Veteran marketer and
entrepreneur Chris Jacobs joins London, Ink
Potomac, MD – September, 2009, London, Ink, a marketing and
communications consulting and services firm headquartered outside of Washington, DC, announced the
addition of Christina Jacobs to its team of marketing consultants and project
managers to meet the demands of the company’s growing client base.
Jacobs, whose background includes marketing management
posts at Nextel, MCI and CoStar Group and AMS, is also
co-founder of Girls in the Know, the popular and fast-growing online service
that provides subscribers with exclusive offers from premier spas, salons,
restaurants, designers and events.
“Chris has been a great addition to the London, Ink team,” said London, Ink founder and President Bob London.“Not
many people combine such deep practical marketing experience and expertise with
an entrepreneur’s sense of innovation and resourcefulness.”
Jacobs provides on-demand marketing consulting, project
management and implementation for a range of London, Ink clients—which supports the company’s lean,
on-demand business model and enables clients to receive top-notch,
cost-effective marketing support.
“Working with London, Ink
gives me a combination of an interesting and engaging work experience with a
high degree of flexibility, schedule-wise,” said Jacobs.“It’s clear that the on-demand model works for clients as well to
help them focus their budgets on the right priorities.”
“London, Ink is already
known for pioneering the ‘Virtual VP of Marketing’ concept which provides
experienced project-based resources on-demand for organizations that need an
injection of strategic marketing horsepower,” continued Bob London.“Having more consultants like Chris means that London, Ink can serve a broader range of client needs with various
levels, areas of specialization and price points.”
About London, Ink
London, Ink (http://www.londonink.com) is a marketing
and communications consulting firm that helps early-stage and established
organizations define and prioritize their products, services and marketing
initiatives based on what the market needs–or doesn’t need.
In pioneering the Virtual VP of Marketing concept, London,
Ink president and founder Bob London works with companies who aren’t ready
for the cost and commitment of a full-time marketing executive to assess their
market opportunity, determine the strategic options and develop a practical
go-to-market plan, including market awareness, customer acquisition and
retention, prospect “nurture” campaigns and targeted education programs.
Bob London has successfully managed marketing initiatives
with annual budgets ranging from the $150 million network television launch of
MCI Friends & Family (back when network tv really meant something) to under
$25,000.His work and writing has been profiled or covered by the
Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Miami Herald, USA Today and
Marketing News (the AMA’s flagship magazine).Bob recently
spoke at the nationwide Unintentional Entrepreneur series.
There are still some tickets available to hear Wired
mag’s Chris Anderson, Sen. Mark Warner (& yours truly) next
week…at the big GrowSmartBiz conference in Washington, DC on
Based on the preparations for the event, including the conference calls to
prep for our panel discussion on small business marketing and innovation, I can
tell this is going to be a top flight event with practical tips and tools for
business owners and others.
To register at the special rate of $99, please go to
http://bit.ly/hK1IC and register using the code
This week another one of my ideas came to life in the form of Wedding Futures
(http://www.weddingfutures.com), a site that “enables couples to quickly
and easily select and register for stocks and mutual funds as wedding
I love the idea and want to state that I’m not claiming that I was the
first to have it–or that someone beat me to it. But in the course of
pursuing my hobby of humor writing, one of my jokes (in the form of liner notes
made over the years that could some day turn into essays) was about couples
being able to register for a CD at SunTrust or to have wedding guests make a
payment towards the couple’s cable bill.
This is not the first time that one of my humorous, improv-type or
’stranger than fiction’ concepts has turned into reality.
I’ve written about black box recording devices for automobile (since
announced in NYC taxis) and professional sports franchises allowing sponsors to
name the teams (subsequently a soccer team was christened the New York Red
The point is that buried amidst the out of the box, mix and match, sometimes
obtuse thinking are genuinely valuable ideas. I’m not one for typical
brainstorming sessions, but would venture to say that taking a humorous or
even exaggerated view of a problem could result in a viable solution.
Bob London is president of London,
Ink, a Washington-DC-based marketing and communications consulting firm and
writes business-related humor on the side at B0b-servations.com
Virginia Senator Mark R. Warner Will Speak at the GrowSmartBiz
Network Solutions® is pleased to announce Virginia Senator Mark R. Warner as
the special keynote for the GrowSmartBiz Conference.
Senator Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2008, and
serves on the Senate’s Banking, Budget, Commerce and Rules committees. He
served as Governor of Virginia from 2002-2006 after spending 20 years as a
business leader in the high-tech industry. He also is the co-founder of
telecommunications firm Nextel Communications, now known as Sprint Nextel (NYSE:
“Senator Warner has been a well-known leader in the high-tech industry for
more than 20 years,” said Melina Formisano, vice president of marketing at
Network Solutions. “He will provide GrowSmartBiz Conference attendees with a
unique perspective due to his vast experiences.”
By Barg Upender, CEO of Mobomo and Bob London, President of London, InkIt’s been more than four
decades since Michigan State University Professor E. Jerome McCarthy theorized
that marketing contains four basic elements: product, price, place
(distribution) and promotion, also known as the “Four Ps of
Marketing” or the marketing mix.
Amazingly, despite the unprecedented upheaval and transformation in marketing
strategies, techniques, channels and tactics during the last forty years-not to
mention marketers’ penchant for postulating all manner of new
philosophies, methodologies, rules and acronyms–the Four Ps of Marketing
have remained unchanged.
But perhaps now there is good reason to revisit and refresh marketing’s
Four Ps: the emergence of “applications” or “apps” as a
new means for organizations to acquire, retain or otherwise engage customers and
What are “Apps”?
An app is a small, self-contained computer program that provides value or
engagement to a mass or targeted audience in a community, marketplace or
platform. Think of Scrabulous for Facebook; WeatherBug for the iPhone;
NBC’s Saturday Night Live widgets; or the Wall Street Journal’s
reader for the Blackberry. Apps are commonly grouped via their method of
distribution and/or platform:
Mobile apps: Designed to leverage the unique characteristics of mobile
audiences and smartphones, such as the need for location-based information
or lightweight, portable versions of larger, more complex services such as
Community- or platform-based apps: Those that are developed exclusively
for and can only be used on a particular site such as Facebook; and
Widgets: Portable apps that can reside on multiple third party sites
The App explosion
The proliferation in the use of apps by large and small businesses, as well
as non-profit and government organizations is well-documented. Apps have been
developed by brands of all stripes as standalone marketing tools or to target
fast-growing, communities such as Facebook (350,000 apps used by more than 70%
of Facebook’s 250 million users1) or the iPhone (65,000 apps
available; 1 billion downloads in first 9 months2).
And due to their ability to achieve low-cost global or
geographically-targeted distribution; their relatively inexpensive development;
and rapid time to market-as well as their virtually unlimited potential for
creating unique and valuable user experiences-apps have only begin to reach
their potential as a new category of marketing tool.
Let’s examine the explosion of one type of app: mobile. The
transformation of the mobile web landscape is reminiscent of the original
trajectory of the World Wide Web. Very quickly, the consensus shifted from
“Why does my company need a Web site?” to “Why don’t we
have a Web site yet?” That shift was caused by the reduced cost of
developing sites, their practical and proven use in engaging customers, the
increase in available bandwidth; and technological advances that helped
organizations deliver more useful and relevant user experiences.
The same phenomenon is occurring today with mobile apps: A recent New
York Times article reports that nearly half (48 percent) of phone users
shop for apps more than once a week and about the same number (49 percent)
report using apps on their phone for more than 30 minutes a day; the cost of
developing mobile apps has dropped dramatically; and technological improvements
are enabling more speed and a better user experience.
How do “apps” relate to Marketing’s Four Ps?
Apps can deliver some portion of the product experience;
promote the brand; place themselves wherever
customers are; and/or be priced to stimulate trial or
engagement. But while “apps” combine elements of each of the Four
Ps, they’re neither fish nor fowl–they don’t neatly fit into
any one category.
In other words, apps are not products, promotions, channels or pricing
strategies. But an app can have some or all of these elements. Apps
are…well, they’re apps. Simply put, apps have become a box you
check in your marketing plan, right next to the other Four Ps. It’s hard
to imagine a new brand launch, Hollywood film, ad campaign or even a fundraising
push occurring without the question being asked, “Should we develop a
mobile or Facebook app for this?”
Barg is the CEO & co-founder of Mobomo, a leading mobile application development company
focused on developing applications for smart phones in the consumer and
enterprise markets. Mobomo has deep expertise in Apple iPhone, Google Andoroid,
Palm Pre, RIM Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and Symbian OS. Barg is a serial
entrepreneur and technologist with 20 years of experience in commercial software
product development. Barg was founding partner of web development firm Intridea
and he founded and sold Concentric Methods, a biomedical software development
company. In 2009 Barg was named by Washingtonian Magazine to its list of
Washington, DC’s Top 100 Tech Titans.
Bob London, President of
Bob London is president and founder of London, Ink, a marketing and
communications consulting firm that helps organizations define and prioritize
their products and services based on what the market wants - or doesn’t
want - to buy. In pioneering the Virtual VP of Marketing concept, Bob works with
established and early-stage companies who aren’t ready for the cost and
commitment of a full-time marketing executive to assess their market
opportunity, determine the strategic options and develop a practical
go-to-market plan. Bob’s work and writing has been profiled or covered
by the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Miami
Herald, USA Today and Marketing News, the AMA’s
flagship magazine, and he recently spoke at Network Solutions’
Unintentional Entrepreneur series. For more information, please visit www.londonink.com.
I’m amazed and disappointed at the breathless coverage and even more
misguided buzz/spread regarding Charlene Li’s recent report correlating
big brands’ “social engagement” with “financial
results.” I am not a research guru but here is my take from the
perspective of a business owner and consumer of business media and social
At the heart of the issue is that so many readers/bloggers, eager to find
proof that social media strategies have an actual return on investment (ROI),
have circulated, shared, posted, tweeted about the study as though it proves a
causal effect between more engagement and improved financial results. It does
But I can understand why people read (or scanned) the report this way,
because while Ms. Li did include the disclaimer that there is no causal
relationship between more engagement and improved financial results, she
certainly positioned that point as an afterthought or aside. Taken as a whole,
the entire report is written and packaged in a way that I find very
The report states there is no causal relationship; you just have to read it
The word “causal” appears only three times throughout the
original material, and in each case it is used as a disclaimer to indicate that
there is not a causal relationship, meaning that more engagement
leads to improved financial results.
Note that we are not claiming a causal
On page 7:
While these findings do not necessarily imply a causal
And on page 15:
While (Senior VP of SAP Community Network Mark) Yolton can’t
yet prove a measurable causal relationship between customer engagement and the
company’s financial performance…
There is some major conclusion jumping going on here.
But looking at context of each excerpt above, Ms. Li jumps to a pretty big
conclusion by saying there is a correlationship (ok, I’ll agree that there
might be one), but that–and here’s where I take issue–what
that correlationship is about.
Ms. Li’s correlationship examples:
Note that we are not claiming a causal
relationship (rest of excerpt) but there is clearly a correlation and
connection. For example, a company mindset that allows a company to be broadly
engage with customers on the whole probably performs better because the company
is more focused on companies than the competition.
While these findings do not necessarily imply a causal relationship,
(rest of excerpt) they still hold powerful implications. Social
media engagement and financial success work together to perpetuate a healthy
business cycle: a customer oriented mindset stemming from deep social
interaction allows a company to identify and meet customer needs in the
marketplace, generating superior profits.
(rest of excerpt) One of the newest channels SAP is using is
Twitter.com/saplistens, a channel where SAP invites consumers to “Talk with
us. We want to learn.” (Senior VP of SAP Community Network Mark) Yolton
emphasized that this reflects the overall culture of the company, one that
values the ability to listen well. While Yolton can’t yet prove a
measurable causal relationship between customer engagement and the company’s
financial performance, (rest of excerpt) he believes there is a correlation.
“It’s more like branding— our activities reflect an attitude of the
company that is more engaged, a company that values the opinions and viewpoints
of the many different voices of customers and suppliers.
This is a surprisingly incomplete consideration of all possible reasons
behind any such correlation. Ms. Li is way to quick to focus exclusively on
highly speculative point: engagement indicates customer focus; customer focus is
a characteristic of successful companies. A good research report will examine
as many such points as possible and make the case for the one they believe is
Many other possible correlations/causes not examined in the report.
But there are many other reasons behind such a correlation. Here are just a
Financially successful companies have more profits with which to experiment
with social media investments.
Because they are financially successful, these companies have the management
latitude (i.e. permission) to make these experimental investments.
Financially successful companies are more confident about their better
balance sheets and income statements and, therefore, more confident putting
themselves out into the social media for reactions/response.
As pointed out by Ben Kunzin a comment on the Altimeter site,
“9 of the 11 companies mentioned as mavens are technology-driven
companies, prone to engaging with customers online. To use them as exemplary
case studies may bias the findings.”
There are many other possible types of correlationships, but the point is
that when you’re a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. The source
of such a report and those who propagate its findings across the web need to be
taken into account as they have reasons to believe the correlation between more
social engagement and improved financial success.
Bob London, president of London, Ink, serves as a Virtual VP of Marketing
for organizations that need hands-on, interim leadership in marketing strategy,
planning and execution. London, Ink is a full-service, on-demand marketing and
communications consulting firm based in the Washington, DC metro area, that
develops and implements marketing and communications programs for mid-size and
growing businesses and non-profit organizations. For more on London, Ink
please visit www.londonink.com or
contact Bob London at 240 994 7644 or email@example.com.
Later this week, I’m reprising my highly
rated (by the audience) presentation, originally given at this summer’s National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU)
Strategic Growth conference.
The topic is social marketing but not from a “slam dunk,”
“gotta have it,” “full speed ahead, damn the business
case,” perspective. Rather the presentation examines whether there is
any “there” there yet regarding revenue (specifically for credit
unions, member acquisition, retention and non-account revenue).
Here’s the abstract from the NAFCU Annual Conference site, and I will
post the presentation on SlideShare in the next couple weeks.
Social Marketing is Free so it
Must be Worthwhile… Right? Well maybe, but BEWARE— don’t be
drawn in by the ‘coolness’ of using Facebook, Twitter and
interactive applications to market your credit union without some
investigation. Before you launch a social media campaign that you’re
sure will “go viral,” don’t forget these three simple letters:
R.O.I. Even though setting up a Facebook or Twitter account, or even a blog,
is free, there are hidden costs in terms of time, resources and budget. This
presentation will explore how credit unions and other organizations are using
social media and other Web 2.0 tools and to what degree they are successful.
Presented by Bob London, President and Founder of London, Ink,
Good “mainstream” insight into using Twitter for
business purposes. For about two years people were saying “I don’t
get it,” or “seems like a waste of time.” Now the enterprising
organizations are starting to figure it out.
Also, as someone who helps companies find the return on investment of social
networking for marketing, I have a lot of respect for what Shashi Bellamkonda is
doing for NetSol and the business community at large.
Firms Take to The Tweetable Business Model
By Kim Hart
Monday, March 9, 2009; Page D01
The Twitterverse is expanding.
Twitter, that microblogging tool that caught on with teens and
twentysomethings using it to tell loyal followers what they’re doing at
any given time — in 140 characters or less — is now becoming part of
the business strategy for a wide range of brands, from Skittles to
Read full article at