What Does George Clooney Have to Do with Coffee? Nothing and Everything.

george clooney coffeeA visitor at my office bumped into me in the break room. She wanted to make coffee but didn’t know how to work the espresso machine. To be honest, it looks like a machine from space—so many nozzles, buttons, and levers that it can get pretty confusing even for an espresso machine connoisseur. So I lead our office visitor to the cabinet of espresso capsules. She looks at the boxes upon boxes of colorful capsules and then at the machine, putting the two together, and then exclaims, “George Clooney coffee!” She shouted that out to me with so much enthusiasm and pleasure that I was sure that George Clooney himself had magically appeared in the break room. I looked behind my shoulder for good measure.

George-NespressoIf you have kept up with advertisements for espresso, you’d know that George Clooney is one of the many celebrity faces of Nespresso. My office visitor’s excitement and delight over “George Clooney coffee” is a testament to how important marketing and branding is to successfully selling products and services today. Sure you need to have a good value proposition, but without having the right marketing and branding initiatives you probably won’t get the attention of consumers who are already inundated with information and marketing from their phones, tablets, and computers, as well as print and digital media elsewhere. So the takeaway here? Nespresso is getting what they paid for. George Clooney is certainly making a positive impact on their products (at least for female consumers), and hey, he’s not so bad to look at either.


The Evolution of Marketing Data

Marketers are in an ideal position to benefit from today’s data-rich environment. Not only do they have an opportunity to capitalize on the availability of more consumer buying channels but they have easy access to growing data about consumers.  Thanks to the Internet and mobile technology, marketers have a pathway to consumer behavior like never before. They now have a clearer glimpse of consumer behavior and their habits and preferences. With this knowledge, marketers can tailor advertising campaigns and ensure maximum impact.

Yet while marketers seem to have it easy, they actually have a plethora of information to analyze when determining the direction of their marketing and advertising efforts. In fact, according to this week’s reading, From Information to Audiences: The Emerging Marketing Data Use Cases, in 2009 the world produced 5 exabytes, or the equivalent of 25 quadrillion Tweets, every two days. Without even seeing more current research, I think it’s safe to assume that today that number is much higher.

Indeed, marketers have endless data at their fingertips but in order to make the most of this fortuitous situation they will have to develop the right capabilities. In particular, according to the organizations that produced the aforementioned reading, Winterberry Group LLC and the Interactive Advertising Bureau, marketing organizations need to focus on five areas to succeed in this rapidly changing environment: rules-driven integration of disparate data sets; improve their operating infrastructures; build a strong network of data-centric technology and service partners; and establish marketing data governance.

The most interesting part of the reading was within the audience optimization section, where an organization called Catalina Marketing is highlighted as claiming to collect and analyze in-store purchase data covering 80 percent of the U.S. population. This is an incredible feat—hundreds of millions of peoples’ purchased are being studied, including perhaps, yours and mine! Also, this organization is now combining offline and online sales data to help its consumer goods make better choices on their promotional offers—ultimately to improve optimization of their audience.

 Questions to readers:

 -What marketing practices look like they will become standard in the near future (based on technology and growing data about consumers)?

 -How do you use marketing data (whether in your work or for research)?   

Love or Hate: Online Surveys

This week, I am delving deeper into something we all (typically) hate. Surveys. Unless there is an incentive–cash or a chance to win something–or you have a bone to pick with a particular organization related to the survey, you may not be too thrilled to fill out surveys.

I am sure that most people have heard of Survey Monkey and may have even taken one of their surveys at some point in their life. Surveys, whether online or paper-based, can help organizations and companies figure out what they are doing right and where they need to improve. Online surveys can be particularly useful as there are fewer challenges in reaching vast audiences.

Per our blog assignment this week, I located an article (see paragraph three) in an academic journal that made use of online surveys.  In the article, published by the Harvard Business Review, an online survey is the basis for finding out that bribery exists to a high degree in emerging markets. This was obtained by a CEB (former Corporate Executive Board) survey of more than 700,000 employees at multinational companies in over 115 countries over the past five years. Certainly, a polling of more than half a million people around the world would be a nearly impossible feat if this were a paper-based poll.

Thus, online surveys can really help with getting the appropriate number of people, and ensuring that the results are comprehensive. However, on the other hand, since online surveys are anonymous, I wonder how many are authentic? For instance, e-rewards.com allows people to take surveys that they are qualified for (i.e. they meet a marketer’s requirements like age, ethnicity, income level), with the incentive being a small payment. I would think that survey responders may be prone to lying to meet the requirements and their answers would skew the survey results. So my questions this week:

-How can marketers ensure their online surveys are being answered by the right audience?

-How can marketers weed out the survey respondents that look fraudulent?

Wondering How to Properly Use QR Code?

Have you noticed any strange square-shaped mazes affixed to advertisements, displays, or brochures? If so, you’ve most likely come across QR code, or quick response code/quick recognition code, which is increasingly being used across different industries and for diverse purposes. Basically, QR codes represent information, commonly used to store website addresses. Smart phone users with Internet connectivity can capture the code, which is then interpreted into a web address.

To be honest, my organization has been taking advantage of this technology for some time. From corporate annual reports to marketing material, QR codes have been affixed (by our Creative Department) to several documents that I’ve worked closely on. However, I didn’t truly understand the purpose of it until I came across this great slideshow that not only lists practical uses for QR code but demonstrates them with actual examples.

As the slideshow’s creator, Aliza Sherman, points out, QR code has practical uses but as companies try to take advantages of these they make mistakes in the process, such as making the mobile destination non-mobile friendly or requiring the user to log in to a Facebook page to access content. The best part of Aliza’s slideshow is her closing that lists how to do QR the right way, which includes: 1) Determine a mobile-friendly destination 2) Encourage measurable actions 3) Enhance the experience 4) Provide value and 5) Be useful. If I decide to incorporate a QR code into my personal work in the future, I’ll be sure to remember Aliza’s advice.

In the meantime, I’ll keep an eye out for how QR code is being used in everyday media around me. I’m sure that with time, companies will better understand the QR code technology and formulate best practices, which will maximize its usage.