Recent quotes:

A Face-to-Face Request Is 34 Times More Successful than an Email

Despite the reach of email, asking in person is the significantly more effective approach; you need to ask six people in person to equal the power of a 200-recipient email blast. Still, most people tend to think the email ask will be more effective. In research Mahdi Roghanizad of Western University and I conducted, recently published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, we have found that people tend to overestimate the power of their persuasiveness via text-based communication, and underestimate the power of their persuasiveness via face-to-face communication.

Leave something out

“You want to make sure your messaging is clear and direct, but you want make sure you leave some things out so people still call you,” he said, explaining if a listing has too much information, would-be buyers might think they don’t have to see the space. For instance, a new Hell’s Kitchen project at 318 W. 47th St. has a stove with an induction cooktop, which is all the rage among designers right now. But the marketing team did not play up the feature, hoping to lure house hunters into the space to tell them more about it in person, he explained.

Can big data yield big ideas? Blend novel and familiar, new study finds -- ScienceDaily

We found that what makes an idea creative as judged by both consumers and firms' executives is a mix of ingredients (words) that includes a balance between words that commonly appear together (familiar combinations) and words that do not (novel combinations)." Thus, a creative idea is not simply an idea that includes novel ingredients, but combinations of words that are novel when appearing together balanced with combinations of ingredients that are more familiar. For example, if one generates an idea for an app that would help people live healthier lives and includes the words "running," "counting" and "steps," this would not classify the idea as creative, as all three of these words are fairly frequently used together. However, including the word "calendar" as an additional ingredient would take the idea in a more creative direction, for example the creation of a calendar app in which you could track daily movement and accomplishments. Even though the word "calendar" may not be novel with respect to the topic of health apps in and of itself, its combination with "running," "counting," and "steps" is novel.

"Exploration personality type" for beers, breads, coffees, toilet papers, washing detergents and yogurts

"If people show a particular shopping pattern for one product type, they tended to show it for the others as well," says lead author Dr Peter Riefer, who conducted the study for his PhD at UCL and now works at dunnhumby. "This suggests that people have individual 'exploration personalities' when they shop, which is really remarkable given how different the six products were. Over a timescale of many years, the rate at which people explore is remarkably stable -- people are always exploring at about the same rate. What we find is that within that stability there are these trends in exploration and exploitation."

Same number looks different, depending on the trend

Maglio says the lesson here for marketers or brand managers is they may want, where possible, to focus on the message that a product or an event is on an upward trend. But if you're in the not-so-desirable position of talking about something in decline, the best approach may be to focus on only the most recent estimate and not its downward trend or to assure consumers that the trend is not meaningful.

Do you pretend to enjoy Pinter? Shakespeare? Stoppard? You’re not alone | Lauren Mooney | Opinion | The Guardian

In one of the most wily marketing tactics I’ve ever seen, Stoppard has talked about his audiences growing stupider until he’s convinced people that anyone who doesn’t like him doesn’t Get It. So now people are reduced to trying to like him louder than each other, to prove to Tom Stoppard that they’re clever. Even though I once watched him fail to use an automatic door. I quite like Tom Stoppard plays, but I do think it’s worth remembering that, much like the girl I was at school with who had a bruised chin for six weeks because a boy she fancied told her to twist it round and round in her hand (true), not everyone who wants you to prove yourself to them deserves it.

Are you a 'harbinger of failure?': Some consumers have an unerring knack for buying unpopular products -- ScienceDaily

They defined a failed product as one pulled from stores less than three years after its introduction; only about 40 percent of the new products survived that long. In a key part of the study, the researchers studied consumers whose purchases flop at least 50 percent of the time, and saw pronounced effects when these harbingers of failure buy products. When the percentage of total sales of a product accounted for by these consumers increases from 25 to 50 percent, the probability of success for that product decreases by 31 percent. And when the harbingers buy a product at least three times, it's really bad news: The probability of success for that product drops 56 percent.

Platforms demand difference

The first thing you notice when you spam your content across platforms is that it’s rare, in 2015, for one thing to do extraordinarily well in more than one or two venues without significant modification. The next thing you learn is that the best way to succeed on a given platform is to write/film/record/aggregate with that platform explicitly in mind. The next thing you learn is that doing so makes that content extremely weird when taken out of context, which makes it incompatible with other venues. A Vine video might work on Facebook, if you’re lucky, but a Facebook video probably won’t work on Vine. Quizzes that explode on Facebook seem strange on Twitter. A tweet might seem powerful and informative in the Twitter timeline, but look small and pathetic embedded in a website; a tweeted joke might do decently on Twitter but function better as a screen-cap on Tumblr, if at all. The article or video or object that functions well across all contexts is either transcendently newsworthy or shocking—and therefore rare—or extensively adapted.

Headspace as communion wafer

Mindfulness and Meditation are only two of eight life-style choices that the Buddha instructed his followers to practice, in order to break free from the cycle of suffering and rebirth. The others involve a code of ethics. They include Right Understanding, Right Motivation, Right Livelihood (not making a living in a way that harms other beings), Right Action (not killing or hurting people), Right Speech, and Right Effort (diligence). To pluck some things from the list, while ignoring others, strikes many Buddhists as absurd. McMahan said, “It would be as if somebody went to the Catholic Church and said, ‘I don’t buy all this stuff about Jesus and God, but I really dig this Communion ritual. Would you just teach me how to do that bit? Oh, and I want to start a company marketing wafers.’ ”

How Complex Networks Explode with Growth

Public relations professionals often ask how D’Souza’s work might help their products go viral. She typically responds by pointing out that her models actually suppress viral behavior, at least in the short term. “Do you want to eke out all the gains as quickly as you can, or do you want to suppress [growth] so when it does happen, more people learn about it right away?” she said. The same holds true for political campaigns, according to Ziff. Following this model, they would spend much of their time early in the campaign on grassroots local efforts, building up localized clusters of connections and suppressing the emergence of long-range connections until the campaign was ready to go national with a big media splash.

cool products lead to recognition and respect

By examining how the brain responds to “cool” products, we discovered that they help fulfill a basic human need: to be recognized and respected by others. Our brains contain what’s basically a “social calculator” that keeps track of how we think other people are thinking about us—we feel its results as social emotions like pride and shame. Today, it’s typically called “social status,” but that has lingering negative connotations. We found that products are basically extensions of ourselves that reflect who we are—we use them to bond with others who share the same values. Doing this successfully was key to survival throughout human evolutionary history—you really needed allies, friends, and partners to survive.

JK Rowling's flash back to being a newbie

[…]“The Cuckoo’s Calling[…]was treated like any new novel by a first-time writer. Little, Brown sent out bound galleys and talked it up to retailers, as they do with all new titles. We aim for all of our books to reach the widest possible audience and make every effort to market and publicize each title in a way that connects it with that audience.” I spoke to several book retailers, at both large chains and independent stores, and not one could recall seeing an advance reading copy, or hearing anything from the Little, Brown sales representatives.“There was absolutely no buzz,” Ms. Coady said. “There was no direct correspondence from the editor or a publicist. We didn’t hear anything from the sales representatives. They’ll usually tell us that there are five to 10 books on their list that we want to make sure you read. They know our customers and what they like, so we trust them. This book wasn’t one of them. I don’t know if we bought any copies. Maybe one.”[…]The publisher procured two quotes, or blurbs, for its news release, one from the Scottish crime writer Val McDermid, the other from the English novelist and actor Mark Billingham, who said, perhaps all too presciently, that the book was “so instantly compelling it’s hard to believe this is a debut novel.” Booksellers said Little, Brown could have rustled up more prominent authors, including at least one American. […]I asked Little, Brown for reviews that appeared before the identity of the author was known, and the only examples it provided were from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and Booklist, all trade publications. Several newspapers reviewed it in London, but no mainstream American book critic did. The early reviews were positive — far more so than those for “Casual Vacancy” — which must have been heartening to Ms. Rowling. But those in Publishers Weekly and Booklist were a single paragraph, and they failed to generate much buzz or help it stand out from the masses of genre fiction published each year.

The Strategic Use of Book Giveaways

The giveaway is one of the more powerful tools in the new author’s arsenal because it’s a way to get attention when you may not have anything else going for you. There is no demand curve for you yet. And especially if you have no publisher backing you, then it’s important to provide social proof to potential readers, or have some way of indicating merit before they’ll invest time or money. (Thus the race for reviews, social media presences, etc—anything that indicates your work deserves attention.)

Analytics moves from last touch to holistic

They were doing that analysis for some time actually with a method called “last touch.” That means identifying the last thing that the customer did before they bought—as in they clicked an ad and then they bought whatever. The company figured it must’ve been that ad that caused the customer to buy the print. Or someone got a direct mail campaign message and then they bought the calendar. That was the motivation. [Shutterfly] looked at that process and said, “You know, that’s a good model. It’s a good approximation, but it would be better to look at everything touching the user before their last purchase and since the purchase before that.” This greatly expanded the data that they had to consider to do the analysis, so the process became very slow. It took two days to compute the likely marketing channels for all their orders.

HBR: with good labelling (or goals) consumers will adopt identity and change behavior

We didn’t need to find consumers with certain attitudes as a precursor to specific behaviors. Our “manufactured” social identities led them straight to those behaviors. And because we got these results with a brand that had not existed in consumers’ minds 20 minutes earlier, we believe these effects are within the reach of every marketer.

HBR: purchase decisions in the context of a social identity

Social identities are important for marketers because they guide people’s behavior at any given moment. Some behavior will bolster and support the group, and, equally important, some behavior will betray the group. It is no coincidence that people in the same profession—successful athletes, say, or chief executives—tend to buy similar cars and read similar magazines. When it comes to a purchase, the group you identify with at the time of the transaction is a very important factor in your decision. But a customer’s social identity at such a moment can’t be easily captured through questions on surveys, whether before or after the purchase. Subtle shifts in social context can dramatically change what group we identify with at any instant. Waiting in the business lounge to board a plane, we might reach for Harvard Business Review, not just for its content but also, subconsciously, to reinforce our identity as a successful executive. A chance conversation about the background music with a neighbor in the lounge, however, might lead us instead to choose a music magazine to reinforce our identity as a rock fan.

James Patterson's Most Expensive, Exploding Book

For just under $300,000, one super (rich) fan of James Patterson will have the opportunity to purchase the author’s next book and watch it explode a day after opening it. The self-destructing book is part of a plan to promote Mr. Patterson’s next title, “Private Vegas,” due out Jan. 26 from Little, Brown and Company. The price tag of $294,038 includes a first-class flight to an undisclosed location, two nights’ stay in a luxury hotel, 14-karat gold binoculars, a five-course dinner with Mr. Patterson and a copy of “Private Vegas” that will self-destruct 24 hours after the purchaser begins reading it. While the details of how the book will explode are being kept secret, the process will involve a bomb squad and a location that could come straight out of a Patterson story.

Author sums up marketing his book

Screaming at the fucking wind.

Kirkus paid reviews

When we talk again, in October, Brunette has “big exciting news”—a favorable write-up from Kirkus Reviews, the venerable book-reviewing publication and website whose blessing is considered essential by many authors and publishers. “A mystery with an unusual twist and quirky settings; an enjoyable surprise for fans of the genre,” the review trills. She had to pay for it, though. Kirkus has an “indie team” that will review a self-published work for $425 ($575 for express service), with no guarantee of the outcome. “To me, it’s worth it,” Brunette says. “You want that validation.” She plans to use the review in ads on the Kirkus website and magazine.

How Amazon promotes books

Amazon has “daily deals” and “monthly deals” in addition to countdown deals. It has its own “editors’ picks” and best-seller lists. All these regularly feature Amazon titles. Consumers who buy a certain type of book through Amazon, say a romance, will immediately get recommendations for similar books. Amazon Publishing romances are likely to be among them. Those who buy one will get an e-mail the next time its author comes out with a book. Like politicians who feel the press has betrayed them and want to bypass conventional means to get their message out, Amazon is largely bypassing traditional advertising and promotion that relies upon media and bookstores. “We’re focused on customers we can talk to directly,” Belle says.

Amazon Offers All-You-Can-Eat Books -- Authors Aghast.

“Six months ago people were quitting their day job, convinced they could make a career out of writing,” said Bob Mayer, an e-book consultant and publisher who has written 50 books. “Now people are having to go back to that job or are scraping to get by.  That’s how quickly things have changed.”For romance and mystery novelists who embraced digital technology, loved chatting up their fans and wrote really, really fast, the last few years have been a golden age. Fiction underwent a boom unseen since the postwar era, when seemingly every liberal arts major set his sights on the Great American Novel.Now, though, the world has more stories than it needs or wants to pay for. In 2010, Amazon had 600,000 e-books in its Kindle store. Today it has more than three million.

Death of the Social Media Strategist: Overselling & Underperforming

Social is cool, new, hip, and YES: powerful. But social alone is worth nothing. Without a landing page, a transactional opportunity and successful completion, social is worth much less than 8%. Social for "activity" and "share of voice" is worth applause and kudos, from your friends, but not the guys in the upper offices who are cutting the checks to Facebook and Google for social ads. You'd better get your ROI model firmly in place and justified so you can SHOW them why your program, position, project exists.

A Hollywood marketing hack gushes about the Jobs script

It's brilliant. It's perfect. […]Let's take the obvious off the table here - there are marketing liabilities to this script. It's long, it's claustrophobic, it's talky[…]Doesn't matter. We release this over Christmas, let the award buzz and word of mouth buoy it to where it needs to go. While there are a bunch of reasons to try to revise it […]it would topple the elegant house-of-cards-ness of it […]t's a mediation on Jobs himself. It's one of his early computers - closed end to end. […]I kept begging for someone to walk outside, for some daylight[…]But Sorkin is so brilliant with the structure. […]Just when Jobs lets up, the script finally breathes for the first time. It's really spectacular. […]but I'm a sucker for layered, thoughtful filmmaking. Sure it's got a marketing issues but I think it also has the panacea for those - I believe it will be brilliant. I do think the one thing that can hinder that is if it's too long. […] That's the other thing - this can't be without a star playing Jobs and can't be done by just anyone. Obviously. The script is a prefect 10 but in the wrong hands it grosses mid 30's.[…]while tricky - people deserve this kind of movie and in some weird way we have a responsibility to take these kinds of risks. Not to make it seem like we're saving lives - but I actually think that. This is the kind of film that makes me thankful for movies and they're few and far between these days.[…]It's exciting.

Social media as a launch pad for a self-published book -- good luck!

Yes, the good news is that you can create a platform with social media, and that it is virtually free except in terms of your time. But the bad news is that in a world that is completely oversaturated with traditional media, information, news, hype, marketing, books, other platforms, social media, blogs, magazines, online magazines, advertising everywhere, television, and so on, it’s incredibly difficult to stand out. To do so, you have to craft an extraordinarily compelling message and story, create a clever platform around it that makes sense for what it is and who you are, and then have the patience to do what it takes to develop that platform through the social media and traditional media you’ve chosen. It can take years.

Book selling: its all about targetting

An audience of “everyone” is typically too big to grasp or connect with. Where does “everyone” get their information? There’s no single source. What motivates “everyone” to learn something? There’s no single motivation. What does “everyone” care about? There’s no single topic. You get the idea… “Everyone” is not your audience. Your audience is a specific set of people with specific motivations and values. They’re much easier to reach and connect with than everyone.
When the campaign was completed at the end of December, it was clear that it had failed on one goal: it had fallen well short of the 100,000 fans MegaRed wanted to add to its Facebook page.[…]During the eight-week campaign, 18.1 million women aged 45 and up saw at least one ad, according to Nielsen’s research. That was 56 percent of the target audience. The number who said they were now more likely to buy MegaRed rose by two percentage points.About one out of every 84 Facebook users who saw the ads liked, commented on or shared them — triple the rate of engagement with MegaRed’s previous ads. […]the campaign generated about twice as much revenue as R.B. spent on the ads, according to an analysis by Datalogix. That was better than R.B.’s historical return from TV ads, which the company measures once every year or two.[…] MegaRed also gained more than a percentage point of market share, with 9.2 percent of the dollar value of the heart-health market, based on R.B.’s analysis of IRI shopper data through Feb. 23. R.B. was also running TV ads, handing out samples and doing in-store marketing at the same time, but the company says the Facebook campaign contributed to the gains.