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Marketing Innovation Cannot be Outsourced

7 December, 2009 Leave a comment

Photo by Perrimoon

A chorus of voices raised across every mix of media urges brands – large and small – to compete on innovation.


New products, new services, new marketing techniques. Hundreds of books, thousands of blogs and millions of tweets espouse the path to commercial nirvana is paved with magical mystery of clever new craftsmanship.

For today’s marketer the message is even more direct: use innovative channels and tactics or risk losing ground to your competitor.

But while the pursuit of the Next Big Thing has forever been a key to creating better products, companies are increasingly competing along a new dimension: marketing innovation.

It’s seen in dynamic digital promotions; clever web applications; high-profile social media campaigns; or the deployment of any number of web-based communications tools. The range of activity is wide and marketing teams need help. Read more…

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The Marketing Agency Dilemma

4 December, 2009 1 comment

Those running marketing agencies today face a crushing dilemma.  Of course there are the usual challenges: a surfeit of competitors, including large, lumbering giants and hungry startups; a shortage of creative business problem-solvers; and an unforgiving economic climate squeezing everyone, client and supplier alike.

Even considering all this, the chief problem is not one of opportunity: more brands than ever need all the help they can get when it comes to delivering on their marketing promise.

The definitive challenge for agencies today is strategic: where to compete. Read more…

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Don’t Sack Your Marketing Team Just Yet

25 November, 2009 Leave a comment

Photo by petrr

Even before brands faced today’s budgetary age of austerity, a populist meme was gaining traction: that while marketing is a necessary function, perhaps we don’t need a large, dedicated team to deliver it.

Mike Hutchison, writing for the blog Unlimited, argues this very point in his post Hitting Your Mark.  Hutchison’s cites an oft-quoted piece of industry lore of motorcycle manufacturer Ducati sacking its marketing department and delegating responsibility throughout the organisation.

The super-objective Hutchison craves – where individuals up, down and across an organisation take real, tangible responsibility for marketing the brand – is the right intention but the dramatic headline is unhelpful; we might have fantasies about eliminating marketing departments, yet actually doing so creates a number of acute, real problems that cannot be so easily reduced to theory. Read more…

Categories: Marketing Strategy Tags:

Save Football, Save Our Souls

20 November, 2009 Leave a comment

Photograph: Marko Djurica/Reuters

I admit it: I’ve taken the outcome of the farcical World Cup 2010 playoff between France and Ireland more seriously than I ought. My smug, albeit neutral, perch affords me the lofty position of unbiased – and therefore the harshest possible – judgement.

Thierry Henry’s shameful handling in the lead-up to the final French coup de grace, reminiscent more of a touch-down in rugby than the usually prescribed path to soccer goal scoring, leaves even the non-partizan reeling in contempt.

The incident has been described as the ultimate expression of human frailty; for the referees, whose experience and good sense abandoned their eyes at the crucial moment; for the French players, whose desire to win at all costs cruelly hijacked their common decency; and for the spectator, neutral and invested alike, who have been left roiling or rollicking to face a long, cold winter digesting the ugly and inescapable realisation that – regardless France’s performance in next year’s World Cup – the outcome is immutably corrupted. Read more…

Categories: Personal Tags: , ,

It’s Doomed to Fail But I Like FourSquare Anyway

30 October, 2009 1 comment

Icon - Super MayorIn the very early 1990s America, my friend Eric and I revelled in the then-advanced technology of Laser Disc.  I’ve included a link to its Wikipedia entry as I’m guessing a few people will have no idea what Laser Discs are, having skipped that generation of technology entirely.

Eric and I stared, rapt, at the glorious picture delivered in delectable elegance on a magical disc.  It ditched all the horribleness of VHS – the dodgy picture, the interminable rewinding and the fragile tape – and bestowed crystal clear images, instant chapter skipping and full THX-like sound. Read more…

Social Media ROI is Fine but it’s the NPV We Need

29 October, 2009 Leave a comment
Money Euro Notes

Image Credit: viZZZual.com

Most brands grappling with developing a social media proposition reach the ‘ROI question’.

It has many variants, depending if it’s asked by the finance department, the head of marketing or the CEO, but the ROIQ may ultimately be expressed simply as:

What financial benefits will the business receive in return for investing in social media?

Naturally this questions can be asked of any marketing activity but I choose social media specifically – as opposed to traditional media – as it’s the activity least likely to be understood by the senior executives in an organisation.

Nevertheless, it’s the right question to ask; we’re running a business after all.

In 2007 Forrester’s Charlene Li and Chloe Stromberg produced the much-thumbed ROI of Blogging, perhaps the first serious attempt to calculate, in hard dollars, the value of an activity which brands were increasingly being urged by agencies to adopt or at least consider.

While blogging is just one tactical consumer touch point, Li and Stromberg posed thorny questions the stampeding suite of fresh-faced, emerging online services would inevitably face. Read more…

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What I Don’t Know

23 October, 2009 3 comments


Where to begin?

As many of my friends have repeatedly observed, I’m loathe to admit pain, the defining personality characteristic of an Eight according to the Enneagram model, I’m reliably informed.  In this case, the pain is ‘lack of knowledge’.

However, I’m liberating myself of the marketing consultant’s burdensome, perceived Cloak of Omniscience. I wish I knew everything, alas I do not, and at the risk of losing out on future contracts, I think it only fair to share some of the areas I know spectacularly little about: Read more…

Categories: Personal