Archive for January, 2007



January 31, 2007

Got a few people coming in to the blog recently from this link on the blog of my former colleague at Microsoft Gianpaolo Carraro (known as GP). We had been discussing the use of the term “consumption” as a way to describe how services are “used” in a Software as a Service (SaaS) architecture. I suggested that the negative connotations of the word “consumption” outweighed the correctness of its usage.

GP and I had a good back and forth over that, and his perspective was illuminating. Given that fact that he is not a native English speaker (but is an outstanding one) and speaks at least two other languages he attacked the problem from a different place than I did. I suspect my extreme sensitivity to the subtleties of the word was driving my argument.

The fact is that I think paying careful attention to the words we use in product naming, marketing, etc. is critical and an often overlooked aspect of positioning. Although many people today might not known the various historical and linguistic underpinnings of a word like “consumption” there is still something ingrained into the fabric of our language that can cause a bit of delay in comprehension or a bit of lingering affect that we really don’t want.

Please consume my blog at your own risk.


Measurement makes it real

January 30, 2007

If marketing is dead because we are all marketers, then what is left?

The new definition of marketing has to include measurement. If you can’t measure it then you can’t justify it. There will always be exceptions to this rule, but marketing 2.0 has to start somewhere.

Now that the tools to produce campaigns are everyone and the social networking/user generated content wave can’t be stopped (nor should it), the last bastion of hope for the professional marketer lies in measurement. ROI. Proof that the dollars were well spent.

You can build social networking sites all day long and claim miracle cures for your brand, but if you can’t give me some cold hard facts then it is a waste of time. Viral campaigns are a great example of riding the new wave but insisting that the rigor of traditional measurement remain intact.

Marketers need to put on their measurement caps.


A marketing conversation

January 29, 2007

Marketing has been my job for so long that I sometimes forget what it looks like from the outside. To me, the role and mission and practice of market are all very clear. I consider marketing fundamental to the way in which businesses operate and increasingly essential to the way in which society as a whole operates. Marketing is fundamental (as is reading).

For many years in the 1980s and 90s there was a degree of backlash against marketing. People did not want to be “marketed to”. This reaction to marketing sins laid the foundation for the current wave of social networking and participatory marketing. The solution, ultimately, was not the end of marketing but the eventual triumph of marketing over everything else. Everyone today is a marketer. We just might not all want that title.

Let’s begin a marketing conversation. My opening point is that the entire social networking, user-generated content, participatory marketing model has made traditional marketers work harder (everyone seems to agree on that) but has also given them far greater clout in the marketplace as a whole. If you do this for a living you now have to raise your game, but the rewards seem to be much bigger if you can do it right.

More on that next time.


No time left

January 27, 2007

I had meant to post a week ago about the season premiere of 24. Not to discuss the content of the show (which was mighty fine) but to discuss the marketing tactic they used during it. The premiere is always two nights of two hour episodes — essentially the first four hours of the season. These shows lay the entire foundation for the rest of the season, so watching them is pretty important to becoming engaged with the series.

During the final two hours of the show FOX started advertising that a DVD with the four hour premiere episodes (which we were watching) would be available the next day for $9.99 (if memory serves).

We have gotten used to TV shows appearing online as soon as they air, sometimes even before they air. What makes this so clever is the way it reaches out to the very large part of the population that is not watching video on their computer. They may have missed the show and want a chance to catch-up before the following week. FOX is reaching out to every segment to get them engaged.

It is all about reaching beyond online. We are becoming a bit obsessed with everything online.


Now hiring evil marketers

January 22, 2007

Just because stuff like this really tickles me. I want to hire people like this to be part of the marketing team (if I ran Satan Corp.).


The saucy elf

January 16, 2007

In case you are wondering about the picture of the elf at the top of this blog, here is the story.

For some strange reason I like taking pictures of statues/dolls/figurines/etc. I also like taking lots of family pictures, but I seemed to have found my own little niche/passion in inanimate faces. I am trying to put together a collection of my images called “Doll Face”.

So, this past Christmas when we took the little one for her Santa photo there was a very impressive staging of Santa’s workshop as we waited in line to see the big guy. Neatly perched amongst the toys and tools were these various elf figures. Something about them both fascinated and scared me. They were not exactly kid-friendly elves. They ranged from having an evil glint in their eyes to having an Opium-induced dreamlike smile on their faces. We call the  particular fellow pictured above the “Saucy Elf”.

The little guy is one of my favorite photos that I have taken. He gets pride of place at the top of this blog. I am not, however, a “saucy elf”. At least, I don’t think I am.


New year, new job, same old me

January 15, 2007

The year 2006 was a time of great change in my life. Far too many things to list (and many of them more personal than professional) but take my word for it. Lots of change. Mostly for the better.

Now I am finding my stable ground as I enter a completely new phase of my career. After a long time as a professional marketer in various size corporations, I have moved to the “agency” side of the business and joined an exciting interactive agency in Seattle. I now get to help our clients — people like the me I used to be (I was previously a client of this agency) — find the right strategy, build great sites, analyze those sites, and then optimize for the best ROI. Enough buzzwords there to choke a cat.

I am absolutely thrilled to be joining a group of smart and talented people that I really respect and having the opportunity to learn new things, help grow the business, and ultimately make the web an even better place for people to work, play, shop, and learn.

This blog is, as always, a reflection of my personal opinions and perspectives and should not be considered a representation of the views of my employer.

Over the next few weeks I will be trying a new tone and some new content on ThinkTone. Let me know what you think.