Tag Archives: marketing

Tiger Woods and Lightning Bolt

You have done pretty well when you can get people to post your ads on their blogs for the enjoyment of their readers. Enjoy this creativity and have a nice weekend.

While on sports I also will mention Usain ‘Lightning’ Bolt’s performances in the Olympics: they were amazing. In contests (100 and 200 meter dash where the victor is usually a few hundreds of a second faster he won the 100 by 20/100s and 200 by 66/100s officially [52/100 but that runner and the next were disqualified for running outside of their lanes]). Both were new world records.

Both the margins of victor seem to be the greatest ever (some news reports have said so, at least one I ready said matched the largest in an Olympic 100 final over the last 40 years – others say “the largest since Carl Lewis won by the same time at the 1984 Olympics”). It was very impressive. At the last Olympics he was 5th in the 200 (he didn’t start running the 100 until this year).

Related: Davidson Students Get Free Sweet Sixteen TripScience and Sports

Full and Fractional Factorial Test Design

An Essential Primer on Full and Fractional Factorial Test Design

Since full factorial gathers additional data, it reveals all possible interactions, but as seen by the numbers above, there is a trade-off. More data equals more information but more data also equals a longer test duration. The minimum data requirements for full factorial are very high since you are showing every experiment.

Even if you are using full factorial to get the same amount of information as a fractional factorial test, it will take more time since you need more data to see statistically relevant differences between the many experiments. You might be wondering how fractional factorial can be accurate if interactions are possible?

Random interactions of high relevance are very rare, especially when looking for interactions of more than 2 factors. You really need to design tests where you look for meaningful interactions that are based on true business requirements rather than hoping for a random and low influence interaction between a red button, a hero shot and a headline.

I am a fan of design of experiments as long time readers know (see posts on design of experiments).

Some good resources for more on the topics discussed above: What Can You Find Out From 8 and 16 Experimental Runs? by George Box – Statistics for ExperimentersDesign of Experiments in Advertising.

Related: Google Website Optimizerfactorial experiment articlesUsing Design of ExperimentsMarketers Are Embracing Statistical Design of Experiments

Packaging Improvement

McDonald’s Branding Makes Food Tastier for Tots

Researchers at Stanford University have found that children tend to rate food that is wrapped up in McDonald’s-branded paper as tasting better than the same food wrapped in plain paper — a finding that suggests that even the youngest consumers are heavily influenced by advertising. The new study was released Monday in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

The study had 63 children, aged 3 to 5 years old, tasting five pairs of identical foods and beverages — one in McDonald’s wrapping and the other in unbranded packaging. The researchers then asked them a simple question: “Which one tastes better?” An overwhelming number of the children said the food in the McDonald’s wrapping was tastier.

Oddly enough, this applied even to vegetables and milk. Sixty-one percent of the children in the study preferred the taste of carrots and 54 percent preferred the taste of milk if they were reminded by the packaging that it came from McDonald’s.

This is another reminder that tackling problems directly is not always the best strategy. The packaging doesn’t actually change the taste, but really it is not the taste that is likely a concern but rather the perception of taste. To me this is very similar to the studies on people preferring wine they are told costs more.

Ignore psychology at your peril: in marketing and in management. Deming’s management system include 4 interdependent areas: understanding variation, systems thinking, theory of knowledge and understanding psychology.

Effects of Fast Food Branding on Young Children’s Taste Preferences (I think this is the study referenced in the article though it was published in August 2007 – John).

Related: Indian researcher shows most people do judge a drink by its containerMarketing in a Lean CompanyThe Psychology of Too Much ChoiceBe Careful What You Measure

Giving Away Your Service for Free on Weekends

Copilot is a cool application that lets you control someone else’s computer. So you can receive technical support remotely. You let someone access your computer and copilot takes care of the sometimes very complex task of linking the two computers up (getting through firewalls, etc.). You can use it to fix your parents computer after you move away… or you can can have your kid fix your computer for while you pay for part of their college… (I am not sure which description fits you). Copilot is now free on weekends by Joel Spolsky:

Well, recently we figured out that we’re paying for a lot of bandwidth over the weekends that we don’t need, so we decided to make Copilot absolutely free on weekends. Yep, that’s right… free as in zero dollars, free, no cost, no credit card, no email address, nothing.

While he doesn’t mention it I am sure they figured out this is a great marketing tool also. If you try this product there is a good chance you will find it very helpful. Fogcreek Software is looking for a Summer interns in NYC. I have posted about Joel many times, including: Management Training ProgramJoel ManagementThe IT Iceberg SecretSeven Steps to Remarkable Customer Service

Related: Dangers of Extrinsic Motivationengineering internships

Innovative Marketing Podcast

Lego Mindstorms

This podcast on Lego Mindstorms NXT, Lead Users, and Viral Marketing [the broken link was removed] is interesting. The discussion does a good job of explaining how factors like web 2.0 and “open source” can allow business to operate in a new way and take advantage of new opportunities. Understanding these ideas is much more innovative than most of what I read in the “business press.” And the message is explained clearly, so one does not need to understand these concepts to appreciate the business opportunities. See links below: Lego Mindstorms are also just cool.

via: eContent

Related: Open Source for LEGO MindstormsLego Learningscience and engineering podcast librariesGadgets and GiftsIntellectual Property Rights and InnovationBetter and Different

Marketing in a Lean Company

Where Is Marketing In All of This? [the broken link was removed]:

The problem with all of this is that it is based on the idea that sales and manufacturing are distinct entities, with a one way flow between them, rather than hopelessly intertwined elements of the same complicated business.

An essential element of lean manufacturing is a level loading of demand – or at least reasonably level. Toyota uses pricing to accomplish this.

It is becoming more and more apparent that lean is a company wide issue and that giving any department or function an exemption leads to failure.

I agree. The company needs to be viewed as one interdependent system not independent departments [the broken link was removed and replaced by a new link] . The system needs to be optimized as a whole. And that means optimizing the overall system not optimizing the individual departments independently.

World class management understands this concept. But so many of our current management practices undermine attempts to optimize the overall system: rating and ranking people, accounting systems, performance goals, focus on quarterly profits, etc. Some have difficulty understanding that optimizing individual components of a system is not the best strategy to optimize the overall system but that is the truth.

Book, online articles and web links on systems thinking

Design of Experiments in Advertising

How Two Guys From the Gold Country Are Changing Advertising Forever [the broken link has been removed] by Robert X. Cringely

James Kowalick and Mario Fantoni, two guys who say they can show you how to use science to design ads that cost less while being 10 or more times as effective as doing it the old way.

Their secret is the Taguchi Method, which is a technique for designing experiments that converge on an ideal product solution.

“I taught over 300 courses for industry where we designed cars and electronic devices, but it wasn’t until one day I took over my wife’s kitchen and used Taguchi to perfect my recipe for vanilla wafer cookies that I realized how broadly it could be applied,” Kowalick recalls. “It took 16 batches, but by the end of the afternoon I had those wafers dialed in.”

It is great to see the application of Designed Experiments increasing. I am reminded of an article by my father, William G. Hunter, from 1975: 101 Ways to Design an Experiment, or Some Ideas About Teaching Design of Experiments. Examples of the topics of the designed experiments his students performed:
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Marketers Are Embracing Statistical Design of Experiments

Marketers Are Embracing Statistical Design of Experiments (site broke link so I removed it) by Richard Burnham.

Crayola® conducts an e-mail marketing DOE to attract parents and teachers to their new Internet site. The company discovers a combination of factors that makes their new e-mail pitch three-and-a-half times more effective than the control. (Harvard Business Review, October 2001, “Boost Your Marketing ROI with Experimental Design,” Almquist, Wyner.)

Marketers can’t always be certain what triggers buyers to respond. In the past, we were always admonished to test-test-test, but only one factor at a time – relying on our gut feelings and uncertain hopes. With DOE, marketers have replaced voodoo with the science of statistics.

For more on Design of Experiments see: