Understanding the Cloud

As I read this article from Mediapost recently, it occurred to me that the “Cloud” concept has been around forever.

Television networks house the network prime time shows we watch. They are not stored in our televisions.

Sure we can, (and have) recorded copies of our favorite shows for viewing later, thanks originally to home VCR’s and now TiVo.

Read more about how media habits are both changing and the same as before…

Life Is But A Stream

All this buzz about clouds is not hyperbole. There’s a fundamental shift in how media is being consumed, and Gen Y is at the epicenter of it all.

Let’s start with television. While traditional consumption via a television set remains the most common mechanism by which Gen Y consumes TV programming, they are rapidly adopting online technologies that feed their insatiable entertainment appetites. In our recent report on Gen Y’s use of technology, we discovered via a nationally representative survey of 1,300 teens and collegians that, in the prior week, nearly one in four members of Gen Y watched video content that was streamed to a computer, one in seven downloaded video content to a computer and one in 20 watched video content that was streamed to their mobile phones.

On average, Gen Y spends nearly three hours a week watching streamed TV programs, and an hour and a half a week watching downloaded TV programs. Gen Y streams and downloads video from a variety of locations: they are nearly as likely to do so at home as they are at a friend’s house. That is the essence of online video: students want to watch it when they stumble across it, no matter where they are. And they want to share it with friends by pulling up videos when they’re hanging out, as well as by sharing links via Facebook.

Gen Y most commonly streams full-length, professionally produced videos, such as movies and TV shows, with music videos not far behind. College students watch a wider diversity of content than teens, with most checking out news clips, commercials, sports, and political videos in addition to long-form movies and TV shows.

Growing up doesn’t mean giving up cartoons — a majority of high school and college students watch them online. In fact, among boys, streaming animation increases during their college years, while it declines among girls. This is connected to how the genders define themselves as “adults”; boys don’t feel any less adult for watching cartoons and playing videogames.

Streaming music is as common a practice as streaming video, with Gen Y spending an average of two hours and 40 minutes a week listening to streaming radio stations. Services such as Pandora and Spotify give users access to hundreds of thousands of songs at their fingertips. Traditional terrestrial radio still accounts for the lion’s share of radio listening at a little over four hours a week, however, Gen Y spends just one half-hour less streaming feeds from traditional radio stations and online-only stations combined.

Looking at the impact of digital consumption on the music industry, sales are declining not only due to piracy, but also due to consumption via streaming services that allow users to custom create music channels. Only one in five of teens and collegians are buying more music than they did a year ago, compared to two out of five who are buying less and two out of five who are buying the same amount.

Two-thirds of Gen Y download music from the Web, whether legally or illegally. College boys are the least likely to download music, but that may be because they are spending more time following college sports and going out. The most common reasons students say they don’t download music is that it costs too much or they can’t afford it, suggesting that their first inclination is to obtain it legally. (We should also note that Gen Y is the generation that is most comfortable with the idea of paying a fee for digital content.)

More than a quarter don’t download because they are concerned about security on their computer, which is a common problem with file sharing services that are riddled with viruses and malware. A similar proportion is concerned about being sued.

The trend towards cloud-based, on-demand digital media shifts the locus of control from the producer to the consumer. Having grown up immersed in digital media, Gen Y will lead this shift. Producers of entertainment (as well as all those who advertise, sponsor or otherwise participate in the entertainment ecosystem) should begin their transition strategies with Gen Y at the center of their digital universe, studying their preferences and behaviors and developing services that align with, rather than buck how, where and why they want to consume.

In all honesty, watching the digital media revolution has been pretty ugly to date, with lawsuits and forced-fit solutions being more numerous than intelligent and practical ones. As Gen Y steadily infiltrates the media industry, we’re sure to see things fall into better alignment as this generation intuitively satisfies the needs of the digital media consumer.

Dan Coates is president of Ypulse, a leading authority on tween, teen, college and young adult insights for marketing, brand and media professionals, providing news, commentary, events, research and strategy. A veteran opinionista, Dan and his Ypulse colleagues tweet an endless stream of Gen Y news, factoids and insights at www.twitter.com/ypulse and can be contacted via email at dan@ypulse.com. You can also reach him here.

Do You Have The Guts?

To hear the bad news?

From MarketingProfs.com

Ask Customers What You Don’t Do Well

When you spend proverbial blood, sweat and tears building a small business, the last thing you probably want to do is ask customers what you’re getting wrong. But it doesn’t have to be a horrendous experience—and it’s a great way to identify and resolve issues before customers leave in a huff, or simply drift to a competitor.

“Our Community team began to ask every customer on the phone, ‘What’s a great Emma experience you’ve had?” notes Jim Hitch at the Emma blog. “And what’s one that’s not so great, so we can improve?’ We had some fantastic conversations and got some interesting answers.”

Emma’s customer had lots of good things to say, but they also noted a few issues that fell into the not-so-great column. For instance:

  • They said they’d like an easier billing process and improved resources for savvier users. “We said, ‘Can do,'” notes Hitch.
  • They also mentioned difficulty reaching Emma staff by phone. “We said, ‘Good to know. We’re on it,'” he says. “Then we updated our phone system.”

The company also discovered that many of its customers were thrilled with the current experience.

“One of the best answers to the question of what we can improve … was ‘none,'” he recalls. “Ahh, what a beautiful four-letter word. In fact, 21% of customers said ‘none.'”

The Po!nt: Don’t be afraid to ask your customers what needs to be fixed—they’ll give you the insights you need to make the improvements that keep them coming back.

Source: Emma.

4 Differences to Demonstrate

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Demonstrate Credibility

It’s not enough to tell prospects you offer better service or quality than your competitor. Prospects want to hear specifics about why you’re better.

Here are suggestions that may help show the difference more effectively:

* Unique qualities. What can you offer that nobody else can? Try to convert the value of your products or services into financial results.

* Advantages. What do you do better than your competitor? Give prospects what they need to understand the unique qualities of your product or service.

* Parity. If there’s little difference between you and a competitor, look for minor ones that may add up to a competitive advantage.

* Disadvantages. Are there areas in your product or service in which competitors have a definite edge? Focus on the advantages you have to offset these disadvantages.

Source: Sales authority John R. Graham, president of Graham Communications

No Fancy Titles

… just the straight scoop.

And more updates over the weekend.

The Friday night marketing news update from Mediapost:

Food and Beverages

by Karlene Lukovitz

The proposed voluntary guidelines recommend that food makers adhere to specific limitations on saturated fat, trans fat, added sugars and sodium in foods marketed to children. At the same time, they recommend that companies use advertising and marketing to “encourage children to choose foods that make meaningful contributions to a healthful diet.” …Read the whole story >>


by Karl Greenberg

The third annual study on the media habits of kids from Ipsos OTX MediaCT, suggests that such activities now make up more than a quarter of a 6- to-12-year-old’s waking life. The study, LMX Family, also suggests that marketers have opportunities to reach families and a broad range of age groups through a wider range of content than those prescribed on official guidelines. …Read the whole story >>


by Sarah Mahoney

With Mother’s Day a few weeks off, marketers are doing their best to offer novel ways to remember her. Lowe’s, for instance, is targeting outdoor DIY projects as the ideal way to please her, offering plenty of mom-friendly ambience (solar-powered post caps for railings and birdbaths, for instance) and lots of bright flowers. …Read the whole story >>


by Karl Greenberg

The program will visit U.S. cities as part of NBA Nation, but all North American residents can participate by uploading videos of themselves dunking a basketball and also vote for their favorites in the competition. The winner from each city will advance to the voting round and will receive a $1,000 prize, while the runner-up will receive a $500 prize. …Read the whole story >>


by Aaron Baar

According to IEG, which measures sponsorship spending, North American-based companies will spend $1.17 billion sponsoring music venues, festivals and tours — a 7.3% increase over the $1.09 billion spent in 2010. That is the largest increase among all property types, including sports, causes and the arts. …Read the whole story >>


by Tanya Irwin

From May 9 to 15, all offers in Groupon’s seven Ohio markets will be sponsored by the tourism division and will feature Ohio attractions, restaurants, lodging and events. This program, in conjunction with National Tourism Week, includes Groupon’s markets Akron-Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown. …Read the whole story >>

Do you know the Difference?

…between the person with the problem and the person you need to reach to take action?

From Mediapost:

I Could Be Your Customer, But I’m Not Necessarily Your Audience
I snore. Or so I’ve been told. And just to be sure I know to take that seriously, healthcare professionals and marketers of health-related products continue to reach out to me with warnings that snoring is a sign of a whole host of serious medical conditions. But, frankly, it’s mostly lost on me. After all, I sleep pretty soundly. I’m no more tired during the day than any other hard-working professional my age (at least I have myself convinced of that). And I have no symptoms of any co-morbidity that could compromise my health (that’s my self-diagnosis).

As a marketing professional, I understand why healthcare marketers would reach out to me. After all, I’m the one who is theoretically at risk and the one to whom any related product would be sold to. But, since my snoring doesn’t seem to be slowing me down any, I know full well they won’t make any real progress in convincing me to take action.

So who should the healthcare marketers be talking to? I suggest they consider turning to the real sufferer. In my case, that’s my wife. Wives are likely the case with many men. You see, while I’m convinced I’m getting a sound night’s sleep, my wife is the one who is up all night as a result of my (alleged) snoring and (alleged) gasping. And she’s the one who is tired all day because she wasn’t able to get any sleep the night before.

The truth is, men tend to ignore symptoms and are generally physician-averse. “It’s just the way they’re socialized,” says Lorraine Fitzpatrick, a medical doctor and associate professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. (as quoted in The Complete Book of Men’s Health by the editors of Men’s Health books, 1999, Octopus Publishing Group). “A woman is much more likely to come in just because she’s just not feeling right.” So it’s no surprise that women are responsible for approximately 80% of all decisions about a family’s health (U.S. Department of Labor, General Facts on Women and Job Based Health).

We, as marketers, must identify the most influential targets, and also recognize when that target isn’t just the most obvious one. Here are a few things to consider:

The Afflicted vs The Affected?

When considering a target audience for a healthcare-related product or service, challenge yourself to identify not just the afflicted but also the affected. Those who are impacted by a spouse or child with a condition may just be the one with the greatest motivation to find a solution.

Who’s Driving?

While it is important for sufferers to have greater conditional and risk awareness, consider who is actually driving decisions and action. Contributing to efforts aimed at driving more men to get prostate cancer screenings (most are reluctant to do so on their own), Lauren P. Wallner, lead author and graduate research associate at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, 2008) said, “In terms of motivating people to get screened, there may be a benefit in targeting wives and significant others as well as men.” Look for the audience that makes things happen.

Help or Hindrance?

When considering your true target audiences, think about those who help and those who may be hindering your efforts or blocking progress. While the U.S. Army’s efforts were successful in converting candidates into believers, the organization recognized that one of the barriers to their recruitment efforts wasn’t the prospect they traditionally targeted; it was his or her parents. Armed with that knowledge, the Army modified its “Army Strong” campaign and slogan to include messaging aimed squarely at parents: “You made them strong. We’ll make them Army strong.”

I recently told my wife she should see a doctor about my snoring. And she did, without hesitation.

Eric Trow is VP/account strategy director at Brunner.

Asking the Right Questions

Today I want to point out one of my favorite no-nonsense sales trainers whom I’ve bought materials from, Jim Meisenheimer. This is from his latest newsletter than you can recieve free in your email by clicking here.

One of the best ways to begin uncovering customers’ needs is to ask really good open-ended questions.

Asking open-ended questions might be the right thing to do, but doing it right is the challenge for most salespeople.

And here’s a big reason why. Salespeople just talk too much. For most salespeople their mouths are the center of their universe.

If you believe you can earn a lot of money by talking, there’s an even better way. It’s called listening.

In sales you should employ your ears before you engage your mouth!

I just saw the results of another study. Customers were asked, “What bothers you most about salespeople?” More than 50% of the people surveyed said, “Salespeople talk too much.”

The quickest way to stop talking too much is to start asking some good sales questions.

Ask your sales prospects and customers about their responsibilities.

Ask them to talk about their challenges, and find out what’s keeping them up at night.

Ask them about the qualities they’re looking for in the products they need.

You can also ask them to tell you how they measure success when using these products. Getting the answers to these and other great sales questions will make uncovering customers’ needs a much easier process for you.

One of the reasons why salespeople talk too much is because they have so much product information in their heads.

The more you talk the less you’re able to learn about your sales prospects and customers.

And the less you know means you have to tell everything you know about your products.

Wouldn’t it be so much easier to ask really good sales questions and then personalize your presentation?

In fact, after you ask your last question, you could say, “Based on what you just told me I’d like to show you how our products would be the perfect solution for the challenges you’re dealing with.”

That statement says you’ve been listening!

And, instead of telling your sales prospect everything you know about your products, you can tell him exactly what he needs to know.

Doing it this way, dramatically increases your relatability factor.

For best results forget about persuading and convincing your sales prospects and customers.

When you focus on uncovering customers’ needs you can help them buy the best solutions.

Getting your sales prospects and customers talking is easy – just ask them the right sales questions.

New Ideas…

One of my favorite emails I get is from Springwise.com:

Flexible condos can be reconfigured and resized

Flexible condos can be reconfigured and resized

It’s a fact of life that people’s needs change over time, and that’s as true in housing as any other industry. Aiming to create condominiums that are flexible enough to accommodate some of that change, Canadian architectural firm Sweeny Sterling Finlayson & Co. has created FlexNatür — a new, modular design for living spaces that allows them to adapt when needed. READ MORE…

For USD 60 a year, magazine delivers monthly works of art

For USD 60 a year, magazine delivers monthly works of art

The subscription model continues to gain popularity among convenience-minded consumers. However, it’s rare that we see the concept applied to more high-minded goods. Now, however, Papirmasse is a venture from Canada that delivers 12 pieces of art throughout the year for just USD 60. READ MORE…

Game creates a playable virtual world controlled by tweets

Game creates a playable virtual world controlled by tweets

There’s no doubt that technology continues to provide ever-more immersive gaming environments, with the latest graphics and gameplay offering unparralled realism. A new game called Tweetland however, has plans to harness technology to build a gaming environment determined by social networking activity. READ MORE…

A marketplace for redesigned notebook covers

A marketplace for redesigned notebook covers

As product customization becomes ever more popular with consumers, it is inevitable that items as personal as notebooks are also being altered to suit individual tastes. Rather than fighting this in an effort to preserve their classic black finish, Moleskine have recently launched a marketplace that embraces artists’ interpretations and redesigns of their notebooks. READ MORE…

Furniture units bring kitchens and showers to the great outdoors

Furniture units bring kitchens and showers to the great outdoors

Outdoor dining experiences have often graced our virtual pages, with recent examples including Buitengewoon In Het Land and Butler For Hire’s picnic service. But up until now we’ve never seen anything like WWOO’s outdoor kitchen units, which let the DIY diner create a unique outdoor eating experience. READ MORE…

Simple web page creator highlights businesses’ social networks

Simple web page creator highlights businesses' social networks

Companies offering personalized web page creation for small businesses and individuals are nothing new. However, the pages created by Central.ly stand out from the crowd. With an emphasis on simplicity, the site creates image-based web pages that focus on linking to pre-existing social media channels. READ MORE…

App lets users visualize new building developments in situ

App lets users visualize new building developments in situ

Whilst we may still be some way off apps that let us see into the future, UK-based Deliverance Software’s new app — Walkabout3d — aims to provide just that. The app’s 3D panoramas can give users a glimpse of how their surrounding may appear once planned building projects have reached their completion. READ MORE…

Online hosiery store offers subscription-based deliveries

Online hosiery store offers subscription-based deliveries

We’ve already seen the subscription model applied to a wealth of various industries, from indie song playlists, limited edition art, lip balms, and even to Swedish kitchen cloths. More in the vein of Manpacks and Panty by Post however, we recently came across Hoseanna, a US-based service delivering hosiery to their subscribers. READ MORE…

Renault connect offline approval to online Facebook “liking”

Renault connect offline approval to online Facebook “liking”

Many brands have struggled when it comes to converting a popular offline presence into online recognition. Hoping to remove any practical barriers to this process, and encourage instant online appreciation, Renault were displaying their innovative Facebook share pillars at the recent AutoRAI Amsterdam Motorshow. READ MORE…

Restaurants pitched against each other in online game

Restaurants pitched against each other in online game

Is there anything that can’t be made into a game? Recently we saw Chromaroma gamifying London’s public transport system, and now we’ve discovered Tasty Duel. Through the website, the questions “where shall we eat tonight?”, or “which restaurant do you prefer” can now be answered through a series of online duels. READ MORE…

Viewers customize interactive Facebook-based “Social Film”

Viewers customize interactive Facebook-based “Social Film”

When it comes to entertainment, regular readers of Springwise may have noticed a growing trend whereby user interactivity is not only encouraged, but is made compulsory in order to reveal certain content. Recently we spotted Bluebrain’s location-based album, and now we’ve discovered Murmur’s “Social Film” — Him, Her and Them — which relies on the viewer/user to alter the viewing experience for their Facebook friends. READ MORE…

Homemade meals delivered directly to students’ doors

Homemade meals delivered directly to students’ doors

Having recently written about the gourmet dining available from Air France’s roving New York truck, we now turn our attention to the other end of the food quality scale: student dining. Not known for being high on nutritional value, University student meals often pale in comparison to those once cooked at home. Hoping to bring a little of that home comfort and healthy eating back onto campus, we’ve now discovered US-based GW Bites. READ MORE…

Reviews help ensure quality on crowdsourced translation site

Reviews help ensure quality on crowdsourced translation site

Regular readers may remember myGengo, a Japanese site that taps the native-speaking crowds for online translation. Now operating on much the same principle is MyTranslation, which adds reviews to help ensure the quality of translated work. READ MORE…