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We do a lot of work in pharma and in financial services and they have more in common than you might imagine.

Both sectors face increasing competition and we’re working on an evidence-based approach to strategy development that works in both.

In pharma, patents are expiring at an unprecedented rate, allowing generic alternatives to flood the market wiping millions from the bottom line overnight. In banking, regulation separating retail from investment operations and the growth and encouragement of smaller and new banks is threatening the historical domination of larger organisations.

The end result for both sectors is an ever more pressing need to allocate marketing budgets more wisely and that means informing strategy with insights gained from the analysis of customer data and learning from what did and didn’t work in the past.

You’d be forgiven for assuming that global household-name businesses did this already.

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Is this marketing boob why top dog Kodak finally went bust?: “

Kodak's logo when it was top of the heap

Did Kodak which filed for bankruptcy last week fail because the name itself was just plain wrong for digital products? That is the proposition put forward in a fascinating blog by American marketing expert Al Ries.

Just 16 years ago, he says, Kodak was the fourth most-valuable brand in the world, just behind Disney, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. ‘Today on the stock market, Disney is worth $70 billion, Coca-Cola is worth $154 billion, McDonald’s is worth $104 billion and Kodak is bankrupt,’says Ries.
How could the fourth most-valuable brand in the world have fallen so low, he asks writing in AdAge.

Everyone has an opinion on the subject, says Ries. A headline in the New York Times eight years ago described Kodak as , ‘A company slow to recognise the popularity of digital cameras.’ Donald Trump said a few weeks ago, ‘Kodak didn’t get into digital fast enough.’

Ries bluntly declares that The facts suggest otherwise..

‘In 1976, Kodak invented the digital camera. In 1986, Kodak announced the development of the world’s first megapixel digital sensor small enough for a handheld camera, one that had 1.4 million pixels. In 1994, Kodak introduced the first digital camera under $1,000. Between 1985 and 1994, Kodak invested some $5 billion into digital research & development.’

As a result of its massive investments, Kodak holds more than a thousand patents related to digital photography.

He says scornfully, ‘A company slow to recognize the popularity of digital cameras? No company has poured as much time and as much money into digital photography as Kodak.’

Then he zeroes in on what could be the real answer.’ Kodak means ‘film’ photography. Kodak doesn’t mean ‘digital’ photography. When a category is changing, the worst thing that can happen to a brand is being stuck in the past, ‘ says Ries.

‘ The Kodak brand was stuck in the past and the only thing that could have saved the company was a second brand . . .Kodak should have given its digital brand a different name than its film brand.’

There’s a lot of evidence in other Kodak products, from Kodak copiers to Kodak batteries , that the brand name ‘Kodak’ is not worth much outside of photographic film, according to Ries.

There are a lot of reasons for a product to fail, he says, but two of the most important reasons are: (1) the product itself and (2) the name.

Nobody ever seems to consider the latter, says Ries.
 Almost everybody thinks a well-known name is an advantage when introducing a new product. But not necessarily.

He cites Eveready, which dominated the battery market until Duracell came along. With Duracell’s marketing , consumers eventually believed there were two kinds of batteries: (1) inexpensive zinc-carbon batteries and (2) long-lasting alkaline batteries. ‘And Duracell rapidly became the market leader, a position it still owns today.’

‘Yet six years before the launch of Duracell, Eveready had introduced its own alkaline brand, called — naturally — Eveready alkaline battery. No matter. Just like Kodak and film, the Eveready name was forever linked to zinc-carbon, not alkaline batteries.’

Eveready evengtually introduced an alkaline battery with a different name, says Ries. It’s called Energizer, ‘a move it should have made much earlier.’

Many of the comments on the original Adweek article agree with Ries, chairman of Ries & Ries, an Atlanta-based marketing strategy firm,.

What might have happened if the strategy he describes had been adopted by Kodak years earlier?

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(Via The Drum – Opinion – Letter from America.)

Multichannel innovation: 15 brilliant examples from 2011: “

This Wednesday I’ll be attending JUMP, our annual event dedicated to multichannel business. I’m inherently biased but the programme is truly fantastic.I expect to discover lots of new ideas and approaches to help improve the joined-up customer experience.

As it’s been a year since the last JUMP Ithought I’d collate and share a few recent examples of innovative multichannel thinking. Some of these are real success stories.There are plenty of others that I know I’ve missed out, some of which I’m looking forward to hearing more about on Wednesday.

There are only a dozen or so places left at JUMP, which has a capacity of around 1,500 people, so it will be a sell out. You should book your ticket now if you want to come along. Hope to see you there.

NET-A-PORTER’s Window Shop

The fashion etailer created a pop-up store window that allowed shoppers to use iPads and smartphones to bring the products to life.

Carlsberg’s biker gang prank

When I first watched this video it had less than 400 views. A few weeks later and with more than 5m views Carlsberg has proved that a clever idea is the key to viral success.

Tesco Korea’s virtual store

Probably the world’s best implementation of QR codes so far. Tesco Homeplus figured out a way of gaining market share without the need for expensive new stores, while at the same time helping time-poor commuters to do their shopping more efficiently. Brilliant.

Bing’s Jay-Z ‘Decoded’ campaign

An epic location-based marketing campaign / game, with suitable amounts of bling thrown in. Jay-Z added 1m Facebook fans and Microsoft reported that the average player engagement was 11 minutes per visit.

Marks & Spencer’s multichannel strategy

Few major retailers are as committed to multichannel as M&S, which has a three-year plan to develop its multichannel operations. In that time it will develop a new website and open a new distribution centre. It is already doing very well. It’s m-commerce website has generated more than 59,000 orders. Its ‘M&S TV’ strategy has resulted in the creation of 900+ videos (7m views and 900,000 clicks on the ‘buy’ button). It has touch screen ordering in some of its stores. It uses social media channels to provide service to customers. We’re watching M&S closely…

Pizza Express iPhone app with codes and bill payment

Last year Pizza Express refused to accept a voucher I had been sent to my email, which I presented via my phone. Thankfully it now trusts smartphones and has created a very goodapp, which includes voucher codes, a restaurant finder tool, and the ability to pay via PayPal.

Debenhams’ iPhone & Android apps

The first high street retailer in the UK to launch a barcode scanner as part of its app, which generated £1m in sales within five months of being launched on the iPhone platform. Last month it announced that it was now ‘fully mobile’ with new app launches on the Android and Nokia platforms, in addition to a mobile website.

Radisson Edwardian QR codes

The hotel chain added QR codes to its menus so that diners could scan it to watch the chef preparing meals. A simple way of improving the customer experience.

Domino’s killer app strategy

The pizza chain has generated more than £10m in sales since launching its iPhone app at the beginning of 2011. We can’t wait to hear what the iPad version is doing for its business.

Westfield’s ‘tweet mirror’

Produced by Nedap Retail, the tweet mirror allows shoppers to try on clothes, take a picture, and then tweet it to their network for feedback. The offline retail experience of the future is going to be interactive, feel-good, and joined-up.

John Lewis’ ‘At Home’ stores

The retailer is opening smaller stores with kiosks, allowing it to extend its reach and the range of products available in these new stores. Its Croydon ‘At Home’ store has the highest percentage of Click & Collect orders of any of its branches. Read more about its ‘At Home’ strategy here.

Heineken’s ‘StarPlayer’ football app

Another beverage brand that continues to impress is Heineken, which has released a number of multichannel campaigns over the past year. One of the standouts is its StarPlayer app, which allowed football fans to play a real-time game alongside a Champions League match, via mobile or desktop.

Ariel ‘Fashion Shoot’

A superb game involving industrial robots, ketchup, chocolate, jam and white designer garments. Players could log into the Facebook page to control the robot and make an unholy mess, winning the (cleaned) garments in the process.

Mercedes insane 4D augmented reality presentation

If you’re looking to make an impression and if budget isn’t too much of a big deal then, well, this…

Argos TV launches to take on QVC

Argos has been well ahead of the multichannel curve, reporting last year that multichannel sales accounted for 43% of its revenue.

This summer it revealed that it is to launch Argos TV via Sky, which by my reckoning gives it a sales presence across every major channel. I’m quite sure that more retailers will follow its lead into TV, particularly with connected TV on the horizon.

(Via Econsultancy.)

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