Based on a lot of vending machine news, I need to update the Vend Trend spot I created for PSFK.*
The trend continues to unfold. The June issue of FastCompanyshows how vending machines allow for product customization. Core77 builds on this, pointing us to a drink machine that creates its own packaging on demand.
The gravity remains in Japan. Estimates suggest there is a vending machine for every 20 people in Japan. Via IF!, we see machines selling everything from eggs to popcorn. Author Dan Pink is living in Japan temporarily and his daughter notes “you can never walk a block without seeing a vending machine.”
The most unique experiment I’ve seen lately is the vending machine that requires attention instead of spare change to purchase products.
* Speaking of PSFK, their London Conference on trends, inspiration and new marketing is next week. For those of us on this side of the pond, you can follow their blog for plenty of content post-conference.
2) The Power of the Comic Book Influx Insights Sound silly? Consider three things. Pictures communicate words at a 1K per image rate. Gaming is gaining popularity as a marketing and educational vehicle. Telling a story is the reining heavyweight buzzword concept of the world.
Based on this comic from 1956, I can show you that the Dugan family has been working with the third estate for generations.
3) The future of professional associationsA shel of my former self "Professional associations have fulfilled several vital needs for a long time, primarily networking and professional development. However, practitioners don’t need associations for these activities any more. Social media have enabled self-organizing groups to satisfy these professional needs."
4) Why All Marketing People Should BlogMediapost’s Online Spin “Blogging is one of the best ways for a person to internalize and sensitize one’s self to the essence of marketing.” Max Kalehoff follows this assertion with some great points (per usual). But I’ll add that if you pick a topic for your blog that you’re not passionate about, you’re in for a painful, short-lived exercise in futility. With passion? It’s not short-lived ;-)
P&G’s Tremor applied its word of mouth prowess to drive consumers to key downtown Cincinnati events held during the holidays. As a member of Downtown Cincinnati, Inc.’s marketing committee, I was recently briefed on this pro bono project and its extremely positive results.
Without giving out the whole recipe to Tremor’s secret sauce, here’s a snapshot of this unique campaign that used a mix of tactics to sell a city.
Leverage the Network. Nearly 7,000 members of Tremor’s Vocalpoint live in the Cincinnati area and were targeted to participate in this project.
Conduct (a lot of) Research. Pre-surveys were conducted online to determine barriers to coming downtown. As a result, parking, safety and family-friendliness were singled out as negative misconceptions the campaign needed to address. Campaign impact was measured with a final survey gathering qualitative and quantitative feedback.
Campaign Hook. Keep in mind Tremor needed to get busy soccer moms to steer clear of the malls into potentially foreign territory. Much of downtown Cincinnati was undergoing various phases of construction to upgrade and expand the overall experience.
The campaign turned the challenge of changing negative perceptions into an opportunity. In Pursuit of Cincinnati was a quiz-style campaign serving up downtown facts, figures and event trivia. Participants were invited to make a game of learning about downtown holiday opportunities.
Online/Offline Support. The campaign was launched in an e-newsletter which pushed to the In Pursuit of Cincinnati web site. Both were designed to present the facts about downtown. The next online campaign phase was designed to be more event focused and to get the mothers talking about the events.
A direct mail effort supplied print materials to Mom that reinforced the trivia concept and included event itineraries and maps they could hand out to friends. These were reinforced with online reminders.
BIG Results. Traffic increased at each event, meeting or exceeding program goals. One reason why is that half of the members contacted in the program told four more people about the downtown events.Positive perceptions of downtown also increased among Vocalpoint Moms as it relates to family friendliness (+85%), safety (+40%) and ease of parking (+10%)
The numbers don’t lie. The main reason I’m serving this story up is that, far too often, marketers seem to want a silver bullet that will incite word of mouth. As Tremor shows, it usually takes a lot of the usual preparations for a good marketing campaign…a deep understanding of the target market that drive the right mix of tactics to reach the program’s goals. Ho ho ho.
A mentor ingrained in me that you need to know the news to make the news. But where is everyone finding the news? This WWD story details a Pew Research Center study asking people to identify public figures in the news.
Distinct patterns emerge when these results are analyzed. Education proves to be the single best predictor of knowledge. Older Americans, especially those 50 years old and over, answered more questions correctly than the younger set. The most knowledgeable audiences by news source — those who knew their entertainers and their politicians — were regular viewers of 'The Daily Show' and 'The Colbert Report.'
No surprise that where we get our news is changing. But the research results were interesting.
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER 93 percent identified him--”It appears 7 percent of respondents surveyed have been living under a rock for the past 25 years.”
HILLARY CLINTON 93 percent – "Only 73 percent of the total sample knew she was in the race."
BEYONCE KNOWLES 64 percent
PEYTON MANNING 62 percent
BARACK OBAMA 61 percent
NANCY PELOSI 49 percent-- ”As the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi is the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government.”
LEWIS "SCOOTER" LIBBY 29 percent--”Proof that notoriety can land you on the list.”
Our industry beats itself up (a lot) about what it is, what it isn’t and what it should be. This reminds me, anyone asking why they don’t have a seat at management’s table doesn’t deserve a seat.
The emergence of PRstore, a retail public relations concept designed to help small businesses, will surely add to the above discussions.
Tom Murphy suggests PR professionals “keep the wailing and disgust to a minimum.” I agree.
We take pride in what we do. So when our career of choice is standardized and served up on a menu, it’s natural to take issue. But consider the business implications of PRstore.
Market Need: Small businesses can’t afford a monthly retainer. Most can only afford to promote specific events. The fact that these businesses are investing hard-earned dollars into public relations demonstrates awareness of the value our services provide.
Commoditization: This new service will pose a threat to some solo practitioners and small firms. But we help differentiate our clients and save their products and services from becoming a commodity. You should have no problem differentiating yourself from PRstore.
Walk the Talk: If you take issue with PRstore, your best work is the best response. The client wins, you win, and the delta between you and PR on a Stick become wide enough that you can gaze at it comfortably—through a telescope.
Competition is healthy. Rather than look down your nose at PRstore, you should focus on the bigger picture.
Ad Age tells us that GM wants new, creative ideas. No surprise since Toyota finally surpassed GM to become the world’s largest automaker.
Since GM was creative enough to become well-established in social media, one assumes this request will generate some interesting ideas.
Don’t count on it.
GM’s CEO also announced the automaker will shift from newspaper ads to advertorials.
GM Chairman-CEO Rick Wagoner told the audience of print media executives that because GM vehicles are "no longer on sale all the time," the company did not need to constantly buy newspaper ads announcing "the deal of the month."
Mr. Wagoner went on to say that "one area where we're beginning to do more, and will want to work with newspapers to explore new options in, is advertorials."
Advertorials? In an age where the only word more abused than authenticity is green, GM wants to pay for editorial space? Bad idea.
This is an opportunity for newspapers to continue their online catch-up and work with GM to create some really compelling offerings for their readers.
Their blog has done a tremendous job of appealing to this nationwide audience, and providing value. All while making a very local connection.
At a quick skim, readers can identify posts related to the store nearest to their neighborhood. Readers can learn about store promotions and events, sure - but also cultural events that are happening in the marketplace. Using tags, a visitor can quickly sort through the posts and view only events, art, music, etc. Urban Outfitters have become local 'cool hunters' for each of the markets where their stores are located. They're providing actual value to potential clients, having nothing to do with the consumer products they sell.
And I’m sure the design is, er, designed to turn heads and generate posts like this one. But I can’t decide if I give the design a thumbs up or thumbs down for all the same reasons. Yes, I realize I may not be the urban hipster UO had in mind when they designed it.
3) MSNBC.com’s Newsbreaker: In-Theatre GamingThe Experience Economist ”Newsbreaker is an online RSS-fed game allowing consumers to interact with the day's headlines from msnbc.com. The goal of the game is to accumulate points and knowledge by capturing headlines broken out of the msnbc.com spectrum of stories.” This beats sitting through lame trivia and ads as you pray Lurch doesn’t sit in front of you.
4) Technorati + AuthorityLogic + Emotion Technorati’s new authority metric is not getting respect from the sphere. I’ve always had an issue with my Technorati results as it reads from two different addys for this blog’s results.