Thursday, October 25, 2007

Other News for 10/25

  • The Nielsen Company and Google have formed a multi-year strategic alliance. The first outcome of this new relationship will be demographic data provided by Nielsen to Google TV Ads, the online platform for buying, selling, measuring and delivering television ads. Google will now be able to provide its advertisers a more complete look of the demographic composition of the audience.
  • Apple has found a way to help promote the movie side of its download business, currently stuck at about 1,000 Disney, MGM, Lionsgate and Paramount titles. Indie filmmaker Ed Burns (The Brothers McMullen) will release his latest movie, Purple Violets, on iTunes on November 20 as a pay-to-play download – the firsts feature-length film to debut on the platform. Wes Anderson's 13-minute Hotel Chevalier, a prequel to The Darjeeling Limited, has registered over 400,000 downloads on iTunes so far, but that one is being offered for free.
  • MySpace struck a deal with game distributor Oberon Media to create a MySpace Games channel slated to launch in early 2008.
  • The Weather Channel Interactive will launch a mobile video service and WAP-based web site with partner Vantrix, featuring video weather reports from 100 different U.S. cities. Forecasts will be updated every 30 minutes, resulting in 5,000 new video downloads per day.
  • AdMonsters Publisher Forum US XVIII: AdMonsters bi-annual US Publisher Forums bring together more than 100 of the most senior leaders in online ad operations to address common issues facing the entirety of the online advertising operations community in a unique round-table format. (

Real People Rate Customer Service
For the third quarter, the following brands took top position in their respective categories:

  • Full service restaurant: Olive Garden
  • Fast food restaurant: Subway
  • Pizza restaurant: CiCi's
  • Convenience store: Chevron/Texaco
  • Shoe store: Stride Rite
  • Supermarket: Publix
  • Home improvement store: Ace Hardware
  • Drug store: Walgreens
  • Office supply store: Staples
  • Sporting goods store: Foot Locker
  • Electronics store: RadioShack
  • Department store: Nordstrom
  • Bank: Credit Unions
  • Airline: Southwest
  • Hotel: Hyatt/Marriott (tied)

Source: Corporate Research International's "Real People Ratings"

by Karl Greenberg, Thursday, Oct 25, 2007 5:00 AM ET

WITH THE SEMA SHOW AROUND the corner, 'tis the season for supercharged sub-brands. Automakers are taking time out of the salt mines to focus on hot wheels produced in-house or through association with private skunk works.

Chrysler's Dodge division has just introduced its Caliber SRT4 and is tapping the tuner market --people into customizing who are driving the $36 billion-plus aftermarket business--to promote it.

The company is launching a promotion centered on, a play on words referring to people who are so into their wheels that they neglect their human relationships. The promotion is based on the conceit that the SRT series means never having to do your own tuning, so you can pay attention to all the people you've neglected in favor of superchargers, nitrous oxide tanks and oversized woofers.

Registrants must submit a 250-word essay answering the questions, "Why are you or your significant other tuned out?" and "How will an all-new Dodge Caliber SRT4 help you or your significant other tune back in?"

An independent panel of judges will review all of the entries that are received and will select four finalists, who will be announced Nov. 29.
Dodge is one of several automakers using this month's SEMA show in Las Vegas to roll out factory-tuned cars and trucks.

One benefit of factory-tuned versions of mass-market cars is that they carry a factory warranty. Typically, the factory voids owner warranties if owners add steroids to their engines.
The Caliber SRT, which has a turbocharged 285 horsepower motor and wears a $22,995 price tag, also gets Chrysler's standard three-year power train warranty (although not the lifetime coverage that Chrysler debuted this year).

Honda is rolling out 1,000 tricked-out versions of its Civic. The car, Civic Mugen Si, which has a full body kit and a 197-horsepower engine, is also backed by Honda's warranty.

As are Honda's two factory-modified versions of the new 2008 Accord Coupe, bearing the Honda Factory Performance (HFP) name, that are rolling out at the SEMA show.

The company says that when a dealer installs accessories at the time of purchase, Honda's HFP products--the company launched the sub-brand in 2002--carry the same three-year/36,000 mile, bumper-to-bumper warranty as the rest of the vehicle.

That is a very big deal, says Todd Turner at L.A.-based consultancy Car Concepts. He points out that factory-approved parts installed at dealerships at time of purchase not only boost dealer revenue, but also give consumers peace of mind.

"We are starting to see changes in the industry based on providing consumers an advantage," he says. "At [Toyota's] Scion, for example, there is a factory-installed supercharger kit-- installed by the dealer--with full warranty coverage. And that's a huge benefit to the consumer."
He says offering that sort of coverage is not without risk to the factory. "There have been situations where manufacturers have gotten into trouble offering engine kits then backing out," he says, when the automaker learned that owners were participating in street drag-racing events.

But he says such programs are critical for automakers, although the sales are a fraction of the volume they garner from their more tame vehicles. "I think it gives them an edge. The very people they are hoping to attract are the most enthusiastic of car buyers who religiously keep up with things. And they are extremely influential."

And, he adds, although the volumes are small, "there's a lot of profit in that segment of the market."

Karl Greenberg can be reached at

by Mark Walsh, Thursday, Oct 25, 2007 6:00 AM ET

THE U.S. MOBILE VIDEO AUDIENCE has grown by more than one-third this year to eight million, according to a new study by mobile market research firm MMetrics. With 6.8 million viewers, viral clips have proven to be the most popular category of mobile video.
The audience figures include video viewed directly on wireless carriers' decks or sent by friends or family members as of Aug. 31. Viewership for video delivered on-deck increased 28% since January to 2.7 milion. The increasing numbers are a promising sign for mobile publishers and advertisers, say MMetrics analysts.

"If operators and handset manufacturers or publishers are hoping to see a mobile video take off, this is good news," says Mark Donovan, senior analyst at MMetrics. For advertisers, he acknowledges that the audience is still small compared to the Internet and TV.

Video watchers represent only a tiny fraction of all cell phone subscribers in the U.S. Those who watched over-the-air mobile TV broadcasts and/or video clips at least once a week amounted to less than one percent. Those tuning in monthly represented 3.7%. Similarly, only 3.2% of mobile subscribers watched videos sent by friends or family.

Almost 30% of U.S. mobile phone users own video-capable mobile phones, according to a study last year by the NPD Group and the Mobile Marketing Association.

Donovan noted, however, that mobile advertising is driven by qualitative as well as quantitative factors. "Not only can you deliver messages and offer promotions to people on mobile phones, but they have a mechanism right there to respond whether click-to-call or a short code number." he says.

Market researcher eMarketer predicts that U.S. mobile ad spending overall will grow from an estimated $421 in 2006 to $4.8 billion in 2011. Mobile marketing and content tied to broadcast TV also will climb to nearly $1 billion within three years.

Boosting demand for carriers' on-deck programming have been aggressive promotion, wider distribution of 3G phones, and more compelling content.

"Sprint's performance is particularly noteworthy, as the carrier's subscribers comprise more than 36 percent of the total audience for programmed video," says Seamus McAteer, chief product architect and senior analyst at MMetrics.

Overall, text-messaging remained by far the most popular mobile activity among U.S. subscribers, with 43% thumbing away on keypads. A distant runner-up was photo-messaging at 19%, followed by e-mail and instant messaging, each at about 9%.

Mark Walsh can be reached at

by Tameka Kee, Thursday, Oct 25, 2007 6:00 AM ET GOOGLE IS WORKING ON A "fully functional marketing dashboard" that will integrate data from advertisers' search, display and offline marketing efforts, allowing them to "look across assets, metrics and user engagement cycles," Tim Armstrong, president of advertising and commerce for North America, told analysts during an Analyst Day session.

No further details or timeline for the dashboard were given, but Armstrong said the "high velocity of interest from brand agencies and media partners" in Google's offline solutions, as well as newer ad models like Gadget Ads and YouTube overlays, warranted the development of a robust, integrated reporting platform.

"The more measurement you can put on this type of functionality the better," said Armstrong--noting that once the DoubleClick acquisition closed, its display metrics would add yet another layer of functionality.

Analysts got a deeper look into the key components of Google's "Search, Ads and Apps" strategy on Wednesday, with presentations from the search giant's top brass as well as product managers (almost all of whom were recent college graduates). The panelists and demos offered insight into advancements that have been made on all three fronts--from both a consumer and an enterprise perspective--and also gave details on future developments.

Such brands as Nissan and Global Hyatt have already made use of the search giant's lesser-known assets like Google Trends. According to Albert Cheng, product manager for Google Trends, the feature was created to "make our search data universally accessible and useful."
Consumers were "tapping into the wisdom of the crowd" to figure out the answers to their questions (Cheng and his wife had used Google Trends to determine the most popular way to spell their soon-to-be-born son Connor's name), but even Global Hyatt had used the data to determine whether to dub their newest Caribbean property "Hyatt Regency Trinidad" or "Hyatt Regency Port of Spain."

Ultimately, the hotel giant chose the former (undoubtedly after considering other factors), but said the sheer volume of searches for the keyword 'Trinidad' compared to the relative lack of searches for 'Port of Spain' was a primary reason for the decision.

Meanwhile, Nissan used Google Trends data to help determine whether the multichannel campaign (including product placement in NBC's "Heroes", print, TV and online ads) behind the launch of their new Rogue crossover SUV was working. The automaker compared search volume for 'Nissan Rogue' and 'Honda Pilot,' and noted that there was a definite spike in queries that coincided with the launch efforts.

At that point, "the marketing manager can ask for more money," said Cheng, "because it's clear that the campaign is working."

Tameka Kee can be reached at

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Hi Everyone,

Thanks to all of you who made it to the DIMA kick-off party! I heard everyone had a great time-- I couldn't make it due to an illness. DIMA will have more events planned and opportunities for you to get involved with later this semester. So stay tuned!

There's also several events taking place within our program:

  • Caples is seeking volunteers -- This is a great way to see some of the best direct and interactive marketing pieces from around the globe as well as an opportunity to meet with the Caples staff and judges. Please sign up with Stephanie Tracy.
  • Weds 10/12 Group Skills -- Each class we take has at least one group project. This session will teach you how to work with groups.

Just a friendly reminder, when attending a program-sponsored event, please make sure to dress professionally (if not otherwise indicated). This is your chance to make a first impression on some big industry leaders. Our professional appearance also represents our program. So let's all put our best foot forward!

Lastly, please feel free to contact DIMA @ or view our blog site @

Thanks so much, Toni Lorusso
President, DIMA

The M.S. Program in Direct & Interactive Marketing has now created a group on LinkedIn.

Students, click on this link:

Proudly display your affiliation with the program by adding this group to your profile!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The first VIP Lunch Dialogue of the 2007-2008 academic year was held this past Wednesday. If you didn't attend, you missed a great opportunity to listen in on thought leadership in this growing and increasingly complex field. Panelists were all heavy-hitters in the field of Online Media and Market Research:

Josh Chasin
Chief Research Officer, comScore

Tom Deierlein
Chief Operating Officer, Dynamic Logic

Max Kalehoff
Vice President of Marketing, Nielsen/Buzz Metrics

Mark Ryan
Vice President, Nielsen/NetRatings

In addition to some brief product demos, panelists discussed the importance of research in an industry that is becoming saturated with data but is still lacking consistent metrics and ultimately actionable intelligence and information. The most memorable quote for me was "the frustration of [online] being the most measurable media is that it is the media with the most measures." After the panel was over, I spoke to all participants and it was pretty clear to me that all companies present were scrambling to establish leadership positions beyond research and analytics but really are trying to be considered a key part of what is evolving into the Holy Grail for marketers- the Marketing Dashboard (a standardized set of technologies, metrics and data sets that will enable marketers to effectively segment and precisely target their audiences).

Even though the deluge and confusion may seem frustrating- where some see blood others smell opportunity. All areas of analytics promise to be high growth markets. The job outlook for Market Research Analysts (a profession typically seen as slow growth or administrative) alone is very promising. Marketers who understand how to conduct research, dissect and digest data and ultimately create thoughtful analysis will be able to open many doors. The good news for us as students in the program is that there are many opportunities to learn some of these techniques in class: Database Mining and Modeling, Web Mining and Advanced Online Marketing.

Rather than making my first blog posting a Novella, I'll close by saying that the standing room only crowd was certainly engaged for the entire seminar. If you have questions about this particular panel, please drop a note to DIMA at