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Concluding Findings & Limitations with Apple

Apple, Inc. is perhaps one of the most monolithic companies in the world when it comes to organizational objectives, but not in the way that you may think. There are no committees at Apple. None. Steve Jobs described their organization in 2014 as set up like a startup. (dfraggd, 2014) Each product has a leader that drives everything about that product. They then all come back together to show where they are progress-wise, and separate back out to continue their work.

Source – dfraggd. (2014). Steve Jobs – Organizational Structure [YouTube Video]. In YouTube.

As a result of this structure, multiple groups within Apple reach out to clients to determine satisfaction with existing products, needs on new products, and to overall keep the “Cult of Mac” going from a customer perspective (Kahney, 2006). Apple identifies closely with it’s users, and is unapologetic to those who don’t get it. As a result, when conducting research surveys, whether online or in-store, respondents give thoughtful answers which help the market research tasks.

As for organization objectives, Apple reports that when it comes to business customers, and what Apple wants to provide… “Apple hardware, software, and services work together to deliver a seamless experience that just works.” (Business, 2011) This tracks perfectly with the Apple iGlasses which will provide an immersive, Augmented Reality (AR) for everyday business use case that will complement all other Apple products that someone uses in their daily lives.

Currently, failure in market testing would pose a change to the market research findings – not changing the voracity of the testing, but how it is being achieved in this specific product. Should things change, the product focus of iGlasses as currently presented will be challenged and may take a new form. Nothing from an overall organizational perspective would change the focus on the present findings, however.
Our market research has focused on primary and secondary sources, showing a need and demand in the AR space for business, with Apple proving to be a trusted provider in the business technology wearable space that fits the opportunity. Surveys conducted tie users of social media to those who would value being able to reduce screen time on a phone while maintaining visual intelligence about the world around them that AR provides.

At all times when test marketing the iGlasses product, and thereafter, special attention is being paid to legal, ethical and industry standards regarding the ethical challenges that always on AR can lead to. Whether video capture permissions and privacy, or ethical considerations of tracking individuals who are wearing the glasses, or tracking those who are identified by the glasses as being in the area by utilizing matrix facial recognition, privacy and health of users and anyone that may be affected by unintended consequences. Users will be frequently polled to ensure any potential medical or emotional issues which may involve use of the glasses are quickly identified. As it currently stands, our marketing test will include access to a legal/medical “telemedicine” facetime hotline that will allow users to immediately contact apple should any issues arise during the test period.
Our current test is limited in that all possible social media and databases (such as LinkedIn for facial recognition and ratings systems for local establishments) may not be ready at the time of launch. Social Media developers have been recruited from across the landscape, but new platforms arise every day, and incorporating meaningful use of those platforms, in context with the glasses, will take some time – probably longer than the test marketing period. To rectify this, the Apple iGlasses will have an open API distributed to developers. However, crucial cyber-security components have bee incorporated in the iGlasses Operating System to prevent hackers from exploiting that open API in oder to gain control over Apple iGlasses.


dfraggd. (2014). Steve Jobs – Organizational Structure [YouTube Video]. In YouTube.

Kahney, L. (2006). The cult of Mac. San Francisco: No Starch Press.

Business. (2011). Apple.

Marketing Research Brief Blog MKT337

I’ve chosen to create a Marketing Research Brief based on Apple Corporation and something I will call iGlasses.

I’ve chosen Apple as they are the singular leader in the smartphone marketing arena, with a commanding portion of the 5.83 Billion device SmartPhone market (according to Gartner) and their trends lead the imagination of the billions of raving fans of their products. This client loyalty is sparked by their exceptional design, interoperability within their platform, innovative interfaces and the enduring feeling that you are part of a bigger community when you have an apple product. Additionally, there is a wide wealth of published and unpublished information within the company that would greatly inform our efforts when conducting Market Research, according to my current sources in Apple Corporation’s R&D group.

Specifically the information that we know Apple possesses is significant data about the Augmented Reality space, Voice Command navigation and Haptix. These areas would provide important groundwork to the marketing research team in a literature review.

Several techniques will be used to conduct the iGlasses Marketing Research plan, which will be detailed in the brief. Principally, we will be using on-line surveys, in-person surveys of existing Apple product users, interviews with futurists in the AI industry, Cyber-security, MarTech and the financial services markets. Sampling for surveys will come across demographics and global locations. In-person questionnaires will focus on industry experts, visionaries and AI industry experts.

IGlasses will provide users with an immersive experience, with multiple app-windows, similar to a typical iPhone, visible on the internal retina projection in both eyes. Forward looking cameras built in to the nose bridge will provide context and correction to users, such as face-mapping and matching to social media databases-I.e. LinkedIn, as well as vision correction for any user to possess better than 20/20 sight. Imagine having a zoomed in view projected directly into your eyes, taking into account any normal lens correction. Haptix will also provide sensory feedback in the form of vibration, simliar to an iphone. But imagine using iGlasses when driving long distances, and having them vibrate to ensure you stay awake during sleepy trips!

Ethical considerations will need to be examined. Potential privacy and even HIPPA concerns should follow the same concerns of any iPhone type of product. In reality, with Apple’s built-in Web AR toolkit which allows for simple integration of Augmented Reality into even a printed sign when viewed through the iPhone camera and web-browser, these iGlasses really won’t do anything an iPhone can’t already do – it will just be more discreet.

Currently, I see no market limitations to the product, nor have I come across engineering challenges that can not be dealt with. Simply put, it is now a question of What If? for industry experts and average users alike to tell us what this could mean for them, and the implications for the future.

Influencers & the Decline of Western Civilization


Ok. Perhaps the title and imagery is a bit dramatic, but it sums up my view of paid influencers as it relates to the CMOs desire and need to control messaging. A recent viewing of the 60 Minutes segment called “The Influencers” (© 2016 CBS Interactive Inc) lays bare the new trend which is earning some at the top of their Influencer game, millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars (such as Kim Kardashian).

Kim Kardashian doesn’t even have a talent, other than self-promotion. I mean she certainly has some attributes that caught the attention of many, but her talent is the fact that she can instruct others, at scale, in what to do, how to do it, and most importantly, with what product.

Logan Paul, on the other hand, has blended comedy, mockumentaries, provocative statements throughout social media, and now ad videos that now include, according to the 60 minute interview, his own direction and creative for a major international Donut company! Most recently, Logan Paul took on Heavyweight legend Floyd Mayweather in an exhibition bout that earned him a $250,000 base take and up to $20,000,000 in residuals from PPV.

The strategies of using a product in a direct or indirect manner throughout their social footprint has earned Influencers a second look by the Federal Trade Commission. Just as with any other advertising, professional influencers are bound by disclosure requirements – stating that they are being paid for the endorsement, according the the 60 minutes interview.

So social influencers, who earn Billions of followers by the way, are a great way for business to set a ground game in action. This is true “grass roots” advertising. Everything, it appears, is up for endorsement by these people. Whether influencer fatigue will set in one day is not even being discussed, yet!

So why do I have the dystopian view of Influencers, and why western civilization declines with their use? Simple, accountability! Who is controlling the brand look and feel, the messaging – keeping things “on-message”? Have we as marketers suddenly given up on all of that? Is there no longer an interest in Brand Guides and Creative Briefs?

Paid influencers give companies an arms length relationship with their consumers. Since the videos, posts and tweets normally go through no QC or legal review, companies get away with the exaggerations that they could never benefit from through normal advertising/marketing interaction. It’s the Wild Wild West and the FTC is just catching up.

Now with all of this said, I think there is a different level of influencer that is far more useful and presents less of a direct threat to the integrity of a company – Earned Media Micro-Influencers. These are people who are not paid for their endorsement of products, but their reach to their personal social networks gives companies great exposure through what we call UGC or User Generated Content. UGC can then be repurposed for national reshares by the brand if a review of the message complies with the marketing strategy. The Micro-Influencer gains by earning national notoriety and presence, which in turn gives them a better chance at paid media engagements, or just to be more “popular’ in the social media realm.

So influencers, the capitalist in me is incredibly jealous that I didn’t get to capitalize on this trend! But the marketer in me is waiting for the other shoe to drop, when marketers find themselves in so much trouble for this crazy free for all due to class action suits, wrongful death suits, etc, that they will be forced to change the rules and truly treat paid Influencers just as any other celebrity endorsement, complete with ethics and morals clauses, content reviews, legal reviews, etc. For my money (and really none is needed – that’s the best part), I would much rather use the genuine UGC that can support a brand and message.

Full disclosure, I follow no Influencers! I do follow great speakers and though leaders, but they aren’t selling me things – for example Simon Sinek. I follow him on LinkedIn, but he’s never tried to sell me running shoes or zit cream.

“The Whirlpool Effect” – How one company took a boring segment and created engaged customers

Whirlpool Corporation had a problem. They have great products in a boring consumer products segment. According to the Shorty Awards who rated Whirlpool’s strategy as Best Social Media Tool, “In the past, the only reason people had to engage with Whirlpool was when they had a product complaint. Whirlpool wanted to change the conversation and give consumers a reason and interest to engage with the brand beyond the product.” (#EveryDayCare – Whirlpool, DigitasLBi and Crowdtap – The Shorty Awards, 2012)

Whirlpool focused their efforts around engaging consumers by the soliciting, amplifying and promoting of those stories where everyday appliances played a role in a bigger positive story. Stories about how the simple tasks of cooking, cleaning or doing laundry could impact people’s lives, along with their schools, communities and families. Other content is around the impact of missing out on school because a child doesn’t have clean clothes to wear, and how Whirlpool helps take that challenge head on. Finally there are also constructive recipes and ideas geared to introducing important household chores to children in a fun and positive way. (Every Day, Care® by Whirlpool, 2019)

For the most part, the content Whirlpool promotes, and the User Generated Content, is in no way product or sales focused. Instead these real life stories and actionable ideas positioned Whirlpool as a thought leader in a way. The mechanics of the campaign were simple – hashtags that identified #EveryDayContent across all social media platforms, along with a Whirlpool website that was dedicated to the narrative they were developing. Organic submissions from Users (UGC) defines Earned Media, as submissions spread through their clients social channels and footprint – truly what we call Earned Media. Content was curated and then promoted across owned and paid media as well.

A look at Whirpool’s social media accounts tells part of the story as to the impact of this clever campaign. Followers netted through the campaign were pushed in to social platforms, and were opted in to multi-touch omni-channel campaigns. It worked – Facebook shows over 1.1 Million followers! That is incredible for a company that quite possibly makes the most boring products in the world. Yet they effectively leverage that platform for not just promoting their product, but for reputation management. As recently as today I saw a post from a consumer who was very upset that they were having issues with a product, and customer service, through social listening platforms, jumped right on to the problem and will most certainly correct the issue.

The results of the campaign back in 2011 are amazing (#EveryDayCare – Whirlpool, DigitasLBi and Crowdtap – The Shorty Awards, 2012):

  1. 44K stories were collected and shared
  2. Consumer satisfaction grew from -.3 to +4.6 on a 5 point scale
  3. 12% YOY Growth vs 6% Industry Avg
  4. 6.6% Sales Growth vs 4.9%

While this growth was for the fiscal year 2011, the Whirlpool site and hashtag are still very active. Such longevity in a social media/digital marketing campaign is rare and speaks to its root humanity.

The company’s CEO in 1969, Elisha Gray II , once made a comment about Whirlpool’s core values as it relates to this topic, as well as their commitment to the environment. He said “We cannot separate our business from the communities in which we operate, and hope to grow and prosper.” (Environmental Sustainability | Whirlpool Corporation, 2018) This commitment to sustainability extends to their reduction of environmental impact not only in manufacturing, but in the use of their machines in the marketplace. This last component speaks to the development of their app.

The Whirlpool app provides consumers further engagement opportunities with the Brand, wrapped around a clever app that allows you to monitor and control your Whirlpool appliances, for a subscription fee of $.99 per month (Connected Subscription | Whirlpool, 2021). This connection can then be used to funnel back in to direct to consumer advertising and further engagement with the #EveryDayCare program.

Ultimately, Whirlpool has done very well to expand their market, digital footprint, community & environment focus, and overall relevance. Hard to do for a company that sells a boring product! Although in reality, is a refrigerator that can tell me that I’m out of bacon boring? I think not! In truth I don’t know if it can tell me that anyway, but I can dream.


Every Day, Care® by Whirlpool. (2019).; Whirlpool.

#EveryDayCare – Whirlpool, DigitasLBi and Crowdtap – The Shorty Awards. (2012).

Environmental Sustainability | Whirlpool Corporation. (2018). Whirlpool Corporation.

Connected Subscription | Whirlpool. (2021).; Whirlpool.

A Day in the Life of a Digital Media Consumer

I spend most of my day on a screen of some sort. It seems to be a requirement of my nature, almost like eating. As a matter of fact, all day long I’m browsing the virtual refrigerator and cabinets that are the internet. Some of it is necessary to survive (or to survive at work, school, etc), some of it is free choice grazing, and some of it is just plain gluttony! All along the way, I consume marketing messages, digest calls to action, and seem to continually add weight to my digital footprint. So here’s a look at a typical day of digital consumption…

Each morning, I start with my email, usually on the phone. Next (and this is usually while still in bed), I verify that no urgent text messages came in, check my LinkedIn account for new connections or interesting posts, and finally check Fox News to make sure nothing blew up – not that I could do anything about it anyway.

What I will not do is check Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. I have deleted most of those accounts, as I believe viscerally that Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey are traitors to the Constitution and to free speech.  As a result of leaving those platforms, I have less anxiety. I don’t read random posts from people I don’t know, or don’t know well and clinch my teeth, wondering how someone could be so rude/stupid/clueless/etc. That’s just not good for you.

So I continue my day usually at my computer. Most of the day is spent creating on the Adobe Creative Cloud platform, or creating within Office 365. But all of a sudden, I hear the “knock, knock, knock” of Slack, and I begin communicating with colleagues/partners in one of my companies. So far so good with not doing anything that will trigger excessive sales messaging to my inbox.

Then comes my need to buy something (from Amazon – groceries, furniture, gifts) or search for something, and the cycle starts. It appears that every search term I’ve used in Google is now coming back to haunt me, whether on the Amazon App or in the browser. Those searches have specifically led to me seeing ads for the very products, or competitor’s product- described as the “You may also like…” section of Amazon.

Before I know it, I need to go back to LinkedIn (for work – we sell a platform that enables Social Selling and as a result, we engage on LinkedIn frequently) and the “sponsored content” ads are tying to either some of those searches or visits to a software company’s site.

One more look at my emails and I see more and more spam. Spam that bypasses my spam filter. Most of it looks like there is familiarity between myself and the sender, but there is not. Some of the ads are follow up emails on perhaps research that I downloaded, or a trial of software that I did. That I understand, and it does not bother me.

When I review my emails there are things that catch my eye, but it is usually in the form of information/content that I find interesting. Several companies send me digests, which are essentially digital newsletters with several articles that may be of interest, and I will occasionally click on them – after all, this is actually closely related to our content amplification platform’s functionality, so I am neither bothered or hesitant about these types of emails.

But then there is the rest of them. I rarely open any email in my inbox that is not from a known and trusted source. That is why I have normally had over 100,000 unread emails in my inbox (it’s down to 5400 today  ).

By the time I do one last LinkedIn and email check at the end of the day, I would venture to guess that I have consumed in some way over 10,000 digital ads. Between paid media, earned media, employee advocacy and good old fashioned multi-channel marketing, I have overindulged! All day long I have 3 27” monitors surrounding me at my desk, with each doing something different – yep, shear gluttony.

So what satisfies me in digital media? Honestly I do so much research that Google and LinkedIn are definitely my best outlets. I have learned to get what I need and move on. I don’t dilly dally looking at pinned pictures of puppies, or living vicariously through some acquaintances pictures from Cabo. When I socialize it’s with real people, talking and conversing. My disdain for the majority of social media, except for LinkedIn as I mentioned, is showing. I think it is destroying our collective ability to communicate.

Look, I’m in the digital media marketing business. I’ve been in the marketing business for essentially 34 years in some way shape or adjacent form. But I don’t like what much of the digital marketing world has become. I don’t like that I know how to target someone to see my ad. I don’t like that what you watch on your Smart TV is something that I can use to present you with very specific TV ads – tied to your search history for devices in your household.

A recent movie (on Netflix) called The Social Dilemma speaks to this. At one point, it is said that what all of these free services are selling, is you. You, the consumer, are the product. What you look at, how long you look at it, what you say, all rolls up into an unbelievable profile about you – the product that Mark and Jack and others are selling.

Are there positives, yes. And I love helping companies market better, by providing a way to easily distribute interesting content to share to their extended networks, as information, as optional resources, to help someone make an informed purchase decision. Alas, that is not the intent of the great majority of social media/news/search sites.

As long as Mark, Jack and Jeff are at the helm of most of the digital impressions you face daily, they will keep fattening you up as the prize hog at the slaughterhouse – not caring what happens to you, just caring about home much money you will bring at market.