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Black Friday Brings a Blizzard of Social Promotions

Posted on  7 December 10  by 


If Black Friday is any indication, consumers are feeling less Scrooge-y this holiday season than in recent years.  According to the National Retail Federation, 212 million American shoppers pointed their cars or their web browsers to stores over the long weekend following Thanksgiving – a 9% bump over 2009’s 195 million shoppers.  And most people were in a spending mood, opening their wallets to the tune of $365 per person as compared to last year’s $343 for an estimated total of $45 billion between Thursday and Sunday.  comScore reports another $1 billion was spent online on Cyber Monday – 16% more than on the same day in 2009.

In addition to crazy discounts and shopper stampedes, Black Friday also provided an array of creative promotional activity by top retailers.  While television and print circulars factored big in advertisers’ budgets, social media shouldered a growing responsibility in encouraging shoppers to spend spend spend. Read More »

4 Memorable Advertising Feuds

By Kirsten Robinson

How competitive were you with your childhood best friend? Remember how it felt when you both tried out for the same sports team, and only one of you made the cut? Or, when the “A” you got on a paper wasn’t good enough, because your friend got an “A+.” Competitive relationships keep us on our toes, striving to do better. Having a friend who outdid us academically ended up encouraging some of us to go home and study harder. Companies also work to best each other, and comparative advertising is one channel they use to do so.

Here’s a compilation of some of the most memorable feuds: Read More »

A Successful Game of Telephone

Posted on  1 December 10  by 


Increased number of customer touch points, cluttered channels, more specialized media, global 24/7 buying environment…many of us will admit that the business landscape of today is calling for a very strategic approach to marketing communications, but what is the reality at the home front?

According to MLC research, top marketing organizations are challenged by product positioning getting lost somewhere between product and communications development, consumers experiencing disjointed messages due to lack of clarity in product positioning, and struggles to communicate brand positioning strategy effectively and simply across functional silos.

Sound familiar? Read More »

The Tyranny of Legacy

Posted on  30 November 10  by 


Consider the following two vignettes:

  • In the book “Winning,” Jack Welch describes a tactic he used at GE to force himself to always enter a business situation with a fresh perspective.  Every time he travelled, he got off the plane imagining that the Jack Welch of yesterday had had no idea what he had been doing.  He felt that this ritual of taking a critical eye to past decisions helped him enter every situation as an opportunity for improvement.
  • In a recent issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, Laura J. Soave, a marketing executive at Fiat discussed details of Fiat’s ‘Return to North America’ marketing launch, adding that “My ultimate goal would be not to spend one dollar in traditional advertising.”  Instead, she says that she will focus on social media and other grassroots approaches to target likely buyers.

Now, consider the following:  If you were starting the marketing function within your business today, how would you choose to allocate your media mix?  In other words, if you had a zero-based planning process (rather than one based on the previous year’s plans), what would you choose to spend your money on? Read More »

Why You Need Surge Capacity in Your 2011 Marketing Plan

What can moscato teach us about marketing planning and skillsets of socially-savvy marketers?   More than you might imagine.

This sweet wine sourced from the Muscat grape was a rounding error on annual wine sales in the US.

Until Drake came along. Read More »

A Sneak Peek into MLC’s 2011 Agenda

Posted on  23 November 10  by 

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Drum roll please… many of you noticed our recent poll asking where we should focus our research efforts in 2011.  Thanks to you (and particular thanks to those who offered up time to talk to us about your areas of interest) we have our major themes of our research for next year: Read More »

Seinfeld and Marketing Strategy

Seinfeld is one of the most popular shows in the history of American television, and is in many ways emblematic of the 1990′s. But have you ever considered that the show has a lot to teach about marketing strategy?

It’s true. Seinfeld was noted by critics for its unique focus on mundane human interactions, a large number of which included buying and selling stuff. From George’s Russian hat to the muffin tops to the famous J. Peterman catalogue, Seinfeld featured consumerism as a key element in the plotlines of many episodes, the result of which is a show that’s rich in lessons for marketers.

Here’s a look at a few key marketing strategies explored in Seinfeld: Read More »

Top Holiday Toys of 2010

Not too long ago, it seemed as though there was a must-have holiday gift every year, that inspired all sorts of slightly-depraved stories of grown men hoarding dolls and stampedes at toy stores. Remember Cabbage Patch Kids?

Remembering the toy crazes of our youth, the team here got to talking about whether this kind of frenzy over one product is even possible anymore. Clearly, scenes like the one above are a product of a less segmented society – one with fewer media channels, a smaller range of products to choose from, and more unified tastes.

Perhaps thankfully, it seems as though the days of mono-product consumer crazes are over. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t hot toys – for kids and grown-ups alike – that will be a hit this holiday. Looking at Amazon sales rankings, one thing we’ve noticed is that all the top sellers have one thing in common – they’re infinitely customizable, from Kindles and iPads to Sing-a-ma-jigs and Nerf N-Strike Stampedes, a Nerf gun that blows the pathetic pump-action gun of my childhood out of the water.

Here’s a look at a few of the top sellers: Read More »

Is Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade the Last of Its Kind?

By Kirsten Robinson

When I think of Thanksgiving, I picture my family, turkey, mashed potatoes—and, on Television, enormous balloons floating down the streets of New York. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is so iconic that the Macy’s brand itself is practically synonymous with one of America’s biggest holidays.

But this branding feat is more than 80 years in the making, and we’ll probably never see anything quite like it again. Read More »

Executive Guidance 2011

On December 1, CEB will release our Executive Guidance for 2011, Achieving Intelligent Growth. In it, we argue that what separates stable from volatile enterprises is a relentless focus on “intelligent growth” – a long-term pattern of above-industry performance in both revenue growth and efficiency – that persists in all economic climates. Our research teams examined nearly 1,800 global companies across all industries, and found that only 143 companies fit the bill. The Executive Guidance report examines why, and how, those companies got there. Read More »