Too many choices.

by mkedave on January 6, 2015

I believe in the power of choice. I even have a client running a campaign around that very notion with a new product that gives its customer’s more than 400 color and configuration packages to choose from. This has never been done before and the industry has long been ripe for this innovation.

Choice is such wonderful thing. Black or white. This or that. More or less. Or these days, especially when it comes to power output… more and… even more.

Fundamentally, life needs the element of choice. We need to be able to choose to express ourselves. We need a choice to fend off the competition. And, we need to choose to accept or deny the forces that influence this entire process.

We crave personalization, but does this directly relate to the option of choosing?

I wonder: Is “too much” a paralyzing factor?

Do too many choices lead to degraded customer experiences? An unfinished user profile or abandoned shopping cart? Or, worst of all… a protracted purchase decision that unintentionally created more problems than solutions?

Just because you can customize or personalize a product, doesn’t mean that it needs to be. It’s hard to fully capture the bigger idea of “choice” when it appears as though all you’re offering are variations on assembly and aesthetics.

motox

Here’s a great older article that uncovers how the brain makes decisions. Our meaty and complex neural structures do so much factoring and filtering of so much information that any decision, no matter how simple, is likely based on such a massive number of inputs that it’s ridiculous to think that a single aspect of marketing is solely responsible for swaying decision.

Ultimately, choice is still a powerful idea. But, to be able to build trust and establish customer confidence in the brand who is responsible for offering that choice… that’s an easy decision for any marketer.

This first day of 2015.

by mkedave on January 2, 2015

I woke up this morning and realized I’d be starting again from the same familiar surroundings as I always start. Only, today was the first day of a new calendar year.

To some, that’s a big deal.

And, it is. I had some friends who started their year with the first (local) baby of 2015. (Congrats Adam and Kristy!) Some others woke up, dressed down, and jumped into an icy lake. Others simply did what they always do.

Nevertheless, all of this is a reminder that we can’t ignore our surroundings. We’re always aware of what’s happening around us as we try to be a part of this modern social and cultural landscape. Ultimately, day after day, it becomes more of the same over and over again.

At 3:45pm, I checked my email and found I have a new opportunity to reengage my social media team with an old client. Thrilled, I started thinking about what we might do differently this time around. By 4:45pm, it occurred to me that we simply CAN’T start again from the same familiar surroundings.

Today is the first day of 2015. Our surroundings are familiar. Thus, today, any strategy that we’d begin to develop would be uniquely shaped by our current position. But, what if it wasn’t? What if we ignored what we think we know right now, and imagined where we should be in March. Or June. Or September. Shouldn’t the strategy be different?

My point is: we can’t possibly win if we’re viewing success through the lens of the present. We need to think about a strategy that’s not confined by the current situation.

Perhaps we need to imagine it’s June 1, 2015, and go from there.

Happy New Year.

Watch Sports on TV, Talk Sports on Twitter

by mkedave on October 7, 2014

Few TV events attract a better second screen experience than #sports.

If you’re looking at your Twitter stream on a Sunday, it’s hard not to know there’s football being played. Within seconds, you know who just took a injury, who just scored a touchdown and whom of your friends might be enraged.

EA Sports and their mega-popular football game franchise, Madden NFL (now in it’s 15th release), has emerged with a gif-generating tool that’s sure to help those Sunday quarterbacks tweet-talk throughout the games. The perfect mix of real-world live play and the smack talk that fans might want to share.

panthers_dwilliams34_praytofans

See for yourself how EA Sports is helping video game-loving fans celebrate and how they’ve cleverly seeded Madden-related ads in the GIFerator website:

gifhttp://giferator.easports.com/

SIMILAR: There’s an interesting article here on DigiDay that talks about The Legal Murkiness of Sports Highlight GIFS

Say Ello to Advertising

by mkedave on October 3, 2014

I’m not convinced that advertising, as we think we know it, is a Facebook “problem.”

I think I have a general understanding of how advertising works, but I that’s something that’s becoming less and less clear for almost everyone. Maybe I should explain what I think I know…

It used to be that we’d create the message and then pay for that message to be heard on relevant media. Now we use technology to glue it all together. And, wherever there are people, there we are – trying to push that message. Pay for that message to be put in front of people, and that’s a function of “advertising.” Weave that message into relevant news and cultural happenings and that’s a function of “public relations.” These two functions have converged and thus we’ve got this utterly fucked up media landscape where hair-brained digital strategists theorize channel relationships using elaborate ecosystems and personality charts that further segment our communications disciplines that end up in wars waged over territorial budget disputes. It’s quite pleasant.

Nevertheless, I should start to make a point here: Advertising isn’t a problem for social networking. Advertising is only a problem in the wrong hands (evidence: any local personal injury lawyer with a dollar to spend) because the data we unknowingly create using social networks is what’s most valuable (target audience market intelligence) to the advertiser.

So, it wasn’t all that long ago that Ello became known as the social network that wouldn’t accept advertising. I like that. Thank you Maja! But again: groups of people will attract those who want messages to be seen by those people. In social media, people do the “advertising” without really knowing it anyway. That’s what makes the media “social” to begin with.

I like Ello. After a week of use, I’m still left wondering how it’s different than what I’m already using Twitter and Tumblr for. But, nevermind that. I’ve found great things via ads on social networks, but I’ve found even better things from people who’ve shared their thoughts. (Long live Reddit!) I guess I’m a junkie for conversation, and wherever I can find good conversation is where I’m going to connect with people who can inspire me. (Ick, I sound like a brand that’s hungry to find people and then feed them messages in the forms of compelling media).

As for the success of an ad-free social network, it will all come down to clear utility. People adopt social technology when the benefit to the user is clear.

So, as it pertains to Ello as a new social network that’s built without embedded advertising technology or data information sharing, then user adoption has a few key necessities if it’s to spread:

It must be possible for anyone to use it.
It cannot have walls that trap users in, nor keep users out.
It must be easy to adopt, use and talk about.
It must be able to embed or share elements of content/conversation across any digital platform.
It must be interesting (which is to say: familiar, but new).
It cannot put a limit on the expressions of its people. Censorship is bad.
It cannot replace an existing technology.

Now… what happens when Ello users start posting ads? In some way, shape, or form, I have to imagine that’s already happening.

Baby’s First Wearable Technology

by mkedave on September 3, 2014

I don’t speak baby.

It’s only been a week and a half, but there’s plenty of squawks and yelps that burst from Noble’s little mouth that I just can’t understand. Hungry? Gassy? Fussy? It’s just as likely that his mother can solve whatever problem he’s having better than I can.

But, maybe this will help: The Sproutling Baby Monitor.

Sproutling. A Kickstarter Project.

Sproutling. A Kickstarter Project.

Of course, wearable technology should be able generate the data that will ultimately do the talking for those who can’t talk. Which is perfect, because that’s just more information for us to interpret. Or, as new parenthood goes, misinterpret.

A loyalty program does not create brand loyalty

by mkedave on May 6, 2014

A loyalty program says nothing about true brand loyalty.

It’s only indicative of a repetitive behavior based upon minimum levels of satisfaction combined with cut-rate offers.

Let’s use grocery shopping for example. Did you know that neither Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have loyalty programs? Now, let’s assume that they’re succeeding at attracting customers through superior product quality and/or unique products that people want to buy.

It’s also fair to assume that loyalty programs, in general, only work well with industries where Company A can’t differentiate itself from its competitors and its customers are either 1) lazy or 2) lack the price awareness to shop elsewhere.

Company B doesn’t need a loyalty program because it’s adequately marketing itself to the conscious and price-aware consumer who feels just fine making a purchase from Company B because they’ve easily found their item and they were treated well throughout the purchase process.

We probably shouldn’t let loyalty programs pre-decide our shopping behaviors. Instead, brands should be earning our loyalty by doing a great job of getting us what we need, when we need it, at a price we can’t pass up. Oh, and rewarding us when we really deserve it.

Stability versus agility

by mkedave on May 6, 2014

Which company would you rather work with?

A) a company that designs and markets a new product every every 12 months, or
B) a company whose products are always scrutinized and continuously improved by an engaged community of fans

Which company do you think will have a higher rate of success with new product development?

Was it something I said?

by mkedave on February 9, 2014

I was probably something I said.

Facebook user dislikes report: Don't overshare.

Facebook user dislikes report: Don’t overshare.

Dislikes start with annoyance. According to this study by Pew Research, we’re annoyed by the act of oversharing. We’re also annoyed when people don’t ask permission. The second most-popular reason to dislike on Facebook is when your friend posts personal information (like that photo from the bar the other night) without running it by you first.

The introduction of Paper is a good move for Facebook

by mkedave on February 2, 2014

Given the state of media today, it’s ironic that Facebook chose to call it’s combined newsfeed and clipboard-like news aggregator “Paper.”

Clearly, Facebook is determined to be your favorite content discovery destination. That’s because reports have shown that Facebook is already your favorite news content discovery tool. So, there’s not a massive departure from normal user behavior. But, when you think about Facebook in terms of mobile, not as a core desktop product, you know that it’s easier to press the home button and launch another app than to navigate Facebook’s own mobile menu system.

Single-purpose apps work better than single-purpose websites because as the saying goes: “There’s an app for that.”

Paper will debut tomorrow (February 3) for download on iOS, and will be the first app developed by Facebook Creative Labs.

This is interesting because it’s demonstrating that Facebook has embraced the idea of “unbundling” its offerings. It also demonstrates how serious Facebook is about its response to mobile disruption. Will Facebook ever command the same goliath social success on mobile that it’s long had on the desktop? That probably won’t matter so long as Facebook users still share the content they find interesting.

See what Paper is all about:

Timing is everything

by mkedave on January 20, 2014

The media just wants the simplified sound bite.

So, Richard Sherman wears Beats.