There was quite a bit of travel on my schedule this past week. I usually wind up printing some of the articles I've tagged in del.icio.us and I catch up in between bursts from magazines like Wired, Fast Company and Business 2.0. I'm not usually taken aback by much, but this week there were three articles that made me stand up and take notice.
1. Shock Waves: Microsoft To Move Bulk Of $1 Billion In U.S. Ad Spending To Digital from MediaPost. Here's a snippet: "Like many marketing leaders - including P&G marketing chief Jim Stengel who spoke before her - Mathews hammered home the message that the days of pushing ads and announcements at consumers are behind us. Instead, there is a need for a push strategy centered on involving consumers in a brand... That mantra has become so critical that it's taken into consideration when creating TV spots and other video ads, particularly for the company's Xbox 360. Providing content that consumers can take ownership of via mashups and other tinkering is key. 'It's now a factor in the creative process,' Mathews said."
This is huge news for the online marketing world. Although it sounds rational in terms of understanding where the audience "is," the bigger question is: where is Microsoft going to advertise and what will this type of ad spend look like in the online world?
You can read the full article here: MediaPost - Microsoft To Move Bulk Of $1 Billion In U.S. Ad Spending To Digital.
2. Sony Turns PS3 Focus To Community from CNNMoney.com. Here's a gem: "'PlayStation Home,' ... will allow PS3 owners to create customized likenesses of themselves (or whoever they'd prefer to be in the online world) to communicate and play with others in a 3D virtual community... While PlayStation Home appears, at first glance, to be a social mingling spot, it also represents a significant step into the world of microtransactions and e-commerce for Sony. Though the program will be free to download and use, users who want to change their avatar's clothing or buy additional furniture or accessories for their apartment may find small costs associated with those... Harrison said the company may also unlock new clothes or features when users purchase and play a new PS3 game."
We've heard big talk around advertising in video games. We've heard big talk around the potential of virtual worlds like Second Life. How about this Sony mash-up of online virtual worlds and in-game advertising?
You can read the full article here: CNNMoney.com - Sony Turns PS3 Focus To Community.
3. Apple: America's Best Retailer from Fortune. Some key insights: "Apple's 174 stores, which attract 13,800 visitors a week. (The Fifth Avenue store averages 50,000-plus.) In 2004, Apple reached $1 billion in annual sales faster than any retailer in history; last year, sales reached $1 billion a quarter. And now comes the next, if not must-have, then must-see, product... 'Our stores were conceived and built for this moment in time - to roll out iPhone,' says Jobs, summoning one to the table with a tantalizing I've-got-the-future-in-my-pocket twinkle. If sales are anywhere near expectations - Apple hopes to move ten million iPhones in 2008 - the typical Apple Store could be selling, in absolute terms, as much as a Best Buy, and with just a fraction of the selling space."
There are a lot of major lessons in this article for Marketers. Namely, don't only drink the social media Kool-Aid from the fire hydrant. There are plenty of consumers still running to retail locations, but they are looking for engaging brand experiences. If you can do it (like Apple stores do), the rewards are overwhelming.
You can read the full article here: Fortune - Apple: America's Best Retailer.