As a regular contributor to Target Marketing, I thought I would use my last post of 2018 to take stock of the marketing posts I did through out the year. Being data-driven, I began by looking at the data to find the most-read posts.
A clear lesson for me is that the wonkier my post, the less popular. (I know! I am surprised as you. I have so much technical and boring perspective to give!)
Nevertheless, below are two posts that the wisdom of the market indicated were my better contributions to the marketing world. I also added my closing thoughts for the year for both posts. Lastly, I also include my personal-favorite post, which I file under the “business fiction” category — for the benefit of the Pulitzer Prize Board.
Data and the Decline of Sears
My top post for 2018 discusses how the downfall of Sears was not about its refusal to adopt new technology and embrace data. In fact, since 2005, Sears strongly embraced a data-driven culture.
Rather, the problem was that Sears’ leadership did not show visionary boldness, and focused its data-driven energies on mostly tactical wins.
I would like to emphasize that data-driven thinking was not the downfall of Sears. In fact, it yielded great results where applied. Rather, it was the narrow-minded application of data-driven thinking that resulted in the downfall. This is an important lesson for those who believe that transforming into a data-driven culture is an inoculation from obsolescence.
Marketing Strategy: Nike’s #JustDoIt Campaign and Kaepernick
The second-most popular post hypothesized what the long run game plan was behind Nike’s campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick. There were three hypotheses.
- First, that Nike is simply focused on the issue of racial justice and not looking to weigh in on all of politics.
- Second, that Nike is trying to drive dialog by alternating between liberal and conservative talking points, and the Kaepernick ads were the starting point.
- Finally, that Nike is actively seeking to become a brand associated with left-leaning politics.
It is the last hypothesis that worried me the most. Not because of my political beliefs. Rather, I think it is bad for the country if companies also join the hyper-polarized state of American politics.
To my personal relief, it seems since then that Nike is focused on the specific issue of race. Their follow-up campaign, featuring professional soccer player Raheem Sterling, addresses the need to speak out against racism — even if it isn’t easy to do so.
Looking at 2019 and beyond, I think Nike has wisely positioned itself on the right side of history.
‘Nobody’ Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen
My personal favorite post, which came in sixth, is a fun read. It features a dialog with a fictional consultant named “Nobody.” It distills, through dialog, a reoccurring theme in most of my posts. Data and analytics cannot replace managerial courage.
To 2019 and Beyond!
If there is a prediction for 2019 I would like to make, it is that we will begin (just begin) to see data and analytics become accepted as valuable tools and not a replacement for decisive action.
For a concrete example of this, I would refer the reader to my top post of the year regarding Sears.
Best wishes to all for a happy and prosperous 2019!