Borrowing fame

Using Customer Data to Find New Profit Streams at Fox Networks and American Apparel

When I started my marketing career as an account executive at Ogilvy, we focused on advertising campaigns, but I was quickly drawn to direct marketing, starting with the mailings which Compaq was sending their customers. I enjoyed analyzing the data we gathered. When I left Ogilvy for Service Corporation International, I was thrilled to discover we could create entire new lines of business based on customer data analytics. Tq150824gdFor customers who had purchased funeral prearrangements, we offered estate planning, prepaid legal services, and senior fitness programs. They began to see SCI as a resource for their immediate future, not just their family's support after their passing. Marketing departments are often seen as 'overhead expense,' but this profit-seeking practice is one of the most tangible ways we can contribute to the success of our enterprises. 

ClickZ: How American Apparel is Moving to Value-Driven Data Analytics, 2015-Aug-12 by Susan Kuchinskas

According to [Chief Digital Officer Thoryn] Stephens, the lifetime value of a customer is an important metric, but it's not necessarily the most revealing. A former executive at Fox Networks, Tillster and Beachbody, he recounted how Fox used Adobe analytics to understand how to drive video ad starts and views of long-form video. It came up with four segments: "Foxaholics," casual watchers, international viewers and passive users.

Here's where the data versus insights story got interesting. While passive users seemed to be the least valuable because they didn't watch video or see ads, further analysis showed that these people used Fox's schedules to find out what to watch. That data helped justify billions of dollars' worth of agreements with Fox's distribution partners.

"This was a major epiphany for the business," Stephens said. Fox then segmented these users and showed them a home page with a more prominent schedule.


Innovations in loyalty from Lyft and Uber

Fast-growing startups can spin out all types of innovations. Some work, some don't. For most of us, it's a matter of following along and copying what works.  IStock_000017373886XSmall

Fortune: Starbucks and Lyft partner to give rewards to drivers and riders, 2015-Jul-22 by Kia Kokalitcheva

Retaining drivers is a critical front in the riding hailing wars. Both Lyft and Uber have used aggressive tactics to poach each other’s drivers through big cash rewards. Simple things like letting passengers tip their drivers through the app with Starbucks “stars,” or points, can help drivers feel more appreciated by Lyft.

With that said, Uber has forged several of its own partnerships including one that lets Capital One credit card holders get $25 in free ice cream delivered to their doorstep this week. Another with Spotify lets passengers in certain cars play disc jokey on the car stereo from their smartphones.

As part of the partnership with Lyft, Starbucks said it will also “explore” ways to provide transportation for Starbucks employees to and from work in one test market, although it didn’t provide additional details. Lyft has already entered the work transportation market, however, with the launch last year of a program for employers to provide credits to their employees for work-related rides.


How the new Whitney Museum helps us figure out what a museum means

I've always loved being in museums. Back in college, I thought I'd like to work in them. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to intern in a few before I left graduate school. For the advertising business. Also a mistake, but I've never regretted leaving the museum world behind. 

Museums are inextricably linked with commerce in art. Curators compete to acquire major works from private collectors who may donate or share the works they've acquired. The job performance of curators is often judged not by the quality of the shows but by their ability to cultivate a strong relationship with independent collectors. 

Tq150510wmArt critic Jerry Saltz is concerned about the relationship between museums, art dealers and artists. He sees museums dabbling not only in the art market, but also in the marketing of art, in the creation of a demand for an artist's work. I agree with him that museums cross the line when they help an artist and dealer increase the value of the artwork or performance. In effect, they are driving up their own expenses. 

He sees the new Whitney sidestepping the temptation by focusing on how art evolves instead of trying to capture highly valued pieces of the art world. Our museums don't have to own major masterpieces to show us what art means. 

Vulture / New York: The New New Museum, 2015-Apr-19 by Jerry Saltz

De Salvo said, “The Whitney is not a building. It’s an idea.” The idea is actually a question, and the question is “What is American art?”


New way to see news

The homepage of BuzzFeed is a real turn-off for me, but this article by Ben Thompson has me sticking with it. It's not dignified or 'nice,' but it's very real and very hard-working. I think that's what I can respect. The writers and editors at BuzzFeed are working very, very hard to communicate all the news that we want to have online. It's a good way to understand mainstream interests, and it's not ephemeral (although the interests are).
IStock_000019694302XSmall 

Stratechery: Why BuzzFeed is the Most Important News Organization in the World, 2015-Mar-3 by Ben Thompson

In short, by not making money from display ads, and by extension deprioritizing page views, BuzzFeed incentivizes its writers to fully embrace Internet assumptions, and just as importantly disincentivizes pure sensationalism. There is no self-editing or consideration of whether or not a particular post will make money, or if it will play well on the home page, or dishonestly writing a headline just to drive clicks. The only goal is to create – or find – something that resonates.


Tips for networking online with people you haven't met

Tq131001sdUsing Twitter and Facebook to create strong relationships with people you've never met is much more challenging than people realize. (LinkedIn is easier because it stays on professional topic 90% of the time.) I once offended someone I really admire by trying to be funny on Twitter. Two years later, I still wince when I think about it, and she offered me no opportunity to apologize... just decided I was a troll. Fortunately, she didn't share her opinion with anyone else (that I can tell). 

Mark Suster has published an excellent list of tips on Inc., linked below, although I don't agree about trying to be funny on Twitter anymore. 

On thing that he doesn't mention is the importance of sharing the good stuff you see. Someone who's working hard to increase their influence deeply appreciates it when you share their work, especially if you add a compliment. 

Inc.: How to Build Online Relationships Into Meaningful Networks, 2015-Jan-26 by Mark Suster

Figuring out how to engage is tricky. You want to be respectful. You want to say something informed. You want to toe the line between friendly public comment and being smothering.


Improving our social media habits with ThinkUp: it works!

Over the holidays I was pleased to see a profile of the ThinkUp service in the New York Times, and I hope the company gets many new subscribers. My chief error in Twitter has been focusing on myself and not sharing enough about the people I admire. Most helpfully, your errors can be reported to you every week or every day until you correct those bad social media habits. I highly recommend the service, and you can track yourself in both Facebook and Twitter for $5/mo. Tq130603dh

NY Times: ThinkUp Helps the Social Network User See the Online Self, 2014-Dec-31 by Farhad Manjoo

[Anil] Dash has been thinking about his behavior on social media for a while. Together with Gina Trapani, the former editor of the blog Lifehacker, he is a co-founder of ThinkUp, a year-old subscription service that analyzes how people comport themselves on Twitter and Facebook, with the goal of helping them become more thoughtful, less reflexive, more empathetic and more professional — over all, better behaved.

In addition to a list of people’s most-used words and other straightforward stats like follower counts, ThinkUp shows subscribers more unusual information such as how often they thank and congratulate people, how frequently they swear, whose voices they tend to amplify and which posts get the biggest reaction and from whom.


Consider the wages of nice

If you're very clever, being nice is a chore. However, when you need to influence people--it's a requirement. I think Penelope has the right approach in the article below: tap into your own good intentions and generosity. It's hard work but it's not less important work. Tq140513sd

Penelope Trunk Careers: 5 Ways to Make People Think You're Nice, 2014-Apr-28 by Penelope Trunk

it turns out that creativity is to McDonalds salad as kindness is to the Big Mac: people always tell market researcher they want a salad at Mc Donald’s, but once they are at the counter and actually ordering food, they order a Big Mac.

Which is to say that I am figuring out new ways to make people think I’m nice, since creative by itself isn’t cutting it.