Books and Brain Busting

The phrase “post-literary” scares me. It is a real term, bandied about by the intelligentsia, and speculates that people are not reading books these days. There is no question that the book market is a horrid place, one where the major publishers treat writers like chattel, only big names make big bucks, and where being a touring musician looks appealing by comparison (a common joke in the music business is that a touring musician is the only job that pays less than being homeless). Which makes the book industry a wonderful model for discussing marketing of difficult products, changing channels, and general business dystopia. Changes … bloody changes The book market has changed, but not just because Amazon said so. In North America and many industrialized nations, readership is falling. Pew Research said that in 2011, about 79% of the adult population had read a book – or at least … Continue reading

Apple Brand Polishing

Apple is now the most valuable brand on the planet, with Google growing faster and likely to overtake them. Poor old Coca Cola has dropped to third while these upstarts reign. Interbrand recurrently measures the strength of various global brands. They recently released their latest report that knocked Coke off its thirteen year perch at number one. As the chart shows, Google began their assent in 2009 and Apple followed in 2011, all riding the wave of a highly wired and wireless global society. You may drink Coke, Pepsi or bottled water, but everybody sips while searching Google on their iPhones. Interbrand’s analysis is not the old school, completely financial estimate of customer good will that expresses a brand’s cumulative equity. If we used that measure, Coke would still command the lead with Coke $12B in customer good will, Google would have $10B worth, and Apple would trail with a … Continue reading

Tidal Waves

Death of the caterpillar is the birth of a butterfly. Someone should mention this to the publishers of every major magazine. Pew Research, the busy bodies constantly reporting on what we people are doing, recently noted that magazine advertising rates are sinking faster than congressional approval ratings. Advertising pages in the top magazines have dropped an average of 18% in the last year, repeating an annual trend that began in 2008, two years before the original iPad was introduced. At this rate magazines will soon pay you to read them in the distant hope that advertisers will care. Every market changes, but some change very fast (the iron ore industry moves a bit more slowly than high tech and publishing). Established franchises can disappear when their markets rapidly change if they fail to see, accept and respond to the change. Microsoft has publicly confessed that they were slow to respond … Continue reading

Analyze This

Now is the time to get good at math, you crazy college kids. I was browsing an Accenture report concerning the state of the analytics market, the field where advanced math is applied to business problems. Accenture predicts a dearth of data wizards in the coming decade, which means rapid salary inflations for anyone with education or experience in statistics and research methodologies, and who can apply that knowledge to huge data repositories. Digitally divining new profitability will be in demand for all but the most mundane of industries, which makes a great fit for gigantic multi-national firms with ample budgets. Small players will benefit too, but differently. Like life, markets find a way. In the analytics market we see several common business models. Some vendors provide customized services to help enterprises gather, process and profit from data. Others provide both packaged and client-specific modeling. A few of the brave … Continue reading

Triple Targeted

Say goodbye to television (I tossed all mine in the recycling bin several years ago … quite a liberating experience). Broadcast TV’s days are numbered, though when it will fade into distant technology memories is uncertain. Market forces can never be denied, and we are witnessing new and highly profitable ways of wasting people’s time (seriously, have you ever seen an episode of The View?). Broadcast TV’s demise will come both from consumer preference and the profit motives of providers and advertisers. Is there any way we can speed-up the process? Please! Broadcasting has always been a limited medium. Necessary in pre-digital and bandwidth poor eras, broadcasting was expensive and required people to be couch-bound at specific days and times lest they miss their favorite mental gruel. The high cost of entry isolated many creative people and separated viewers from buckets of new and potentially tastier gruel. Even starting a … Continue reading

Real SoLoMo

Intersections cause collisions, but also opportunities. A basic marketing strategy is practice to find the intersection of what customers want to achieve (expected outcomes) and where the market is not providing that solution. Alternately, one can look for places where different technologies can, for the first time, be combined and create previously unavailable value. Smart phones are now ready to facilitate SoLoMo. The three raging factors in markets and marketing today are SOcial, LOcation-based apps and MObile. The real-time enabled combination of these three may well be the next major moment in consumer technology and marketing. The ability to reach people in tight geographical clusters, who are sharing an experience or looking for one, will be an exciting market in which to pitch. Social is about sharing. As witnessed by Facebook posts, it is the moment in which the user has the impetus to share that is important. What one … Continue reading

Shifty Soil

When the earth quakes, you either endure the trauma, relocate or eventually get swallowed by a gaping hole that appears beneath. Markets often have tectonic transmutations whereby old terra firma is relocated. This occurs with alarming frequency in technology markets — the upper rings of Hades are littered with tech companies that did not move quickly enough (you have long teeth if you remember names like Ashton-Tate and VisiCalc). Yet fault line spotting is a rare sport in high tech, and even catches change makers by surprise. One massive market plate is on the move, and television as we know it is about to disappear. Commodity broadband is making highly selective, on-demand video entertainment a reality. In the bad old days (last year) one consumed video entertainment by subscribing to ever expanding channel bundles packaged by cable and satellite companies.  The economics of broadcast television — where producers, networks, cable … Continue reading