This week, leading lawyers, regulators and marketers attended the 37th Annual Brand Activation Association (BAA) Marketing Law Conference in Chicago. At BAA I gave a presentation on how disruption is permeating advertising, media, and marketing today. Over the next few days, I will share with you three video clips from my presentation. Let’s dive into the first one…

The lines between advertising agencies, digital agencies and even product development shops are blurring.  We are seeing the rise of “brand activation agencies” that use shopper technologies, experiential marketing and targeted promotions to create products and foster consumer engagements.  Just like the four innovators in the video, marketers and agencies are becoming agents of disruption.  These companies are changing the way we … Continue Reading

Kroger has always been an innovator. It was the first store to combine meats and groceries under one roof, and the first grocery store to have its own bakery. Kroger pioneered the use of optical scanners in the checkout aisles and was one of the first grocery chains to open superstores, a move that has helped it weather competition from big box stores like Sam’s Club and Costco. That drive to innovate has helped make Kroger the nation’s largest grocery chain and the second largest retailer in the country after Walmart.

But, what has really driven Kroger’s recent success is its commitment to the customer experience, and particularly how well it has applied its customer loyalty program. Kroger launched its … Continue Reading

It sure didn’t take long for 2014 to shift into high gear.

Little more than two weeks into the New Year, we’re already knee deep in stories with big implications for marketers in the retail sector (charged anything at Target lately?), sports marketing (the ruling on Alex Rodriguez’s suspension for the 2014 season), and the food services industry (with Hershey’s announcement of 3-D printed chocolate).  As Ron Burgundy would say: “That escalated quickly.”

With the news of early 2014 in mind, I reached out to some of the most knowledgeable marketers in those three sectors, and over the course of the next three weeks, I will share with you their predictions about what the rest of 2014 will hold for … Continue Reading

It seems youth marketing has always been a hot topic in the advertising world. As young people move from the “discovery” phase of their tween years to the “experimental phase” of young adulthood, they shift from being motivators of their parents’ buying habits to influential consumers in their own right. But today that demographic is extremely important. Not only are today’s young people the first true digital natives and harbingers of how digital media will influence how we all interact with brands, but also, as baby boomers age and their $400 billion in annual consumption slows, retail, food, and entertainment companies are counting on millennials to fill the gap.

One marketer that has been particularly successful in tapping the youth … Continue Reading

In the futuristic world of Minority Report, Tom Cruise’s character walks into a Gap clothing store; his eyes are scanned and a 3D hologram of a saleswoman welcomes him by name and inquires about his satisfaction with his previous Gap purchases.  The movie is set in 2054, but this scene may not be too different from the world we live in today.

Retailers such as Nordstrom, Family Dollar, Benetton and Warby Parker are testing new technologies that track customers’ movements throughout their stores by following the wi-fi signals from customers’ smartphones.  As part of a movement to gather data about in-store shopping behavior, retailers are also using video surveillance technology to detect moods based on facial cues, catalogue how many … Continue Reading

Cash and credit and debit cards are certainly dominant in the payment space today.  Some think change will never happen, but they are dead wrong.  Mobile payment is in its infancy, but the benefits are clear:  simplicity, convenience, relevance, and targeted offers and rewards.  No more wallets with multiple cards, just one device.  And this is only the beginning. 

Consumers and retailers are eager to participate.  Starbucks – a market leader – already offers a popular payment app.  It has now moved further into mobile payments by partnering with Square to allow mobile payment at all of its 7,000 U.S. stores.  Customers may soon even be able to pay with their phones while they’re still in their pockets.  With Square, … Continue Reading