Tuesday, October 17, 2006


More Stuff... and It's Organic!

Harte-Hanks releases "Marketing Enabler," an end-to-end web2print system. Remember-- they bought a digital printing company earlier this year-- HH is a big B2B data base company. It was obvious that this was up their sleeve.

Brief, but good, article about graphic design

Adobe bought a company active in mobile media, Actimagine. They had already announced that Flash, which they had acquired in the Macromedia deal, was being adapted for cell phones and other devices.

Affluent working women access the Internet more. This is not that big a deal of a story, because access to all media increases with income, even the reading of magazines, regardless of gender. But when it's over 90%, I guess it's worth reporting, however statistically "un-special" it is.

NAA release that provides data to advertisers about the Internet reach of newspapers. The change in tone at the NAA to support the notion that newspapers are Internet players is palpable. If only our associations could make that leap as well.
Newspaper advertiser data base

Brian Wesbury's opinion column in WSJ discusses the resilience of the economy and how bad data causes bad policy, such as the recent revision upward in the number of employed of +810,000 by the BLS (btw, that news was buried on page 5 of the BLS release, so not a single news report of the unemployment data mentioned it).

Okay, I'll say something... the Print Council released its long-awaited brochure. It perpetuates the stereotypical printing industry problems about our being preoccupied with equipment, as it is principally a capabilities brochure. It data here and there, but none of it is convincing. Its design is stock images gone wild, and the piece is hard on the eyes. What's missing? Media planners and print buyers are like consumers and they like to see people like them or people about whom they aspire to be. There's no media planner or analyst or marketing communications executive explaining why they use print and how effective it is for them. There's no product manager explaining how print worked in a big campaign. Aside from some digs at new media, there is no simple comparison, nor is there an intent to show in a demonstrable way where print fits in a typical media mix. Most of all, it violates the first new rule of selling print: electronic media has distinct and demonstrable advantages over print. There is still a great story to be told about the new print business, especially on the digital print side, and it's not told here. At a time when print is being asked to demonstrate its ROI, the things being done in direct mail are obvious choices for inclusion, especially when they use the latest technologies for targeting and measuring. Don't take my word for it, download it and make up your own mind:
Printers are encouraged to download it, but I can't find anywhere on the site where printers can get high resolution files to use it. Also, if there's a great story to be told about why people should print, it certainly can be told in Flash, online, or in a video posted on youtube.com.

Make up your mind...
Overpriced organics are not selling
Wal-Mart prices 10% over regular goods
Whole Foods has been a darling of Wall Street for quite a while, known for its ability to market commodity foods to an upscale, highly educated consumer, at superb margins. Wasn't it quite funny in a cynical way (except for the people who died or got sick) that the spinach e-coli problem was an organic provider? The science behind organic foods benefits is quite poor and often dubious (one day I hope to write about the placebo effect and what it means about how we're wired, good and bad). The biggest statistically provable and valuable actions one can take for health is regular strenuous exercise and never smoking; that's followed by avoiding accidents (accidental death is the leading cause up to around age 46; then diseases take over). For all of the harping about cholesterol, half of all heart attack victims have normal cholesterol readings, and the statistical relationship of cholesterol and heart attack loses its statistical relationship after age 47, based on the multi-decade Framingham heart study. As one who gained 50+ lbs over 15 years with terrible cholesterol readings by eating health foods and steadfastly avoiding fat, and having serious medical complications from cholesterol meds, and doing the opposite of what the doctors said to all that weight in just 2+ years on low-carb diet of my own invention, solving other health problems in the process, it's no wonder I've developed a dubious eye for organic food marketing (that's DrJoe's run-on sentence for the day). The fact that they are having problems overcharging (excuse me, charging premium prices) is perhaps a sign that consumers find little benefit in their products. Last year, Atkins Nutritionals, funded by Goldman Sachs to cash in on the low carb craze, went bankrupt. Gee, could it be that the food was overpriced and tasted really bad (the cereal box would have tasted better)? As one who occasionally shops at Whole Foods, I can say that there are some items sold there that are definitely worth the price in higher quality and attention to sensory detail; most are not, and claimed benefits cannot stand statistical tests or clinical trials. But just because what you sell is organic, doesn't mean that you're exempt from the competition of the marketplace. Organic marketers, if they believe that their products are essential to a healthy lifestyle, should be cheering Wal-Mart on to bring the lifestyle to a lower income, less educated market that is larger than they can address with their top of the market price, selective distribution marketing. What all this has to do with print, I don't have a clue. Yeah, one day I'll write about the diet, too.

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