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Are Focus Groups Worth it?

Short answer: Yes, but read on:


"We've become a culture that has bred out risk-taking," she told the audience at the Grand Hyatt hotel during the panel discussion titled "Campaigns I Wish I'd Done." She bemoaned that in the current economic squeeze, chief marketing officers have become overly dependent on logical, quantifiable marketing propositions.

On the one hand you can see the amusement with this as creatives just want researchers out of the way so that "creative barriers" can be removed. On the other hand, why not attempt to quantify the likelihood of a campaign's success prior to millions of dollars being spent?

Yes, focus groups can be biased and so can most research but it is still important. The problem is that too much credence is placed on the findings of research. The creative process gets hung up on datapoints and that's where all creativity just ends. Research drives creative far too much.

Am I advocating the elimination of focus groups and research? Of course not. Research needs to be just a part of the creative process. Not the controlling element. Risks do need to be taken. We are never going to know every last detail about our target audience. There can not be a proof point for every square inch on and ad nor should there be.

Creativity is not a science, it is a craft.


by Steve Hall    Nov-19-02    

Broadband Penetration Update

Broadband Internet Tops 15.6 Million in the U.S.

Leichtman Research Group finds that as of the end of the third quarter of 2002 the leading cable and DSL providers in the United States have a total of over 15.6 million high-speed Internet subscribers. During the quarter the major US cable and DSL providers added a combined 1.68 million subscribers.

Other key findings include:

Broadband Internet subscriber growth for the third quarter of 2002 was the highest so far this year and exceeded net additions for the third quarter of 2001 by 400,000 subscribers.

The top cable companies had 68% of the net broadband additions for the quarter, with cable adding over 1.1 million broadband Internet subscribers compared to 540,000 added by the major DSL providers over the same time period.

The top cable operators now account for over 10 million broadband Internet subscribers, maintaining a 65% share of the market.


by Steve Hall    Nov-19-02    

HP Launches New Campaign. Spends Heavily Online

Cross post by Olivier Travers from my other site:

MarketingFix: HP to Spend Big Money on Multi-Channel Campaign

Two Flash ads can be seen as I'm writing seen on Yahoo. It's one of these experiments Yahoo wants feedback about. I didn't figure it out instantly, but the right part works as a scrolling menu that changes the content in the center as you navigate through it. I'm not sure it's as usable and explicit as it could be, and the fact that the navigation is separated from the ad content is unusual.


by Steve Hall    Nov-18-02    

CMR Says Ad Spending Will Be Up 2.5% in 2002

CMR says we are on track for ad spend to be up 2.5% over last year. Spend to date (Sept. 30) is $84.4 billion compared to $82.6 for the same period last year.

Categories with biggest increases were spot and network TV, local newspapers, local, national spot radio and network radio.

Not surprisingly, categories not doing well were business-to-business magazines, the Internet and national syndication.


by Steve Hall    Nov-18-02    

Parents With Children Go Online Frequently

Parents more likely to use Internet

Some 70 percent of parents with children at home use the Internet, the nonprofit Pew Internet and American Life Project found, compared with 53 percent of non-parents. Parents are also more likely to use other high-tech gadgets like cell phones and DVD players, the study found.

Yea, we go online to get a break from our kids! I outta know. I have two of them:-)


by Steve Hall    Nov-18-02    

Online Shopping Has Started Already

Here's some great news to start your week off. Online shopping is off to a great start!

Holiday Season Head Start

The Nielsen//NetRatings Holiday E-Commerce Index, a measurement of at-home and at-work internet usage, indicates e-commerce traffic is picking up well in advance of the holidays. Traffic to toys and games sites increased by more than a third from the week ending 20 October to the week ending 3 November, and virtual department stores greeted 6 million more visitors the second week.

UPDATE: Two Surveys Predict Good Holiday Online

by Steve Hall    Nov-18-02    

When an Electrolux is Not an Electrolux (vacuums for those that don't know)

Electrolux Resolves Its Identity Crisis

Here's a counterintuitive business strategy: Sell the company name, operate under a slew of other brands for 34 years, then buy back your original name for $50 million. That pretty much summarizes what Electrolux, the world's largest home-appliance maker, did in America.

Did you know that Electrolux vacuums are not really Electrolux vacuums? Did you know that Fridgidaire, Weed Eater, and White-Westinghouse brand are really Electrolux products?

Here is a fascinating little story on Electrolux, how it sold it's brand name 34 years ago and has now bought it back. Watch, you will see double-logo'd products now such as Fridgidaire Electrolux.

The new logos are part of CEO Hans Straberg's global branding strategy. "I'd like my legacy to be one of the guy who got the Electrolux products together under one umbrella name," he says.

By the way, Electrolux manufactured vacuums are really Eureka. Electrolux BRANDED vacuums are actually made by a company called Aerus.


This guy has a serious branding challenge ahead.


by Steve Hall    Nov-16-02    

Ask Jeeves Hits Outdoor

Ask Jeeves Launches Outdoor Ad Campaign

Search engine Ask Jeeves (Quote, Company Info) is taking the wraps off an advertising campaign Monday that skips the expensive TV commercials it used in its early days in favor of more sensible guerilla marketing and outdoor advertising.

It's nice to see a dot com on billboards again.

by Steve Hall    Nov-15-02    

The Best Blogging Story You Will Ever Read

1. Nick gets pick pocketed in Circuit City. Loses wallet.
2. Nice New Yorker finds Nick's wallet and calls friend's number. Friend does not know where Nick is.
3. Friend calls Nick out of concern.
4. Friends of Nick Denton get concerned because he hasn't blogged in 24 hours! (the horror) Could he be kidnapped?
5. Nick (who is safe the whole time) uses PayPal to track the thief.
6. Nick himself blogs about the entire incident.

Only in the Blogosphere...


by Steve Hall    Nov-15-02    

Advergames: Product Placement Game Style

ABCNEWS.com : Will 'Adver-Gaming' Take Off?

Playing interactive video games online isn't just fun and entertaining for players. For companies and marketers, online games are becoming yet another avenue to attract a consumer's attention � and make a sales pitch.

I'm not much of a gamer but there are some good points in this article about time spent with the medium and the potential of it as an advertising medium. Worth a read.

by Steve Hall    Nov-15-02    

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