Initially Speaking: A One On One With A Three Letter Brand

Ok no cheating, what do the initials QVC stand for? Time’s up. They stand for Quality, Value, and Convenience. These three words have been the brand’s guiding principles since its inception in 1986. A brand, thanks to various marketing initiatives along the way, is now seen in over 300 million homes around the world and last year sales alone generated $8.6B in annual revenues, $3.2B of which came from ecommerce.

It’s a brand that is available, as my fellow Forbes contributor Paula Rosenblum wrote last year in her piece QVC’s Successful Formula For Social Shopping — to view on pretty much any device a shopper has in her hands: from standard web sites to iPads, iPhones and Android devices.

It is also a brand that is very savvy when it comes to marketing — integrated marketing that is or cross-channel marketing of whatever term is hot these days. As Rosenblum put it  “(QVC) serves as an excellent example for retailers seeking to create a consistent customer experience across all engagement and selling platforms.”

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Lightning McQueen, Mater And The Rebranding Of An American Icon

The year was 2006. The marketing medium with the biggest budget was direct mail marketing. Playing in theaters was an animated movie from Pixar about a race car who finds himself on what was once a bustling byway of tourists from around the world that is now a desolate, shell of its once former great self.

The movie of course was CARS and the once bustling byway was and still is, the legendary Route 66. Also known as the Mother Road, it runs from Chicago to Santa Monica and is America’s most celebrated automobile highway and a famous symbol of twentieth-century American culture and history. However, the construction of the interstate highways in the middle of the twentieth century bypassed many communities along Route 66, and subsequently numerous towns and cities along the route have faced economic hardship. It was the inevitable blight which was served as the basis for the film. Continue reading

How A Fortune 500 Brand Uses Consumer Insights

It’s 2014 Mr. and Mrs. Brand, do you know where your customers are? Do you know what they want? Do you know what they don’t want? Do you even know where they are? Needless to say if the word marketing, advertising, branding and so on are in your title or your department, you sure better know the answers to these questions or at the very least know someone who does.

For those work at one particular Fortune 500 brand there is such a person and she and her team, based on my discussion with her, not only have the answers to these questions but also have a lot lot more insight into their customers.GeneralMills-logo-gif

The brand is General Mills and the “she” I refer to is Jeanine Bassett who is the VP of Global Consumer Insights for the brand who makes products that I have surely consumed my fair share of and then some over the years. I spoke with her not along about the role of consumer insights, how it’s changed, where it’s headed and how General Mills uses consumer insights to not only help the brand but the consumer as well. Continue reading

Why CMOs Need To Remember They Are Consumers, Too

Note: While this article is written directly toward CMOs, make no mistake about it, CEOs should heed this advice, too.

The time has come. The time to remind the leaders of marketing departments across the land that they are also consumers, too and as such they need to care about consumers and the business they bring to the bottom line; and that they need to care about things that go way beyond a marketing plan.

In other words they need to remember they are people, too, just like the person on the other end of that cash register, email, Facebook post, advertisement and on and on and on.

How many times do you think a given consumer thinks to himself/herself “I wonder if my favorite retailers really care about me and my business.”

More often than you think Mr. and Mrs. CMO, more often than you think. Continue reading

The most unusual & insightful marketing predictions EVER

I am what many may refer to as a pop culture savant. How else would you describe someone who co-wrote a trivia book entitled Off the Top Of Your Head? The book was essentially a release for myself and two friends (Tim Stanton and Rich Romig) who grew tired of firing one pop culture trivia question after another at each other and decided to put pen to paper.

Don’t bother Googling the book – it never went anywhere past the manuscript stage but it was cathartic to my co-scribes and yours truly for sure. I can tell you we did submit it to Games Magazine to gauge their interest and were told it was “too difficult.” We took a lot of pride in that response.

But that was then, as in a thousand or so years ago and this is today which leads me to the most unusual & insightful marketing predictions EVER. Continue reading

Is This The Future Of Mobile Marketing And Mobile Advertising?

Being the pop culture savant I am – as witnessed by my recent article 2014 Marketing Predictions With A Twist (click on the link, you’ll see what I mean) – when I first heard the term “deep linking” I immediately thought of the 1970s flick The Deep starring Robert Shaw and Nick Nolte. I then had visions of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine dancing in my head.

Of course neither of these have anything to do with “deep linking” – a subject which many have wondered aloud as to it possibly being the future of mobile marketing and mobile

Over at Mashable Todd Wasserman wrote a piece back in October How Deep Links Could Revolutionize Mobile Advertising. And David Lee of URX referred to deep linking as The Past, Present and Future of Mobile Marketing. Continue reading

My New Year’s Resolution For All B2B Marketers

A few weeks ago I posted an article entitled 2014 Marketing Predictions With A Twist. It was my offbeat attempt at combining a staple of this time of the year – marketing forecasts, with pop culture. In the piece are some predictions for 2014 from all walks of the marketing and advertising world including one from yours truly.

My prediction, in which I called upon the immortal Inigo Montoya for inspiration, speaks to the fact that marketers and advertisers need to go back to the beginning and put customers front and center – and leave them there.

Human Touch (Bruce Springsteen song)

However, if I were to make a prediction specifically for those on the B2B marketing side of the aisle I may have chosen a different pop culture reference, say something along the lines of the song Human Touch by Bruce Springsteen.


Well perhaps this will explain why. It’s from something I wrote back 2012, nearly a year and half ago. Continue reading