Agnotology – Studying the spread of ignorance

How do people or companies with vested interests spread ignorance and obfuscate knowledge? Georgina Kenyon finds there is a term which defines this phenomenon.

This phenomena is the primary reason why Marketing has the reputation of misleading or confusing customers. Thoroughly understanding this phenomena and ensuring we, as future Marketers, do not contribute to it is crucial in sustaining a customer’s belief in any marketing communication.

Read the entire article here:

Source: The man who studies the spread of ignorance


3 reasons why a customer’s email id will be the NEXT BIG THING!

email id prompt

The above prompt may seem all too familiar to some of you. Especially if you’ve tried searching for internet trends, how to’s or any other industry best practices.

What you are witnessing is data collection 101. This is primary information that companies focussed on “lead nurturing” are interested to capture. The idea is to provide something of utility to the consumer and in return get personal identifiers like Name, Email id etc. In a lot of cases, the content given to the user (for free) is actually quite useful and may have required a sizeable investment in time and energy. That makes you wonder, how is this a viable Marketing strategy?

Is it fathomable that we are entering the golden era of marketing wherein empowerment of consumers is the primary goal for companies?

Well, the answer to that is yes and no.

Yes, because many companies, especially technology companies, are increasingly getting aware of the fact that in order to get more takers for their technology there needs to be sizeable investment behind evangelising and training consumers on how to use the technology. Some great examples of this in action are from companies like Hootsuite, Hubspot, Salesforce etc. Whilst smaller technology companies have been pioneering this effort, larger brands are yet to join the bandwagon.

No, because there are 3 specific reasons that are making email ids the most coveted piece of information for marketers.

Reason #1The launch of Google Customer Match

Email ids used only as a means of sending a promotional email once in a while is passe. Now with the launch of Google Customer Match, email ids act as your personal identifier and Google has the ability to target ads specific to you on Search, Youtube and across the Google display network. These are exciting times because we have moved very quickly from just cookie targeting to a personal identifier targeting across the web.

With the email id acting as your personal identifier, it makes all the sense for Marketers to chase after this information and design strategies exclusively for data collection and profiling of consumers, giving rise to the much talked about field of “Data-driven Marketing.”

Reason #2Customizable audience creation

Facebook custom audiences and Twitter tailored audiences do exactly what Google Customer Match does but restricted to their respective platforms. This gives companies the capability to create lists of customer email ids basis similarities and then using these lists to run targeted and customised communication. What’s more is that Facebook & Twitter can populate a list of audiences that are similar to your customer list (lookalike audiences) basis demographics, interests and preferences allowing you to run a campaign for acquiring these new customers.

Personally, I think this is great. I am smart enough to share my email id only with brands that I trust and care about. So if this makes those brands reach me more efficiently and break the clutter then by all means go ahead! Going forward, at no point do I wish to see an ad for a shaving gel. I mean why? It’s such a waste of my time and the marketers advertising money. Show me what interests me with lesser frequency and I’m a happy camper!

Reason #3: Tracking your customer’s engagement levels via emailers

In-email analytics are now more crucial than ever. Sending a promotional newsletter to your consumers? You need to be tracking the following:

  • How many of them open your email? Get an opening rate and analyse that over time against days and time of the day. Target consumers that open your email with related ads on the web (using their email id) and keep the conversation going. Needless to say, overexposure always has and always will be a terrible thing. So practice moderation and keep your communication actionable.
  • A/B test your Promo Codes. Are you sending promo codes with your email? Create customer clusters and use different promo codes (with different promo values) for those clusters. Track how they perform, analyse which promo values work on which clusters and arrive at an optimum combination of cluster and promo value based on the redemption rates.
  • Analyse all actionable items in the email and have unique identifiers for links as per the identified customer clusters. See which one performs better than the rest for each cluster. Intuitive changes like placing those action items in prominent positions in your emailer can enhance your conversation rates.

Lastly, I’m sure this whole piece has raised some serious data privacy concerns in your mind. The general notion on this matter would be, first you target me on my laptop then my smartphone and now you basically plan to target me wherever I sign in with my email id! Whilst paranoia of being tracked is understandable, let me leave you with this thought:

Hating on the existence of advertising is naive, but can we work towards making it cleaner? Making it a more pleasant experience for the consumers, brands and everyone else involved. With Marketing strategies developed on the back of consumer data, I think we can.

Would love to hear your point of view on this. Comment below!

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Gateway to Cultural Anthropology via Advertising

We have reached a phase in digital advertising wherein Youtube ads have become synonymous with the skip button. Viewers are not receptive to the concept of an ad running before their favourite content and majority of the ad viewing time is spent intently staring at the much awaited skip button to appear! This phenomena appeared another time in the past as well with TV advertising, however TV viewing is traditionally a family or group activity and hence the TV ads are relatively better received for 2 reasons: a) The TV ad can be appreciated or criticised as a group, b) The option to switch to other channels in the interim break.

With the advent of Digital media, Youtube has instilled, as much as they have taken away, a sense of autonomy and self-initiative from their viewers with pre-roll advertisements.







But could it be conceivable that the viewers have it all wrong? Yes, most of us find the pre-roll ads to be nagging and wish that they would just go away. However in such a situation how does one suggest Google make money? From us? Maybe a subscription? Something that Youtube has rolled out already, but we the free people, are we willing to pay a subscription to watch content from our favourite channels?

This brings me to the next part: Advertisements have traditionally been a very vital and accurate representation of a region’s inherent culture. If you find yourself in a completely new country and wish to know more about its culture, an ideal starting point would be the television commercials of that place.  Advertising to be successful has a mandate of appealing to the masses and being as local in its communication as it can possibly be. So then what better place  can a person go to learn about a foreign land’s inherent culture? Researching on the internet is definitely a way but will it really give you a rich essence of the dialect, accepted gestures and colloquial terminology? I’d guess not.

Now we have a content delivery system that (maybe forcefully so) gives us an insight into cultural nuances every time we go to stream our favourite content from a different part of the world! As a lover of digital media i actually like watching the pre-roll ads, yes you read that right! Its industry learning for me really but most importantly when i travel and take those 2 minutes to watch a local pre-roll ad and it gives me such an immense insight into the culture and nature of the local people. These insights help me in understanding the general sentiment and attitude of the people towards common issues and works as a conversation starter in furthering my cultural learning.

The beauty of Youtube lies in its accessibility. Whilst travelling we may not always have access to a TV or a Newspaper but we will most often than not have access to our smartphones and laptops, opening the gateway to an immersive understanding of cultural anthropology. Well this holds true only if we have the right attitude towards the medium of course.

Having said all of the above i think there are some ground rules which every advertiser should follow in order to keep the viewer’s ad watching experience a memorable one:

  1. Keep the ad frequency to a maximum of 2! Yes Mr. Media planner you know what I’m talking about!
  2. The duration of the advertisement should not be more than 1 minute unless you have an extremely compelling story to tell.
  3. Inculcate the local culture of the region as much as possible and I cannot stress this enough. Doing so has two benefits, firstly the more local and customised the content the more your target audience would identify with it and secondly the travellers and expats can actually use the advertisements as a reservoir to learn about local and cultural nuances.
  4. Target your ad! One size fits all never has and never will work, especially in todays highly individualised world. Everybody wants to feel like a somebody and personalisation of content is the key to opening that mine.

Coca cola is a master at culture marketing, take a look at this and decide what you take out of it: 

To me, when i saw the Youtube ad in Singapore i realised the underlying tension between different communities here and sensed that even though Singapore might be cracking down on its expatriate population they appreciate the effort taken by parts of this foreign population in building their country. I have used this on multiple occasions as a conversation starter to further gauge the locals sentiment on this topic.

So next time you intently wait to skip a Youtube ad, think twice, you might just be foregoing an opportunity of some great cultural learning.

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How do you keep a conversation going on social media?

All you Game of Thrones fans out there, this post goes out to you!

Since it’s inception, GoT has been infamous for ruthlessly killing off some of the show’s most loved characters and having unfathomable plot twists that would leave even the know-it-all book readers a bit appalled to say the least.

What this has done for the stupendously popular TV series is to get it’s fans talking about all the happenings of the show on social media, blogs etc and friends of fans to hate this or love this but receive this information nonetheless.

Even the non-believers of the TV show know the name of at least one of the 7 houses and definitely know of the existence of dragons! So how does this happen?

Well, with each new episode there is either love or hate expressed by the devout fans in the form of a flurry of social posts and subsequent debates on those posts! But the “magic potion” of this phenomena lies in the new converts that keep adding on and building on the conversation.

But as every business follows an “S” curve of growth, so does the popularity of a TV show. It seems now that the organic talkability around GoT is declining and this decline is further accentuated by the not-so-power packed episodes of the latest season.

So what does Game of Thrones do? Well they launch a series of parodies and musicals with the whole cast and one exclusively featuring the most loved character: Daenerys Targaryen!

First up,

Coldplay’s Game of Thrones: The Musical (Full 12-minute version)

And the winner,

Rastafarian Daenerys Targaryen!

Well, whilst this created a fair amount of buzz around in social media and revived some of the dead conversations around the Game of Thrones brand, it was all for a good and noble cause.

This Game of Thrones mash-up with Coldplay was done for a comedy charity event: Red Nose Day arranged by NBC

So a social cause leading to earned social (media) PR, now that my friends is how you seamlessly keep a conversation going with your fans!

Red Nose Day:

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Ahead of the curve: Kenneth Cole uses Google Glass to promote its new cologne “Mankind”

The campaign, called “Man up for Mankind Challenge” sets out with the download of a Google glass mobile app. The app challenges men to perform different tasks each day for 3 weeks.

The deeds include gentlemanly notions like :

  • Offer to carry a lady’s bag
  • Bring doughnuts to work for everyone
  • Buy a stranger coffee

Completion of these deeds make the gentlemen eligible to win a Mankind toolkit worth $US 1,000!

The brilliance of this campaign stems from the noble thought process and creative use of technology. The use of Google glass helps Kenneth Cole to target their cutting edge, early adopter man who does not shy away from using a wearable technology.

The campaign encourages young men to contribute and give back to the community whilst being ahead of the times with the use of a technology like Google glass.

This is definitely a very innovative way to marry content marketing with technology and deliver value to the audience.

We give them a definitive thumbs up!👍🏽

Photo credits:

Converse beautifully entwines itself with the musicians

The Converse rubber tracks studio is in Brooklyn and offers free recording time to musicians who otherwise may not be able to afford it.

How great is that! This is a great example of evolved symbiotic marketing wherein the brand fully understands its consumer and invests in empowering him.

Converse Rubber Tracks Pop Up Studio in Barcelona, Spain
Converse Rubber Tracks Pop Up Studio in Barcelona, Spain

Its not only free studio time thats on offer here, Converse also hosts pop up studios all over the world providing musicians a chance to record, with no expectations of shoe promotions in return.

Budding, working musicians can apply online post which their application is reviewed and a call to gauge exact requirements is made followed by scheduling of the meeting.

This is what Converse had to say in an interview with Fast company:


I say include this in Marketing’s 5 Ps or 7 Cs or whatever the age old theory still preaches.

A curation of marketing initiatives done with character.

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