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The Line Between Product & Marketing Digital has no respect for org charts. Many organizations divide responsibilities so that marketing handles the marketing site and product development handles the digital product. That is not the user’s experience. This divide that looms so large internally is just one click among many for users. Smart organizations ensure a consistent user experience across this imaginary divide. But turf wars are inevitable when one group handles the marketing and another handles the product. Increasingly, we see these roles bleed together. The product is the marketing and the marketing is the product. Application to Marketing: Agencies are going to need to raise their game. Clients might have been forgiving of superficial knowledge of their business when their business was canned soup and you were making TV commercials. But when their business is a web app and you’re making a website that links into their app, they are going to expect you to act like a businessperson and a partner. Not just a guy with really cool facial hair. (Although that’s a nice bonus.) Availability: Not all products are digital, but even CPG’s have a digital presence that is integral to their brand. Smart agencies have been helping their clients develop new products for years. Read More The End of the Broadcast Website Most websites are the same for all users. The assumption is that it is the user’s job to find the content that interests them. User experience is dedicated to making this seeking behavior easier. But this “broad-casting” of a common experience is contrary to the promise of digital personalization. Optimizely, a market leader in Q/A testing of websites, is introducing a new product that will allow sites to be personalized for each visitor. It goes by the singularly unimaginative (but descriptive) name “Optimizely Personalization.” Application to Marketing: Imagine visiting a website and find what you were looking for right away. Or imagine visiting a site and having it suggest products that are perfect for you; products you hadn’t even realized you might want. I know, that’s called Amazon. But Optimizely Personalization will open up this possibility to companies that don’t have Amazon’s vast resources. Availability: I saw a demo the other night. It was pretty impressive, but not totally bug free. Optimizely says they’re pushing for a fall launch. Read More Email Without an Expiration Date Send out a marketing email today and it will look the same whether a potential client looks at it in a week, a month, or a year. That makes no sense. Moveable Ink is a company that has launched a new email marketing platform that allows you to pull personalized, live and streaming content into your marketing emails at the time when the email is opened, rather than sent. Application to Marketing: Potential customers can see content customized for them, for their geography, or for their current weather. Customers never read an email for a promotion or sale that has already expired. And for those (extremely rare) occasions where someone in your organization sends out the wrong information in an email to customers, you can correct the problem after the email is sent. Availability: They’ve launched. They have clients. They seem nice. (Full disclosure: I have no association with Moveable Ink. Mostly, I wish I’d thought of this first.) Read More Crowdfunding is Just Hype Crowdfunding is a way to create hype around a new product and that is a very good thing. Many established companies turn to crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo to gauge interest in potential products and product extensions. Digital watch-maker Pebble has used crowdfunding as an effective way to float ideas, gain funding and create customer engagement and investment prior to launch. Often, the crowdfunding is secondary to creating interest and excitement for a new idea or product. Application to Marketing: An innovative CPG brand like Doritos or Oreos could use crowdfunding as a way to create advance interest in a new flavor or package. An established tech giant could use crowdfunding as a way to get a beta product into the hands of their most committed fanboys prior to launch. This allows a marketer to check customer interest and collect customer feedback before spending the money to develop a finished product. Availability: It takes some time to create a profile on a crowdfunding site, but it’s a negligible effort for an experienced marketing organization. Read More

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