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.
By Daylin Mantyka
It’s Friday — which means that it’s time for the great articles weekly roundup. This week. we selected worthy content from Fast Company, Under 30 CEO and Marketing Tech Blog.
First, an article that dives into the definition and value of a misfit entrepreneur, followed by a post on how to achieve success through innovation. Next, we selected a slideshow that outlines how to create the optimal marketing organization. Closing the roundup for this week is some real-world advice on developing a unique content marketing strategy in a dev shop.
A brief manifesto for misfit entrepreneurs
Sunmin Kim defines a misfit entrepreneur as a person who has shifted from her or his formal training, such as engineering, to explore other industries by means of developing a business. In this post, Sunmin explores whether or not career pivots offer an edge on the competition or act as a hindrance to progress.
By Francis Moran
I’d be a semi-rich man if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone point to one of the spectacularly successful companies that have exploded onto the marketplace over the last few years and say, “They didn’t do any marketing. They just …” and then fill in the blank with some seemingly trivial thing, like “They just went to South by Southwest,” or “They just did social media.”
I heard it again just last week when I guest lectured to a University of Ottawa MBA class, with Twitter and Facebook held up as the examples of companies that “didn’t do any marketing.” As I told the students, Twitter and Facebook are no more examples of predictable startup success than buying a lottery ticket is an example of sensible retirement planning. I drew a bell curve in the air and said that if that bell curve described the distribution of success for a given collection of technology startups, then Twitter and Facebook — and here I moved several meters to the right and stretched my right arm out — are way over here. They’re not even outliers; they’re in a completely different orbit.
And still the mythology persists. I can understand it. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are all wildly successful companies, and who wouldn’t want to emulate them. The truth is, though, that most who do, fail. We hear about the (very) odd one that succeeds but, by definition, we hear nothing about the failures, of which there are countless.