• What Online Marketers Can Learn From Coffee Shops
    Do consumers at this point expect a personalized experience with brands? I don't think they expect it, but I think they're pleasantly surprised when they get one, and they tend to reward the brands that go that extra mile. Building a stronger connection for both sides has a positive impact -- a fact I can confirm by looking at personalization in the offline world of local coffee shops.
  • Why Marketers Love Malcolm Gladwell -- & Why They Shouldn't
    Marketers love Malcolm Gladwell. They love his pithy, reductionist approach to popular science: his tendency to sacrifice verity for the sake of a good "just-so" story. And in doing this, what is Malcolm Gladwell but a marketer at heart? No wonder our industry is gaga over him. We love anyone who can oversimplify complexity down to the point where it can be appropriated as yet another marketing "angle."
  • When In Rome: Listen To Marketers, Explore Tech, Experiment
    I attended the 10th edition of the Global Festival of Media in Rome last week, and I was fortunate to host the marketer-exclusive sessions that went out under the Brand Learning Program banner. There were no agencies, media owners, tech companies or other non-brand marketing representatives allowed in the room. And that allowed for lots of honest and open discussions.
  • Future Sounds: Music's Evolving Role In Advertising
    Of all the art forms, few have the power to stir strong emotions as music. And few have had such an easy and fruitful relationship with advertising.
  • Why Don't Most Large Advertisers Treat Marketing As A Core Competency?
    As Peter Drucker taught us, marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of a business. But how come so many advertisers don't seem to make marketing a core competency?
  • Is Search Dead?
    Is search dead? Realistically, the answer is no, but I hear fewer and fewer brands talking about search in a way that signals a focus on innovation or growth. Is it possible that search is just like that friend of yours who always shows up when asked, will do whatever he can to help, and is consistently taken for granted? Is search the utility in-fielder for your team?
  • Decoupling Our Hunch-Making Mechanism
    Humans are hunch-making machines. We're gloriously good at it. In fact, no one and nothing is better at coming up with a hunch. It's what sets us apart on our planet -- and, thus far, nothing we've invented has proven to be better suited to strike the spark of intuition.
  • What Is Your Learning Plan?
    One thing I pride myself on is that I always try to learn. Most Sunday nights I try my hand at cooking a dish my wife and I will have not eaten ever before. The results aren't always great (Anglesey Eggs anyone?) but sometimes surprisingly tasty. The same goes for work. I love learning about the companies I get to work with, or understanding new marketing, measurement or communications opportunities that emerge almost on a daily basis. Here are my five rules to ensure I never stop learning:
  • When Watson Comes For Your Job, Give It To Him
    A week ago, the venerable law firm BakerHostetler announced a new hire, Ross. Ross is joining the bankruptcy department of the 100-year-old firm. Despite being new to practicing law -- BakerHostetler is Ross' first job -- Ross brings a myriad of skills to the role. In addition to reading and understanding language, Ross can also "postulate hypotheses when asked questions, research, and then generate responses (along with references and citations) to back up its conclusions." You've guessed it: Ross is the world's first artificially intelligent "lawyer," based on IBM's Watson.
  • Refining Receptivity
    When we buy in real time, we can know a lot about where the audience might be in their life at that second. This is more than just the context into which the impression will arrive. It is the context within an individual consumer's life. Is she in a hurry? Did she just visit 50 pages about autos, or is she desperately seeking directions to a restaurant? Maybe, but those are bad times to offer 20% off shampoo. In other words, "moments" are the new black.
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