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21 posts from April 2005

The Tug of War between Consumers and Marketers

As a marketing manager using direct marketing techniques, I'm very sensitive to respecting how my prospects and customers want to be contacted. But it's not possible for me to 'leave them alone' as much as they say they prefer. As respectfully as possible, I have to intrude into their activities, or my business would grow at an unacceptably slow rate. So there's constant pressure on me to make my messages as valuable as possible, to make sure that I never waste my prospects' time.

Yankelovich has just completed a new research study that shows how ambivalent people feel about advertising. David Kaplan of Mediapost has an excellent quote from Yankelovich president J. Walker Smith:

Link: MediaPost: Consumers [say] We'd Pay Extra for Better Ad Techniques by David Kaplan.

"Consumers are anxious to be engaged by marketers in a more satisfying and compelling way," Smith said. "Marketing resistance is not a desire to stop shopping altogether. Consumers just want a better way to interact with marketers. Smarter, technologically empowered, time-starved consumers want marketing that shows more respect for their time and attention. Consumers don't feel that the current practice of marketing fulfills this requirement."

Growing off the Face of the Map

I never know quite what to make of Global Province. It doesn't look like a blog, but it feels like a blog. Its wide reaching observations aren't always news, but I still check in every now and then. Today I learned that innovation is flourishing in Turkey. The leader of one of its leading business families just appointed his niece to succeed him. It does seem to be a society embracing change:

Link: Agile Companies.

Turkey, incidentally, is yet another of what we like to call “Falling-off-the-Map” countries re-inventing the world economy. Developing economies, as we have pointed out, are turning in twice the growth of the developed nations, and, increasingly, are accounting for some of the most strident innovation in business products and processes. The Turkish economy grew 8% in 2004. “This rosy picture owes a lot to the unprecedented political stability that Turkey has enjoyed since the AK party, led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan … came to power in 2002….”

Winery Launches an Authentic White Lie

I always want to reward marketers who "get it," who show real authenticity by identifying with their customers. So I want to call your attention to a new wine called White Lie, originally reported by Jerry Shriver in USA Today. (You may have to pay for access to the original article.) Tim Manners has his usual insightful analysis at the link below.

Reveries - marketing insights and ideas

White Lie, from Beringer Blass Wine Estates,... [is] touted "as the first in a line of wines 'designed by women for women.'" The line "will have lower-than-normal calories, sugar and alcohol and will cost just under $10." That's achieved by using younger grapes with less sugar in them.

Whether it's possible a younger-grape wine tastes any good is anybody's guess, although Tracey Mason, one of White Lie's creators, says it's yummy: "We are delivering a wine that tastes amazing, but still cheats a little. You don't have 14.5 percent alcohol; you have 9.8 percent, and it has 97 calories instead of 125."

As for the name, she says it was chosen "because one way women use wine is as a conversation starter, and consumers responded positively to the name." The packaging includes corks imprinted with various "white lies" (e.g., "It's not you, it's me"). "The package is definitely skewed female," says Stacey, "But it's more edgy and creative than overly girly." White Lie launches in May with about 100,000 cases distributed through grocery stores "in a dozen states," with a national rollout expected to follow.

Sincerity Doesn't Make You Right

I'm not sure if this originates with Jon Carroll...time will tell. But it's very funny and worth reading all the way through. I excerpted the part that made me laugh the hardest.

Link: JON CARROLL's April 8 column in the San Francisco Chronicle

We are Unitarian Jihad, and our motto is: "Sincerity is not enough." We have heard from enough sincere people to last a lifetime already. Just because you believe it's true doesn't make it true. Just because your motives are pure doesn't mean you are not doing harm. Get a dog, or comfort someone in a nursing home, or just feed the birds in the park. Play basketball. Lighten up. The world is not out to get you, except in the sense that the world is out to get everyone. Brother Gatling Gun of Patience notes that he's pretty sure the world is out to get him because everyone laughs when he says he is a Unitarian. There were murmurs of assent around the room, and someone suggested that we buy some Congress members and really stick it to the Baptists. But this was deemed against Revolutionary Principles, and Brother Gatling Gun of Patience was remanded to the Sunday Flowers and Banners committee.

Thanks to Sharon Brogan of Watermark for the sighting.

Betting on the Future

I'd heard about the Long Bets foundation, but I had never visited the web site until today. It's a lot of fun. Some famous people have made predictions about the future, such as "At least one person alive in 2000 will still be alive in 2150." (Peter Schwartz) and someone enjoys going on record against them.

Betting is purely 'on the record' because the money on both sides is automatically donated to the foundation: All Long Bets stakes are invested in a special-purpose Endowment portfolio called the Farsight Fund run by Capital Research and Management Company, based in Los Angeles, California.

Stewart Brand's Perspective on Environmentalism

Want to stretch your mental horizons? The Founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, and one of the leading minds of our generation, Stewart Brand, takes a controversial stand on nuclear power, biogenetics, and more. For dessert, click on the Forum link and see some very telling responses.

Link: Environmental Heresies by Stewart Brand, May 2005 Technology Review

Within the environmental movement, scientists are the radical minority leading the way. They are already transforming the perspective on urbanization and population growth. But their radicalism and leadership will have to increase if humanity is to harness green biotech and step up to its responsibilities for the global climate. The romantics are right, after all: we are indivisible from the earth’s natural systems.

Google Enters the Video Distribution Business

Google is launching a new service to help creative people get their videos to a wider audience. Not only can they store their videos on Google servers, but they will have access to tools to help them protect the copyright and promote viewership. Better creative lifestyles through technology, once again.

Link: MediaPost by Gavin O'Malley

IN A MOVE THAT COULD greatly accelerate the growth of consumer-generated media, especially the kind that would compete with TV, Google Thursday confirmed plans that would enable any user to upload digital video files to its servers, making them available to any Web surfer to preview, play and download.