Archive for June 2009

Grocery coupons on fire…

A recent article by Promo Magazine discussed how grocery coupons for have been on fire so far this year, with the number of coupons printed by consumers so far this year surpassing the entire number for 2008. Lots of focus has been devoted to internet coupons, coupon fraud, paper versus mobile coupons etc. The jury is still out on several topics, but one thing is certain. Consumers are looking to save more in every way and are going to the web to search for these savings increasingly over traditional sources such as newspapers. While newspaper circulars are still the lion’s share of grocery coupons, circulation declines and double digit growth in online coupons means that it’s only a matter of time before the web becomes the dominant source for coupons and other shopping incentives. For more on the Promo Magazine article, click here to check it out.

New bar code technology streamlining processes in gr

The recently wrote an article about an interesting new bar code technology called GS1 DataBars that can help track information from products sold in grocery store chains, down to individual pieces of loose produce. The bar codes are pretty cool because they can be applied to individual pieces of fruit to capture variable weight pricing information, allowing grocery stores to keep better records of the produce people buy and streamline the check-out process. Even today, a lot of time is eaten up on line at the grocery store with manual data entry and weighing of individual pieces of produce. This bar code technology has unique information in two distinct mini-bar codes which capture pricing data about that piece of fruit and allows the price to be rung up as if scanning a box of cereal or other fixed-weight item. Pretty cool. apple There are implications to this bar code technology for promotional use as well, especially with mobile phones, which are becoming the rave for mobile coupons at grocery stores. I love this technology for the produce folks. Putting a unique barcode label on each piece of fruit is a daunting task but is the best idea I’ve seen in a long time to streamline the process at the register and stocking in the store. It puts a larger burden on the produce distributors but is a huge leap forward in supply-chain management for groceries, which has always managed produce in an ad-hoc way. I’m not sure if this technology will fit perfectly with Mobile phones, given the existing issues around scanning bar codes off mobile phones, as well as the issues with linear bar codes on mobile phone, which tend to get mashed up and re-sized on different mobile phone screens. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Drug makers are dropping consumer marketing

In a recent article by eMarketer, found here, there is discussion that the pharmaceutical industry is moving away from consumer marketing and advertising, otherwise known as direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising. This is the type of advertising for specific drugs that you probably get annoyed by on TV or in magazines. The change is caused by smaller budgets and a larger focus on direct-to-patient advertising. Some basic testing must have proven that marketing to patients produced a higher ROI than the generic, mass-marketing approach taken through traditional TV and other advertising. I think that digital media could save DTC advertising for pharmaceuticals because it provides more cost-effective reach to consumers. Adding promotional tactics to digital marketing on the web to drive drug sales offline could be a very large potential opportunity and could replace other forms of traditional media that can’t be measured.

Agencies focusing more on wall-street analytics

A friend of mine was recently written up in the NYT business section for some of the interesting work he’s doing on applying wall-street analytics to digital advertising. Darren Herman, president of Varick Media Management, is looking at advertising on the web much like financial traders look at investing money in untapped opportunities. It’s definitely a different way of looking at advertising. With all the data and analytics available from the web, agencies and technology companies have tremendous opportunity to use predictive modeling and algorithms to predict the success of various campaigns prior to launch and invest money in certain campaigns accordingly to maximize the return on that investment. In many ways, it’s no different than researching a specific stock to buy and then buying it and measuring it’s performance. If you do enough research and execute enough trades (i.e. media campaigns), you’ll hedge your bets and likely end up with some real winners and a solid return. Congrats Darren on the great press and keep up the innovation!