Friday, January 23, 2009

A government for the people by the people -- whose email address doesn't work?

By now, most people have heard about the new The site launched to coincide with the inauguration and looks great. More modern, clean, good use of video.

Since I have a lot of time lately, I sent them a note volunteering my services in either a professional or pro bono capacity. The note read:

The site looks great! I was recently laid off after leading marketing for Starwood Preferred Guest and all brand interactive strategy for Starwood (My title was VP Starwood Preferred Guest and Brand Interactive Marketing.) I led the development of all of Starwood Hotels brand web sites (,,,, etc) and all of their interactive marketing and social media initiatives.

I love how the new administration is using digital channels. If there is any way for me to help, let me know? I am looking for jobs, but would do some pro bono stuff too if it makes sense. I have attached my resume so you have some context.

What did I get back? A delivery failure! The email address on the site isn't valid. Kudos to the government for trying to be more open and modern in communications methods, but, lets make the feedback mechanisms work!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Marketing to the consumer, or consumering to the Marketer

Loyalty is the greatest thing to happen to marketing in a long time. How so? Most people look at loyalty as the chevron to the right of purchase on a purchase funnel diagram.

Loyalty is the most effective input into marketing that there is. When customers become loyal, not only do they want to repeatedly purchase a product or service, but they want to emotionally invest in it. For proof, look no further than, a frequent traveler bulletin board site.

The people who post on FlyerTalk do it at all hours of the day and night, and go to great lengths to dissect and reverse engineer loyalty programs. My Starbucks Idea launched for people who love Starbucks so much that they want to help build it. REI builds its brand through a coop to drive member participation. So why are brands just now starting to understand the value of their consumers? Why are these brands in the minority?

Brands should solicit input from loyal customers whenever possible. Blogs, forums, social media participation should be cornerstones of marketing efforts. Driving and engaging in the conversation leads to greater emotional investment from the customers which in turn leads to greater product involvement with the company.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Branding: direct response with a longer conversion window

Is it branding? Is it direct response?

Allow me to pose a question. If the ultimate goal of most for-profit companies is to drive sales, is there a real difference between branding and direct response? Isn't the end goal of both to generate more sales? Isn't the real difference the impact and time it takes? For example, someone exposed to a "branding" ad might convert in 3 months because the brand is now top of mind or they had interacted with an ad or a site. Shouldn't that conversion count? Someone exposed to "branding" who becomes a loyalist, will hopefully spend more, increase share of wallet, and become an evangelist thus driving sales from others.

This is where innovation in measurement comes in and needs to play a HUGE role. For example, I would argue that companies should not measure DR and branding separately, but they should measure how they impact each other. Does branding build cookie pools that can be re-targeted with DR? What is the effect that branding has on search queries? Do DR efforts hijack dollars with offers of sales, discounts, etc? These are all things that can now be measured. Holistic measurement is coming and can be done with online programs. Companies should take the time to look at how their marketing is performing together and how programs influence each other. Measuring the traditional way, a program at a time, is not giving anyone a real picture.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Agency of the Future

I think most people would agree that in marketing, we are in an age of specialization. There are agencies for offline advertising, direct response, online, social, media, creative, web 2.0, etc. There is a tremendous opportunity for a new breed of agency, built on a new financial model, to look at Marketing holistically and determine how to use what tactic, at what time, with what message to best engage the consumer. (Some agencies do exist that subscribe to my theory, but they are still of smaller scale.)

Imagine, as a client, writing a brand strategy or a creative brief for a new campaign and seeing all the ways to engage consumers at once; off line and online advertising to drive awareness, DR advertising to drive sales, social networking to give consumers the ability to discuss, and search for all of the above. And of course, a measurement plan that tracks it all as one effort. It might be a dream, but it is becoming more and more possible.

More on this to come, but it was on my mind. I am interested in any comments from people on the topic.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A New Favorite Site

I stumbled across Scribd yesterday while reading someone else's blog. As you can see below, I uploaded my resume, and I am able to embed it in my blog in a much more user friendly way. Not only is it more cleanly presented, but it also allows for a lot of what are now standard sharing tools such as emailing, embedding, etc.

Check it out!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Social Networking: Is it a strategy a tactic, a buzzword or a desert topping?

So much is made out of social media, social networking, social this and social that lately that its tough to get away from it.

The evolution of tools that allow companies to speak directly to their consumers and allows their consumers to speak to each other is incredible. As a marketing person, its like a dream to be able to ask a consumer about something and get an immediate reaction. Not only does it help to optimize marketing, promotional, customer service and product development, but it allows the consumers to feel more intimately involved with the process. Thus (and I love that word) creating evangelism, the holy grail of marketing.

All that being said, should you have a social networking strategy, or a brand strategy of which social networking is a tactic? My opinion? Everything should come out of a brand strategy. Social networking is very valuable when placed with in the right brand context. Social networking for social networking sake has failed many times.

Take a look at your brand and determine the types of communications and vehicles that reenforce your brand's promise and more importantly, the consumer's expectation of your brand. A handmade luxury automaker doesn't make sense on Facebook!

Just one man's opinion.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Love in the time of layoffs, or "hey honey, want to have lunch?"

So, a lot of interesting changes happen when you get laid off. I was excited to spend time with the family. As a working dad, you are never aware of the routines in place when you aren't part of them.

They surprised me. The first morning, at FAMILY breakfast (!) I went around the table and had everyone say what they were doing that day. It didn't make it all the way around!

Then I drove the kids to school. I made them do calisthenics and affirmations (I am smart!) in the car. The next morning, they asked my wife to drive them.

So, I am learning to be at home. That being said, I love it. I am talking to tons of people about tons of things, and its keeping me interested in all of the possibilities out there. Stay tuned, and I plan on posting a lot more!

Shout Out to Harry Joiner

So, I have to send a shout out to Harry Joiner at Harry has never met me but we immediately hit it off. He looked at me as a person, not as a potential pay off, and sent my resume into companies where he knew I would be a great fit, even though they didn't have open positions. If people are looking for someone to help them fill jobs, or just looking to make a great new contact or friend, contact Harry. He also has a great article with great tips for job hunting in the new age. Check it out, reach out to him, and THANKS Harry!!!!!

Another topic for a future post

LOVE in the time of layoffs -- or, how to survive a marriage when you are home all the time in a small house!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Future Topics for Posts

  • Social Networking -- A cool tactic, but exactly that, a tactic
  • Over thinking it all
  • What should we use, what should we watch, and what should we run from
  • What is the next phase of marketing, and is it marketing?
  • The Web, advertising medium, or a medium not for advertising (want fries with that?)
  • Business vs. the consumer
  • Short term vs long term

What would a marketing blog be without my resume?

So here it is. I was laid off in December 2008 (3 weeks ago) and am now searching for an even better marketing position than I had. I specialize in interactive marketing, customer engagement, travel and loyalty although I am open to all verticals, clients and agencies.

This blog is a shameless plug to publish my random thoughts on marketing, to make Google like me, and to help me find a new job and see if I can stimulate thought!