Budweiser marketers at Anheuser-Busch are amazing product performers in their consistent ability to develop and control the brand. If brand=proof of value, is there no better example? While the quality or quantinty of value may be debatable, to those who derive value from the products unquestionably receive their level of perceived (or real) value from Bud time after time. And we could discuss positioning and loyalty effects here, too. Yeah, a billion dollar ad budget helps, but the core question remains: how is your brand performing for you? Would your customers agree?

Speak with you soon. DC


The Fed and Marketing?

It is arguably the most important "P" of the four Ps – pricing. While the Fed jumped in today to fend off what many of us have felt personally for the past couple of months, it’s so interesting to see how Marketing pops up everywhere. At any time. Prices rise to offset higher costs of raw materials (and to hedge against uncertainty in global liquidity), and Marketeers should take notice, regardless of their markets or products. By the way, has anyone seen how fast the prices of milk and eggs have risen compared to our paychecks??? Throw out the focus group results, tear up the usability metrics, and archive the elasticity curve data because in times of FUD, the data just don’t matter. If only I could mobilize and launch my FUD plan, I’d go directly after the consumers most susceptible to FUD – you and me.

So who wins in this crisis? OPEC, of course, by holding supply tight and/or raising prices. What a model. Google, too. Who else? The print and electronic media. Everyone is reading the WSJ and watching CNN.com for the latest news. Want to bet that ad prices arent falling? But honestly, I’m hopeful that Congress can agree on a stimulus package so that I can go out and buy something to do my part, all while considering the other three Ps (namely product, place, and promotion) as I do.

Speak with you soon. DC.


Digital Marketing Trends for 2008

A recent post by Heidi Cohen prompts this entry. While the source of her research isn’t exactly what I'd call Tier 1, the fact that she provided her opinion on the Top Online Marketing Trends for this year is interesting nonetheless. I’ll limit my comments primarily to the “stable” commercial market rather than try to offer an opinion on the ever-changing retail market. To me, the action is in B2B anyways with a need for highly controlled metrics and a keen focus on search marketing and custom emails.

Clearly, the best marketers will drive products and services into the most valuable markets using metrics-based, digital marketing techniques. In my opinion, 2008 will be the year search marketing finally makes it to the masses (ie, small and medium sized businesses). Glad to see I'm not the only one with this view -- for example Ann All thinks:
"Search is the next killer app for the Enterprise."
The tools provided by Google at no cost (combined with a wider distribution of available “Google-savvy” marketers) will once and for all enable SMB to maintain pace with their larger Enterprise competitors. The impact could be dramatic. Especially for Google.

On the search marketing front, it’s also my opinion that one day they will find a way to expand their PPC model into the SEO world. The traffic is 2x the paid traffic in the SEM world, and I can't believe the huge volume of Google Ph.D. talent is oblivious to that fact. Anyone still trying to sort out their SEO plan better move to launch status quickly because the Google cookbook is probably going to change soon. And quite dramatically, I'd imagine.

As for email communication marketing techniques, who could argue that it’s not a core capability of any good marketeer's toolkit? It's easy to do but its hard to do it well; the key to success is message relevancy. Clear. Concise. Compelling. All the rest is SPAM. Sure, you can follow Heidi’s approach and do all the behavioral evaluations and focus grouping if you have time and budget, but the most nimble, and ultimately the most effective, firms already know their customer pain points (as a result of their back-to-basics approach of segmenting and targeting) and already position their products and services with real value propositions to address these concerns. As such, they deliver 10-12 highly relevant emails with subtly modified messages in 90 days with real calls to action that actually make it to inboxes. The predictable flow of qualified leads delivered in return delights their Sales team. And their shareholders.

Go to market and I hope your digital marketing activities provide you results that exceed your 2008 goals!

Speak with you soon. DC


Crazy Joe Davola

I still laugh out loud when I hear Kramer's outburst of "Yo Yo Ma" in one of the best Seinfelds ever. Here's to a happy, prosperous, and safe new year -- market well and sell more. And hopefully your Crazy Joe Davola wont kick you in the head and catch you without your crash helmet on.

Speak with you soon. DC