Four Ps

Anyone with a Business or Marketing degree has likely heard of the following framework from the illustrious marketing professor Philip Kotler.

Marketing is the combination of the 4Ps: Price, Product, Promotion, and Place.

While many can agree with it, when we think of Marketing in most companies and business circles, we tend to focus on a subset of one P: Promotion.

If you reacted to the previous sentence by thinking, “Yeah, that’s kind of true,” you may be interested in taking a few minutes to think if your Marketing team is doing everything it’s supposed to do in your company.

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Controversial Marketing Hot-Take #1

In October last year, I thought of starting a series of posts on ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜ ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐˜€. I posted one a day for four days straight. This was the first one. "๐™„๐™› ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง ๐™˜๐™–๐™ข๐™ฅ๐™–๐™ž๐™œ๐™ฃ ๐™—๐™ค๐™ข๐™—๐™จ, ๐™ž๐™…

Interesting Things You May Not Know About Super Bowl Advertising

(written in February 2023, updated February 2024)

Advertising during the Super Bowl is a privilege for any advertising professional, not only because of the one hundred million people tuning in every year โ€” making it the most watched program in the US โ€” but also because of the incredible amount of resources it takes to buy a spot, develop an ad, and execute a campaign correctly.

Between 2018 and 2022, Iโ€™ve had the privilege of leading Paid Media for Anheuser Busch, the biggest in-game advertiser. Since this is the first year in a while I donโ€™t have to worry about putting out fires and negotiating last-minute requests related to running 4-8 ads in the Super Bowl, I thought it would be fun sharing some of what Iโ€™ve learned. 

Here are ten lesser-known things about Super Bowl advertising and some of my tips from experience.ย 

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Adjust And Double-down:
A Marketing Investment Roadmap For Uncertain Times

โ€œWe are navigating uncertain times.โ€ How often have you heard some variation of this phrase in the last three years? Itโ€™s been used to explain everything from layoffs to schedule changes to service disruptions, and โ€” while it may be true โ€” itโ€™s getting exhausting. I think itโ€™s fair to say that weโ€™re all looking for more โ€œcertain times.โ€

Perhaps more certainty and predictability lie in the future, but they remain to be seen. Right now, everyone (especially those in marketing) needs to focus on navigating uncertainty.

Adjust Investment Strategies for Uncertain Times 

In the past year, we have seen the tide shift from a general policy of โ€œgrow at all costsโ€ to โ€œshow profitability.โ€ This means that companies’ investment strategy needs to focus on protecting the bottom line, and if the correction is not done gradually over time, the marketing budget is the most exposed to cuts and pullbacks.

This is usually because of two reasons:

  • A structural adjustment like laying off part of your staff comes with expensive severance packages and therefore requires time to show an impact on the bottom line.
  • Because companies that need to prioritize revenue and profits in the short term are often willing to forgo a medium to long-term impact for immediate relief, favoring sales costs that can bring immediate revenue vs. marketing expenditures that bring both short, medium, and long-term benefits. 

This is the reason why companies that are seeing a softening demand (i.e., topline decline) or are anticipating a market contraction, tend to cut media and marketing budgets before reducing sales costs. 

The problem is that if this pullback is done too abruptly, inbound demand will soften to the point where your sales efforts become less effective and will therefore worsen the company’s need to cut costs to maintain margins. Moreover, if your disinvestment strategy is more drastic than your competitors, the market share loss will make a later recovery 2-3x more expensive than the initial savings. 

At this point, people may be tempted to suggest that to prevent this tricky situation, companies should have been more conservative in bolstering costs during a growth period. Still, we need to remember that limiting spend in a moment of growth also presents the opportunity cost of losing โ€œfairโ€ market share with respect to the market and competition.

Since we canโ€™t go back in time, letโ€™s discuss how companies can navigate a worsening financial outlook and how marketing and finance departments can partner together to adjust their investment strategy to manage the current environment. 

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The Critical Importance of Optimizing for Human Attention in Advertising

Attention is the most valuable resource in the advertising industry. It is a prerequisite for message reception, encoding, and ultimately, the ability to change perception and drive behavior. As advertising legend Bill Bernbach said, โ€œIf your advertising goes unnoticed, everything else is academic.โ€ 

While the idea of measuring and optimizing for human attention to improve advertising effectiveness is becoming more prominent in the industry, there are still those who believe itโ€™s a concept too ephemeral to properly be measured or too marginal to grant the investment needed to make it mainstream. 

This adverse perspective is often driven by a limited understanding of the nuances around this topic or a deliberate effort to protect a business interest. While thereโ€™s little I can do about the latter, I want to help address the former. I do so here by laying out some of the foundations for a constructive conversation around this fundamental resource. 

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