Posts tagged ‘Mark Cuban’

Twitter Marketing: Sic et Non

“Is Twitter for Serious Marketers?,” is both the title of the article and the question Tom Davenport asks in the Harvard Business Review. He answers with an emphatic no:

“Do serious marketers spend a lot of time and energy on Twitter campaigns? I doubt it. Sure, go ahead and play around with it — it doesn’t cost much. But I defy you to do serious brand management in 140-character messages. I defy you to prove that Twitter users are your typical customer — unless you sell bubble tea or something similar — or that their tweets are a true reflection of their relationship with your company.”

“Let’s face it — Twitter is a fad. It has all the attributes of a fad, including the one that people like me don’t get its appeal. It has risen quickly and it will fall quickly. It’s this year’s Second Life — which, you may have noticed, nobody is talking much about anymore.”

And then of course, there’s the problem of monetizing Twitter–something no one has figured out how to do with the possible exception of NBA Commissioner David Stern, who fined Mark Cuban $25,000 for sending tweets critical of the officiating during a game.

There are those who disagree with Davenport, however. John Sviolaka argues in favor of the 140-character-at-a-time marketing platform in “Twitter: A Marketer’s Duct Tape,” also in the Harvard Business Review. 

“While some people only follow a few dozen compatriots, Guy Kawasaki follows over 100,000 people and has almost 100,000 followers, as well as creating (with some help) over 28,000 tweets. As a pundit, Guy is using Twitter to build an ongoing audience. By way of comparison, the Boston Globe has a circulation in 2008 of about 350,000–which is falling at a rate of 8-9% per year.”

“But Twitter can do so much more. …the range of applications is spectacular, from providing truly instant online commentary for any off-line event, to the visualization of Super Bowl tweets developed by the New York Times, to Pepsi’s integration of Twitter with geographic information at the spectacularly popular South by Southwest Festival, to Whole Foods tweeting recipes. Almost every major media outlet is tweeting, the Apple App store has over 100 Twitter applications, and there are over 100 other free tools that have already bubbled up.”

Ultimately, I think Twitter will prove more useful than Second Life–not that that’s particularly difficult–but I suspect it will be one of many minor tools on the fringe of the marketing arsenal. I’m not sure there’s going to be a “next big thing” in marketing. Instead there may be dozens of little things. The interactive space will continue to fracture into smaller and smaller parts, and as it does, the complexity of the challenge facing marketers will increase geometrically. Just because it’s not comforting doesn’t mean it’s not likely.


April 20, 2009 at 1:38 pm 1 comment

Subservient Chicken, Mark Cuban and one of the world’s most provocative words: “Boring”

Today is the 5th anniversary of Subservient Chicken, one of the most important pieces ever created by our industry. Rick Webb has written a very good post on the Barbarian Group’s blog about the site that should be of interest to everyone who cares even a little about the history of the interactive space. Towards the end of it, he quotes at some length an article I wrote about Subservient Chicken for Adweek several years ago. I’m glad Mr. Webb thinks I said some things that were worthwhile, though it should be noted that when the article was originally published, it prompted a rather lengthy and grumpy response (in a letter to Adweek) from Webb’s boss, Benjamin Palmer, who took exception to the phrase, “Subservient Chicken is boring.” 

Oh, and if you’d like to read my original article in its entirety, you can find it here.

Speaking of boring, Mark Cuban thinks the internet has become boring. His point is that it has matured and become another ordinary service rather than a driving force in our economy. His points merit some consideration, and you can read them here. That being said, I think some of the most interesting work being done in the online space today by agencies has nothing to do with ads. Think of RGA’s Nike+, where the site is actually an extension of the shoe rather than an ad. More and more, we’re going to be called on to produce things that are useful (sometimes actual products) rather than evanescent bits of marketing that merely catch the consumer’s eye for a couple of seconds. I, for one, do not view this development with any misgivings.

April 8, 2009 at 12:26 am Leave a comment

The television re-stakes its claim as the most important electronic device in the home.

Samsung has introduced a new television with an integrated Yahoo widget engine that will enable people to access the web while they watch TV. Similar products from Sony, LG Electronics and Vizio are on the way. It’s a great idea and one that Mark Cuban predicted would take the marketplace by storm quite some time ago.

Of course, the big losers in this could be computer manufacturers. It’s too early to say for certain, but a 52-inch HD screen that can access any kind of content you want–whether it’s live TV, video on demand, web sites or games–at any time is pretty stiff competition. Check out the full story from the Wall Street Journal Online here.

March 27, 2009 at 2:09 pm Leave a comment

Mark Cuban wants to fund your business idea. Really.

A lot of people don’t like billionaire Mark Cuban–founder of, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, unabashed competitor on Dancing with the Stars–but you have to admit he’s not boring. Take a look at his latest idea, the Mark Cuban Stimulus Plan–Open Source Funding. Basically, it boils down to this: He will invest money in business ideas (if he likes them) that people present for all to see (and use with no strings attached) in the comments section on his blog, blog maverick. There are a few conditions, of course, among them that the business must have break-even cash flow in 60 days and it cannot be a business model based on advertising revenue. 

So why is Cuban doing this? Basically, he wants to use technology to spread great ideas  that actually create value to stimulate the economy. Will this plan by itself make much of a dent in our economic morass? Probably not (though one must grant that it is theoretically possible Cuban could wind up funding the next great idea in the history of capitalism). Even so, what I love about this the way it leverages the interactive space to release a tremendous amount of creative energy into the marketplace. More companies should be following his lead to lift themselves out of the doldrums. 

In the future we’re going to see far more than consumer-generated advertising, we’re going to see consumer product, operations and strategy development. It might be a good idea for Detroit to start yesterday.

February 17, 2009 at 1:34 am Leave a comment


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