I was recently asked whether I organize my marketing thinking along a demand or marketing funnel. This question brought to mind a set of two blog posts (“Advertising Week 2011 Key Themes” and “And, uh the a ha is“) from October 2011 covering Advertising Week. I have included the relevant sections below. While I am still refining my answer to this question, this is my initial response:
- On many occasions, I do organize my thinking along a demand or marketing funnel. It depends upon the specific marketing initiative or challenge. I find the marketing funnel useful when addressing macro issues such as the role of “upper funnel” awareness communication vs. “lower funnel” direct response activities – and how these should be coordinated or integrated. It is also a valuable framework for ensuring that a brand reaches its target customers at each stage of the path to purchase with the right message at the right time and using the right medium or platform.
- The metaphor of a funnel in which the number of prospects or size of the consideration set becomes more focused in each phase is less relevant in today’s non-linear, iterative digital and social environment. Today’s framework is more of a decision journey loop with a consideration set that may contract and/or expand along the way and in which post-purchase communication and activities such as social sharing and an ongoing dialog are crucial.
- I often use a customer journey map or customer-specific path to purchase that incorporates the way in which consumers move from one platform to another as they interact with a brand. This approach frequently includes the development of customer personas and/or the identification of moments of truth. It has its origins in the marketing funnel and is an expansion of it.
And, Uh, the A Ha Is:
The ruling on the purchase funnel is not final. Most agree publicly that the traditional funnel, e.g., awareness, consideration, intent, purchase, loyalty – or as I was taught in business school, AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Acquisition, needs to be updated. The patch to purchase is no longer a straight line. The funnel of choice seems to be the McKinsey oval, which you can view in my summary of the panel. (No mention of the Forrester “path to purchase” in the age of social engagement – see below).
The key takeaways are that:
(a) the process is iterative and circular
(b) must include advocacy
(c) many include “loyalty,” but that’s not new, that’s just “adoption.”
However, when we got to the TV panels, the upward and lower funnel nomenclature was still front & center. A disconnect?
Figure I: Forrester Path to Purchase in the Age of Social Engagement
Advertising Week 2011 Key Themes:
The Funnel (aka Path to Purchase and Consumer Decision Journey) – The traditional funnel is outdated. However, much of the terminology has survived and/or been incorporated to the new, bright shiny (Mustard colored) circular tubes. There is some consensus about the fact that the process is no longer linear but more of a circular conversation. – However, the term “funnel” as well as “top” and “bottom” of funnel and stages such as awareness, consideration, acquisition were used frequently, particularly by CMOs. However… the funnel must include advocacy. (Social, social, social) And, the funnel is iterative and, well, free flow.
When I first joined pinterest, it was, as its name suggests, a virtual pin board where I would explore and share my interests and passions visually. The first passion I brought to life was tennis, starting, of course, with Rafael Nadal. My “Tennis” board was a form of visual poetry as I sought to assign just one word to each compelling or inspirational photo.
I then moved on to the creation of a “Recent Indulgences” board where I could document and share recent purchases. This was something I had been doing on Facebook for many years by way of a photo album by that name, so the jump to pinterest was quite natural. And the fact that I could simultaneously share these images with Facebook and Twitter made this an easy transition and enhancement.
More recently, I found myself in the position of shopping for a new desk. As I surfed the Internet and came across items that seemed to fit my need and that I found visually appealing, I found that uploading these images to pinterest was a wonderful way to keep track of the items I discovered. In fact, by creating a “Desk” pinboard, I was able to see the commonalities across the pieces of furniture I pinned and get a better sense of what I was looking for. It also prompted me to expand my search by exploring a new direction. This time around, I did not need to use the handy “pin it” button I had installed a few years back as I discovered that virtually every eRetailer had a pinterest widget incorporated into their website. Clearly pinterest has become a table stakes component of online retailing.
Now that I had this nice compilation of desks, I was able to share my ideas with friends and get their input. In fact, one friend commented that what I really seemed to need was a new desk chair for the table I had been using rather than a new desk, and so my pin board became about “Desks and Chairs.”
Another element that was really wonderful was that when I pinned an item that someone else had also uploaded to pinterest, I was given an option to click through to that person’s pin board, which invariably provided new inspiration and led me to new websites and retailers featured in the pin board I visited.
I’ve now expanded my board from desks to “Home Furnishings” as I explore dresser options as well. So pinterest has continued to be a form of visual exploration and expression. But it has now become a crucial part of my online shopping experience.
I recently overheard someone say that pinterest is not about what people have but about what they wish they had – as if this were some kind of dark secret. I recalled that when Myspace first came into being it gave teenagers an opportunity to portray themselves however they wanted without being limited by the size, look or location of their actual home. In this case, the aspirational nature of pinterest is open, exciting and powerful – just like the pin boards of our youth.
Visit me here – or on Pinterest – for social media tidbits I find share-worthy. Share with me your thoughts and infographics you fancy.
Women dominate Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Zynga. Men dominate Reddit, Google+ and LinkedIn. Net, net, women are heavier users of social media.
So fantastic! But… don’t blink, or this LUMAscape will be out of date. Pinterest? (posted July 2012)
67% of consumers uncomfortable with Facebook’s use of data (July 2012)
Tweet, Tweet, Tweet – 100 million strong — 21 million active in U.S.
Social Media and Recruiting:
I suspect this varies by company, e.g., a customer service/complaint/service oriented company such as Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Bank of America, etc., might rank customer support higher. As Ted Schadler wrote in “Empowered,” customer service has become a form of marketing. Think Zappos and Virgin America.
“You Can’t Market Financial Services to Women:” I am currently exploring the issue of whether financial institutions are or should be marketing, communicating with and developing products and services for women – particularly in the digital and social arena. I found this article and the large number of comments worth sharing.
Originally posted on Snarketing 2.0 by Ron Shevlin:
Before you jump to conclusions — and all over my head — read first, and then let me have it if you’re so inclined.
There’s renewed talk these days in financial services circles about “marketing to women.”
Renewed, because I remember that 11 or 12 years ago, in the height of the dot-com boom, start-ups emerged dedicated to providing financial services to women (I still remember Jennifer Openshaw coming into our offices telling us about the Women’s Financial Network). I haven’t been involved in the financial services industry long enough to know if there was focus on marketing to women (specifically for financial services) before the dot-com era.
Recently, the topic has reappeared a number of times in the past few weeks:
- In a CU Times article titled Marketing to Woman Require Cultural Change, Roger Conant writes that the reason why many credit unions’marketing programs don’t directly speak to women is that…
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As I looked up from my desk today, I saw a news story that caught my eye: DirecTV is threatening to take 26 Viacom channels off the air at midnight. Gee, I thought, I guess it has been three years since they last were at loggerheads with the operators. But that was December, and this is July. That was Time Warner Cable, and this is DirecTV. That was 2008, and this is 2012. Is this story new or an off-network airing of a 2008 episode?
I went to the “Always On” archives to see. What I found was my post from New Year’s Day of 2009. I recall going out the night before preoccupied with whether Viacom would still be on the air when I came home. It was a dramatic moment! Fortunately, as with Y2K, the stroke of midnight did not bring the terrors foretold.
(Ok, so what I mean here is that in 1999, people feared that there would be all kinds of havoc when we entered the new century because our computer systems would get confused – long story – and people prepared for all kinds of hardships including food and water shortages and lack of electricity.)
In any case, my plan this evening – July 10th – was to republish the post below, comment on how this will be a tricky negotiation given that Viacom has had significant ratings problems with Nickelodeon and MTV, reference the fact that Viacom’s stock price is vulnerable to adverse news given these ratings problems, discuss whether these standoffs have become more common, more public, or simply more on my radar screen, and call it a night.
Given that I had an image of the Sponge Bob ad from 2008, I decided to grab one from this summer’s dispute. That is where the differences became apparent. The Viacom ads – at least the ones I found – are simple and slick and use Comedy Central rather than Nickelodeon brands. Somewhat interesting.
But what really struck me was DirecTV’s website. Clearly planned well in advance, the site maps out DirecTV’s side of the story including a heartfelt video message from the company’s CEO Mike White. The ability for television programmers and operators to communicate more directly, personally and interactively with their audiences and customers makes 2012 quite different from 2008 – even though the key sound bites: “Viacom wants too much money,” “DirecTV/Time Warner Cable is taking your channels away from you” may sound the same.
Who”s the Enemy? Who’s the Friend? - January 1, 2009
Cable operators and TV affiliates complain when programmers put content online. Programmers put content online because that is where viewers are going. Music producers ignored this “where I want it, when I want it” trend, seeking to protect their business model, and were leapfrogged into impending demise by iTunes. NBC Universal cites Hulu as a huge success story, but CEO Jeff Zucker fears that the web will turn “analog dollars” into “digital pennies.” Online ads may garner high CPMs and may be growing at rapid rates, but they are still dwarfed by broadcast.
Viacom, owner of MTV Networks, has for years sought to create a “360 degree” media presence that hinges upon the Internet. They now have a huge army of digital employees. Cable operators complain that hits like “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” are available in long form on Hulu. But who is benefiting now?
Viacom is asking for a 25 cent increase in monthly subscriber fees (25 cents more per subscriber per month) from Time Warner Cable across 18 Viacom networks. Yesterday, a crawler at the bottom of the screen for each of these networks warned of an impending blackout at midnight. (I rushed home at 1:20am to see the blank screens, but alas no MTV Armageddon.)
Now I watch Comedy Central more consistently than any other non-premium cable network (I love my Showtime – twisted as it may be), and my loyalty to the two programs above is on par with that for broadcast network programming such as “60 Minutes” – most other programming (“Eli Stone,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Ugly Betty”) comes and goes. I am proud and embarrassed to say that I get most of my news from Mr. Stewart and, to some extent, Mr. Colbert. So, what will I do if Viacom goes dark? I don’t envision doing much.
First, I don’t watch any of the other MTVN networks. I used to admire Viacom for its segmentation strategy, i.e., different networks for different age demos, but now what that means — for me as a single New Yorker, at least — is that I watch only one of their networks. And, as mentioned above, the two programs I count on are available on Hulu. In fact, Time Warner Cable is promoting to its subscribers where they can access Viacom programming online should it go dark on TWC. So, to whose advantage is the online platform now? Ironically, Viacom has made itself less indispensable to TWC – at least in the short term.
It reminds me a bit of our strategies in the middle east. We train the enemy of our enemy, even though that force was or could become our direct enemy. A bit of an extreme comparison, perhaps. But the question remains – to whom is the Internet a greater threat and for whom is it a greater advantage? Programmers? Distributors? Both? Neither?
Business minds around the world have not yet come up with a way to turn the enormous value of the Internet into a tangible, substantial monetary value. True, digital broadcasts of the Olympics, of SNL (Tina Fey) and of prime time programming do drive stronger TV viewing of these programs — something that was not necessarily anticipated. But, what is the long term business model? How can the television industry identify and transition to a new business paradigm? And, how will they accomplish this in light of existing carriage contracts and – even more specifically — Most Favored Nation (MFN) clauses that make change even more cumbersome?
Product placement has become to video what social media is to media. It is intrinsic to its fabric. It has become second nature. It has become indiscernible. And that is why I continue to enjoy observing and calling out the placements I spot. Here is my third installment. (Stay tuned for more.)
- Lorax: The movie “Lorax” has 70 tie-in partners.
- Colbert and Wheat Thins: Colbert coins the term “Sponsortunity” on an episode in which he reads at length from the branding memo for “Wheat Thins” that only someone in brand management could have written. A real treat and must-see for those in marketing.
- Diet Coke: Diet Coke seems to have used product placement in its own ad (“Not All Stars Appear On Screen”) during the Oscars. The commercial shows the evolution of a film from script to production with cameo appearances by Diet Coke cans, e.g., in the hands of the writers and those producing the film and placed on the shelves of the door to the sound stage.
- Apple: I find it so interesting to see which programs use Apple computers but cover up the otherwise highly visible Apple on the back of each device. Example: Two and a Half Men. Clearly, the producers like the aesthetic and how it fits with Ashton’s character, but, I guess they did not strike a deal with Apple, so they cover up the fruit. Other shows go all the way – do they get paid for that? In Showtime’s “House of Lies,” the consultants use Lenovo Think Pads. I would expect no less (and it makes me cringe a little when I think back to my pre-Mac years).
I finally spent an evening (ok late night) playing with Pinterest, and I can see why it’s so addictive. So many beautiful images. It’s visual decadence and indulgence.
It’s uplifting. A great way to spend half an hour… or more. It’s also extremely easy to use with an overall positive vibe (or tone, as Pinterest would say). People are sharing things they find uplifting or attractive or thought provoking, in a light hearted way. As of now, no disturbing images. And wonderful production quality. I wonder how they control for that. Images come from the Internet, so they’re not really user generated – though they are user curated. That maintains this highly polished experience.
But what’s especially nice – it’s all about the details – is the email you get when you sign up: “Hi karenlevine,” it says, “YOU are the newest member of Pinterest, a community to share collections of things you love. We’re excited to have you as a member and can’t wait to see what you pin.” Now that’s just nice.
Twitter, of course, is also addictive, but in a different way. On Twitter, I find myself almost unhealthily aware of how many followers I have. Am I loved??? Am I respected? It’s like they days when you would come home and rush to see whether you had voicemails.
Every time I post something on Twitter, I watch to see if it leads to more followers – in that vast community of hundreds of millions of people I don’t know. Someone out there shares a topic I am interested in and felt that what I had to say merited following me.
Of course, I also look to see whether I have been retweeted, the ultimate compliment. Or retweeted my multiple people, a real head rush. And then there are the responses. The exchanges you have with someone you don’t know at all. At social media week, it was truly fun to watch people who had somehow ended up following or corresponding with each other meet in person. And because the avatars are typically photos, it makes it that much easier.
Last night on Chelsea Lately, Reese Witherspoon admitted that she “doesn’t get” social media. Twitter, she said, “scares me.” And, although she knew she had a Facebook page, she thought, upon Chelsea’s suggestion, that the address is likely www.reesewitherspoon.com. (It isn’t.)
This adds credence to Terri Li’s estimation during a Social Media Week panel entitled “The New Ghostwriter” that 4/5 of celebrity twitter feeds are ghostwritten. Terri is the Chief Operating Officer of Bre.ad. It’s no surprise, of course, that Reese does not manage her own Facebook page. However… the point of this comment, and the part that is (ironically) interesting is that Reese exclaimed in the next sentence that she LOVES pinterest.
On another Social Media Week panel, Jon Steinberg, the president of buzzfeed said of pinterest: “I think it’s going to be one of the most powerful business models after Google.” Wow, that’s big. What happened to the days when social media and other sites took years to figure out how to monetize themselves? In fact, Google itself took 5 years before hitting the lottery.
Images below: reesewitherspoon.com (top) and Reese’s Facebook page (bottom)
Each day, geolocation has a unique impact on my life as I watch the way it influences my city, myself, and increasingly, my world. A few months after joining foursquare in 2010, I decided to keep a journal of my new life with geolocation.
You have now entered Part VI this ongoing tale – tracking the personal, sociological and historic milestones associated with the rapidly growing service/game/application. Click on the Geolocation tab for the full story or check my archives for Parts I, II, III, IV and V.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Eureka! I’ve rediscovered specials and – in a way – trending on FourSquare. And, in the process, I happened upon a tie in with Groupon. It’s all so incestuous, these frenemies. In the images below, please note: (a) “Special” next to my local designer pizza joint Freddie and Pepper’s - tied in with Groupon (b) little person image next to the Beacon that shows that 12 people have checked in (c) This is new to me – “Show” icon next to the Beacon. I’ll have to investigate that further. Something GetGlue-ish???
Just arrived home from a phenomenal meal at a restaurant in Chelsea called Westville – an amazing meal thanks to all the people who left me tips on foursquare, from the scores of them who recommended the four market sides for $14 to a non anonymous stranger named Frank, who recommended the chocolate pecan pie. My friend Nancy and I thank you all.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
It seems that my taste in primetime television is on par with other GetGlue users – and that the app (which is not actually geolocation but was initially positioned as the foursquare for people who stay home..) is gaining serious traction. I checked into “New Girl” along with 7,173 other viewers and joined 14,682 other Glee fans when I checked into that show. I watched both via DVR. Keep you eye on this one.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Have you checked out Square’s Card Case app. You should. If only to experience the art of what’s possible. You can pay for things by simply giving your name to the retailer.
Ok, so I’m working my way through Mary Meeker’s 2011 Internet trends and discovering all kinds of treats and terms along the way. Many of which are mobile, and many of which are location based. (I’ve even adopted a new phrase: “Geosocial networking.” Nice.) Here’s one I find intriguing: Shopkick. And here’s what they have to say about themselves:
“shopkick gives you awesome deals and rewards simply for walking into your favorite stores. You can collect your kicks™ rewards at millions of stores in America, and great deals at many of the top national retailers.
Collect walk-in rewards: Have you ever gotten rewarded simply for walking into stores – yes, just for visiting? Now you can collect boatloads of kicks™ in the kicks Reward Program and unlock awesome exclusive deals at your favorite stores. Just walk into 1,300 Best Buy stores in all 50 states, and hundreds of Target stores, Macy’s, American Eagle, Sports Authority, Crate&Barrel, West Elm, Wet Seal and the largest Simon malls! Open the shopkick app on your iPhone or Android phone in the entrance area, and wait for a few seconds. Your shopkick app will reward you instantly. shopkick is adding more stores in more cities every month.
Get exclusive deals: Discover and unlock awesome deals in the shopkick app at dozens of national stores, many of them are exclusively offered to shopkick users only.
Collect scan rewards: Collect additional kicks rewards by scanning barcodes of featured products with your phone at 250,000 stores across the United States.
Redeem your kicks™ for rewards! Get rewards like iTunes gift cards, restaurant vouchers, Best Buy/Target/Macy’s/American Eagle/Sports Authority instant gift cards, Facebook Credits, movie tickets, or if you go all out, a 3D 55″ Sony Bravia HDTV or a cruise around the world! And if you want to change the world, donate your kicks to 30 different causes!”
Friday, November 18, 2011
The next (current) phase in location based services is Near Field Communication (NFC). (I call it a LBS because the two devices need to be near each other.) Here’s how wikipedia defines NFC:
NEAR FIELD COMMUNICATION, or NFC, allows for simplified transactions, data exchange, and wireless connections between two devices in proximity to each other, usually by no more than a few centimeters. It is expected to become a widely used system for making payments by smartphone in the United States. [Gosh, it seems like decades ago that I read about Japan doing this. Oh right, it was. It was commonplace as long ago as early 2006 when I did my first mobile study for BusinessWeek.] Many smartphones currently on the market already contain embedded NFC chips that can send encrypted data a short distance (“near field”) to a reader located, for instance, next to a retail cash register. Shoppers who have their credit card information stored in their NFC smartphones can pay for purchases by waving their smartphones near or tapping them on the reader, rather than using the actual credit card. Co-invented by NXP Semiconductors and Sony in 2002, NFC technology is being added to a growing number of mobile handsets to enable mobile payments, as well as many other applications.
And, here are some of the applications (by applications, I mean uses) – again, from wikipedia:
(1) Social Networking
NFC simplifies and expands social networking options:
- File Sharing: Tap one NFC device to another to instantly share a contact, photo, song, application, video, or website link.
- Electronic business card: Tap one NFC device to another to instantly share electronic business cards or resumes.
- Electronic money: To pay a friend, you could tap the devices and enter the amount of the payment.
- Mobile gaming: Tap one NFC device to another to enter a multiplayer game.
- Friend-to-friend: You could touch NFC devices together to Facebook friend each other or share a resume or to “check-in” at a location.
(2) Bluetooth and WiFi Connections
NFC can be used to initiate higher speed wireless connections for expanded content sharing.
- Bluetooth: Instant Bluetooth Pairing can save searching, waiting, and entering codes. Touch the NFC devices together for instant pairing.
- WiFi: Instant WiFi Configuration can configure a device to a WiFi network automatically. Tap an NFC device to an NFC enabled router.
NFC expands eCommerce opportunities, increases transaction speed and accuracy, while reducing staffing requirements. A Personal identification number (PIN) is usually only required for payments over $100 (in Australia) and £15 (in UK).
- Mobile payment: An NFC device may make a payment like a credit card by touching a payment terminal at checkout or a vending machine when a PIN is entered.
- PayPal: PayPal may start a commercial NFC service in the second half of 2011.
- Google Wallet is an Android app that stores virtual versions of your credit cards for use at checkout when a PIN is used.
- Ticketing: Tap an NFC device to purchase rail, metro, airline, movie, concert, or event tickets. A PIN is required.
- Boarding pass: A NFC device may act as a boarding pass, reducing check-in delays and staffing requirementsFr.
- Point of Sale: Tap an SmartPoster tag to see information, listen to an audio clip, watch a video, or see a movie trailer.
- Coupons: Tapping an NFC tag on a retail display or SmartPoster may give the user a coupon for the product.
- Tour guide: Tap a passive NFC tag for information or an audio or video presentation at a museum, monument, or retail display (much like a QR Code).
(4) Identity documents
NFC’s short range helps keep encrypted identity documents private.
- ID card: An NFC enabled device can also act as an encrypted student, employee, or personal ID card or medical ID card.
- Keycard: An NFC enabled device may serve as car, house, and office keys.
- Rental Car and hotel keys: NFC rental car or hotel room keys may allow fast VIP check-in and reduce staffing requirements.
The future (or past…) is here.
Sunday, December 4th, 2011
I’ve checked into the Central Park Tennis Center 88 times and into my apartment building 726 times.
Wednesday, December 7th, 2011
On Monday of this week, Gowalla was acquired by Facebook. That’s huge. What impact will this have on foursquare?
Friday, January 13, 2012
The American Express tie-in with Foursquare has been simplified and is quite nice. When you check into a participating location, you are notified of an AMEX special. If you use your AMEX card there, you get a $10 credit on your statement. Nice. I’ve used it at a restaurant and a nail salon. It’s a good promotion because it encourages you to use your AMEX card to pay – at the time and point of purchase. Moreover, it gives you an incentive to spend at least $10, a requirement I met easily with my yummy chicken parmesan and lovely pedicure. What will be especially valuable is to use it for an $11 manicure…
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