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Showing posts from October, 2008

Kaizen in action

There are varying points of views on how to bring more innovation to marketing communications. Too often the discussion languishes in empty exhortations to be more nontraditional, viral, guerrilla, etc. I met the other day with a friend and former client, Kim McCullough, the head of marketing communications for Toyota, who gave me a clear and actionable user's guide for managing innovation in marketing communications. Kim refers to it as the 70/20/10 plan. In the 70/20/10 plan a marketer would invest 70% of its budget in proven, effective communications strategies, another 20% in rolling out new strategies that have been tested and vetted in the previous year, and use the remaining 10% as seed money for new test and learn opportunities. The brilliance in this strategy is its clarity and simplicity. First, it recognizes that marketers should not run away from things that work simply to pursue the latest buzz marketing strategy d'jour . Second, it dedicates resources to main

The sun speaks again.

During the Democratic National Convention , the Sun decided it was time to address planet earth, speaking through its friends at Applied Materials (and one of colleagues at BD'M, copywriter Phil Calvit, a.k.a., the voice of the sun). The Sun spoke again in today's Wall Street Journal, this time expressing its appreciation for the Congress' decision to extend the Investment Tax Credit which will continue to provide much needed relief to those companies investing in new alternative energy technologies, such as renewable solar energy. BD'M also created this site to show how Applied Materials is making good on the Sun's promise.

What great marketers do well.

I’m giving a talk next week to the MBA students at the University of California, Irvine. I’m posting this outline to to invite readers to share their ideas and improve this list. My goal is to give these MBA candidates the type of marketing insights that grad schools tend to overlook – mainly that all marketing challenges cannot be solved through statistical analysis and analytics. Many of us would agree that after spending a few years in brand marketing we learned that it is often the softer skills that define great brand leaders. I’m not going to spend time going on about quality, integrated marketing, interactive media, etc. Price of entry ideas like these are more suited for a speech entitled “How to avoid being a mediocre marketer.” When I think of the hallmarks that define great marketers I come up with this list. Brand literacy: They understand that not all products are brands and that branding is not solely the responsibility of advertising. They understand how br

Deja vu all over again

Yogi Berra allegedly said “this is like déjà vu all over again.” I was reminded of Yogi’s wisdom while thinking about what marketers can learn from the way in which consumers reacted during previous economic meltdowns. Our economy is a mess. Jobs are fragile. Real net income for working Americans is stagnant. We knew this for a while but chose to ignore it while buying our McMansions with zero money down. It takes the evaporation of trillions in personal wealth to get our full attention. Now that we’re duly panicked, how will we respond? One clue is to examine how consumers reacted the first few times we saw this movie. Let’s go in the way-back machine. No, not 1929, let’s start in 1987. Conspicuous consumption was in vogue. Michael Milken was peddling junk bonds. Yuppies drove “beemers.” Wall Street’s ficitonal Gordon Gekko preached how “greed is good.” Then came Black Monday , the day the Dow plummeted over 20%. (To put this in context, this past Monday’s 777-point free fall was a 7