Tag Archives: communities

Beyond Brand: The Kawartha Dairy Company

The Kawartha Dairy Company, since 1937.

Yes, this is about ice cream. My favourites are strawberry, chocolate, butter pecan and french vanilla.  Here is French Vanilla: 

FRENCH VANILLA: ALL NATURAL. No artificial flavours or colours. Pure bourbon vanilla and eggs give that bold flavours and a sprinkling of vanilla seeds.

Kawartha Dairy has a website, several storefront locations and is distributed throughout Ontario, Canada and notably Metropolitan Toronto. The “Kawarthas” as they are known by, are located northwest of Toronto by about 100 miles. It is cottage country, rural. Lots of forests and lakes. It is also the home of Kawartha Dairy. Every time I eat Kawartha Dairy ice cream it reminds me of the years we spent at the cottage – family, friends, puppies, children. Ice cream that has always been a part of our lives.

No Facebook, no Twitter, no mobile apps, no need to check-in at their stores on FourSquare. All you really need is a scoop, a bowl, some wild blueberries maybe or fresh strawberries or perhaps even some Canadian maple (light amber #1)  syrup as occasional toppings.

Kawartha Dairy. The tastiest ice cream. Beyond a brand.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM

Social Media is a Croc

There’s an awful lot of chit chat on social media networks about Apple’s latest product – the iPad. This is yet another successful product launch and continued revolution that Apple is leading in bringing new technology appliances to the consumer marketplace. It’s absolutely stunning that Apple doesn’t spend a cent on social media yet has garnered an enormous amount of publicity (admittedly good and bad) from people who just can’t help talking about Apple products on the social web. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why Apple doesn’t spend any money advertising on social networks – all of the publicity through Word-of-Mouth from those who desire, own and love to talk about Apple’s products is FREE anyway.

By the way, anyone who purchased Apple shares a few years ago would have made enough money to fund their iApple desires for the next decade…

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM

Marketing Research Mindset: Stop Debating ‘Social’

Yes, look here for answers

Is it research or something else? Social media, Business Intelligence, Customer Relationship Management, Online Communities and Marketing Research (MR) – all are ways to listen and understand customers.

My guess is that MR is filled with the most angst amidst some sort of identity crisis in relation to social media.  Witness this recent piece in Research Magazine:

The survey of marketers, conducted for the IAB by research agency Opinion Matters, found that the most common use of social media was to drive awareness and consideration of a brand, as well as engagement and advocacy. 60% of the firms surveyed said they were using social media for research purposes, but when asked where social media fits in their organisation (selecting all answers that applied from a total of six), only 12% chose research, compared to 73% who chose marketing, 33% who chose PR/communications and 20% who chose ‘other’.

No wonder there is angst. MR isn’t really seen as delivering value when in comes to social media. If you get a migrane just thinking about social media, consider the following possible remedies:

1. Social Media won’t go away but respondents have: While people are giving up land lines and don’t like getting unsolicited mail, they’re opting to express opinion on the Internet in a pure, organic way. Partner with an online monitoring firm and create a new social science.

2. Stop hiring more MR professionals: Instead, hire people who understand the digital space. Marketing Technologists speak to ways in which applications enable the marketing process and the customer experience. Innovate.

3. Clients are buying-in to marketing research online (MROCs) and owned media platforms: In order to deliver incremental perceived value – business insights or new ideas – you must play in the right sandbox when it comes to customer listening.

4. Stop acting like an accounting function : It’s the job of the MR professional to guide the CMO and others, in a brand or customer management role, to see the way forward. Focus on what’s in the cloud and drive the next big idea. Act in real-time.

5. If you try to prove ROI you will die: Ask yourself, how many things does an enterprise do without having to justify with ROI? Do marketing, strategy, HR and finance have to deliver ROI to justify their existence? MR needs to focus on business benefits as the way of knitting together social media across the enterprise. Be the Voice of the Customer.

Leadership is the best way to overcome angst and clears the way for taking ownership. No one will fault you for that.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM

Crowdsourcing: Spoils of a Pyrrhic Victory

Call it the Vegemite effect but you have to wonder when you read press and blog statements such as “…one of the biggest ever crowdsource fails” or “the creative industry embraces crowdsourcing”, (emphasis mine).

Then there are those who think the barbarians are actually at the gate. In a story about “Dewmocracy”, Pepsi’s trial outsourcing of creative to a shop that is selected in part, by consumers, raises alarms for the creative community. Whether or not this will be successful (by what measure, we’ll have to wait and see), the hand wringing seems to be a function of the issue of agency fees, suggesting crowdsourcing and agency fee structures as undergoing ‘experimentation’ as the quality of some creative is being eclipsed by the fees being charged for business value delivered.

Experimentation indeed. Just because one or two agencies decide to build a business model around crowdsourcing (yet to make a rupee of profit) or Mars goes looking for 18-34 year old males to submit videos starring a Snickers bar, it’s all very, very notional at this stage.
Most poignant was Dorritos, who, according to a recent story in AdWeek, was spending money to create awareness but really looking to repurpose adspend dollars. So it’s not really about saving money, it’s about something we’re all familiar with – focus groups. Well, crowdsourcing is about employing one big undifferentiated mass without paying a lot in return for a bunch of ideas that may or may not hit the mark – like being at a advertising roulette table.

Is this simply a case of those with crumbling business models hoping for some magic potion to lift their business out of this advertising depression or are some of us simply overdosing on the nectar of all things social media?

At the end of all this, don’t be surprised if some prolific texting GenY brand manager stands up and says “We need to segment and do some target marketing”. Hard and costly lessons have already been learned: Kraft went back to opinion polling to seek out the ideas of a target consumer market as “Vegemite 2.0” was the laughing stock of the Aussie morning breakfast consumer, thanks to the well-intentioned ideas of the undifferentiated masses.

So before we champion the arrival of crowdsourcing on the advertising world let us heed the words of the Greek King Epirus, who defeated Roman armies at Asculum, in 280 B.C. “One more such victory and we are lost.”

Marketing Research RIP:

[Note: This post was originally featured by the American Marketing Association Marketing Research Conference “Making Business Sense of What’s Next”.  This post was  in response to the question, “What will marketing research look like in the year 2029”.]

These are times of transformation for industry that is reputed to see the world through a rear-view mirror rather than drive marketing innovation.  This current recession or depression is a good time to us to rethink, retool and re-launch. So here are a few things to think about when going to your next client meeting:

Mobile and the Generation ‘Effect’: Verizon just announced that it is getting out of the land line business by 2012. Telecom industry analysts have suggested that the general public will have completely disconnected from land lines by 2020. Most consumers aged 16-29 currently do not have a landline subscription and are one of the most difficult target markets to contact for survey research. If you think your teenage son or daughter are hard to reach because of their preoccupation with mobile devices and the Internet, just imaging how mobile the world will be in 20 years. Focus groups won’t be held in a stuffy room with one-way mirrors, fancy sandwiches and a drone of a moderator.

Community Building: While some say “the consumer now controls the brand”, brands have commissioned companies like www.communispace.com to establish brand communities – online aggregations of consumers who have a specific loyalty, interest and adherence to a brand. Communispace has built over 300 online brand communities since for clients such as HP, Kraft, Reebok, Starwood and GSK. Brands use communities for direct feedback on product experience, innovation, service ideas and value augmentation allocating dollars that would normally go to marketing research budgets.

Social Media Monitoring Platforms:  Five years ago the marketing research industry scoffed at such listening platforms. I can say that from first hand experience having held a corporate development role for a technology startup that was looking to the MR industry for capital. The biggest objection that I heard was that social media monitoring ‘wasn’t market research’. While I never suggested that it was, social media monitoring is a way to passively listen and quantify brand conversations that consumers choose to undertake and post on the Internet. This would have been like saying that digital advertising wasn’t true advertising since it did not use traditional creative, media and pricing models. Aptly, Digitas recently referred to the Internet as ‘one large focus group”. Indeed.

Some early adopters, notably TNS/Kantar, Nielsen and J.D. Power & Associates took the early lead in making acquisitions. In turn they gained competitive advantage in being able to meet emerging client requirements: provide a capability to monitor and understand the nature of online consumer content, coined as WOM – Word of Mouth. WOM was coined by WOMMA, Word Of Mouth Marketing Association. WOMMA was founded by Andy Sernovitz, www.damniwish.com  one of the nation’s most influential marketing and social media observers. Public Relations agencies, consultancies and OEM’s are also partnering with companies like www.radian6.com and www.sysomos.com  in order to have their own capability to monitor brands and emerging consumer trends.

Big Brands/ Big Digital Branding: Pepsi, Ford, Dell, NCR, General Mills are going digital or at least migrating in that direction when it comes to online consumer engagement. Ford for example, invests heavily in social media to manage, monitor, measure and position Ford as the most “social” automotive manufacturer. Pepsi for their part is using various social media platforms to engage consumers while Dell and Marriott are generating revenues from social media platforms. All are using social media to ‘sense and respond’ to customer requirements at time bypassing traditional marketing research as the need to ‘real time/on demand’ consumer feedback grows.

Advertising Agency networks: WPP for example now has a portfolio that is roughly 50% digital. The WPP network is in the process of consolidating the back offices of it four major traditional ad agencies that are, one, unnamed WPP executive was known to have said “dying profitably”.  As more advertising dollars go Digital so are the dollars allocated away from traditional marketing research – the Social Media listening industry has been pegged at $150M according for Forrester. That’s up from $0 in 2003. Publicis, MDC, Ominicom, Havas have all stocked up on digital companies in the past 3 years.

Marketing Research:  By contrast the market research industry has been consolidating for the past 10 years to the point where the top 10 global MR firms own about a 40% share of revenues. In the past 3 years, revenues have barely kept up with inflation and have actually declined in 2008 along with the drop in ad spend. In fact, according to the 2008 Honomicl50 report, with the exception of 2004, the US MR industry has not kept up with the rate of inflation since 2001 – the dawn of social media.

Our current economic recession has also seen some client companies completely eliminated their entire global MR spend – and you know who they are. There are exceptions: Comscore has grown 400% in the past 5 years according to Inside Research. Comscore focuses on measuring in the digital world. Makes sense as digital ad spend will rise by 9% next year, according to GroupM and mobile will rise by 19%. By contrast, traditional ad spend in seeing drops of 23-35% in the US, depending on the industry sector – not good for the MR industry. Moreover, WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell sees digital has having a 20% share of marketing budgets by 2014. Haven’t heard the same about marketing research.

Food for thought or a call to action for the industry? You decide. As Yogi Berra aptly put it, “When you get to a fork in the road, take it”. The clock is ticking…

 Ted Morris ©4SceensMedia  Oct. 3, 2009