location-related information to people carrying readers developed for the trial which will start in January and run until March.
The system will be able to provide users with simple navigation and information about the shops and stores in the area in four languages initially: Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean. For example, an RFID tag on a street lamp will be able to guide carriers of the readers to the nearest railway station while walking past a radio beacon in front of a shop might bring up details of current special offers or a menu for a restaurant.
The project is supported by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MILT) and is one of several currently taking place in Japan.

Monday, 1 January 2007

Time Travelling TV Ads

Time-shifted ad exposures have emerged as a one of the central debates surrounding Nielsen's new TV ratings streams. Indeed watching recorded shows days or even weeks later makes time sensitive ads grossly irrelevant. To meet this challenge Fox is trying to to patent a way to substitute time-relevant commercials - so if you are a little behind with your TiVo viewing you will perhaps see a substituted ad for Christmas gifts instead of the original Spring sale promotion....

More here...