Meeting of the Minds webcasts

Meeting of the Minds will feature a world-class group of professors from leading business schools, assembled to share their thoughts and observations from experience in the boardrooms and the classrooms of the world about how marketers can better demonstrate the value marketing creates for shareholders.

Now hurry and sign-up for these free webcasts starting at the end of October and running through till July 2010.

Marketing en de strijd tegen hebzucht

Marketeers der Lage Landen!

Wat vinden wij hier nou van? Inmiddels is het vijfde deel verschenen van Jan Bunt’s schotschrift “Welzijnsmarketing en de strijd tegen hebzucht” en het blijft oorverdovend stil. Ver van mijn bed show? Gaat het allemaal zo lekker in onze dagelijkse marketingpraktijk? Vinden wij Bunt’s aanklacht onzin? Academisch geneuzel? Teveel tekst en te weinig plaatjes?

Is het niet zo dat verreweg de meerderheid van ons marketeers dagelijks te maken hebben met een schizofrene werkdag? Irreële budgetten met onhaalbare targets in vage markten. Afschuiven van de schuld naar anderen binnen de eigen organisatie en/of keihard werkende externe leveranciers. Geloof je nog in je eigen werk? Heb je er nog plezier in? Ben je trots op wat je presteert? Of gaat het alleen nog om lijfsbehoud?

Wat doe jij eraan om ‘the real marketing’ weer op de agenda te krijgen? Welke problemen ondervind je daarbij? Hoe goed lukt het om intern duidelijk te maken dat de keizer geen kleren aan heeft? Wat zijn de belemmeringen?

Uit het bovenstaande mag blijken dat ik het volledig eens ben met Bunt. Wat mij betreft maakt het Europese of Amerikaanse besturingsmodel niks uit. We zijn als marketing het spoor bijster. Er bestaat geen relatie meer tussen opgelegde doelstellingen (de ‘heilige’ spreadsheets van Finance gezeten in de kamer naast de directie / RvB) en de werkelijkheid van de organisatie (onvoldoende kwalitatieve / kwantitatieve middelen), de te bedienen markt (is er überhaupt wel voldoende vraag naar product / dienst om target te kunnen halen) en de noodzakelijke tijd om beoogde doelen effectief / efficiënt te behalen.

We hebben onszelf als marketeers ook veel te verwijten. Zo niet alles. We hebben ons het kaas van het brood laten eten. Allerlei oorspronkelijke functies binnen marketing zijn verzelfstandigd met eigen doelen en en eigen budgetten. (Maak maar eens een turflijstje binnen je eigen organisatie. Hoe zit het met sales (binnen- buitendienst), klantenservice, website, social media, DM, telemarketing, email, enz. Waar zit de integratie en samenhang? Wie is er nog verantwoordelijk voor de klant?)

Ik ben erg benieuwd of jullie ook vinden dat marketing ‘fucked up’ is. En nog belangrijker; hoe kunnen we het tij keren? Trots werkend binnen gezonde, solide bedrijven met tevreden afnemers en onderaan de streep gezond geld verdienend welke de continuïteit waarborgt.

5 reasons marketers hate web analytics

The continuing theme in the above reasons why some marketers seem to hate web analytics is inertia. Many companies suffer from complacency — folks not wanting to make a fuss, not wanting to get at the real root of things. (I have heard web analytics called “the smoking gun” that you can bring to either creative, editorial, or IT depending on the measurement.) This reveals the real strength — and weakness — of web analytics in general. Here is the link.

Emperor’s new cloths torn apart

I am completely and utterly amazed that people can get away with such BS and even get paid for it! Watch for yourself and then read how the bogus is dismantled by following this link to Anna O’Brien’s blog “Random acts of data”.

Let Ricardo Semler into your DNA

Ricardo Semler is one of my greatest inspirations. Here he presents at MIT about leadership and what it is all about. Also look him up over at Wikipedia. Read his books and read articles on him. Get him into your DNA. This is a man in his own class.

Hooray for the data ninjas – NYTimes.com

Acknowledgement for statisticians is on the rise. The world of tomorrow is theirs. Every profession has to deal with massive sets of data so you better come prepared. Tom Davenport recently wrote a book on this topic as well by the title “Competing on Analytics”. Treat statisticians as princes and princesses; they will determine the future of organisations.  For Today’s Graduate, Just One Word – Statistics – NYTimes.com.

Never the twine of thinking, saying, doing shall…

Last week I read this interesting post by Luis García de la Fuente at his blog titled “Why Social Media May Never Work as a marketing channel.”

He cites the following passage from a post at Opposableplanets.com :

In the age of social networks we find ourselves coming under a vast grid of surveillance – of permanent visibility. The routine self-reporting of what we are doing, reading, thinking via status updates makes our every action and location visible to the crowd. This visibility has a normative effect on behavior (in other words we conform our behavior and/or our speech about that behavior when we know we are being observed).

and follows up with this questioning:

That´s exactly what I think. And that´s because many marketing studies and surveys doesn´t work properly: people know they are being observed, so they say what they think they are expected to say.

What part of social media conversations or blogs are really spontaneous (that means original, and therefore valuable) and what part are just ‘mirrors’ in front of mirrors…???

Initially I agree that using Social Media has a normative effect on our behavior and that it is always very hard to really know the customer through market research and questionnaires. In general customers don’t say what they do and they don’t do what they say.

This is something marketing always had to deal with since the fifties. Through trial and error one could create a proxy of what was working in the market, albeit with hindsight. But then along with lower prices on computers came databases in the eighties loaded with facts on customer behavior. One could now clearly see customers ‘walk their talk’ and ‘putting their money where their mouth is’. Variables (i.e. offerings, channels used, price)  in a marketing program could now be tested and measured very accurately.

The $64.000 question that still remained unanswered was to know what the customer will do tomorrow. To the rescue came the technology of datamining. By using complex algorithms it became possible to predict the future behavior of customers. The biggest benefit of this technology is that one does not have to think up the marketing variables that will have the most influence on the future (profitable!) behavior that marketers are looking for. Given the ROI variables of a marketing campaign the marketer gets a list of customers ranked by probability of response and a cut-off point on the list where profits peak. Each next address being used means profits diminish. Traditional marketers find this very hard to grasp. They are so hard-wired on sales, volume and share of market that they can not make the mind shift to thinking in profits and that there is an optimum where one should stop.

Now getting back to Luis’ post. From a business perspective it isn’t necessary (economically viable) anymore to understand your customers the way that was required in the ‘older’ days. On the other hand, from an intellectual standpoint (or for the fact that we are sociable animals that love to watch each other),  it remains interesting to get a grasp on society by pondering the questions of how and why. To be or not to be is still the question. Although being fake in these digital times seems to be an acceptable alternative as well.