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January 2007
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March 2007

Is advertising becoming less important?


It seems like the elephant in the room but perhaps the painful truth is that this is indeed the case. According to the Bellwether marketing survey, Media budgets have declined as a proportion of total marketing spend from 37% in 2005 to 33% in 2006. The budget is shifting to below-the-line, to sales promotion, direct marketing and as we well know, under pressure from retailers, to in-store support. Should we be bothered?

A recent post on the Brand Strategy blog revealed the quite amazing results of some research conducted by the consultancy firm Prophet that showed that senior marketers feel they have virtually no control over the elements in their organisation that they believe are considered critical to business growth.

Over three quarters of them (76%) believed that customer experience and service were considerably more important growth drivers than business strategy and marketing strategy, and yet a sizable 24% of them admitted that they had little or no influence on either of them. Similarly, significant numbers felt they also lacked influence in other critical areas such as distribution/sales force strength, pricing, and product development. Almost a third even admitted to having little or no involvement in online/direct marketing.

Whilst 40% of marketers believed that brand and marketing activities had a high impact on their company’s growth, more than 60% of the companies questioned have no formal mechanisms in place for measuring that contribution to growth.

And, a quarter of senior marketers viewed advertising as an important driver of growth, but only five per cent considered it to be the most important factor.

Have we lost our belief in the power of great advertising to drive material business growth?

Mash-ups for the masses


Mashing up feeds just got a whole lot easier with the recent launch of Yahoo Pipes. In it’s simplest terms it allows you to easily combine multiple feeds into one, stringing together many simple operations, piping the output of one to the input of the next, to create something new and more complex. It has a graphical pipe builder that allows inputs from different feeds (Yahoo local, CraigsList, Flickr, RSS) which can then output the results as an aggregated feed or a web page.

More to the point it's easy to use. Could this be the start of something really big? The idea that users can easily mash-up multiple feeds to personalise pre-selected content from around the web takes this whole idea to a new level of usability. Perhaps in the not so distant future models of this kind will form the basis of how we aggregate all our text and visual feeds from around the web into a usable interface that gives us everything we need. As also seen on Giles's blog where you can check out the Ogilvy Blog pipe.

Thought for the day


"Don't worry about what anybody else is going to do… The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Really smart people with reasonable funding can do just about anything"

So speaketh  Alan Kay in 1971. Alan, the inventor of Smalltalk (the inspiration and technical basis for the MacIntosh and subsequent windowing based systems (like MS Windows), was in a meeting between PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) and Xerox planners at the time.

Courtesy Ian Jindal

Digg Spy


Following on from my earlier post about mapping the internet, Digg labs have been at it again with Big Spy...this time stories appear realtime, the size of the font indicating how popular they are, and then move down as new stories appear. Not sure why you need a study to find out 'why it's gross to kiss your sister' (see visual) but there you go. Strangely addictive nonetheless. As also picked up by Chroma