Spider Graham (co-author of Taking Down Goliath: The Digital Marketing Strategy for Beating Competitors with 100 Times Your Spending Power) talks with Jim Meskauskas, Co-founder and Chief Strategic Officer of Media Darwin. Jim helps clients develop an awesome business communication strategy. He is a medialogist who has spent the last 20 years living, breathing and thinking about how to use media to move people to action. From strategy, planning and buying, to measurement, data tech and operations, he’s got it covered! That’s one of the very cool things we can do here at The Social Network Show—bring you a half hour or so of consultation with national, even worldwide, experts at absolutely no cost to you!!
Jim describes large corporate digital advertising as focusing only on data-driven “puzzle problems.” He feels strongly that there is another kind of problem marketing needs to solve: “mystery problems.” By thinking about why media dollars should be apportioned in a particular way, Jim takes a more philosophical approach requiring intelligent interpretation of customers’ motives. He offers the example of working with Dole fresh vegetables. They needed to ask the usual questions: Who are the target audiences? Where do they live? How is it they’re spending their time? But another essential question was, Why is someone going to be interested in this product? The answer may not be rational, as JP Morgan said, people will give two reasons for doing something, “a good reason and the real reason.” Marketers need to reach not for the rational cortex, but for the older part of the brain, the limbic system, if not the old reptilian brain! (In spite of all that, Dole fresh veggies purchasers’ motives came down to health and convenience.)
Spider points out that in contrast to some of the cringe-worthy marketing out there, which forgets that it is addressing human beings, a better approach involves getting people’s attention in such a way as to start a meaningful conversation. Jim emphasizes that better engineering and technology is not the solution to all marketing problems by saying, “All of human behavior can’t be rendered in a machine-readable form….ultimately the reason somebody is doing something [such as marrying for love or for money] is going to matter when you try to persuade them to choose you over someone else.”
Understanding the motives, the reasons why, of those you are hoping to move to a specific action, is crucial in deciding what you will say.
Mr. Meskauskas describes the non-actions of humans, not countable, therefore not data, as marketing or human behavior dark matter. A promising source that can help researchers observe without influencing is the raw social stream. Collecting and filtering social media, although slanted toward positive experiences, tells a more direct story of what is motivating people than traditional means such as diaries or focus groups. The social stream is the biggest of big data.
WHO AM I? Jim Meskauskas is a co-founder and Chief Strategic Officer of Media Darwin, a consultancy specializing in strategic planning of commercial communicative action. He’s a medialogist who has spent the last 20 years living, breathing and thinking about how to use media to move people to action. From strategy, planning and buying, to measurement, data tech and operations.
WHAT I DO. Approach to all problems logically, mixed with a consideration for the fantastical. First, find what kind of problem it is – a puzzle problem, which requires the right kind and amount of data; or a mystery problem, which requires the right interpretive intelligence based on the right experience. Next, subject that conclusion to a zero-based planning process. This avoids the prejudices of the past while accentuating potentialities of the future in a practical framework.
Outside of that, his likes are horror movies, Southeast Asian cuisine, his wife and his cat — not necessarily in that order. Dislikes are mean people, people whom text while walking in or out of the subway entrances, and the word “incentivize.”