Conference for Positive Marketing – Humanism rising!

Conference for Positive Marketing, Fordham UniversityFordham University’s Center for Positive Marketing put on its 4th Conference for Positive Marketing on March 26.  A great blend of academic and practitioner talks and viewpoints, most of us participating felt refreshed and energized.

For me, I was absolutely thrilled that the humanistic ideas I and others have written about and talked on for a few decades are becoming accepted more widely and by mainstream brands. It also served to frame my own journey in business and research.

Empathy and Experience Design

I got a charge from hearing Stacy Graiko of Millward Brown Firefly talk about a retailer who wanted their customers to leave feeling better than when they walked in, irregardless of whether they bought something. When my mother and I opened a restaurant, City Island Diner, back in 1986, those exact words were the first principle of my business plan – they emerged from listening research I did to figure out what type of restaurant City Islanders wanted that we could create for them.

Cigna’s Christine Chastain and Tim McKnight, VP Global Innovation, talked about empathy, design thinking. and consumer experience.

Their excellent presentation reminded me of how I designed the restaurant from that first principle: the menu was to focus on comfort on familiarity – I described it as “the food you had growing up, but made with the freshest ingredients, to order, and in front of you.” I also banished square edges and right angles to the extent possible, which offered respite from the gridded world most of us live in, where our vision is forced to be straight, forward or back, up or down. This took form in the plates, cups, and saucers – only round or oval, chamfered edges on the tables, round stools, a curved counter, and so on, which let the eye wander. For dinners, every night had a theme that was warmly evocative and alliterative where possible: Meatloaf Mondays, Turkey Tuesdays, Wegetable Wednesdays, Pot Luck Thursdays and Fish Fridays. Many menu item names reflected the nautical heritage of City Island, and several local characters lent their names to desserts. My mother owned the restaurant for 11 years, then sold it to a local family – the “new” owners – who’ve had it for 18 more and counting. Some of the people hired over 25 years ago still work there, as do their kids, sometimes. A number of movies shot scenes in there, such as Solitary Manwith Danny DeVito as the Diner owner who offers his friend Michael Douglas a job. Jerry Seinfeld did an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with Ricky Gervais at City Island Diner.

Brand Love, Materialism, and Happiness

Prof. Aaron Ahuvia of the U. Michigan Dearborn Business School gave a talk about brand love, materialism, and happiness. Generally he found that materialism was not related to happiness, but he also found that, paradoxically, people who expressed love for brands were happier. He admitted that he didn’t have an adequate way to explain the findings yet and urged the audience to submit ideas. This was unusual at a conference – so often the ideas presented are so apparently airtight, but very welcome, showing that we have much to learn and can do so collaboratively.

Using Mobile Technology for Good: Mobile Apps, mHealth, and Mindsets

The Conference offered 6 Salons – presentations followed by participant discussion. These were held in 3 sets of two that ran concurrently. I gave one with Dr. Sandy Ng of RMIT (Melbourne Australia) having to do with mobile apps, mHealth, and mindsets. Sandy talked about her research on mobile apps, and I reviewed research by my colleague Howard Moskowitz on reducing hospital re-admission rates. Conversation we stimulated dealt with creating apps that helped people improve their lives, the need for integrated apps, and different ways to think about monetizing apps.

Training Positive Marketers

Dawn Lerman, who heads the Center for Positive Marketing, and Yanan Wang of Bishop’s University led a salon on training positive marketers. Yanan recapped a course she gives on “Happiness Marketing.” She covered a lot of ground. What I found interesting was the emphasis on training marketers to be happier people in order to create products and programs that help people improve their well-being, quality of life, and life satisfaction. Dr. Wang outlined specific frameworks that strengthen marketers’ empathy and understanding. The discussion following was far ranging and very engaging, touching on areas like inner strength, self-knowledge, and how can happiness marketing avoid being seen as a cute fad and become integrated into marketing culture.

Salon Topics

I couldn’t attend every salon, but all the topics were of interest. They were: Gifts, Reciprocity & Obligation: Applications for Positive Marketing; Psychotherapists, Life Coaches & Professional Organizers: Why Consumers Seek Professional Help and How Professionals Improve Consumer Well-being; Overcoming Stereotypes in Multicultural and Global Marketing Strategy; and Purpose Driven Marketing: Achieving Social Change Through Brands and Consumer Advocates

5 Reasons Advertising is Becoming More Humanistic … 6 Actions to Take

Field Guide Fridays - metrics and business models
Field Guide Fridays

You’ve probably felt it. Advertising and measurement has changed. And you’re uneasy.  You sense that the old school ideas centered on the impact of media exposure—the one that led us to ask: “what is our advertising doing to people?”—doesn’t really describe how advertising works today.

But many of us—and probably you, too—realize that we need an up to date model to understand how advertising works in today’s digital, social, mobile world. A world where people act, transact, speak, and feel. One where the data we collect captures their humanity and life in the world. And one that asks a different question now: “What are people doing with our advertising, and with what effect?”

5 Different Ways to Think About Advertising

I asked experts contributing to The Digital Metrics Field Guide to share their thoughts about how we should be thinking about advertising today. They boil down to five:

#1. Digital Currencies May Not Be Needed After All

Merkle CRO Yaakov KImelfeld presented a challenge: Do we need a currency for digital media? His provocative answer—“it’s not clear that we do.” Well-designed online campaigns “thrive in the absence of a currency.” Kimelfeld questions the need for comparable cross-media metrics. While their familiarity comforts us and are simple to understand, they chain us and restrain us from exploiting “online’s unique capabilities for brand building and customer experience.” Focusing on reach and frequency forces us to serve ads based on demographics, not on relevant audience characteristics such as interactions with the ad, sharing, influence, and other uniquely online behaviors. Kimelfeld urges us “to start facing forward.”

#2. We Need to Shift from Models Of Audience Delivery to Models of Advertising Effectiveness

Graeme Hutton of media agency UM advises the need to develop an advertising model for our 21st century, not the 19th—when straight line Awareness-Interest-Desire-Action (AIDA) and purchase funnel models appeared on the scene. Hutton argues that we should shift from models of audience delivery—which we still need to measure—to models of advertising effectiveness grounded in contemporary science and empirically supported. Hutton sees progress coming from research areas like neuroscience and analyzing online social behavior. Armed with a contemporary model of advertising rooted in effectiveness, advertisers and agencies should be better able to explain why their advertising will work and how it will work, leading to improved planning and purchasing that reduces uncertainty and improves business results.

#3. Include The Consumer’s Context to Understand Effectiveness

Advertising’s effectiveness model should include context. Kevin Moeller, formerly of Media Behavior Institute but now at UM, contends that effective targeting in today’s complex media system depends on deep insight into the roles consumers are playing, the situations they are in, and the emotions they are experiencing at the moment that messages reach them. Reaching audiences when they are most receptive to the message often improves the response to advertising, resulting in enhanced advertising ROI and increased value to advertisers.

#4. Evaluate Advertising Performance on Consumer Actions

Niels Schillewaert and Annelies Verhaeghe of InSites Consulting believe that the “key performance metrics we need to add to our arsenal for measuring communication effectiveness should really be centered on consumers’ online and offline brand-related actions (COBRAs).” Marketers need to know what people do for their brands after exposure to marketing initiatives for products, services, or experiences. Conversation, sharing, reviewing, and buying are some of the brand-related actions people take. Niels and Annelies found that TV ad effectiveness was related to an ad’s ability to stimulate conversation among viewers.

That finding just received substantial support. Keller-Fay’s Brad Fay recapped a very rigorous WOMMA study analyzed by Analytic Partners. It concluded that “The single most important factor in the success of an advertisement is this: Does it stimulate consumer conversation and sharing? Nothing else matters as much.” Consumer conversations, the study found, “actually increase the sales impact of advertising by 15% and account for an average 13% of consumer sales overall.”

#5. Develop Predictive Indicators for the Outcomes of Actions

MotiveQuest’s David Rabjohns takes consumer actions further. He studied many types of consumer actions, one of which was advocacy: the number of unique people strongly recommending and promoting a brand because they want to. With Northwestern University, his firm modeled the relationship of advocacy to sales—one of the “gold standard” measures of return on investment. Rabjohns and his team discovered correlations that make advocacy a leading indicator for next-month sales. Correlation is not causation of course, but the level of advocacy tells us that something is going on in the real world, as well as in online conversations, that is boosting sales or forcing them to plummet.

These 5 Ways Lead to The Emergence of Humanistic Advertising

A cynic might look at these ideas and say we’ve heard them before. They could be dismissed as nothing more than overused trade terms: engagement, advocacy, and effectiveness. But that sorely misses the point. Too many digitally-oriented campaigns narrowly focus on getting “more” with the belief that if brands can get more consumers to engage, advocate, and act, then marketing success will follow. So they do things that get those numbers up.

But when you consider these ideas, you soon realize a humanistic impulse underlies all of them. They aim to understand people as people living their lives. They see brand marketing and advertising as one means to help  people live their lives more as each person would like, and less as the brand wants them to. Now we can relax a bit. We have a newer way to think about advertising.

This more humanistic model will grow in importance over time as we become more comfortable with “humetrics,” or understanding people through measurement, and as more brands shift from a “do to” to a “do with” mindset. The media exposure model will be around for media buying and selling reasons—it’s the way that business is done, but we can expect that its grip on strategy will weaken.

6 Actions You Can Take Towards Humanistic Advertising

There are a number of things we can do for our brands—and ourselves—to help them succeed in this humanistic era:

  • Challenge accepted strategy. How can a “do-to” strategy transform into a “do-with” strategy?
  • Identify and study brands that have adopted a humanistic approach and talk them over with your colleagues. These ideas need to be socialized for them take hold . Apple is one of the poster children for this. Find others.
  • Experiment. Test out old model vs. new model thinking when you can. See which works better, when, and why.
  • Understand people better. Acquire penetrating insights into who they are, what they value, and what they would like to achieve or attain. Discover the ideas that make a difference to a person and to the business.
  • Learn about social processes. Most brands still treat social, mobile, and digital as they do mass media.These media are not simply delivery channels, they are webs of connected people and enablers of social interaction and interpersonal communication. Large knowledgebases exist in the social sciences about why people share, engage, or advocate and what results from that at the individual, group, and community levels. Leverage that.
  • Think of your customers as people living lives in which your brand is a part that contributes to their happiness. Figure out what your brand should do-with them.

 Link of the Week

The Google Trends Data Goldmine by Ben Spiegel explains Google Trends and its many uses. I’ve been a fan of Google Trends for years and include it into the hands-on sections in my workshops on social listening. This post is a Link of the Week because the data provides a window into the humetrics of people’s interests and intentions,.

Digital Metrics Field Guide – Book Description

The Digital Metrics Field Guide
The Digital Metrics Field Guide by Stephen D. Rappaport

The Digital Metrics Field Guide 
is the definitive reference for brands of any size that advertise, market or engage with their customers and prospects through email, the Web, mobile or social.

It is available for pre-order from AmazonBarnes & Noble, and independent booksellers in the US and around the world.

Every brand gets performance reports through their providers, which furnish a stunning array of metrics on just about anything that happens on or through the platforms they measure.

Yet many brands are unsure about their measurement and want to become more confident. They want to know what metrics are available, what is known about them, how to select them, and how to analyze and report them in ways that help them understand the impact of their digital initiatives.

The Digital Metrics Field Guide: The Definitive Reference for Brands using the Web, Social Media, Mobile Media, or Email, written by Stephen D. Rappaport , with the support of the Advertising Research Foundation, and published by BIS Publishers does just that. This unique, comprehensive resource was intended for those of us who use metrics and need straightforward, authoritative, non-technical guidance.

The Digital Metrics Field Guide explains:

  • six questions to ask for choosing the right metrics
  • how not to make the mistake of optimizing to platform metrics and how to optimize to brand objectives
  • 197 of the generally available metrics

Every metric entry in The Digital Metrics Field Guide includes:

  • answers a question the metric addresses
  • defines and calculates the metric, and provides examples along with any technical notes
  • identifies the sources used as authorities for the definition
  • relates to other entries through cross-references

Every entry provides context, making the Digital Metrics Field Guide even more valuable to practitioners:

  • Field Notes, labeled as “ARF Comments,” review relevant research about a metric. Notes typically summarize 2-5 studies and explain the strengths, limitations and issues surrounding each metric. The research sometimes challenges or debunks the conventional wisdom around a metric, which helps readers avoid unproductive strategies and costly mistakes. All research is properly cited with links provided.
  • Metrics organized in three different ways for rapid access:
    • Alphabetical: when you know the name
    • Category: locate metrics related to interest areas such as: audience/traffic, advertising effectiveness; engagement; amplification/endorsement or e-commerce.
    • Marketing Stage: the Field Guide utilizes a nurturing model that is appropriate to digital-Capture, Connect, Close and Keep, and assigns metrics to each.
  • Metrics assigned to media types and channels
    • Paid, owned or earned: Metrics are assigned to one or more of these media types
    • Web, social, mobile or email: Metrics are assigned to one or more of these channels.

The Digital Metrics Field Guide offers perspective:

  • The emergence of humetrics: Because digital measurement captures what people are saying, doing and feeling, metrics become a way to understand people as people living their lives. Measures are no longer impersonal counts or percentages, but insights into human beings.
  • Trends and directions in measurement: Twelve experts contributed essays on measurement today and how to take it forward in the humetrics era.

Ordering Information

Pre-order your copy of The Digital Metrics Field Guide today from AmazonBarnes & Noble, and independent booksellers in the US and around the world.

Speaking and Workshops

Stephen is a sought after keynote speaker, panel moderator, business school lecturer, and workshop leader for such organizations and brands as: the Advertising Research Foundation Conferences, World Federation of Advertisers, Japan Advertising Association, Canadian Marketing Association, Marketing Accounting Standards Board, Institute for Public Relations; Travel and Tourism Research Association, American Association of Wine Economists, The Wharton School, Columbia Business School, New York University, Johnson & Johnson, Capital One, Ford Motor Company and many other brands. Click here to contact Stephen regarding your talk or workshop.

Rappaport as Enigma? Mitch Joel Thinks So.

Mitch Joel headshotMitch Joel interviewed me recently for an episode of his terrific Six Pixels of Sepration podcast series. So many great people to meet and ideas to grapple with. In his introduction to the ‘cast, he wrote: “I think of one word when it comes to describing Stephen Rappaport: enigma.” I’ve been called many things, but never that. Take a listen here. What do you think?

Digital Metrics Field Guide Excerpt: What Did 197 Metrics, 150 Studies and 12 Expert Essays Teach Us?

Journal of Advertising Research (JAR) excerpted a bit from the Digital Metrics Field Guide. They took my final essay and added four of the contributed pieces on digital measurement today from the Viewpoints I section of the book. Those essays form a compelling narrative about the state of the art of both measurement and metrics. They take us from the need for cross-platform measurement (Nielsen), through selecting metrics (Experian Marketing Services, GfK), to measuring campaign delivery and effectiveness (comScore).

Download (PDF, 80KB)

Note: The JAR is an academic peer-reviewed journal, with four quarterly issues. More than 1 million of its articles are downloaded yearly by practitioners, researchers, students and scholars through online databases. If your company is an ARF member, your Member Ambassador receives the Journal when it is published and you can download articles from the JAR site. Companies that are not members may learn more about JAR and subscribe from this page.

humetrics (hu-met-rics)

Definition: portmanteau of humanism + metrics (n.). The recognition that measures are not merely numbers, but are reflections of what people do, what they say, and what they feel. Humetrics help brands comprehend people in all their richness, sense their needs, and respond to them as individuals.

Origin: Digital Metrics Field Guide:  The Definitive Reference for Brands Using the Web, Social Media, Mobile Media or Email by Stephen D. Rappaport (BIS Publishing 2015). Available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Emotions, Intent, Motivations, Social ROI: Notable Learning from Sentiment Analysis Symposium 2014

SAS 2014SAS 2014 continued to push past its origins as a sentiment-only conference to one on the cutting edge of what organizer Seth Grimes named “human analytics” and what I’ve dubbed “humetrics.” Whatever it’s called, attendees seemed to be operating with the knowledge that capturing and analyzing social data – what people do, say and feel, goes well beyond the traditional and impersonal demographics, participation rates or transaction volumes that tell us “what” but not “why.”

Here are the highlights from my perspective on understanding people:

  • Talks on emotions, intentions, and motivations. Dr. Rosalind Picard of MIT, the founder of affective computing, described her lab’s research to recognize emotions which can eventually help people with autism, social phobias, and other conditions more successfully read others and interact. Aloke Guha of Cruxly outlined a system to detect peoples’ intentions and sentiment in near real time. MotiveQuest’s David Rabjohns’ talk on mapping human motivations and applying them to brands was instructive in ways that brands can use motivations to position themselves better. Beyond Verbal’s presentation on emotions in speech illuminated a way forward.
  • Engagement. Marie Wallace of IBM outlined an approach to “engagement analytics” with a description of ways to understand the engagement of an enterprise’s workforce, and for workers in the company to appreciate their social standing. I’m intrigued and also skeptical, in that I’m not sure that people in companies should be rated on their contributions, sharing, and ratings by others.
  • Social ROI through Enhanced Text Analytics. Dell Software presented its system for tracking conversations across a variety of channels. What struck me was how straightforward it was, how its taxonomies were based on consumer language, and how the system allowed analysts to drill down or roll up as needed.

And …

  • Insiders Guide to Social Media Analysis: This 3.5 hour workshop focused on how to think about metrics, stressed the importance of having a social media “theory,” a measurement framework, and fitting metrics to it. Attendees from companies like Dell gave it a big thumbs up because it reinforced the value of “framework,” and an agency which said “I wish I attended this a year ago before we committed to a measurement plan for an important client.” (Full disclosure: I gave the workshop. I’m not one to self-promote. I’m reporting this because I was truly happy that so many attendees derived value from it).

Really looking forward to the 2015 edition.



Amazing Social Media Parallels: The 17th Century English Coffeehouse

English Coffee house
17th Century Coffee House

Reading a history of the English Coffeehouse reveals striking parallels between its rise and impacts in the 17th and 18th centuries and 21st century social media. They remind us that social media enables, helping give voice to our humanity, expanding and extending our ideas and our selves, connecting and communicating with one another in ways simple and profound, even creating new industries, social organizations and economies.

Most important, the parallels teach us that many of us have asked the wrong question about social media analysis. It is not “Which social media are consumers using, when and what are they doing?” but rather, “How are people expressing their fundamental human nature through social media?”

Now … onto the parallels Continue reading “Amazing Social Media Parallels: The 17th Century English Coffeehouse”