Aug 112017
 

social media planning Columbia Business School EMBA It was my honor to teach social media planning for the Executive MBA program summer session at the Columbia Business School.  Professor Emeritus of Business Marketing Don Sexton leads a lively class of fresh thinkers with insightful questions.

The curriculum I presented as guest lecturer provided an historical overview of social media, with a strong focus on processes and tools for social media planning–including many links to deeper insights, templates, and more. The rest of the class focused on where this fast-changing field is headed in terms of technology, user habits and expectations, and marketing tactics:

Social Media Landscape

  • Evolution of Social Media from 1973 to Present
  • Changing Dynamics
  • Users and User Habits of Different Sites

Elements of Social Media Planning

  • Goals and Objectives
  • Competitive Social Media Audit
  • Finding an Audience
  • Choosing Channels
  • Engaging Influencers
  • Content Strategy
  • Tactics for Engagement
  • Tools
  • Planning Templates
  • Budget and Staff

Trends: Top Directional Changes for 2017 and Beyond–With Current Real World Examples

  • Social video—live, 360°, mixed reality
  • Integrated and omni-channel
  • Increasingly robust reporting
  • Better tracking of users, including military grade social listening
  • Customer relationship building
  • Making the customer an insider and humanizing companies
  • Customer service
  • Holding companies accountable
  • User-generated content
  • Not social if not human?

The Executive MBA Program at the Columbia Business School is a world-class Executive MBA education that provides access to leaders across many business fields and functions; access that leads to even greater impact and success. Immersed in a dynamic business environment in one of the world’s great business cities, you’ll study with renowned professors and prominent practitioners. The core curriculum embraces both big-picture business and entrepreneurial dreams. The program is identical to our Full-Time MBA in every way but with a flexible schedule for working executives.

Aug 112017
 

Marketing EDGE Marketing Plan CompetitionThe winners of the Marketing Edge Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge competition for best marketing plan have been announced. Judging this competition makes me excited about the upcoming generation of marketers. Congratulations to the winners:

MARKETING EDGE ANNOUNCES 2017 COLLEGIATE ECHO WINNERS

—International Challenge Provided by Collette, an International Guided Travel Company—

NEW YORK – August 10, 2017 – Marketing EDGE, a national education nonprofit committed to shaping the marketing industry as diverse, inclusive, and highly skilled, today announced the winners of its 2016-2017 Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge. The content of this competition for college students worldwide was provided by Collette, an international guided travel company. Altogether, six student teams – three from undergraduate programs and three from graduate programs – were honored for undertaking research to determine the likes, dislikes and desires of Baby Boomers (fall semester teams) and Generation Xers (spring semester teams). More here>>

Jul 212017
 

call for clarity siegelvision simplifying businessSimplifying business is good branding. It was my honor to produce the backstage interviews for the first annual Call for Clarity Conference in New York City, hosted by Siegelvision. Siegelvision is a branding agency with a unique philosophy:

“In a world plagued by complexity, our work is governed by a passion for clarity. We organize every engagement with clarity in mind and help purpose-driven organizations to achieve clarity of identity, clarity of expression and clarity of experience. Our commitment to Clarity Above All means we deliver clear, hard-hitting solutions that inspire action and drive impact.”

The event features speakers from different industries and sparked conversations among the 200 attendees about the damage that complexity causes brands. Simplifying business enhances the customer experience and impacts the brand. By making communications, processes and policies simple, the brand is enhanced. The videos of the speakers from the fields of finance, health, communications, criminal justice, academia, design and non-profit, feature “after talk” interviews that expand on the simplicity theme.

Jun 192017
 

Zicam Media BuyingThe media buying revolution continues. The American Marketing Association’s “Brilliance in Marketing” segment on Zicam’s revolutionary approach to buying television time comes at the end of the long-standing television upfront market. This 50 year old tradition has already been assaulted by the shift of ad dollars from television to digital. Now sophisticated algorithms paired with big data are allowing brands to buy television like they buy internet. The CEO of the makers of Zicam, M’Lou Walker, told me how they have changed the way they buy advertising in a recent interview in her office.

The growth of digital spending has slowed dramatically. Deadline Hollywood quotes Standard Media Index stats: “Last year’s Q4 revealed “the first glimpse of a flattening Digital market,” with year-over-year sales up 9% vs. 35% in the same period in 2015, SMI says.  That continued in Q1: Digital sales improved 6% in the first three months of 2017 as opposed to 19% in the same period in 2016.”

The new technology could help shift dollars back into television. Digital’s allure is its ability to specifically target people and provide detailed metrics. As television technology develops, those benefits are increasingly available to television advertisers. With television’s proven ability to move the needle, we may soon be looking at ad rush back into television when more companies adopt Zicam’s approach.

Jun 142017
 

Marketing EDGE Marketing Plan CompetitionIt is my honor to judge the 2016-2017 Collegiate ECHO Challenge marketing plan competition held every year by Marketing EDGE. Marketing EDGE is a national non-profit bridging the gap between academic theory and the practical knowledge and skills required in the workplace.  For 50 years, this organization has been bringing together marketing professionals, corporations, academics and students to apply classroom learning to real-world marketing challenges. Undergraduate and graduate students worldwide competed in the marketing plan competition.

Marketing Plan Competition Challenge: Collette

Students developed  marketing plans for Collette, a third generation, family-owned company with offices in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Competing teams researched and evaluated the travel needs of consumers and their expectations for travel experiences today, and for the future. Then they developed an integrated marketing plan with a $5 million budget to entice consumers to travel with Collette. Competitors were given free rein to innovate on the product and the customer experience.

Scoring the Marketing Plan Competition Entries

As a judge, I looked at a number of different criteria across the entries. 50% of the score depends on the quality and use of market research. 50% rests the resulting marketing plan. Success criteria included:

  1. How thorough is the market research?
  2. Is the marketing strategy clear and concise?
  3. How effectively does the marketing campaign drive leads?
  4. In what ways do teams expand/evolve existing product lines and/or create something new and different?
  5. Do the proposed product line amendments flow from the market research?
  6. Is the budget realistic?
  7. How achievable is the projected return on investment?
  8. How well integrated is the media plan?  Does it employ media where the targeted demographic will likely be found?  Does it take into consideration the way the audience plans its travel?

Clear Winners in the Marketing Challenge

Judging will be complete in a few weeks, with the undergraduate and graduate winners announced in mid-July.

Prizes in each division:

  • 1st Place Gold: Team members are eligible to split a $2,000 award.
  • 2nd Place Silver: Team members are eligible to  split a $1,000 award.
  • 3rd Place Bronze: Team members are eligible to split a $500 award.

Teams demonstrating excellence in the following individual categories are eligible for honorable mentions:

  • Market Research
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Media Plan
  • Budgeting / ROI
  • Creative Strategy
  • Executive Summary
  • Visual Summary
  • Innovation
May 272017
 

  • 2017 Marketing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony held May 11, 2017 in New York, New York.
  • 2017 Marketing Hall of Fame inductees.
  • Past President of AMA New York Dr. Don Sexton, Professor of Marketing at Columbia University presents the award to Dr. Jerry Wind, Lauder Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Academic Director, SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management
  • Seth Farbman, Chief Marketing Officer of Spotify inducts IBM Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications Jon Iwata into the Marketing Hall of Fame.
  • Past President Joanna Seddon presents the award to Jim Stengel, the former Global Marketing Officer of Procter & Gamble
  • Lisa Merriam, member of the board of directors for the American Marketing Association New York joins Ogilvy executives at the Marketing Hall of Fame Celebration.
  • AMA New York President Bob Kahn Congratulates Gary Briggs, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Facebook

The Marketing Hall of Fame is the only award which recognizes individual marketers who have made outstanding contributions to the field of marketing.  American Marketing Association New York created this award, hosts the annual induction ceremony, and manages the Marketing Hall of Fame Academy. The Academy, which draws its membership from the corporate, agency, academic and research worlds, selects honorees by democratic vote.

This year, the induction ceremony was held on May 11, 2017, at the ground breaking headquarters (the world’s most connected office) of R/GA  at 450 W. 33rd Street, facing the Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s west side.

The 2017 inductees were Gary Briggs, Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Facebook; Jon Iwata, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications, IBM; Jim Stengel, President and Chief Executive Officer, the Jim Stengel Company; and Jerry Wind PhD, Lauder Professor and Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School.

Dec 232016
 

NBC News interviewed me about the trolling of the Ivanka Trump brand. Seems like “fake reviews” are joining “fake news” as a thing. The consumer is savvy enough to tell the difference.

As I told NBC, the trolling of all Trump brands is likely to continue as a dissatisfied segment of the electorate works out its issues, from marching in front of the Trump buildings here on the Upper West Side of New York to writing snarky reviews on Amazon. These people in the “bucket of disaffecteds” have few other easy avenues for venting their frustrations. Trolling is an easy way to express unhappiness without effort or risk–but also without much impact.

Trolling Ivanka Trump Brand Ineffectual

The effect of Trump trolling on the brand is negligible. People who buy the Trump brand like the Trump image or the product behind it. Trolls don’t impact that. People who despise Trump will continue to shun the Trump brand. Given the massive level of Trump publicity, consumers are already predisposed to like or dislike. They aren’t going to Amazon reviews to form those opinions. Trolling isn’t going to sway a consumer one way or the other. It has zero marketing impact. Trump brand managers can ignore the phenomenon.

For other brands subject to trolling, finding out what is driving trolls and who is doing the trolling is an important first step. Responding with a calm, measured, fact-infused way puts your side of the story out there. Consumers are savvy. They can spot fake reviews as easily as they can spot fake news. Beyond making sure the consumer has access to the facts, let the trolls troll on. They are frustrated people precisely because their trolling has little impact. Don’t feed that beast.

Nov 292016
 

las-vegas-sunSports team naming is a high stakes job. Doing it right makes creates millions of dollars in brand value. Doing it wrong leads to low recognition and low fan engagement, leading to low revenue and value. Naming the NHL expansion team in Las Vegas the “Vegas Golden Knights” is a missed brand opportunity. (Read part of my interview in the Las Vegas Sun).

The “Golden Knights” name is empty of associations with hockey or Las Vegas. It conjures images of medieval Europe, not a vibrant oasis in the dessert known for fun and risk taking. A name like Baltimore’s “Ravens” is an example of naming done right. It resonates with the city’s history with Edgar Alan Poe, is absolutely unique, and engages fans. The “caw-caws” on game day are a testament to that. A strong brand name would help the team earn bigger licensing dollars and sell more fan merchandise. Golden Knights is unlikely to do either.

team name golden knightsThe value of a brand is worth protecting, which brings up the trademark issue. The Golden Knights name is best known as the name for the U.S. Army Parachute Demonstration Team–but they never trademarked it. Brand names can be shared and used by multiple companies, so Vegas Army Golden Knights now share their name with other teams–The College of St. Rose and the University of Central Florida.

The first goal of a name is to signal a unique brand. A name with no resonant associations makes achieving that goal harder to accomplish. No matter how much money the team spends to build the Golden Knights brand, it will always be bland. Better to call the team “The John Does.”
Suggest some better ideas, like:
  • Antelopes–or indigenous name Tatokes
  • Ozuye–Hopi word for warrior
  • Big Horns
  • Red Rocks
  • Gilas
  • Tohos–Hopi word for mountain lion/powerful hunter
  • Arroyos
Nov 202016
 

national-geographic-thumbnailWhen market dynamics and business strategies change, it impacts the brand. National Geographic, a brand with over one hundred years of history behind it, needed rebranding after the entity split off the non-profit Society form the for-proft National Geographic Partners a joint venture with 21st Century Fox.

Rebranding doesn’t always mean changing a name or logo, and that is the case here. The National Geographic rebranding is more about refocusing the positioning and aligning the growing number of media properties clearly under one “rallying cry.”

The iconic gold border and priceless brand name stayed. What was added was the idea of “further,” which focused the company on progress and the quest for knowledge, science, adventure and exploration across all platforms, including the flagship magazine and travel magazines, television networks, social and digital properties, kids media, live events and even consumer products.
rebranding national geographicThe brand plays a role internally as well, as a strategic filter for future initiatives, as a motivator and source of price for employees, and as a tool for recruiting talent.

National Geographic’s brand now, by definition can go further–“It never ends, it knows no bounds.”

Aug 122016
 

Marketing history is dotted with examples of companies who have been successful entering a “saturated market.” The secret to winning is carving out a niche. Entering a crowded and competitive market is a good strategic option. I provided the San Fernando Business Journal with insight into such a winning scenario. Existing markets have large numbers of consumers and proven demand. “Going into a well-developed market and carving out a niche in an existing market can be less risky and expensive for an entrepreneur than doing something totally new.” Selling a new angle is easier, faster and cheaper than trying to introduce a brand no one has heard of for a product no one has heard of.”
San Fernando Business Journal Niche Market

© 2014 Lisa Merriam