Category Archives: General Discussion

General discussion regarding marketing and advertising.

Podcasters & Patent Trolls: Take Critical Action

Patent Troll
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What is a Patent Troll?

A bit of an unusual post today, but one I needed to write. We’ve all heard the term patent troll, and often hear of the legal headaches that come from them. What they really do is acquire very broad patents and then go after whoever they can legally and threaten lawsuits. Once targeted by a troll, a large majority of those sued, end up settling and paying a fee or licensing fee rather than going through the hurdles and extra expense of a legal battle. When you are sued by a patent troll, the burden of proof is on you and minimal fees are usually at least $2MM. Ouch.

Patent Trolls Target Podcasts

Adam Carolla, Patent TrollI was listening to one of my favorite podcasts this morning and became aware that there is a patent troll going after podcasters. The company Personal Audio LLC has already won high profile cases against Apple (awarded $8MM) has entered licensing agreements with Sirius XM Radio, Samsung, Amazon, and Motorola and others after lawsuits. Now they have acquired a new patent and have started targeting high-profile podcasters like Adam Carolla and the howstuffworks series.If they are successful, it puts all podcasters, large and small at risk and could see us paying licensing fees or worse for our own podcasts.

What can you do?

Please go to and contact your local representatives about supporting the Shield Act. The Shield Act would require patent trolls to pay all legal fees for the parties they sue should they lose the case. It’s not ideal, but it is good step in the right direction.

If you are a podcaster or if you are a fan of podcasting, I encourage you to act today.

Thanks all!

Bonus: here is a great TED talk from Drew Curtis of, who successfully won a battle against a patent troll.

Connect with Kat on Google +LinkedIn or Twitter.

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Brand Fast-Trackers #193 – Gordon Gekko is Dead

Gordan Gekko
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Today’s guest is Peter Shankman, perhaps most well-known for founding HARO (Help a Reporter Out), which he then sold to Vocus. Peter has a new book coming out in April called Nice Companies Finish First: Why Cutthroat Management Is Over–and Collaboration Is In

In a lot of ways, the theme of Peter’s book is something we have discussed many times on this show. The episode we did with Havas Global CEO David Jones comes to mind when we discussed his book, Who Cares Wins. This was also echoed when we spoke with Edelman’s Carol Cone. The era of Gordon Gekko is over.

Peter’s key takeaway? People, your customers, want to do business with nice companies, and that translates to how companies treat the environment and how they treat their employees. Customers are taking a stand and will support nice companies over less responsible ones. The last numbers on this I read were in the Edelman Good Purpose study and almost 80% of customers will choose the more responsible or cause-focused brand over one that is not that way. The best part is that these companies are discovering that ‘being nice’ and ‘being responsible’ grows their bottom line. Seems like a win-win to me.

Of course, according to Shankman, there’s one more bonus to this behavior. He shares:

“Companies, screw up, they screw up all the time. It’s not a question of if your company will screw up, it’s a matter of when. So what you want is to have a good attitude and to be a good company with good stewardship and good management that takes responsibility for your actions all the time so that when you do screw up, your customers do come back to you and they are not running away in fear. They say, ‘you know what? everyone screws up and we are willing to give them another chance’ as opposed to the company who is go, go, go, kill, kill, kill. The one time they do screw up, they don’t really have that bag of saving grace.”

Peter goes on to share many more specific tips to brands and brand manager with recent real world examples. He also offers his thoughts on entrepreneurship and reveals the thing that drove him to start his own business. Tune in below, on iTunes or check us out on Stitcher.

Connect with Kat on Google +LinkedIn or Twitter.

[Lead Image via The Inquisitor]

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Brand Fast-Trackers #192 – Branding an Ingredient

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Woohoo the theme is now live!! I am beyond thrilled and hope you will stand by a wee bit longer as we perfect any kinks. :-) And of course, as always, I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Branding an Ingredient

Marketing Silos

On to today’s podcast….we are returning to our series with Chris Brace  (See Episodes 140141144147149155, 159), and despite the numerous episodes we have done with him, something new clicked for me and made me pull out my copy of Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston‘s fantastic Marketing in the Round. We spoken a lot about consumers and shoppers and we have spoken about integrated marketing, but what I never quite hit on was that marketers must put the needs of these two together. As Chris put it:

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Brand Fast-Trackers #191 – Marketing is a Joke

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Today, I’m thrilled to discuss our recent interview with Joseph Jaffe, someone I read via his regular MediaPost column and listen to regularly whether on his own podcast Across the Sound, Bob Knorpp’s The Bean Cast or Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation. Joseph is a matchmaker who pairs big brands with new start-ups because he believes (and I agree) that both have something to offer each other. Learn more at Evol8tion.

Two things really hit home for me in listening to Joseph speak. The first is that the marketing department, led by the CMO, has fairly limited power within most major brands. And this despite those $4 Million per spot Super Bowl ads. As Joseph puts it:

Today, marketing is a joke. Today, the chief marketing officer, we all know the stats, tenure of less than two years. They own nothing anymore, except for promotions and advertising. They don’t own distribution. They don’t own pricing. They don’t own R&D. They don’t own a lot of the things that even pertain to the four P’s.

In a way this was not surprising and yet hearing that the four pillars we can all recite in our sleep – priceproduct,promotion, and place - are to a certain extent out of our power is extremely disheartening. So how can we overcome this? Especially since marketing is changing so rapidly. Perhaps it is, as Joseph puts it, the blending of IT and Marketing. I’ve certainly read a lot about the coming of the CMTO and it makes a lot of sense. Joseph speaks about it this way:

I was discussing with someone today, this prediction from IBM that marketing will spend more on IT, or technology, than the IT department will. I said to them, ‘Yeah. That’s true, but the real question is will the IT people figure out marketing before the marketing people figure out IT?’ If they do, there will be more marketing.

I think the real key to this podcast and Joseph’s prescription to fix marketing is for technology and marketing (Silicon Valley & Madison Avenue) coming together in innovative partnerships. This kind of creative collaboration will eventually not only change how marketing is perceived, but also change how effective it can be. This certainly echoes what we heard from R/GA Chief Creative Nick Law.

What do you think? Is a match between Silicon Valley and Madison Avenue the perfect match?

Connect with Kat on Google +LinkedIn or Twitter.

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Brand Fast-Trackers #190 – The Shopper Journey

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Today, we return to our shopper marketing series with Chris Brace. (See Episodes 140, 141, 144, 147, 149, 155) Marketing is traditionally viewed as transactional. It is all about guiding the shopper to the transaction, the purchase. When P&G introduced their path-to-purchase model (above), it was revolutionary. It is also very linear or transaction-based. But as Chris shares, the idea of the path-to-purchase is being redefined. We have certainly discussed just how critical it is to understand the journey your shopper takes when buying your product. Their path is certainly not linear.

What would happen if we refined how we look at marketing? What would happen if we made it about the relationship we form with consumers?

Chris challenges marketers to stop building brand plans where the consumer and shopper aspects are siloed. Marketing then, is about building relationships that we can then leverage to sell products and services. The path becomes the shopper journey and looks more like this. If marketers embrace this model, the result is more selling, says Brace.

“We need to be better at building this relationship.” 

Until marketers really understand and embrace the shopper journey – the non-linear journey your shopper takes, digitally and non-digitally, that drives them to buy from your brand whether they are in-home, in-transit or in-store, we are missing sales.

Connect with Kat on Google +, LinkedIn or Twitter.

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