By Adam Saunders

About two months ago I launched a customer relationship management (CRM) and email marketing system for an organization. The implementation utilizes Salesforce CRMExactTarget’s email marketing platform, and Demand Tools for data cleansing and maintenance. For the most part, I’m very happy with the way everything turned out, but this type of project is not for the faint of heart. Implementing and maintaining a fully functional CRM is a big data management challenge, and it is a human challenge as well. A new CRM generally touches many departments and requires changes to business processes. Even in a small organization this is type of change is bound to encounter serious resistance. Luckily, in this case, we were only focused on... More >>

When theorizing about marketing campaigns there is often a tendancy to want to create very detailed segments and perfect messaging that speaks directly to the hopes and desires of various personality types and demographics.  It's great in theory. The only problem is that hyper-targeting is very expensive to create and execute with any type of quality and creativity. Say you have 10 targets. This means that you have to create 10 separate creatives and manage all these additional creatives within your campaign. Then, if you are doing real marketing, you have to analyze the performance of the various creatives and campaigns designed for your targets and determine what, if anything, is actually working. I've found that it's smart to think carefully about whether targeting will have a real impact before pulling the trigger on a highly segementated campaign. Sometimes its best to simply do one thing really well. More >>

Breaking Bad has gotten somewhat moralistic this season, as Walter White's seamingly unstoppable streak came to an abrupt halt. The story of a smart loveable chemistry teacher with cancer, who uses his intelligence to intentionally/unintentionally establish a drug empire, has become a lesson in the fact that crime doesn't doesn't pay. This is interesting, because in past seasons it was not at all clear whether good or evil would eventually triumph and there was no seeming attempt to pass judgement through the plot or story telling. Judgement Day has now been set for Sunday, September 29, 2013. Things are clearly not going to end well, but it will be interesting to see how Walter White uses his smarts to finish things on his terms. Who knows? He might "win" even still. More >>

I pulled up Story Sync for Breaking Bad tonight, which is a second screen viewing experience for the show with polls, historical references, video clips, etc.. It was interesting also distracting and I preferred simply watching the show. The second screen experience is clearly best suited to sporting events, public debates, and other live programming where the additional information you are seeing gives you insight into what the eventual outcome will be. No information one could post about a pre-recorded drama will effect the outcome, so the second screen is much less interesting. I'll stick to using a second screen for live events where I really care about the outcome, in which case I might use 3-4 screens. More >>

I came across this compilation of fart jokes in advertising, which shows that great adverising can include toilet humor. Let's not be prudes. Enjoy.

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I have a suggestion. Stop Looking at your analytics! Let me qualify that. Stop looking at your analytics for a few moments and focus on creating something great. Once you think you've got something, by all means jump back in an test it. However, don't go into work and obssess about whether you have 40,000 or 40,500 visitors on a given Sunday. At most stable companies these numbers are fairly consistant. Instead, think about what will double your audience and cusotmer base. It's very easy to slip from a healthy obsession with the numbers into general corporate naval gazing and chart polishing. Give your KPIs and ROIs a break today and see if you can come up with something completely new. Then test the heck out of it and subject your new product to intense analysis and iterative improvement. More >>

For all those NYC parents out there interested in tracking and ranking public school performance, here is the article and interactive data you've been waiting for.

New York City Public School Ranking More >>

I stumbled on this New York Times article that describes just how Manhattan centric the origins of the Manhattan Project actually were.

Manhattan was central... because it had everything: lots of military units, piers for the import of precious ores, top physicists who had fled Europe and ranks of workers eager to aid the war effort. It even had spies who managed to steal some of the project’s top secrets... The borough had at least 10 sites, all but one still standing. They include warehouses that held uranium, laboratories that split the atom, and the project’s first headquarters — a skyscraper hidden in plain sight right across from City Hall.

Imagine warehouses full of uranium in Manhattan today! It shows you just how different 1940's Manhattan was. Did you know that J. Robert Oppenheimer grew up on Riverside Drive and went to the Ethical Culture School? The Times also includes an interactive map showing some of the major sites of the Manhattan project. 

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I like to be a contrarian, so I thought I'd pen something about Nokia on the day of the iPhone debut. Personally think that Nokia and Microsoft are going to do quite well in the long run, if for no other reason than the fact that there are few other places Apple could go but down from where it is now. The first crack in Apple's cement started to show through today with the iPhone 5 map app fiasco, which Nokia cleverly responded to. The simple fact is that Apple is just not that good at making software. Anyone who has tried to be productive in iWork or manage their images in iPhoto should know this. Even the exulted iTunes is pretty clunky. 

Apple's mediocre software chops have been masked by it's insanely great design and hardware capabilities and a series of smart partnerships like the original maps partnership with Google. Even the very intelligent choice to adopt a Linux based operating system shows that Apple doesn't really do software. It’s just not their focus. Apple does the integration of software and hardware beautifully, but Microsoft and Google clearly beat Apple on the software side. Apple should remember that its many partnerships like Google Maps on the iPhone--despite the downsides--allow Apple to focus on what it does best, which is melding hardware with the software. No company or person can be a master of everything. It’s a hard and important lesson--one that I’m still learning.. More >>

"When we meet Don Draper, he is sitting alone in an upholstered booth at a smoke-filled, Art Deco-appointed nightclub, sipping an old-fashioned from a rocks glass and scribbling ideas for the Lucky Strike cigarettes account on a cocktail napkin." -Mad Men's Manhattan: The Insider's Guide

The actual location is the Lenox Lounge, just up the street, which always seems to stay the same despite the fact that everything around it is changing at a furious pace -- just like most of Harlem these days.

Thanks for the intel Josh. I enjoyed our drink there last week. More >>