1. It’s conference write-up time. It’s 1700 words about the Market Research Society event this week..

    I appreciate this is quite a few words, so the “6 lessons” are, very roughly.

    1. Do more split testing, and if you can’t, at least think like a split tester sometimes.

    2. But also, price big risky ideas into yr innovation “funnel” or whatever you’re calling it. (This one was a bit vague, I just liked Tim Harford’s way of framing it so I gave it its own point).

    3. Storytelling is a false friend to consumer and researcher alike, and even for marketers it’s a lot more dangerous than it looks.

    4. Don’t be bounced into crap decisions just because you want approval from people who aren’t going to like you anyway. (And don’t stick to your guns just because you hate the people disliking you - basically, if somebody’s angry with your company, do not trust your own reaction: get other opinions).

    5. If you want to reach “hard to research” people, recruit some as fellow researchers not just as participants (this is NOT a new approach at all, but there was a good case study).

    6. And to be honest, make improved diversity in the business a priority anyway, because it’ll make the whole industry better.

    I have a ton of other notes, too - though not at all evenly distributed from the various sessions.


  2. Brohavioural Economics

    Psychologist: Your judgement is subject to powerful unconscious biases as a result of how our brains have evolved. For example, you may find it hard to correctly evaluate risks or costs.

    Rationalist Guy: Damn, that’s bad, but we can overcome this! Let’s hack our decision making and avoid those errors.

    Psychologist: Your judgement is also subject to powerful unconscious biases as a result of how our culture has developed. For example, you may discriminate against wome-

    Rationalist Guy: Sorry, we’re just wired that way, it’s evolution, you can’t fight it.

  3. Well done Sarah Hayward (Camden Council)


  4. Interrupting normal Blackbeard service because of this lovely and humbling mention of THIS VERY TUMBLR in Media Week, by Russell Davies. It really made my day.


  5. "more than 60% of consumers said they were less likely to trust a product review if they know it was paid for by the company selling the product"
    — Naturally this is presented as a ‘significant hurdle’ for marketers to ‘overcome’.
  6. Excellent juxtaposition, good work Twitter. Piece about “native advertising” for the workblog. http://brianjuicerblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/whats-wrong-with-native-advertising/


  7. The First Kiss Backlash

    Not actually seen all of it it. I pressed play on it, but, you know, heart of stone. Anyway it’s a bit of content marketing about snogging that’s been viewed 24 million times before word that it’s an ad got out. Cue disappointment.

    Scattered thoughts:

    • Did FK pretend not to be an ad or not? The version on the brand’s website is an ad (a long, slow, content-y, post-Dove Real Beauty kind of ad, but an ad nonetheless) - it’s only been seen 48k times though. It has the brand (Wren) on the title screen.
    • The one that’s been seen 24m times doesn’t have the brand name in the video, but if you see it on YouTube it does have a link to the brand site. So it’s buried the brand link deep but not at all denied it.
    • Which goes to show how few people click on the links in YouTube, or check back to YouTube in the first place.
    • In my experience, which is not absolute, anything which gets that many views on YouTube that quickly is either Zapruder-footage level newsworthy footage or has money behind it somewhere. This isn’t an absolute rule but it’s true often enough for it to be anyone’s sensible first assumption when encountering some “viral content”.
    • i.e. if it looks like an ad and quacks like an ad, it’s an ad.
    • Ah, but does it quack like an ad? I think this is the root of some of the feelings of disappointment and betrayal - not just that there was ‘deception’ involved but that a lot of people found that their aesthetics weren’t as separate from the aesthetics of modern content marketing as they might have hoped.
    • There’s only so many ways to skin the feelgood shortform video cat, basically.
    • "You Loved It Because You Were Told To Love It" (Flavorwire’s heading) is offbase, "You Loved It Because Marketers’ Job Is To Know What You Love And Some Of Them Are Occasionally Good At That" is more accurate.
    • Though it’s always grotty to find out something’s an ad. I’m not denying that, and I’ve been fooled myself often enough.
    • Luckily for the free will of humankind there is still a lot more crap content marketing than good. But yes this will spawn a lot of imitators, this is a big moment for this kind of stealth content marketing. For you, gentle viewer, the battle is over. For me, the case studies and First Company articles are just beginning.
    • Whether it was a good/successful ad is more open to question though - Wren may well have conceded too much in seeding the unbranded version and only becoming associated with the video in the backlash phase. But would Buzzfeed etc have carried it otherwise, and would people have viewed? Probably not. But these caveats matter less for a little brand than they would for one of the bigger ones.

    That’s all I’ve got. There you go.


  8. No Scrubs

    The “What does Facebook think of me?” game - judging the kind of person I apparently am by the kind of sidebar ads I get - has taken an interesting turn.

    Until very recently, Facebook’s opinion of me was that I was a total scrub. Despite being listed as married, all the ads were about casinos, lonely housewives, hair loss treatments, brides-of-the-world, easy credit… all sleaze most of the time, basically.

    This has suddenly and dramatically changed. The current line-up of ads includes:

    • Widowed photographer learns passion for life after 40
    • Dude, it’s time to build a conservatory
    • "Home Inspiration"
    • Schools Fining Parents: Classic Or Dud?

    With this last in particular I feel I have really arrived in 40somethingland.

    But what on earth did I do to achieve this metaphorphosis from lecherous slob to Facebook Dad?

    The answer seems to lie in FB’s lens on my marriage. I was listed as married to my real actual wife, Isabel. Which seems fair enough on the surface of it. But Isabel signed up for Facebook 5 years ago and never visited it again, with the result that she had 1 other friend and a blank profile.In other words, I reckon Facebook had noticed that I was “married” to a blatantly non-existent (in FB terms) person and decided in its all-powerful algorithmic brain that “married to fake woman” meant I got its special “shady scumbag” tranche of ads.

    BUT! Isabel has now signed up again on a different email, so last week I callously abandoned her fake profile and am listed simply as “married”. Until she ticks the notification box to confirm I’m married *to her*, I am in a benefit of the doubt limbo where I get the most generic 40something dude advertising ever.

    (Or of course, Facebook knows me even better than I know myself, and I DO want a conservatory.)


  9. Thinking Fast And Slowpoke

    Twitch Plays Pokemon’s anarchy/democracy dual control system is a rather good illustration of Kahneman’s System 1 and System 2 model/metaphor for human judgement.

    System 1: fast, impulsive, enormously powerful, but whose emotionally led decisions sometimes make little rational sense and may even be counter-productive: anarchy.

    System 2: slow, time-consuming, effortful, necessary to make complex and difficult choices (eg teaching yr starter Surf) but exhausting and frustrating to apply for any length of time: democracy.

    Having noticed this parallel there’s nothing I can do with it - the crossover between people following TPP and people I’m involved with at work applying dual systems theory is, er, not large. So it ends up here.


  10. I somehow missed the ten-year anniversary of the best thing ever written about innovation and marketing.