Tom Fishburne: Marketoonist

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how a brief becomes an ad

The ad creative process can be just as circuitous and political as the classic Schoolhouse Rock video about how a bill becomes a law. Creative briefs often read like peace treaties between the client and agency that pack in everything about a brand (except for a meaningful point of difference). When advertising falls flat, the root cause is often a […]

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marketing technobabble

Marketers can go a little trademark crazy. Sometimes we focus so much on the trademarked features of a product that we lose sight of the actual consumer need. Last week, someone sent me a piece of marketing communication for a new razor, the “Gillette(R) Fusion(R) ProGlide(R) with Flexball(TM) technology.” The string of four trademarked names to describe a single product […]

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brand guidelines

How Draconian are your Brand Guidelines? Many brands focus so much on maintaining consistency that they forget one of the most important goals of Brand Guidelines — inspiring creative work. Building a brand takes a village, inside the company and out. From agencies to packaging engineers, there are a lot of people who touch and influence how a brand comes […]

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push marketing

There’s a fine line between Push and pushy. Marketers have an extraordinarily powerful tool in reaching consumers through their mobile devices. There is potential to deliver messaging to consumers that is perfectly matched to their intent. Yet much of the push marketing that I’ve experienced is anything but. Push without relevance is invasive. There is also a fine line between […]

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marketing with a/b testing

The rise of A/B testing has transformed marketing. Marketers can now instantly test and adapt messaging based on live data. A change in something as minor as the color of a call-to-action button can lead to performance improvements though the whole marketing funnel. Yet sometimes marketers follow the data blindly. Sometimes the data cart can lead the creative horse. This […]

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sponsored posts

Hugh MacLeod once cartooned “If you talked to people the way advertising talked to people, they’d punch you in the face.” Nowhere is this more apparent than in social media, particularly as brands migrate their commercial messages from ads on the side to sponsored posts in the center. I had a chance to go to Facebook’s headquarters recently and was […]

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marketing with personal data

A Chicago family recently received a promotional mailer from OfficeMax addressed to “Mike Seay/Daughter Killed in Car Crash/Or Current Business.” The Seay family lost their daughter less than a year earlier. Including “daughter killed in car crash” wording on the envelope was obviously a mistake, but the issue is far bigger than a typo. Having that sensitive data to begin […]

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pivot

My post last week on the innovation buzzword “disruptive” got me thinking about another overused and abused example in our corporate lexicon — “pivot”. The idea of a pivot was first coined by Lean Startup writer, Eric Ries, as a type of course correction that startups can make as they find product-market fit. Here’s how he first described it in […]

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innovation strategery

Marketers are full of buzzwords, particularly when talking about innovation. Even the term “innovation” is a cliché in danger of losing its meaning. In talking about innovation, it’s easy to get lost in the “strategery” and lose sight of the actual consumer need. We marketers tend to breathe our own exhaust after a while. One of the more misunderstood and […]

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big data analytics

Marketers have never had more data at their disposal. The opportunity to glean insights by crunching all of these new sources of data is pretty intoxicating. Yet having access to the data is only one part of the equation. Making sense of the data is the harder part. Marketers sometimes forget the Statistics 101 maxim that correlation doesn’t imply causation. […]

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