Monthly Archives: March 2013

Calculate the Success Rate of Your Next Marketing Campaign

Based on years of empirical research in real working environments, I have finally cracked the formula for estimating the success rate of your marketing campaign.

It is the following:

SR=C-(10%*X)

SR= Overall succes rate of the campaign

C= Estimated Concept Succes Rate. Below are the average success rates for different type of concepts:

Great Concept (GRC):100%
Good Concept (GOC): 70%
OK Concept (OKC): 50%

If you even your worst day will do something which is below “OK Concept”, you should probably change profession.

x= Amount of every very adjustment, addition, alternation, modificiation and other mutilation given in the revision routes.

So what we can learn from this formula?

1) If you want to maximize your success, aim always for the great work.
2) Even the greatest of concept can be killed with too many modifications. Five revision routes reduce the success rate of your campaign to the same as flipping the coin.
3) Most often, less is more. When you have simple and effective concept in your hands, cherish it. Those are usually the ones, which will succeed.

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Google Reader and the Missed Opportunity of RSS Feeds

Google Reader is now officially announced dead. Slowly it has been dying for quite a while.

I am one of the apparently very few relics, who have been using Google Reader actively for years and years. Personally it has been the most useful Google tool for me right after search and Gmail. Without using Google Reader (and other digital fossil Del.icio.us, which is still alive but struggling), writing of my first book would have been much more tedious process.

Looking from the business perspective and reflecting the overall downward trend of success of RSS feeds, the decision to kill Google Reader is a no-brainer. Everyone gets their news and blog posts either from search or from social networks, who needs separate place to go for their internet content?

Well us professionals and hobbyist, for instance.

I am passionate about few things. Other half is a work related and others are hobbies (basketball, hip-hop music, literature and movies). Google reader was my starting point for getting my daily fix on those high-interest subjects. Additionally I also use social networks and Google search to find stuff, but for me those are not the primary sources of information. When sharing is the only currency, it will be eventually lead to dumbed down content. Just watch any of the titles of your average web publication.

So farewell RSS feeds, the social media sharing is the way to drive traffic these days.

The demise of RSS Feeds, can be summarized to one word: complicated.
Starting with the name: RSS sounds like some kind of disease. Then there was the ease of use, or lack thereof. Although you did not have to be rocket scientist to get yourself RSS feed reader, it required still more commitment than the normal internet user wants to have with their platforms. The adding of the RSS feeds was not intuitive enough and the logo did not really reach adequate awareness. If following and subscribing would have had button something akin to Facebook like, the situation might be totally different.

Personal blogs have been largely replaced by tweets and Facebook status updates. The promise of RSS Feed Reader is still valid. You get the news you are actively interested to one place. People have not stopped consuming content in the Internet, more the other way around. The way to consume it has shifted more towards social, but there are some users who want to have also more curated experience for their content. Those users are not necessarily lucrative target audience.

Like Rob Fishman points out in his excellent article in Buzzfeed, Google Reader was the closest to functioning social network Google has ever been (excluding maybe for YouTube). I am deliberately excluding Gmail, as the nature of it is more 1-to-1 connections. As the “success” of Google+has shown, building it over Gmail was not necessarily the wisest decision. The mass using Gmail does not necessarily convert to more public sharing of social network, although it might make business sense on the paper. If Google would have invested to Google Reader and pushed it organically towards more social experience, they might have really successful social platform in their hands.

I was actually really active in Google Reader back in the day and sharing content like there was no tomorrow. That lasted until it was connected to Google+, which made it too overbearing. I was not the only one. Google Reader really never got a chance to truly try to strive in the marketplace on its own. Like former Google product manager explains in Quora, the Reader developer team was stretched thin and utilized mostly in other failed projects. Google Reader –based social network would have been the social platform, which is still truly lacking in the marketplace. The social network that is built around your user interests and passions. Maybe the new MySpace is trying to fill that gap, at least with music.

I will not shed tears for Google Reader. The decision makes definite short-term business sense. On the long run however, we will never know. Disappearance of Google Reader might have surprising effects on the digital content ecosystem. Although it has not been major traffic driver for the sites, it might alter and shift the readership radically of certain content providers.

Killing Google Reader and betting with Google+ are probably smart decisions. The real question is, are they wise decisions? Meanwhile Google Reader remains as an artifact of the potential social media success Google is still desperately trying to achieve. Until 1st of July, that is. As I am writing this, I am moving my Google Reader subscriptions to Feedly.

Old habits are hard to kill.

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Wearable Tech: The End of The Mobile as We Know It?

When observing people playing with their smartphones, tablets and phablets*, it is quite hard to believe that handheld mobile phone is only 40 year old invention and has been in mainstream use only for the last twenty years depending on the country. The influence of mobile phone to human behavior has been profound. When comparing current smartphones to the first bulky ones, they are quite far away from its original purpose of speaking to each other. New devices are definitely mobile, not necessarily that much of phones anymore.

So enter the wearable tech. It will be the next step for the mobile revolution.

Phone has been just a transition period with mobile. Mobile consists of three important elements: freedom, access & connection. You can achieve those with multiple devices. When assessing the future of mobile, there are two major shifts happening. Firstly, we are moving to the age of different screens. Secondly, we are totally defining mobile in a new way. It easy to dismiss wearable tech as a fad, but Sergey Brin raises really important point in this comment from Ted Conference few weeks back:

“Is this the way you’re meant to interact with other people? Is the future of connection just people walking around hunched up, looking down, rubbing a featureless piece of glass? It’s kind of emasculating. Is this what you’re meant to do with your body? You want something that will free your eyes.”

Using of smartphone has created new behavior patterns for us (aptly documented in the excellent Curious Rituals). Wearable tech is ideologically step backwards from smartphones. It is technology adapting to existing human behavior instead of actively changing it. In a way, wearable tech is more natural than using smartphone.

When thinking about possibilities of wearable tech, I would closely benchmark sports companies. Quantified self –movement naturally started from sporting and has evolved lately to other areas. Nike FuelBand is one of the first crossover wearable tech products, which has its roots in sports but expands to other areas as well. The really big potential is with the normal people. Being a sports fanatic myself it is often hard to forget that the target audience of us is lucrative but still quite small. The wearable tech company who is able to tap the mainstream audience will win. And win big: the wearable tech industry is estimated to be worth of $6 billion by the end of the year 2016.

When creating wearable technology, we have to think quite deeply about the issue of what people would wear and what they are wearing now? Looking from that angle, the wearable tech products most likely to hit mainstream should be quite familiar product types. My hunch is that they will be either watches, glasses or clothing (or combination of all of these):

The Revenge of the Watch
Watch has been relevant for hundred of years. You do not necessarily use it to its original purpose of timekeeping, but it has still maintained its role as a status symbol for many people. If you check time from your mobile phones, why would you not send your WeChat-messages from your watch? It will be interesting to see will certain existing watch manufacturers with strong brand equity challenge the technology companies in this field?
Watch out for: Kickstarter all-star Pebble, The rumoured iWatch, traditional existing watch manufacturers, sports watch brands (such as Polar or Suunto)

Using Glasses to Look Be Smarter
What can I say about Google glasses that is not said in this video (NSFW)?

Nevertheless, I want to acquire one pair, despite all the privacy concerns.Google Glass has already competitors as well, but all the eyes will be on the Google on this one.
Important players: Google Glass, Luxottica (world´s largest eyewear company)

Maxwell Smart was Right
With clothing technology this rubber boot phone is definitely the most interesting one:
Rubber Boot Phone
(Designer Sean Miles project for O2)

Jokes aside, the smart clothing has more supporting function with wearable technology accessories (maybe excluding bracelets). Different sensors can track things in clothing, but it is unlikely that we use our underwear as the main starting point for our mobile communication or access. That being said, combination of smartphone and smart clothing will probably be quite crucial in the transition period when moving to the new era of mobile. Especially if quantified self- phenomenon continues expanding to even more mainstream audiences.

Will wearable tech be the future of mobile?
I truly think so. The question is when that future is evenly distributed to the whole world?

* Contender for the most annoying word invented in last couple of years.

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Anatomy of An Insight: Oreo Separator Machine Series

I do not eat cookies.

But if I would eat them, they would definitely be Oreos. The 101 year old brand has been so on fire lately with their marketing activities. And their latest effort “Oreo Separator Machine” does not disappoint:

Product Insight: Oreo ads are great example of really simple but effective product insight. The product has two parts: crème & cookie. Those parts are so distinct frome each other that you are almost forced to select which part you like more. That difference can be polarizing as well and has been cause for endless arguments. Also the eating of the Oreo has own ritual for its users. The right one is of course this: Taking the top cookie off, eating it, licking the crème and finishing with the bottom cookie (mastered with Finnish Oreo knock-off Domino when I was child).
Majority of Oreo advertising has been about dramatizing either the interplay of its different parts or the ritual (typical example being this year´s super bowl ad for Oreo).

Creative leap: The great creatives in W+K combine couple of existing trends in these spots: D-I-Y tinkering (popularized by Mythbusters or Top Gear for autophiles) and Rube Goldberg Machine (Machines doing simple tasks in complicated ways. Lately popularized by Honda Cog, OK Go-This Too Shall Pass & Red Bull Athlete Machine).
These trends are combined with product insight and end-results are highly entertaining videos of how far people are going to separate the crème and the cookie:


Collaboration: These spots would not be so great, if the people doing separator machines would not be so entertaining. Nowadays doing great work is more and more about finding the new and surprising collaboration partners and giving them the brief and tools to do their own thing:


Continuum: In principle this series could last for quite long, as long as there are innovative collaborations and interest from the audience. Currently we are in fourth installment which ups the ante by involving robot butler Herb to the mix:


These ads are also refreshing, because they go against the old rule that you should not play with your brand if it is food. I think that if you get almost 4M views in YouTube for single product-centered video, the playing with food is not only allowed, but also highly recommended.

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Are You Outrageous, Useful or Oblivious?

Catching people´s attention is increasingly more difficult. Skipping ads is easier than ever and the opportunities to enjoy truly great entertainment (which marketing communications seldom is) more vast than ever. People really do not care about majority of brands. Surprisingly they have more important things on their mind.

To make people care (even a little bit), you first have to make yourself known. In the current marketing climate, there is only two ways for that. You are either:

1. Outrageous
World´s most successful branded app is less popular than the most successful fart app. People love dancing babies, cats, crazy dances and many other inane things. If you want to create truly outrageous brand campaign, you have to benchmark the popular culture phenomena and be at least on the same level or go beyond that.
When to go outrageous?
When you want to get instant attention, maximize the eyeballs and virality of your campaign.
What it requires from the brand?
Balls
For what brands it works?
For lifestyle brands with edgy brand persona.

2. Useful
Moonwalking pony with Fleetwood Mac soundtrack does not work for all brands.
If you want to create something truly useful, first of all you have stop browsing all the marketing blogs (expect this, of course) and start browsing how the people are actually behaving.
You have to build your brand experience around the real experiences of your target audience. You should never assume that the audience would care about your brand a single bit unless you bring some value for them. Creating useful things is more demanding, difficult and than to shock people or get cheap laughs. However if you can truly become part of people´s behavior, it is much harder to break that relationship instead of jumping to the next outrageous fad.
When to go useful?
When you want to create something long-lasting
What it requires from the brand?
Patience & Investment
For what brands it works?
For what brands it would not? If you cannot create anything useful for your target audience, maybe you should do some deep brand soul searching.

Caution: Even though you create something truly useful, you have to still promote it. If you just build it, they will not come. 80% of branded apps have under 1000 downloads. Firstly because many times they are low quality marketing crap and secondly because they are poorly promoted.

If you are not either of the above, you have the one last resort for your brand:
Total oblivion.

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Mastering the MIM: Marketer´s Guide to Mobile Instant Messaging

SMS is dead.
Long live MIM.


WhatsApp has been a major contributor of 25% decline of SMS in Spain
. Chinese WeChat has over 300 million users. Over 90% of Korean smartphone users use Kakaotalk. These are just a few examples of the rising trend of the mobile instant messaging (MIM).

Instant messaging as such is not a new thing (remember ICQ?), but there are certain reasons why it has had its resurrection now:

1. Phones are increasingly more about data than talking
In developed countries nearly every new phone sold is smartphone. Smartphones are increasingly more about being smart than phone. There is app for that, now also for the basic phone features (talking and texting).

2. That data is getting faster

New 4G LTE (Long term evolution) phones will enable high-speed data for mobile phones. This opens new opportunities for what kind of content we can exchange in MIM platforms.

3. Facebook is so huge that it is already mass broadcasting

If you are average Facebook user sending your status update, the odds are that the message will be seen by your family, friends and colleagues plus countless of people you do not even know about. This is great, but serves more of people´s need for vanity and instant recognition. The most meaningful conversations happen with the people you know. Same phenomenon has been also reason for the success of Path.

4. There is always need for 1-to-1 communication

Some might argue that Facebook message does the trick. However the challenge is that Facebook is already flooded with so many messages, it is not that reliable way to catch people (at least not all of them). Phone has been relevant for so long because you can be quite certain that your message is received. Although Facebook has increased the number of “friends”, it has not really increase the number of “real friends”. The amount of those real friends is limited and many of interactions with those people we want to keep private.

5. World is getting smaller

Majority of MIM applications work internationally. The bread and butter of Telcos profit margins has been charging for international calls and roaming. MIM applications do not have those international boundaries. You want to communicate with your friends no matter where they geographically are.

6. World is getting more visual

Although SMS-messages have been relatively cheap, telcos are still taking quite big premium with multimedia messages. With MIM applications you can send whatever data possible and the because of the point 2 the alternatives are actually increasing all the time. Basic SMS- type of messaging is just the beginning for MIM applications and there will be probably lots of innovations in what kind of communication there will be.

What are opportunities for marketers?

Many MIM applications are still quite in infancy regarding their business model. Opportunities for marketers also vary greatly between different platforms. For example paid application WhatsApp is totally ad-free and there has not really been marketers using it (expect for personal use). On the other end of the spectrum is the WeChat, which is currently almost like Wild West with Chinese brands flooding there.

MIM applications are interesting part of mobile strategy for marketers. They provide straight access to consumer´s main screen: smartphone. As the smartphone is always within you, that is the straight pathway to consumer connecting digital to retail. That is the connection which every marketer wants to master. It might be that clever way to utilize MIM is the key for cracking that task.

But why anyone would want to have 1-to-1 connection with brand?

Compared to Facebook where your brand page reaches only fraction of your fans, MIM application has almost the hit-rate of 100%. This is creates a big responsibility for brands. You cannot flood your fans with messages such as “Like if you are ready for the spring!” or “Tell us in one word: (Our Brand) make me ______”. You are truly invading personal space with your message so it needs to add some real value for the consumer. In Facebook you are more likely to get away with stupid brand messages, although they are definitely not recommended in there either.

Here potential routes for marketers to utilize MIM:

1. Daily Deals & Promotions
Deals and promotions are always appreciated by the consumers. With MIM you can connect it phones and also create the sense of urgency to redeem those deals. Of course, provided that these deals are good.
2. Daily tips
MIM provides opportunities also for content marketing. It could be daily practice tips for sport brand. It could be song of the day for music service. Of recent campaigns Oreo Daily Twist could work in Whatsapp. The most important thing whether deals or content, is the expectation management. You have to be really candid about what kind of messages you send and how often. You have one change to lose trust and none chances to get it back.
3. Extension of loyalty card
Having own MIM circle for the valued customers could be great idea for rewarding your best customers with VIP treatment.
4. Rapid Market research
Combined with promotions or deals, MIM also provides vehicle for doing rapid market research and gather intelligence for your loyal customers.

It is too early to tell whether MIM will be the secret weapon that connects digital and retail. One thing is certain though: MIM cannot be left out of consideration for your mobile strategy.

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