Marketing Lessons From A Mr. Grinch

“He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought … doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!”

The holiday shopping blitz certainly started early this year. In fact, I think I may have seen the first Christmas ad in store as early as October. The positive side of this -- maybe those marketers are just trying to keep Christmas all the year.  

As the curtain readies to come down on 2012, I have been thinking about some of the topics we’ve discussed this year and what innovations we have been able to tap into -- almost like the few cherished presents we get at Christmas during Hanukah, Kwanzaa or even Festivus. The past 12 months have seen many innovations from companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, HP, movie studios as well as from brand marketers, agencies and ad-tech companies. And each time we see something that is cool and pushes the envelope, we say how cool or marvel at the beauty of the simplicity and genius of the idea.  

Like the Grinch, who puzzled till his puzzler was sore, many of us participate in countless meetings about marketing strategy, product marketing and many times walk away thinking we have exhausted all ideas, only to think of 20 more on the commute home that night.  Although my puzzler is sore from a recent series of meetings, I’m already looking forward to the market innovations to come in 2013 and what gifts may come, and the new ways to adapt and use in the new year. Here are some of my favorites from this 2012:

iOS 6

While it may seem to odd to put a mobile OS on this list, especially under the guise of a Marketing:Entertainment article, Apple made several changes to this OS that further drives convergence of our living rooms, on-the-go purchases and mobile phones. And they are laying the ground work to find more ways to distribute and merge media thru this device OS.

AirPlay

Airplay is another Apple innovation that started as part of AppleTV, is now standard in iOS 6 and part of OSX, their desktop OS. No longer do you have to mess with cords to share media with a group setting. Now sharing photos, movies and even desktops happens in a single click. If you don’t think this is driving platform usage, think again. 

Passbook

At the start of 2012, you probably had never heard of Near Field Communication, also known as NFC. But if you’re using Passbook in our iOS 6 device, to download or redeem coupons, movie tickets, airline boarding passes based on your physical location, you have Passbook and NFC technology to thank. And if you’re Walgreens, you’re loving the commerce Passbook is driving since making it part of your rewards program to distribute coupons and drive prescription refills. 

Waze 

As Apple Maps stumbled, Waze has grown. Waze is a great combination of maps meets social, meets crowd-sourced data about traffic conditions -- all in real time. This simple yet innovative way to use maps has driven downloads of the Waze app and users to add immense loads of traffic conditions and making commute time a little bit better. While Waze is not Marketing:Entertainment-focused -- I think the mash-up of Maps and Social is a great thought starter for other possible mash-ups.

FBX

Facebook ad exchange, FBX, is just the start for advertisers to bring their messages to a vibrant and rich community of highly engaged users. This should be a green field for many advertisers -- my bet is that movie studios will benefit from having access to this inventory and highly targeted audience. 

Hashtag as Targeting

Hashtags have become a ubiquitous part of social sharing. In fact, 2012 may be the year that hashtags became a marketing mainstay. Next time you’re watching your favorite sitcom, or broadcast of a sporting event, you will probably notice #MNF or #NCIS. Hashtags are everywhere and, yet, they are just starting to be tapped into for targeting because they capture intent, emotion or event brand recognition -- such as my favorite cookie #oreo. Just today, we announced that availability of this service. #endlesspossibilities

This short list of innovations is what gets me excited about being in this business. I’m already looking forward to making my puzzler sore thinking about ways to harness these tools and create solutions for brands that move the needle for their business. Some call this work; I call this play.

And I look forward to sharing many more thoughts with you in the near year. Until then, best wishes for a warm and joy-filled holiday season.

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