I Dare You To Get To 10%
Lately I’ve been describing myself as the Robin Hood of marketing. If I look back at my four books — “Life after the 30-second spot,” “Join the Conversation,” Flip the Funnel” and “Z.E.R.O.” — they all have a common theme of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Or, in marketing speak: budget optimization (sounds less daring when you put it that way).
I challenge marketers to rethink the way they spend other people’s money in favor of a scenario which I believe more realistically reflects reality – or, at least a reality grounded in consumer insights and the actual behavior of the people they call consumers.
Inherent in the final optimization is the belief that we need to create innovation budgets. My co-author and fellow Online Spin writer, Maarten Albarda, dedicates an entire chapter in “Z.E.R.O.” to the budget-setting component of the Z.E.R.O. action plan.
The creation of new budgets and allocation of funding is nothing new to marketing or media. I wish I could tell you this was the first time we are discussing this, but if I did it would just be déjà vu all over again. Every new medium has faced the same challenges when it comes to begging for scraps, justifying its existence and making the case for a spending level commensurate with consumer behavior and media consumption.
I only need to think back to my agency days recall the eye rolls when I pleaded for dollars that I believed were justified — if not right then, certainly in the months to come.
I also remember being told that there are two types of people: pioneers and settlers. The pioneers get killed and the settlers take the land. “Joe, my boy: you are a pioneer!” Gee, thanks (I think…).
It takes a bold individual to put that stake in the ground (versus having it thrust through their heart). Chuck Fruit did it at Anheuser-Busch and The Coca-Cola Company with regards to cable television (ESPN is still grateful), and most recently, Mondelez’ (a client) Bonin Bough did it with respect to mobile.
In the world of digital innovation, we constantly hear about the 60/30/10 — or 70/20/10 as a slightly more conservative — rule being applied, led by the uber innovator, Google and in the corporate world, Coca-Cola (again) respectively. Coke refers to it as Now, New and Next.
So with all that said, what percentage of your budget are you spending on innovation — aka “next”? Do you even have a budget to begin with? And if so, do you have a dedicated champion internally, and partner externally, to help you execute against it?
It dawned on me last week as I was immersing myself in the startup world of Silicon Valley that this 10% dream is really just a pipe dream to marketers. They talk a big game, but walk an entirely different one. I realized that 10%, while realistic and practiced by a handful of progressive brands, is unattainable to many others.
So I thought I would take the hatchet and lop off an entire digit, leaving us with a solitary and pretty binary “1.” I challenge the marketers still standing to get to 1% for innovation. Could you do it? Could you do it this year? And no, the year is NOT almost over. What about next year? How embarrassed will you be when you get to the end of NEXT year with still nothing NEW to show for it? Shouldn’t you take the first step NOW?
For your first step, why not move the decimal place one more time to the left: 0.1%. On a $50 million spend, we’re talking about $50,000. How about 0.1% of your spend on a test, experiment or pilot program. I don’t care what you call it, as long as you call it. As long as it isn’t others calling… time of death. Yours.
We all love the fast fun of Snapchat. Receive your message, open, and enjoy before the time runs out (unless you’re a screenshot ninja). But what if enjoying your message had to do with where you were in the real world, rather than the speed of your fingers?
New messaging app Traces creates the perfect blend of virtual and reality by making messages accessible based on the recipient’s geographic location. To send messages, users select the contents of their message (can be text, photo, video, etc), and choose how long to leave the message accessible (can range from an hour to a month). They then choose a location by dropping a pin on a map, and send. In order to access the message, recipients must go their friend’s designated location, and pop the water droplet icon on their screen.
Traces is a brilliant social play on wanderlust, with a dash of nostalgia to boot. So give it a download, spread the word, and send your friends on their next adventure.
Calling all recent grads! Evol8tion is officially accepting applications for fall interns.
We are an innovation company that connects early-stage tech startups with brands — and we are looking for a dynamic self starter to join our team as a paid part-time employee.
As an Evol8tion intern, you will: (a) learn about cutting-edge startups and how evaluate them for brand partnership, (b) help manage our startup database submissions, (c) attend tech/startup events to interact with NYC entrepreneurs, (d) populate our blog, Madison and Mountain View (www.madisonandmountainview.com) and (e) get exposure to what it’s like working for brand clients like Mondelez, Kraft Foods, and more.
Evol8tion embraces a virtual workplace: so while we often work together as a team at our offices, you are encouraged to work from coffee shops, parks with free wifi, or from home if you’d like.
Applicants must be independent workers with excel proficiency. Strong organizational, writing, and interpersonal skills are required. A healthy passion and curiosity for emerging technology is a plus!
Email your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.
Every other week, Evol8tion chooses one of the best and brightest startups in our database to feature on Startup Spotlight. This week, we’re shouting out Tourlandish!
As frequent travelers, we know that tourism can be pretty overwhelming. So for visitors in New York, Tourlandish is a dream come true! This handy startup is the tourist’s one-stop shop for the best of New York — from restaurants, to excursions, to attractions and beyond. Though we’ve seen lots of geo-located activity apps lately, Tourlandish differentiates itself by specifically catering to visitors’ interests — offering welcome advice (and discounts!) to the globe-trotting explorer.
You can search for, discover, and peruse local activities straight from your mobile phone, and booking is only a matter of seconds: allowing you to be spontaneous, get your head out of the guide book, and make the most of every second.
There’s no denying New York is one of the greatest cities in the world. We love that Tourlandish is showing it off!
Click here to learn more about our database, and how your startup can work with Evol8tion.
Follow Tourlandish: @Tourlandish
Between May and July 2014, over 100 innovative startup teams participated in BigApps NYC 2014 — developing unique technological solutions for some of NYC’s most difficult challenges.
Now, BigApps NYC has selected 20 of these teams to move on to the final round! Finalists will have an extra six weeks of preparation time to hone their ideas — and afterwards, they’ll pitch before a panel of all-star judges for the chance to win over $100,000 in cash prizes.
Without further ado: here are the finalists!
The Price Of Innovation? About $199
Last week, I popped into my local Apple store for back-to-back-to-back appointments with the Geniuses (or Genii) at the Bar.
First port of call was my own iPhone and its radical draining battery. Turns out the problem was my 17,000 apps independently calling for “background app refresh” and “location services” all at the same time. Problem solved, one for one.
Next up was my daughter’s beyond-smashed and dysfunctional iPhone. This is when things got hairy. I was told it would cost $199 for a new phone. I explained I had AppleCare and they acknowledged this, but informed me that my two-year warranty had expired.
Enter the worst bait-and-switch in the history of not-so-smartphones. Obviously the idea is to get people to upgrade to new phones. In this case, my daughter’s iPhone 4S could easily have been upgraded to a 5 or 5S (with Two-year contract of course), but as it turns out, she — quite understandably — is holding out for an iPhone 6.
Only Apple is not operating on the same page as my daughter (who I suspect she is not the exception, but the overwhelming majority now) and as a result, is lagging behind pretty radically in the high-stakes game of innovation. The Apple 4S came out on Oct. 14, 2011 and my daughter’s phone was purchased in May, 2012. It’s now August 2014 and all we hear from the too-cool-for-schoolBlueshirts is thestandard response: “We don’t know when the anticipated mythical iPhone 6 announcement is going to echo from the heavens.”
Why not? Why wouldn’t you inform your own people when your overdue phone is ready? Why constantly trade on innuendo, hype and secrecy? That’s soooo Steve Jobs-era and 2011!
After switching Blueshirts three times and apparently talking to the store “manager,” I found out that I could purchase a phone for $199 and then trade it in when I was ready. At today’s rate, I would get $125 for the phone. But a) the rate fluctuates daily (I’m a day trader now?), b) the phone would have to be in pristine condition (did I mention, this was for my teenage daughter?) and c) I would have to use the store credit for a new iPhone from the Apple store.
The problem here is that Apple is being out-innovated (outsmarted?) by AT&T and the like. AT&T now has “Next” that allows customers to swap out old phones (defined as older than a day) for the latest and greatest with two provisions: 1. The “lease” renews and 2. It has to be done in an AT&T store. That’s AT&T 1, Apple 0 for those keeping score in-store.
To make matters worse, I explained to “the manager” that I was literally (my third appointment that day) about to purchase a new MacBook Air and spend up to $3,000 in the process in their store, making it the 11th active i-device in my household. Yes, there is a “kick me” sign on my back right now.
You would think the manager would be “empowered” to make me an offer. How about meeting me halfway at $100? Nope.
How many people were in the exact same situation as myself, do you think? I didn’t have to think for too long. There was one person sitting right next to me with the exact same problem: a horribly cracked iPhone 4S screen, waiting for the 6, and oops… expired AppleCare.
How many tens, hundreds, thousands of people are walking into Apple stores every single day experiencing the exact same poor customer experience? The mind boggles.
It would appear that innovation — or rather, the lack thereof — has a value: It’s $199. When multiplied by tens of thousands of dissatisfied customers, that comes at a rather steep price.
Ever wish you could easily send videos and links to your friends — without having to “Copy Link” every time?
Meet Invi — the app that makes sharing as easy as swiping your finger.
Called the “reinvention” of texting, Invi is a free (and ad-free) app that seamlessly combines multimedia and texting, allowing users to share content without the hassle of links. Invi creates a split-screen sharing experience where users can enjoy videos, gaming, and more while maintaining the ability to text constantly. To share multimedia content, users need only tap and drag from the split screen into the chat window, and send — simplifying sharing, and reducing interruption.
In recognition of the ever-changing app space, Invi is continually adding more names to its portfolio of compatible apps — though currently, it includes monsters like GooglePlay, Twitter, Tumblr, Buzzfeed and more. Invi has also expanded from its exclusively Android roots and launched on the iPhone platform, allowing its capabilities to be enjoyed by millions more users.
So give it a download, and start sharing content in a whole new way!
Follow them: @invi
In sponsorship of Grammy Award-winning artist Miranda Lambert’s “Platinum” Tour, Crystal Light teamed up with Novalia to debut the U.S.’s first-ever “Playable Poster.” The poster will allow Lambert fans across 30 cities to physically “spin” her record, unlocking audio tracks from her new album.
Novalia was first found and matched with Crystal Light by the Evol8tion team — and we are so proud to be a part of this amazing partnership.
Last week Evol8tion had the opportunity to attend Wakefield Media's Education Uncubed, a 3-day event held at NYU School of Law with attendees ranging from students and universities to entrepreneurs and C-levels. The event focused on educating students and recent graduates on startup careers.
Discussions included stories from founders who may or may not have finished university, investors, and other entrepreneurs in a variety of fields, including education, food, and social good. Some CEO/Co-founder highlights included Amanda Hesser of Food52, Anil Dash of ThinkUp, and Nancy Lublin, founder of Dress for Success.
The conference, along with other Uncubed events held in cities across the nation, hopes to open a dialogue between universities and members of the startup community about preparing students for careers in fast-growing companies. It’s great to see so many universities, including Harvard, Columbia, RIT, and Ohio State, getting involved in a new type of education.
Looking forward to the next generation of entrepreneurs!