Drawing: George Bush by me. Proving that even the best teacher (in this case KAL from The Economist) can't help those beyond help.
This conference was the first time I've used Twitter and my tweets (as martinjbishop) can be found via #escf09 on Twitter Search. So, apart from KAL trying to teach us all how to draw George Bush, what, as I look back through the tweets (mine and others), were the top 10 highlights of the day?
1) Don't just go after high-return customers. Just like stocks they may be the high risk ones. You need a balanced portfolio. (Ward Hanson: Policy Forum Director, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research)
The first session of the day was: "The economic landscape: How to spot an upturn." I thought this was a very interesting idea. Hanson made the point that, just as you wouldn't (or shouldn't) put all your eggs in a basket of high risk stocks, so should you avoid only going after high-risk customers. I think that AmEx's recent $300 incentive to encourage some card holders to leave is its effort to rebalance its portfolio.
Also in the first session, Professor Lehmann made a compelling case for why the government must borrow and spend money. His argument: The public isn't doing it and the banks aren't doing it so, if the government doesn't do it, the economy will grind to a complete halt. But will the governement ever be able to turn off the tap?
3) russhmeyer: The good news and bad news of marketing right now is nobody has any money...levels the playing field. May the best idea win, then.
Marketing and advertising dollars have been a barrier to competition. But, these days, budgets are being cut and media is fragmented. As Russ Meyer suggests, this opens up the field and the best ideas may now prevail.
4) jweinberger: CMO of @tripadvisor talks about social media failure (their own site) and success (facebook)
The second session of the day explored the theme of how to market in a downturn. That task is a little easier for Christine Petersen, CMO of TripAdvisor because she never had much of a budget, even when times were good. Here Jeff Weinberger tweets that she has had more success developing social media applications for Facebook than she did trying to create things on her own site.
5) mktgwithmeaning: denny's received 1000s of thank u calls for free promo, one guy sent a $300 check "to thank u for what u did for America"
Mark Chmeil from Denny's was the architect of the recent Grand Slam giveaway, one of, if not the, marketing success of the year so far. Bob Gilbreath tweeted that the Grand Slam giveaway became much more than the simple trial device originally intended. It tapped into the strong feelings in the country as we bear the brunt of the recession.
6) The birth of Elf Yourself: One of 20 web sites launched with a total budget of $400,000. It was the one that took off.
Classic innovation technique adopted by Bob Thacker from Office Max. With a limited budget, Office Max launched 20 different web sites with no idea which one would be a hit. Turns out it was Elf Yourself that became the blockbuster.
7) danielriveong: Beam CMO: "our metric is getting into out consumer's heart", measuring "talkability". Very curious how's that's defined, budgeted
Rory Finlay is Senior VP and CMO of Beam's Global Spirits & Wine and he was part of a session talking about metrics and how to optimize marketing dollars. As Daniel noted in this tweet, Rory is trying to get a handle on "talkability" as a metric. As Rory went on to say, he's not quite got what he wants yet. He would like to measure the "quality" of conversation about his brand, not just the quantity.
8) WadeTr: Hermes is giving out paper bags to takes your purchases out of the store: guilded to guilt age (gerzema)
John Gerzema's book: Brand Bubble looks at what he called (all the way back half way through last year) the "looming crisis in brand value." Well the storm has hit and now we're seeing the impact. Trevor Wade's tweet captures John's idea that we have now entered a "guilt age" where conspicuos consumption has had to go undercover.
9) johngerzema: Econconf:Live your brand. UPS Marketing Chief Christine Owens started as a driver; mandatory for all executives
After his turn at the podium, John was also Twitter-active commenting on the fact that Christine Owens from UPS started her career as a driver. It reminded me that my first day on-the-job at Nestlé was to get up at 5am to go to a store in Seattle and reset the dog food section. Nothing like some real experience to cure you of ivory tower syndrome.
10) As we pursue efficiency via packaging reductions etc: "We are the accidental environmentalists." (Hagan/Clorox)
In a session on sustainability and corporate responsibility, Katherine Hagan: Marketing Director, Environmental Sustainability for Clorox made the point that going green only works if there's a business case that can be made as well. Clorox doesn't depend on altruism to get its green initiatives implemented. It relies on the bottom line.
All in all, a great first day. Back for more tomorrow.