Last week saw yet another fantastic piece of Apple PR as Steve Jobs launched the rather groovey looking iPad. It joins a long line of uber cool gadgets, gizmos, devices and hardware that inspires drooling and convulsions. But what about the content? Would do people love the cinema seats more than the movie? When did we start to love the newsprint rather than the story? Why is a plastic and a screen seen as cooler than the material it can show?
I took out my Spotify subscription for my birthday and I adore it. £10 a month and I can build fabulous playlists, listen to any number of interesting artists I may read about, anywhere, anytime. So is all well? Well, it is certainly a great product.
In his illuminating book ‘The Social Atom’ physicist Mark Buchanan explores the idea that human behaviour is akin to the workings of the atomic world – and that certain social ‘patterns’ inevitably dominate our interactions. Buchanan touches on ideas such as the rise of selfish genes and selfish cooperation and also on the building of trends, similar to the The Tipping Point by Gladwell. Do marketing partnerships and alliances share similar ‘social atom’ characterisitcs? Why is it some people (and organisations) see smart cooperation as a way forward, whereas others remain isolated, suspicious and fearful of building alliances?
Why is it that some people are passionate about certain media services and some people hate them? Any Englishman’s selective use of a few well chosen Anglo-Saxon words to describe Robbie Savage; an extravagantly paid but limited and rather aggressive footballer will tell you the popular opinion of the crowd. Marmite has made an advertising theme about the fact that people either love or hate their beefy paste.
OK. Some days are better than others. Some jobs turn into chores. But today I met a 75 year old who loved his work so much he was still doing it 10 years after he retired. He didn’t do it for the money any more he did it because he just loved it. How many can say they would keep doing what they do from 9.00-5.00 if they didn’t have to? How often do you miss your work? It was the chap who delivered my car today. 75 years old – he had worked in the motor trade since the early 1960’s, from second hard cars to working for big brands and national dealers. Barry turned up dead on time and loved showing me the car. He showed me all the dials, made sure I properly set up my seat and warned me not to touch the traction control. Like a great sales person, he was genuinely interested in me and happy to answer my rather basic questions. He loved my car. He loved cars. He worked with cars. Barry was 75 going on 23. He was bright eyed, funny, energetic, keen as mustard. So when he retired he arranged to keep his hand in, delivering cars a few days a week – and he still knows all about the latest new models and trends. “And there is where you put your iPod and it has a charger too” – said Barry. After helping me get used to the clutch and steering I managed to drop him off at the station and off he went, with a chipper wave and “nice to meet you” – to pick up and deliver another car. He was looking forward to it, another car to drive and people to meet. 75 years of age. Ten years after he retired. Loving what he did. Wouldn’t it be great to be like Barry.
Since my last post on things freemium and premium it was announced that The Evening Standard will now be a free newspaper. The ES will rely on ad revenues – with the expected increase in circulation enabling them to maintain their position as an advertising channel. And like other print media presumably keep searching for greater online revenues too. Continue reading “More On Free And Freedom”
I took part in two media debates this week: as a user and a consumer. Firstly would I pay for a Freemium online computer game? And secondly would I pay to be part of Times+, the latest business model from News International? Is Freemium the real answer for media organisations who spend a fortune on creating great content? And will News International’s search for new subscriber and user pays models succeed? I don’t see many IT and telephony hardware manufacturers in the line for picking up music, tv, film, book, news and publishing awards so I really want new models to work. And this week, as a pure consumer and lover of all things online and in print, I had some choices to make.Continue reading “Is The Future Freemium & Times+?”
Perhaps all content is the same? Maybe everything is relative? Why can’t all media space be the same price? Why can’t a cheap package holiday be the same as a villa in the south of France? Having been off for a few days with family and catching up on magazines, newspapers and websites has made me realize that not all media and not all content is equal. In cold, hard reality there is a great difference between great content and great media – and the mediocre rest. And unfortunately there is a lot of the mediocre rest to get through. Continue reading “Focused Content Matters”
Conundrum. ‘A paradoxical, insoluble, or difficult problem; a dilemma’. It was announced last week that Twitter had attracted a further $100m of investment seeing its valuation rise to more than $1B – and all whilst employing 75 people and with hardly any revenue generation (apart from a brilliant plan of selling more equity and JV funding). Having spent 20 years working in media and agencies, selling and buying ideas, campaigns and future plans – this poses me a conundrum. Every media and marketing professional I know understands value, profitability, ROI – as well as brand, innovation and first mover advantage. An ad campaign is not great because it gets fans and plaudits – its great when it achieves marketing results that the advertiser wanted. A media platform is not fabulous when it gets free readers and users – its fabulous when it attracts advertisers or subscribers to help pay for the media platform. As Picasso said ‘ the greatest compliment anyone can make me is to pay me for my work’.Continue reading “My Twitter Conundrum.”
The South Bank is a fine place on Saturday morning; autumn sunlight twinkling on the Thames, cafes full with people easing into their weekend and crowds milling around buskers and market stalls. And a very expensive looking sports brand promotion that was failing to sparkle. The crowds were decidedly not being drawn to their street racing and lycra clad energy drinking experiential. Tactical marketing has always been about knowing your territory, your battleground, the conditions. Unfortunately for the big sports brand, their glamorous looking sprint track, staffed by rows of branded helpers with funky security leashes and sound-tracked by some slammin beats and funky MC straight out of CNSKY24SprtsDesk Channel 3, just didn’t work in that cruisey, laid back, arty and cultured environment.Continue reading “Wrong Brand, Wrong Place”