January 2009

Hal Varian on flexible innovation

From a recent interview with Hal Varian, chief economist at Google and professor of information sciences, business, and economics at the University of California at Berkeley: We’re in the middle of a period that I refer to as a period of “combinatorial innovation.” So if you look historically, you’ll find periods in history where there would be the availability of a different component parts that innovators could combine or recombine to create new inventions. In …

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The most important strategic choice in online marketing

At the most abstract level, your organization is a single entity. At the most detailed level, each of your customers is an individual, unique and special. Perhaps the greatest challenge in marketing is reconciling these two forces: the unity of your brand and the individuality of your audience. You want to speak to people as specifically as you can, addressing their particular wants and needs, related in a way that resonates best with their perspective …

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Twitter and the law of propinquity

The law of propinquity states that the greater physical (or psychological) proximity between people, the greater the chance that they will form friendships or romantic relationships. Other things being equal, the more we see people and interact with them, the more probable we are to like them. The classic example of propinquity is that two people living on the same floor of a building have a higher propinquity than those living on different floors. MIT …

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4 stories of disruption in marketing

This was a fascinating week for social media and disruptive innovation in marketing. Take these 4 stories: Yesterday, eMarketer reported that people all over the world are spending more and more leisure time online, on both a daily and weekly basis. A study by TNS Global found that in 2008, US adults spent 30% of their leisure time on the Internet (in China, that number is actually 44%). In the US, the amount of time …

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Why IT and marketing are diametrically opposed

Forget the usual stereotypes of IT and marketing. Start with the assumption that all marketers and all IT people are smart, talented, enthusiastic, and dedicated to the success of the company, above personal preferences or departmental jockeying. They’re each very good at what they do. So why is there such legendary frustration at the intersection of the two? The Problem The gap that is the marketing/IT divide is, in my opinion, not a matter of …

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Reflections on marketing technology for a New Year

I believe that marketing — as a function, a profession, and an industry — is experiencing transformational changes and disruptive innovation, driven by the evolving capabilities and culture of the Internet and a new generation of marketing technology software. It is becoming more distributed in execution, more personalized in communications, and more fluid across boundaries inside and outside the firm. Its cycle speed is accelerating, its tactical building blocks are fragmenting — from a few …

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