By Francis Moran
When I moved to Ottawa in the late 1980s to head up the national capital office of what was then Canada’s largest public relations firm, the Internet was not yet even a gleam in Al Gore’s eye. My mandate was to build the company’s then-non-existent federal government business, and that usually meant large-scale, big-budget, multi-disciplinary communications efforts in support of major policy issues of the day. Unlike the current administration, where virtually all communications efforts are partisan propaganda masquerading as helpful information, the Conservative government at that time seemed to understand that it had to explain what it was doing if it was to secure a social license for what it was doing. And in that pre-Internet age, that meant print. Maybe some radio, possibly TV if it was a really big campaign, but mainly print.
Before I actually won any of those big contracts to develop and implement a six- or seven-figure campaign, I got my foot in the door by conducting audits, or evaluations, of past campaigns. Auditing past efforts required me to compare the outcome of the campaign to the stated objectives, determine whether the material produced had said the right things and whether it had said them to the right audiences.
By Bob Bailly
I’ve written a lot on this blog about the concepts of neuromarketing – a predictive model that uses findings from the sciences concerning the brain (neuroscience and psychology) to improve sales and communication skills.
It’s based upon the simple concept that human decisions are made in the most primitive (from an evolutionary perspective) parts of our brains – aptly described as our “old” or “reptilian” brain.
We know this because neuroscientists have been able to identify how our brains function under a wide range of activities using modern diagnostic equipment; they can now see what the physical effects are as various regions of our brains work, play, think and conjure. The biology observed from these electro-chemical reactions is truly amazing in its complexity and design, yet all we are really “seeing” are the electro-chemical indicators of a brain at work – we really don’t have a clue what makes a brain into a mind. In reality, neuroscientists and philosophers don’t even really have any clear understanding of what a thought really is. We know what our minds can do, we know that the origination of thought comes from our brains, but frankly the understanding and language to describe the link between brain and mind does not currently exist.
By Francis Moran
The first time I heard a company suggest that they were going to do a crowdfunding campaign not to raise money but to raise awareness, I thought it was one of the stupidest things I had heard in a long time. Since then I’ve heard it often enough to confirm that stupidity is one of the most contagious phenomena out there. And just because a lot of people think it’s a good idea doesn’t make it so.
Viewing crowdfunding as a substitute for marketing, or even as an effective marketing channel, ranks right up there with “We’ll do a viral video” in its betrayal of a complete lack of understanding of how marketing works.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Some crowdfunding campaigns have generated enormous attention for their sponsors. A Kickstarter campaign that broke all records was the Gangnam-calibre equivalent of a viral video for Waterloo entrepreneur Eric Migicovsky and his Pebble watch. (Although, as I recently tweeted, crowdfunding advocates — and people who think crowdfunding = marketing — really need to stop citing Pebble as an example. Nobody was more surprised than Migicovsky when his campaign, with its original target of just $100,000, ended up reeling in more than $10-million.) His fame has grown to the point that he is literally the poster child for wearable computers.
By Eric Goldman
In its quarterly earnings call in October 2013, Google beat analysts’ predictions yet again. But the downward trend in its return on the cost per click (CPC) of its Adwords program continued. The trend began several years ago and appears to be steepening its descent.
Google’s total advertising revenues continue to increase (new clients giving it more inventory), but profit from what used to be its core business – online advertising – continues downward.
The decline in online advertising’s revenue potential is not limited to Google. As Technology Review’s Michael Wolff said: ”The nature of people’s behavior on the Web and of how they interact with advertising, as well as the character of those ads themselves and their inability to command attention, has meant a marked decline in advertising’s impact.”
If I ran Facebook, I’d be pondering this one big time – Google at least has diversified away from one source of revenue. Online ads are becoming less effective, producing lower returns, forcing their media price down further to attract and keep advertisers enough to use them. Bad news for the media that run the ads but it does explain why I keep getting $100 Google Adwords gift vouchers in the mail.
By Leo Valiquette
If you are not familiar with it, the Canadian Toy Testing Council is a 55-year-old non-profit that enlists the volunteer aid of families to subject toys to the most rigorous testing possible – at the hands of kids.
The council’s philosophy is to evaluate each toy from a child’s perspective and gain their input. Each toy is evaluated based on its design, function, safety, durability, battery consumption and play value.
My wife and her sisters were toy testers for many years. We were given toys based on the kids’ genders and ages, they would play with the toy for several weeks and the parents would submit written evaluations.
Each year, these efforts by the various testing families are distilled into a report, just in time for the holiday shopping season, with the council’s recommendations for the best toys.
This process falls into the category of exploratory qualitative research, something for which a client of ours, Macadamian, is a tireless proponent.