• Media Metrics -- Measuring What's In Store
    After Point-Of-Purchase Advertising International (POPAI) published a comprehensive study of in-store advertising in convenience stores in 2002, little doubt remained that at-retail advertising was an effective way of boosting sales and building brand equity. Retail marketing strategies, from window signs to point-of-purchase displays, were shown to deliver an average sales increase of 6.5 percent across a diverse range of product categories, with 12 of the 38 studied brands experiencing more than a 20 percent lift through the duration of the study, according to the report. At a cost per thousand of between $1 and $9, at-retail media was demonstrated …
  • The New Next: Are You Ready To Play?
    For some time now, it's been clear that the principles of effective communications are changing. Instead of simply broadcasting information, we try to invite our audiences to become involved in our ideas. Rather than focusing our energies (and expenditures) on bold, linear messages, we are engaging consumers through more tactile, interactive media. We're moving inexorably from monologue to dialogue, from push to pull, from passive to active behaviors.
  • Column: Taking Measure -- Start Fresh With a Model
    With all of the focus companies are placing on marketing accountability, it’s surprising how well agencies manage to avoid consistent quantitative evaluation of their performance. Agencies rarely advocate for econometric modeling to assess their work unless they believe the client has underspent; then they see modeling as a way to get more budget and more fees. Most of the time, though, they actively work against it. It’s easy to understand why agencies resist modeling and measurement. If the client relationship is good, there is a risk that an unfavorable study could hurt the relationship. If the relationship …
  • Column: Targeting -- Virtual Worlds, Real Money
    Entertainment is a strange affair, and gaming is downright peculiar. More than 30 million gamers immerse themselves in make-believe worlds and call themselves “residents,” and millions more engage in arcade-type action games. Both residents and arcade players project their personalities into digital characters called “avatars” and talk about going “in world.” It is, in short, a deeply immersive affair. While the business of make-believe has been around for ages, newer digital incarnations continually surprise us with richer worlds. Most players typically have a favorite game and spend 30 hours a week “in world.” Since many of the …
  • Column: Productivity -- The Low-Tech World to Come
    New media passed the acid test with Hurricane Katrina. As the flood waters rose, The Times-Picayune newspaper staffers fled their offices with little more than what they could hold in their laps as delivery trucks sloshed through waist-deep water to carry them to safety. But once out of danger and back on the beat, they realized that there was no way to print the paper, nor any way to distribute it even if it could be printed. So The Times-Picayune focused its energies on its Web site, which quickly became a vital hub of information and connection. …
  • Gestalt: Getting to the Essence
    Everything has a core essence, or so Marcus Aurelius once suggested. Understand this essence and you can understand the people and world around you. This counsel has served me well in product development. For me, the entire rule book for what will work online ? really, for any new product ? is found in two possibly obvious questions: Will the new product or service make peoples' lives better, faster, cheaper, more convenient, more interesting, more exciting, or more beautiful than whatever they've got today? And if so, can it be delivered more cost-effectively?
  • The Department: The Idea Generation
    I am what demographers might call a trailing boomer. Born in the year usually classified as the last of the Baby Boom (1964, if you must know), yet identifying with neither that generation nor its successor, Generation X, I think of myself as a "cusper." This has always been fine with me; I've not felt deprived of a generational identity in any way.
  • The Consumer: Become the Entertainment
    Maybe it's just me, but lately the New York City subways seem overrun with Peruvian panpipe players. Now, it could be that the stations I use just happen to attract performers of that particular genre. Still, almost without exception, when I'm walking to or from the 6 train, I'm greeted by the gentle harmonies of Abba in woodwind. There's obviously money in it. Some of the performers have full electric bands. Many of them sell professionally recorded CDs, even tempting passersby with dancers who showcase the goods. So people must like it. Which, I suppose, shouldn't be too surprising, for …
  • Deconstruction: The Flavor of Celebreality
    New York versus Hoopz? I didn't have a favorite contestant. In fact, I really didn't care who won. But that didn't stop me from watching vh1's "Celebreality" program, "Flavor of Love," for 11 weeks every Sunday night, culminating in a captivating finale -- and I'm not being facetious --in which New York and Hoopz duked it out for the Flav's attention in Puerto Vallarta. At first I was a closet viewer, ashamed to admit that I watched this urban spin-off of "The Bachelor." I sat glued to my TV set watching with awe (balanced with moments of disgust) as 20 …
  • Being Reasonable: Cingularly Savvy Ads
    Cingular's coverage area is awash in messages that proclaim the superiority of its cellular service over all others. The claims are big and bold: "The fewest dropped calls of any wireless carrier." "More bars in more places." Cingular gives no quarter to the competition and leaves no room for doubt.
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