What I Learned This Week: August 17

I learned a few things this week.  Look – I kept this theme going to weeks in a row.  Here are a few of the things I learned this week.

Streaming audio is finally being noticed:* I have been a fan of streaming audio for awhile now, and it is finally getting noticed as a viable media alternative to TV and traditional radio.  Advertisers are finally starting to take notice, and I expect this planning season for media to be very interested in services like Pandora, Spotify, and to some extent, iHeartradio.  Here is why:

  • It’s not just online.  It’s a truly mobile and audio solution.  You can advertise on Pandora using traditional audio ads during drive times when customers are streaming to their cars, target with online ads during the workday, and mobile in between.  While most social companies are struggling with monetizing mobile (Facebook, etc) Pandora and it’s peers are grounded and are delivering mobile solutions today.
  • It’s on Demand: Sometimes, I am in a Leonard Cohen mood.  Other times, it’s 2-Pac.  You never know.  I could never download enough cd’s for my random tastes, and streaming music helps me get my fix.  Traditional radio = push.  Streaming = pull.  I am in charge, and I and many others like it.
  • It’s in your car.  Any car with Bluetooth streaming audio can stream Pandora or Spotify wirelessly.  It’s genius.  And some cars like Toyota and Ford are building it right into the cars, making accessing the service easy at any age.
  • It’s local.  No – it’s really local.  Using the GPS in most smartphone’s, services like Pandora can target in a much smaller area.  Below is an example of a local ad served up on my ride.  This will redefine local targeting.

* Disclosure: I am a stockholder in Pandora Media.

I work for a great company: We have total visibility at my organization, with access to regular updates from our CMO, who has an ability to speak to each of us 1:1, even in a crowded room.  She has the ability get everybody excited about change, and realize change is necessary at every level in today’s marketing environment to be successful.  I love working where I do, and I think that we are in the begining stages of becoming a world class marketing organization.  Led by marketing at every level.

At any time, you may be asked a question in a meeting, and expected to know the answer: This happened to me this week, and while I gave an ok answer, I did not give a great answer.  This is just a reminder to me – never settle, and always be ready.  An ok answer is not okay, when you are doing great work.

The company I used to work at had a very passionate CEO.  Sometime’s he would walk the halls, and ask questions about the business.  I used to prepare a cheat sheet every morning, just in case he asked.  I knew what sales were in every market, every week, every day.  He never asked.  However, I don’t regret preparing, because it made me understand our business at every level.  This week I wasn’t.  It will not happen again.  I don’t accept ok answers from myself.

And lastly, Kohl’s is ridiculous.  And everybody loves it: Kohl’s implements a pricing strategy where they over deliver on savings.  I went back to school shopping for my kids, and spend $202 – yet my “total” savings, with coupons and deals was $325!  Now – when you spend $200 on kids gear, you don’t feel so hot.  When you leave and realize you saved $325 – you just feel giddy – like you are a genius.  I thought, I saved $325!  I pretty much robbed that joint!

Thing is – I did not save $325.  Koh’s has their pricing strategy baked into margins, so they over deliver.  It’s a really genius approach, and one that is working for Kohl’s, as they continue to grow and gain value while other retailers struggle.  These people, and millions of people, are feeling pretty solid about their Kohl’s savings too!

That’s what I learned this week.  Some good stuff, and I will continue to learn more each week.

Chris Lovett

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