New International Marketing Head Prompted in Universal Studios

Steve Kaplan Startup:

Josh Goldstine joined Universal Pictures in 2011 after twenty years at Sony Pictures.  He entered the new production company as the president of domestic marketing for their films, a title that he has held for the last three years.  In this position, he worked closely with his co-president of domestic marketing Michael Moses and the executive vice president of international marketing Simon Hewlett.  Together, this team has eased nineteen films towards the top spot at the domestic box office in the last three years.  In terms of worldwide success, Moses, Hewlett and Goldstine gave the production company its best year at the worldwide box office in 2013.

This success has been rewarded, as an article recently completed by The Hollywood Reporter indicates that Goldstine has now been promoted to president of worldwide marketing at Universal Pictures.  His new responsibilities will involve any and every global marketing efforts, including creative advertising, media, publicity, promotions, digital marketing, home entertainment marketing and administration.  The announcement came this week from Goldstine’s future bosses, Universal Filmed Entertainment Chairman Jeff Shell and Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley.  The announcement is the most recent of several, as Universal works to move the headquarters of the leadership of its international operations from London to Los Angeles.

The article specifically notes that Universal will not attempt to fix what is not broken—Goldstine, Moses and Hewlett will continue to work together very closely to create future successful marketing campaigns, as they have done in the past.

from Steve Kaplan Startup

Generosity is Good, Feel-Good Marketing

Steve Kaplan Startup:

With the introduction of the Internet, customer loyalty has become a very hard thing to come by.  Now, with the availability of many variations of the same project, companies struggle more than ever to retain a loyal consumer base.  According to a study completed by Ernst and Young, a mere twenty five percent of customers in the United States hold loyalty to a set brand.

An article recently completed by Forbes addressed this issue and provided some specific advice to help brands build a loyal base of returning customers.  In the eyes of the article, kindness is key.  Termed Generosity Marketing, this campaign draws on an anthropologic means to generate strong reciprocity bonds.  In essence, social customers demand something stronger than the standard charms of average marketing campaigns; they want something more—a connection to the brand and the product.  Emotional connection to a brand will work wonders in generating present and future business.

The first means to this end is to harness the strength of social media portals to the corporation’s advantage.  Consumers have become the best ambassadors for a product, thanks entirely to the capability of social media to spread word on products.  Corporations, as a result, should not hesitate to reward their customers through their use of these sites; reward points based on shares that build towards future purchases.

For Milennials with shorter attention spans, instant gratification can also be a very profitable reward method of Generosity Marketing.  To accompany an online purchase, include a digital gift card reward that offers an instant extra gift attached to the original purchase.  This little touch may prompt the extra incentive to stick with one company over a competitor in the future.

Finally, there is the method of employing the Social Halo, which is the most well known form of Generosity Marketing.  Consumers are constantly more aware of the global challenges faced by those around the world.  Finding a way to address these concerns in return for purchasing a product will draw in far more consumers than any stale marketing gimmicks will.  For instance, Toms, a company that has had much success in the Social Halo market by creating a pair of shoes for a child in need with every pair that is purchased, is now expanding this idea to their coffee sales; for every bag sold, a day of clean water can be provided to those in need.

from Steve Kaplan Startup

TruTV Seeks to Break its Copy Cat Image

Steve Kaplan Startup:

With the approach of Upfronts—the television industry’s term for the annual negotiations with advertising agencies for next year’s TV season—TruTV seeks to change its image in the hopes of attracting more advertisers.  The network’s current programming has very few, if any, shows based in original content.  Their biggest hits—Hardcore Pawn, Container Wars, Storage Hunters and Swamp Hunters—all have plots that mirror original hits from other channels.  As a result, Chris Linn—president and Head of Programming for the Turner Broadcasting owned cable channel—says it is time for a change.  An article was recently completed by Advertising Age to detail the intended amendments to programming and marketing for the network.

Since TruTV survived the transition from Court TV in 2008, their programming has been stuck in a stagnant state.  Not only is there a limited amount of original programming, Linn says their shows all even look, sound and feel similar to one another.  Linn isn’t alone is this observation; consumers have noticed too.  Prime-time ratings for the network are down over thirty one percent for the season and it averages a meager six hundred eight four thousand total viewers.

The most popular show on the network—and one of the few that is original in content—is Impractical Jokers, a comedy that averages a little over two million viewers.  Based on this information, Linn has made the choice that the focus of the network should be geared towards comedy.  Therefore, they have introduced three comedies that will debut in their new line up.  The Carbonaro Effect will feature comedic magician Michael Carbonaro as he performs various tricks on clueless people and captures it on camera.  The show is slated to begin in May.  Friends of the People will be a scripted sketch comedy series and Motor City Masters will be a comical competition series; no further details on these series have been provided at this time.

Linn is aware that comedy is a slippery slope.  As such, he declared that TruTV wishes to appeal to “fun seekers,” but perhaps not the audience that is drawn to the acquired taste of networks such as Comedy Central.  They look to create comedy that can appeal to everyone in the hopes of pulling in a variety of advertisers in the process.


from Steve Kaplan Startup

4 Tips for Building a Startup Without Needing to Code

Steve Kaplan Startup:

These days, every startup under the sun, even non technology based ones, seem to always need fancy websites, apps, and backend systems that could launch a rocket.   Really, these fancy finishes won’t make or break many startups, at least initially.  Many entrepreneurs are able to launch with little more then a WordPress and a Shopify account.

Here’a few tips that will take from entrepreneur with a powerpoint all the way to the bank:

1. Focus on your Customers:

At the end of the day, whether you work for yourself or you work for a boss, your customer is the one who pays the bills.  If you find that there are people chomping at the bit to use your product, the technology is not as important.  Focus on acquiring customers and serving them.

2. People First, Tech Second:

Think about what your startup special.  Is it possible a person could do this until the technology is there?  A proof of concept perhaps? Consider this before you spend or don’t spend on tech.  It can really a=effect your business.

3. Go Off the Shelf:

Are there any off the shelf systems you can turnkey to get off the ground? Do your homework about this, because it might just save you a headache and some money.

4. WordPress, WordPress, WordPress:

Ahh, wordpress is magical.  Everyone uses it, including developers who make plugins that are available for a low price or sometimes free.  See if you can get a plugin to worpdress before you hirer a coder.

Now that you have a different perspective, don’t run to a coder or spend all of your time learning.  See what else is out there and make some money.

from Steve Kaplan Startup