Archive for August, 2011

Is Social Media Passé?

Find out directly from Rob Key of Converseon on September 20th, when he comes to the NYAMA’s first fall event.  Here’s the details:

Tuesday, September 20th
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
NYC Seminar and Conference Center
71 West 23rd Street   5th Floor
New York, NY

Sign-up beforehand at

Sign-up by Labor Day and save 25% off the admission price.


Did You Ever Feel Like Ads Were Shouting Out Your Name?

Everywhere I go in my neighborhood I see these ads.  On bus shelters, on the subway, plastered on the sides of buildings, on sides of the bus.  Now if I could only get them to put my photograph on them — then I’d really be famous!


Ringer: The Poster Edition


Ringer: The Bus Shelter Edition


Ringer: The Subway Edition








What If You Woke Up One Day And Discovered You Were….Average!

Well, now you know all there is to know about me.  I’m an Average American.

From the story on Reuters:

Aug 10 (Reuters) – What if the United States got rid of or changed the home mortgage interest deduction in the next round of tax reform?

……With that in mind, Reuters Money asked average Americans – along with a few financial advisers – what they think.

And who should show up as one of those Average Americans?

Randall Ringer, co-founder of branding firm Verse Group in New York, compares the idea of taking away the home-mortgage deduction to what happened when the deduction for interest on student loans was eliminated by the 1986 tax reform. (It has since been reinstated.). He recalls how he took on debt to pay for school on the assumption that it would always be tax-deductible. “After I graduated, wham, they took away the tax deduction. It felt like a bait-and-switch scheme,” says Ringer, who used to own and now rents. “It’s beginning to sound like they want to do the same thing with home ownership.”

Oh, had I only grown up in Lake Wobegon where all of the children are above average!

Well, average or not, I stand by the statement I made.  Oh, and by the way, my student loans have all been repaid.

Market-Induced Whiplash

Watching the stock market plunge down then rocket up and plunge down is giving me whiplash.

After reading all of the things that one can read on the state of the economy, I have come to a modest conclusion that marketing overall will not suffer the same deep cuts that it had during the Great Recession.  Okay, so here is my prediction:  marketing will get soft, but not freeze like in 2008/2009.  And of course some areas will go into hibernation because mergers, acquisitions and spin-offs are going to be quiet for some time.

Here is my reasoning:

1. Corporate profitability has generally been high in the recovery.  So the need to preserve cash is not as great as it was during 2008 when nobody was able to borrow except for the Fed.

2. There hasn’t been the collapse of any particular sector of the economy, it is more of a malaise, a miasma, that has rolled over the economy.  In 2008 the housing market was a collapse, effecting many different sectors and large-scale layoffs.  That was like the flood after a dam burst.  This is more like a steady leak.  Therefore we should not expect to see the same tremendous urgency in cutting off marketing

3.  Many have learned the lessons that cutting off marketing usually results in both short term and long term declines relative to competitors who continue to spend.  Of course those who learned it best were the people who continued to market in the face of the downturn and they are the ones now in the best position to continue to spend on marketing.  It is a learned behavior.

In the meantime I’ve stopped following the stock market.  And my neck is going to be the better for it!

Recession Redux? And What Does This Mean For Marketing?

Now that the stock market has taken a rather ugly turn, all of the talk has gone from “deficit, deficit” to “recession, recession”

When the 2008 recession came crashing down, marketing was one of the first things corporations cut.  And they cut marketing very steeply, far more steeply than almost any other part of their operations.  At that time I did a research study with Jupiter Research, in which we found an astonishing 89% of marketing executives said that their efforts were under greater C-level scrutiny than ever before.

No doubt it seemed self-serving at the time but all of the marketing executives, agencies and consultants screamed, “don’t stop marketing” and “don’t cut the budget so much”.

Here’s the big question — where they right?  Does cutting marketing during a downturn really hurt your long-term prospects?  Or were they wrong?

That’s an important question today, now that it looks like we are again on the cusp of a recession, if not already in one.

The evidence is pretty strong that the marketers were right.  People who invested in their brands generally out-performed those who cut marketing the most.  And the companies with the strongest brands were the ones who were not hit as hard by the stock-market plunge of 2008/09.

Here’s a chart put together in early 2010 by the very smart people of BrandZ.  They looked at both consumer companies and b2b companies, using survey data that reached back before the recession, to identify the strongest brands and the weakest brands.  Then they matched stock market performance.  Nobody was immune to the downturn (except, perhaps, the astonishing McDonald’s whose brand revitalization in 2004 continues to pay dividends today).

Will we remember the recent past?  Or are we going to find ourselves in another uncontrolled experiment of slashing marketing and watching companies falter because of it?

BrandZ Analysis: Brands in times of Recession





iPhone A Spectacular Failure – or – Spectacularly Bad Predictions

Mark this date:  June 18, 2007.  That was the date when Al Reis made the bold prediction based on his theories of marketing. The Ad Age headline:  WHY THE IPHONE WILL FAIL

Prediction No. 1: The iPhone will be a major disappointment.

The hype has been enormous. Apple says its iPhone is “literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone.” A stock-market analyst says, “The iPhone has the potential to be even bigger than the iPod.”

I think not. An iPod is a divergence device; an iPhone is a convergence device. There’s a big difference between the two.

In the high-tech world, divergence devices have been spectacular successes. But convergence devices, for the most part, have been spectacular failures.

Hmmmm.  I’m beginning to think that time has proven that prediction to be slightly off the mark.

Al Reis Why the iPhone Will Fail

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