Archive for May, 2014

10 things I learned yesterday

DATE: May 28th, 2014

I had the chance to attend the Canadian Marketing Association National Conference, The Art of Marketing yesterday. Here a few of things I learned….

  1. Technology has changed the way we live, engage and communicate… Okay – that’s a bit of a no-brainer, but think about it… in the olden days few people wrote a paper after graduation, published their ideas or engaged with people they had no way of ever meeting personally. Today, more than 3.6 trillion words are written every day. Many of them in 140 character blocks with cultural shorthand. Hundreds of thousands of blog writers post their ideas, opinions, and musings. Thousands of writers self-publish and are read on sites like Wattpad. Technology is producing a lot of words.
  2. Collaboration provides the power to solve hard problems. Two examples popped up several times: protein folding and TED Talks. Both illustrate the capacity for the technology age to access smart people from many different places and have them work together to solve a problem. Check out to see how scientists are connecting people who like to play with puzzles to solve very complex health issues.
  3. We believe speed is the most important component of success.  In fact, most often we exchange critical thinking, fact finding and evaluation for speed. The world is changing at a faster pace than ever before. When we are caught in the churn of the urgency, we believe that stopping to think will deter our success.
  4. We are afraid we are getting dumber.  The fear is real and reflects the uncertainty of our present reality. When the first phones came out, people were terrified that they would rob privacy or make you deaf (or even crazy). Each new innovation comes with its own set of fears. But Yahoo did make a good argument for the intensity of the fear of losing mental acuity. As we rely more and more on technology, we are afraid we will lose our own ability to remember, think and analyze. Tests confirmed the slide into having our technology work while we play.
  5. While we have many tools to work more efficiently, we don’t. Studies show that most employees spend 35% or more of their time redoing work. One speaker suggested that rework is inevitable in a working environment built on old systems but attempting to produce innovative solutions—the system itself created rework. For instance, while cross-functional teams are required to solve many of today’s business problems, few organizations are actually set up to work in cross functional teams. The battle against the process creates rework. The speed at which work is expected to be completed is another contributor. If the team would have thought a bit, understand the problem and its roots, they would be better equipped to come up with a solution.
  6. Real Time can get an organization into significant…. Well, poop. If you want to be amused, check out It’s the story of how the smart car fought back. They were aware of high numbers of negative twitter feeds. They listened and then they created a very, very clever response. It’s worth the 2:07 minutes it takes to watch.
  7. You and I will make 70 decisions today. And we feel the burden of it. We are pressured to make certain decisions. We can influence others on their decisions. We are sometimes confused at how to make the decision. Understanding the difference between a decision that can be made on auto-forward or a quick choice or researched critical thinking is a huge asset.
  8. We avoid the complex in favour of the simple. I often talk about the iTunes model—one click, no thought. I think the discussion of this is actually complicated because often the simplest solution has a very complex development. Like a tag line. Frankly, it’s easier to write a chapter than to write a short, meaningful, clever line.
  9. We are mediocre. We talk about the spectacular, the clever, the successful, but if we look at the continuum there are companies that are deplorable and those that are awesome. There are very few that fit into either extreme. Brands, by and large, are mediocre. Work environments, by and large are mediocre. Not my opinion, but it is what I learned. I wonder if we are caught in the celebrity environment and our work environments are not really mediocre – we only imagine others are better.
  10. ROI matters. Clearly there is a stampede to be first in line in the digital age. But studies still show remarkable Return on Investment from traditional media and channels. Interestingly, the same high returns are not found in digital. While digital use is going up, the actual performance is below expectation when we analyze actual sales. Should we eliminate digital? By no means….. but we should determine our evaluative measurements and actually test the performance against it. The jury is still out on effectiveness as we can make a very good argument for digital and the lack of experience. It’s new, we are learning.

I have 32 pages of notes…. It was a great day to slow down and think.

Candy Crush: what we can learn about loyalty

DATE: May 20th, 2014

In 2014 experts predict that in-app purchases will top $18 billion. The 2013 Gartner report predicts that by 2017 48% pf app store revenues will be from in-app sales. That’s up 37% from 2013.

So, what can we learn about loyalty?

  1. App-users don’t buy until they have used the app at least 10 times. Critical to the cultivation of purchasing is engagement. Lesson 1: Loyalty equals increased revenue
  2. The number of downloads is not the primary metric. Rather, the key element is the number of loyal users.   Which means that the app has to draw the user back to the app again and again. Lesson 2: Loyalty is earned
  3. Just over 20% of the apps downloaded stay on the consumer’s main screen. The average app user has downloaded 26 apps, but only 6 are used daily. Lesson 3: Loyalty requires agility
  4. Preventing the erosion of engagement is a strategic choice between low-cost repeat purchases and high value less-frequent purchases. The perceived value of the content determines this. Lesson 4: Loyalty is built by strategic analysis of best performing purchasing habits

Bill Bangert, a COLLOQUY staff writer’s article In-app Purchases – How Loyalty helps turn free downloads into money makers, provides great insight into loyalty within apps.

We can apply these insights to both for-profit and non-profit sales (donations).

Lesson 1: Loyalty equals increased revenue

A no-brainer, actually. The customer who is already engaged in your product or cause is more likely to purchase or donate again. BUT it will not happen by itself. The key qualifier is engagement. You need to have a conversation with them a minimum of 10 times before they will think about buying. This is where solid brand building is core. Whether it is through traditional advertising, social media or word-of-mouth, trustworthiness is the first step to engagement.

Lesson 2: Loyalty is earned

Earning loyalty is tough. First of all, it means your product or cause must be positioned to your audience in a way that catches their attention. We need to get the consumer (donor) to say: “I might want …” or “I’d like to get involved with…” But you need to bring them back 10 times before they are clicking “buy” or “donate”.  Is your content good enough to catch someone’s attention ten times and each time say “I want…”?

Lesson 3: Loyalty requires agility

Very few organizations have the agility to change course quickly. Traditional organizations embed convoluted processes to deter agility and protect the company itself. In the new era, agility matters. There are two critical factors in agility: first of all, real time analysis identifies core loyalty enhancers and those activities that inhibit loyalty. Secondly, loyalty enhancers need to be put in place immediately – or as fast as possible. The challenge? Few organizations, business or non-profit, have the resources that enable them to move quickly. This is a systemic challenge that needs to be overcome.

Lesson 4: Loyalty is built by strategic analysis of best performing purchasing habits

We all have google analytics. We don’t all use them. We all can create a sales funnel. Few of us monitor it. Most of us use an integrated strategy that makes it more difficult to analyze the sales decision. This is not going to change in the short term. Unlike an app, we do not have the undivided attention of our audience. Instead, we have a multi-faceted user that engages with us in the subway, on outdoor, on TV or banner ads, in books and magazines, online or maybe in an app. There’s a lot of hype about big data – less success in using it. We need to figure it out.

I’m still a little stunned that in 2014 more than $18 billion will be generated by in-app purchases. In 1970 Nokia put Snake on some of their phones. They didn’t charge for it. Nor could you purchase a new snake. You had to make do with the green one that had little resemblance to an actual snake.

I’m pretty sure they never imagined the economic revolution they began.

The iStore opened in July, 2008. I’m pretty sure Jobs had an idea of economic revolution he was starting. Blackberry World launched April 2009 – and by 2011 became the wealthiest app store (determined by revenue generated by App). But we know how that ended.  Google Play opened October 2008 and is really just getting started…. And then there is Windows, Samsung and Nokia – all playing in the sandbox.

But in just 6 years the industry has sky rocketed to $18 billion.

Imagine that…