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Marketing Hall of Fame® Final Selection Committee – or – Name That Famous Marketer

I’m delighted to announce the final selection committee of the Marketing Hall of Fame®.

But first a message from our sponsors!  Many thanks to Columbia Business School, JWT and Greenbook for your support of the Marketing Hall of Fame®



Well, actually I’ll just quote from the press release.

This year’s stellar selection committee consisted of David W. Almy, CEO, Marketing Research Association (MRA); Gayle Fuguitt, CEO, Advertising Research Foundation (ARF); Nancy Hill, CEO, 4As; Bob Liodice, CEO, Association of National Advertisers (ANA);Kendall Nash, president, Qualitative Research Consultants Association; Bruce Nelson, former vice chair, Omnicom, and Earl Taylor, CMO, Marketing Science Institute.  The selection committee was coordinated by Don Sexton, NYAMA president-elect and professor of marketing, Columbia University.

“This year’s nominees represented an extraordinarily impressive cross-section of influential marketers, and the finalists were all well-renowned for their outstanding contributors to the field,” said Randall Ringer, NYAMA president and CEO, Verse Group LLC.  “We looked to the collective wisdom of our selection committee, who had the very difficult challenge of picking only three inductees from such an remarkable group.  The contributions of this year’s three inductees are shaping the ways we practice marketing today and inspiring the marketers of the future.  The Marketing Hall of Fame is all about celebrating brilliance, and we are thrilled to celebrate these brilliant individuals.”

Hold the date! May 28th!

The inductees will each speak for 20 minutes about the future of marketing — which they are creating right now!

Be sure to sign up for the May 28th event. This is the best of the best giving marketing’s version of the Nobel Prize Speech.


APPLE Loves Verse! Yes, We Will Be Your Verse!

This morning we discovered that Apple has written a love letter to us, Verse Group! And Apple put it right on the front page of the New York Times. Cheeky! Yes, a little past Valentines day but we can live with that.


Apple’s Love Letter To Us!

Hello Apple, we love you too. We will be your verse.

Right up front we must tell you we’ve been in a nearly 20 year open relationship with Samsung. Our history together started when we co-created their global brand strategy that lifted them to world-class status. Yes, Samsung and Verse have had our ups and down, but the ups are wonderful. Apple, you might remember seeing the Samsung Mobile PIN Shops around London during the Olympics? But to be honest with you we were disappointed to discover Samsung was also spending time with other branding companies. It’s an open relationship, not exclusive.  After all, we are the Verse of Magellan Health, Lockheed-Martin, BridentQuest Diagnostics.

What I mean is that we will be your Verse.


Apple, we love you back. All of Verse loves you, designs with you, communicates with you,  is vastly entertained by you. But until now you have been a bit stand-offish, practically ignoring me even though we were classmates of your sister Mona in grad school at Columbia (where she shone with her exceptional talent).  Apple, in all candor sometimes you have seemed downright, well, narcissistic, yes, basking in the love of millions. That was the past. We see how you have changed, have developed the emotional security to share your love.

Now you are declaring your love for Verse to the world!

Guess who is the Apple of our eye!

Thank you Apple. Thank you for recognizing that we are your Verse!


Michael Prentice interview on KBS – or – How branding can change your life

You can link here to a fabulous interview with Michael Prentice, a PhD candidate who has been work in and doing research on the culture of Korean Chaebols. Michael is currently living in Seoul while conducting his research. His graduate studies are at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Michael Prentice on KBS

We had the great good fortune of getting to know the exceptional Mike Prentice when he worked here at Verse Group. Through his work at Verse Group, Mike had the  opportunity to work on high-level corporate branding projects for Samsung Electronics, Kia Motors, Cheil Worldwide and others. More importantly, he got to know the individuals at those companies, which sparked his interest in Korea. (Full disclosure, we are that un-named NYC-based marketing agency that Mike discusses early in his interview.) This is just one way that branding can change the very direction of a person’s life and set them on a new journey of exploration and discovery.

His work is pioneering, very important for those of us in the West who do business with, or work for, Korean corporations.  In 3 years, Mike has made many more insightful observations than I have during my nearly 20 years of working with Samsung and Cheil on their global marketing and branding strategies.


Who Are You Nominating To The Marketing Hall of Fame?

Inquiring minds want to know!

If you haven’t yet nominated an active marketer to the Marketing Hall of Fame, then there is still time!  And it will only take you about 5 minutes.



Here’s the criteria:

1. Nominations

2. Who will be Recognized?

  • People who are making outstanding contributions to the field of marketing
  • Not companies or campaigns
  • Three (3) individuals in 2013

3.Who is eligible?

  • Innovators, leaders, thinkers, doers, across all marketing disciplines including research, academics, consultants and journalists.
  • Current marketing practitioners
  • Must have been in the marketing profession for 10 years

4.What are the criteria for election?

  • Have created marketing that works
  • Are raising marketing’s profile
  • New marketing tools and approaches
  • Innovators in developing other marketers. Mentors mean a lot!

Philip Kotler on the Marketing Hall of Fame

Did you know that chairman of the nominating committee for one of the first Marketing Hall of Fame inductions was Philip Kotler?  Yes, back in 1995, when he wrote,

The two most important assets of any company, brand value and people value, are unfortunately not on the books.

While brands have slowly made there way onto the financial reports, marketers are still not on the books as valued and valuable resources. While there are awards for campaigns or for short-term successes, e.g. “Marketing of the Year”, there is no recognition for the people who have made tremendous contributions to marketing overall, and over a number of years.

We are changing that.

This year the Marketing Hall of Fame is inducting 3 individuals who have shown their innovation, leadership, inspiration and success over time, and often across multiple disciplines. This year we are celebrating brilliance in marketing, by focusing on the people behind the brands.

Marketing Hall of Fame to the people who make outstanding contributions to the field of marketing and are inspiring and educating the next generation of marketers.

Today I was in touch with Philip Kotler about his past role in the Marketing Hall of Fame. Phil Kotler wrote to me,

I am glad to hear that you are reviving the Marketing Hall of Fame and centering it on awarding people.

And he is already putting in nominations. I invite you to do the same.

Now is the time. This link takes you to the place:




The Marketing Hall of Fame Is Now Open

There is a Nobel Prize for Economics. And a Nobel Prize for Literature. Why isn’t there a Nobel Prize for Marketing?

Welcome to the one, the only, the official Marketing Hall of Fame. Celebrate Brilliance in Marketing.



The Marketing Hall of Fame is where the Nobel Prize of Marketing lives. Produced by the NYAMA.

Stay tuned…more to follow…

You Won’t Know Until You Attend This Year’s Most Important Marketing Solutions Summit

What won’t you know?

You won’t know how IBM improved performance of their marketing until you hear from John Kennedy, IBM’s VP of corporate marketing.

You won’t know how Samsung vaulted into brand leadership until you hear from Peter Weefald, former SVP Marketing of Samsung Electonics and author of Green Reign Leadership.

You won’t know who is leading the global Champion Brand survey until you hear from Robert Schooling, President of APCO Worldwide

Mark the date: May 17th.  Mark the place: Pfizer.  Sign up for the full day event: NYAMA 2013 Marketing Solutions Summit.

We are bringing together experts who are creating the future of marketing. This is your opportunity to meet with them and learn from them. Then you’ll know how they have improved marketing performance.

Sign up now. Attend on May 17th. Then you’ll be in the know!

Click here to download the agenda: NYAMA_Agenda_Final_031413

A Sad Day In Boston

My heart goes out to all of the runners, their families and the thousands upon thousands of spectators in Boston this Patriot’s Day.

This afternoon I am living in fear that I will learn that someone I know, that I care about deeply, was injured by these insane acts.

I had the shock of recognition when watching  videos of the explosions at the finish line. The women and men within steps of reaching the finish line, a goal they have spend months thinking about, dreaming about, training for, straining for, with a deafening roar and wind blast on their left throwing them off-course for the race, perhaps throwing them off course for life. To have come all that way and then this.

The Boston Marathon is legendary. It is magic.

Qualifying for it is a dream come true for many marathoners. Running in it is glorious.

One of greatest days in my life was when I qualified for the Boston Marathon, 48 seconds faster than the 3 hours, 10 minute cut-off.

Equally great was the day I ran the Boston Marathon, on Patriot’s Day in 1992. It was a day much like today — in the low 50s, sunny — with the whole state off from work, children off from school, seemingly all of them out to watch the marathon. I remember being thrilled and sunburnt and dehydrated and exhausted running that last mile. The marathon is a particularly unusual sport, when your body keeps moving far longer than you can ever imagine it moving, where your mental focus becomes narrower and narrower the longer you are running, until the focus is to keep moving, drink some water, keep moving, glance at the crowd to see a friend, look for the clock, keep moving.  I remember seeing the finish line ahead, my eyes on the clock, the sound of people around me a white noise. I wasn’t deliberately remembering or thinking this, it came in flooding my mind while watching the videos of the bombs going off right before the finish line. I’ve been on the block, past that area, running toward the finish line. There is an exhilaration in those final steps of a marathon — or at least there should have been. Instead, today, it was a cruel greeting of death and destruction.

It takes a certain unique cruelty to plant bombs at the end of the Boston Marathon.

For all of those where there, may the healing begin, may the journey back to health be swift and sure.



Did Lack of Consumer Research Sink JC Penney?

In 2012 then CEO of J.C. Penney put into place a new pricing strategy. An article in USA Today he said that there wasn’t time to test the pricing strategy before rolling out.

He argued that testing would have been impossible because the company needed quick results and if he hadn’t taken a strong stance against discounting, he would not have been able to get new, stylish brands on board.

So the first reason not to research was a lack of time.

Which is curious, since how much time would it take to do an online survey for at least some indication of how J.C. Penney shoppers feel about the pricing?  A week?  An in-store test would take longer but even then we are talking about  matter of weeks not months.

Then we learned from yesterday’s New York Times:

By early fall 2011, Mr. Johnson was tackling Penney’s pricing, which he thought used too many discounts. He ignored a study Penney had just completed on customer preferences, and gave merchants a one-sheet grid explaining what prices they could use.

“Ron’s response at the time was, just like at Apple, customers don’t always know what they want,” said an executive who advocated testing. “We’re not going to test it — we’re going to roll it out.”

That’s a different story entirely. Customer research was done and ignored.

We don’t know what was in that research, so it is hard to say for certain that it would have prevented the retailer from such a major misstep. Even so, there is a cautionary lesson here.

Sometimes a little market research can be a major insurance policy against extraordinary risk.

And, yes, I know everyone in the universe will say shout “Look at Apple! They don’t waste money on market research!”

To which I suggest we do an Apple to Apple comparison.

Apple rolled out stores over time. If the first few had failed, then the company would have abandoned the plan at a manageable cost and minimal risk to the brand image. J.C. Penney was attempting to change what had become a defining element of the brand – the pricing strategy – across thousands of stores in a short span of time.

There’s a big difference between not doing consumer research before launching an individual product and not doing research before overhauling an existing major line of business.

A final word — not all market research is equal. It appears that Pepsico and Arnell did market research before launching the disastrous new Tropicana package design in 2009. The articles published around that time implied that the research study itself was flawed, that they did not pick up on how meamingful was the visual metaphor of a straw in an orange.

As the great market researcher Valentine Appel used to say, “All market research is a waste of money. Either it tells me what I already know, so why did I do it? Or else the research tells me the opposite of what I know, so I don’t believe it.”






Yes, Apple Does Conduct Market Research

What? Gasp!

Yes, it’s true. Anyone who has shopped at Apple stores and received a follow-up email has been participating in market research.

Maybe Apple doesn’t call it market research. But make no mistake, that’s market research. There’s more to market research than people sitting around in focus groups.

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