The Real Game Changers are the Gamers Themselves

I was lucky enough to have been involved in a project called The New America--a partnership between the US Census Bureau, Adweek, and Draftfcb. Because of my work with Electronic Arts, I was asked to write a piece on how the changing American consumer has impacted the gaming industry. With the ubiquity of gaming devices, and the fact that gamer behavior is impacting the way games are made more now than ever (hello, new Mass Effect 3 ending!) I decided to explore how gamer behavior changes across platforms as a means to provide a framework for how to innovate within the industry.

Americans are playing games more than ever on a growing list of technological devices. According to the Entertainment Software Association, at least one individual in 72 percent of American households plays computer or video games. Add that to the gaming capabilities of smartphones that about 50 percent of Americans carry in their pockets and you’ve got a form of entertainment nearly as ubiquitous as television.

But not all gaming experiences are created equal in the eyes of today’s gamers. From mobile and social to console and PC, consumer behaviors change drastically with the platform. Even different mobile operating systems report differences in use. Last year, iPhone users averaged 14.7 hours of play per month compared to Android’s 9.3 hours, according to Nielsen. Maintaining a foothold in this rapidly growing industry requires an understanding of how today’s Americans are choosing to play.

Read the full article here.


With Sincere Thanks

To everyone who came out for Planning-ness in 2011, thank you. This was the most inspiring, the most fun, and the most excited group we've had yet, and for anyone who joined us in SF, Denver, or Brooklyn know, that's really saying something!

My Twitter account has been exploding with thanks from many of you, but really, these thanks should have gone to a whole lot of other folks, so in an effort to give credit where it's due, my sincere thanks to the below:

To our dedicated volunteer staff, who helped make this event run smoothly from the ground up:
Jules Ameel, Jill Arentson, Kenneth Kebaara, Kristen Findley, Jessica Meyer, Chris Cloud, Eric Johnson, and Melanie Linehan.

To Carmichael Lynch and more specifically, Ryan Houts (@mnplanner), for not only providing sound equipment, but taking the time to set up and test in advance and be on call throughout the event for the inevitable adjustments on the fly.

To Fallon for not only providing projectors and screens to bring the presentations to life, but for throwing a great welcome party on Wednesday night. Thank you Deborah Zavitka, Brad Zenner, Michael Fanuele, and the rest of the Fallon planning department for a great kick-off event.

To John and Rich and the folks from Carbonview for their generous sponsorship and fantastic party after day one.

To Tom and Amy and the crew at W5 for their continued support of Planning-ness as a founding sponsor.

To Zeus Jones for welcoming us into their space for a (delicious!) wrap party on Friday.

To each and everyone one of our speakers, who generously devote their time and energy to teach and inspire us. We know it takes a lot to prepare these kinds of sessions and take the time away from work to share with us!

To Dylan Thomas (@dylanhthomas) for being perhaps the ultimate unsung hero of Planning-ness. The creator of our web and mobile sites, fabricator of the QR code, the always-available coordinator of the details that inevitably fall to the wayside, and the ever-present support for whatever is needed both in preparation for and during the event.

And finally, to Mark Lewis, the one who makes this happen and the mastermind behind it all. Thank you for creating something unlike anything we've had in the industry, continuing to push Planning-ness forward, and making it accessible to all. As I've said a few times the past few days, the rest of us are just barnacles on your ship, coming along for the ride as you steer us into new and exciting territory. I couldn't be more pleased to have the chance to help you along the way.

Thank you everyone for all that you do to make Planning-ness a reality. Can't wait to see you all again next time!


Did you buy your copy of Age of Conversation 3?

If you've been reading my blog, you know about Age of Conversation 3. But just because you know about it doesn't mean you know about what we elected to do with the sales. No, this wasn't just about educating and sharing within our community--it was about empowering another.

The group of contributors came together before we hit retailers to determine a charity we'd like to support. The charity that benefits from each and every sale of each and every book, is charity: water. charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of public donations directly fund water projects.

Amazingly, just $20 can give one person clean water for 20 years. An average water project costs $5,000 and can serve 250 people with clean, safe water – so purchasing a copy of the Age of Conversation 3 really can make a difference to someone’s life.

It's time--to help others, to educate yourself, to participate in your community. Buy your copy to help charity : water and share in the benefits.

Purchase your copy (or copies!) here, and if you order in bulk, please order them separately, as Amazon counts each transaction as one donation, rather than each item.

Support in part from: blogactionday.change.org


Age of Conversation 3-- COMING SOON!

Last fall, I wrote a short piece for the upcoming book, Age of Conversation 3. I'm joined by a plethora of industry folks that I greatly admire, and I'm so very much looking forward to seeing the full book! While the print date isn't 100% nailed down, it looks to be slated for mid-April and I highly suggest you consider picking up a copy. It will also be available as an e-book for you savvy cats out there.

In the meantime, take a peek at some of the fantastic individuals who contributed to the book. I'm honored, and maybe a little embarrassed, to be in their company.

Adam Joseph

Priyanka Sachar

Mark Earls

Cory Coley-Christakos

Stefan Erschwendner

Paul Hebert

Jeff De Cagna

Thomas Clifford

Phil Gerbyshak

Jon Burg

Toby Bloomberg

Shambhu Neil Vineberg

Joseph Jaffe

Uwe Hook

Steve Roesler

Michael E. Rubin

anibal casso

Steve Woodruff

Steve Sponder

Becky Carroll

Tim Tyler

Chris Wilson

Beth Harte

Tinu Abayomi-Paul

Dan Schawbel

Carol Bodensteiner

Trey Pennington

David Weinfeld

Dan Sitter

Vanessa DiMauro

Ed Brenegar

David Zinger

Brett T. T. Macfarlane

Efrain Mendicuti

Deb Brown

Brian Reich

Gaurav Mishra

Dennis Deery

C.B. Whittemore

Gordon Whitehead

Heather Rast

Cam Beck

Hajj E. Flemings

Joan Endicott

Cathryn Hrudicka

Jeroen Verkroost

Karen D. Swim

Christopher Morris

Joe Pulizzi

Leah Otto

Corentin Monot

Karalee Evans

Leigh Durst

David Berkowitz

Kevin Jessop

Lesley Lambert

Duane Brown

Peter Korchnak

Mark Price

Dustin Jacobsen

Piet Wulleman

Mike Maddaloni

Ernie Mosteller

Scott Townsend

Nick Burcher

Frank Stiefler

Steve Olenski

Rich Nadworny

John Rosen

Tim Jackson

Suzanne Hull

Len Kendall

Amber Naslund

Wayne Buckhanan

Mark McGuinness

Caroline Melberg

Andy Drish

Oleksandr Skorokhod

Claire Grinton

Angela Maiers

Paul Williams

Gary Cohen

Armando Alves

Sam Ismail

Gautam Ramdurai

B.J. Smith

Tamera Kremer

Eaon Pritchard

Brendan Tripp

Adelino de Almeida

Jacob Morgan

Casey Hibbard

Andy Hunter

Julian Cole

Debra Helwig

Anjali Ramachandran

Jye Smith

Drew McLellan

Craig Wilson

Karin Hermans

Emily Reed

David Petherick

Katie Harris

Gavin Heaton

Dennis Price

Mark Levy

George Jenkins

Doug Mitchell

Mark W. Schaefer

Helge Tenno

Douglas Hanna

Marshall Sponder

James Stevens

Ian Lurie

Ryan Hanser

Jenny Meade

Jeff Larche

Sacha Tueni and Katherine Maher

David Svet

Jessica Hagy

Simon Payn

Joanne Austin-Olsen

Mark Avnet

Stanley Johnson

Marilyn Pratt

Mark Hancock

Steve Kellogg

Michelle Beckham-Corbin

Michelle Chmielewski

Amy Mengel

Veronique Rabuteau

Peter Komendowski

Andrea Vascellari

Timothy L Johnson

Phil Osborne

Beth Wampler

Amy Jussel

Rick Liebling

Eric Brody

Arun Rajagopal

Dr Letitia Wright

Hugh de Winton

David Koopmans

Aki Spicer

Jeff Wallace

Don Frederiksen

Charles Sipe

Katie McIntyre

James G Lindberg & Sandra Renshaw

David Reich

Lynae Johnson

Jasmin Tragas

Deborah Chaddock Brown

Mike O'Toole

Jeanne Dininni

Iqbal Mohammed

Morriss M. Partee

Katie Chatfield

Jeff Cutler

Pete Jones

Riku Vassinen

Jeff Garrison

Kevin Dugan

Tiphereth Gloria

Mike Sansone

Lori Magno

Valerie Simon

Nettie Hartsock

Mark Goren

Peter Salvitti


The Soda Wars: Pepsi's Refresh Everything vs. Coke's Live Positively

I was thrilled to see my work highlighted on the Huffington Post Impact page in February and only just remembered to share it with you all as well. Many thanks to HuffPo Impact and the good folks over at Agency Spy, who also picked up the story. I've made a habit lately of posting some of my work that I write for other groups here on Conversation A, and though I'm sorry that I often have to link you away to another site, I hope you understand I have to do my due diligence to my wonderful, talented editors at Causecast, Huffington Post, and Social Media Marketing. Anyhow, without further ado...

For years, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have been at odds in the beverage category, pushing each other forward in the race for market share, innovation, and advertising impressions. Though amicable, there has never been any doubt that they were competing for the preference and consumption of the same audience. As a result, their actions have often been compared, and their recent mirrored campaigns of social responsibility have introduced another opportunity to draw comparisons.

These campaigns mark what may be a seismic shift in corporate responsibility. While grassroots initiatives have fought tooth and nail to enact change, Pepsi and Coca-Cola's new campaigns exhibit the bold leadership that is necessary to change the way companies look at their role within the greater global community. However, it is hard to believe that these initiatives would be totally selfless, and many are wondering what these companies stand to gain from their efforts. Are these efforts integral to the brands, or a tactic for press? A sign of the modern corporation, or just two companies capitalizing on a trend? Let's take a closer look.

Please do go read the rest on Huffington Post.

Selling the Medium to Sell the Idea: How to Pitch an Idea in an Age of Rapid Tech Growth (for beginners)

The advertising and marketing industries run at a very fast pace, but even they can have a hard time keeping up technology. It’s rare that an ad agency gets the chance to present a tech-based idea to a client when it’s still in it’s early adoption phase and has a chance to blow up with the platform, and it’s even rarer that they are able to sell the idea. The truth is, simplicity is a rare commodity in the technological age, but it is crucial to save your idea from being killed in the boardroom.

As technology evolves and the opportunities grow, the job of selling your tech-based ideas will grow even more difficult; if something sounds complicated, it doesn’t sound good. Even if the idea is great, it is hard to sell the idea when you also have to sell the technology or the medium, so take a look at a few tips to help you bring your social media and technology-based ideas to life.

Y'all know the drill...read the tips on the Social Media Marketing blog.

Social Media is Not a Strategy

One of the first things I ever learned in marketing was that “cool” in and of itself is not a strategy. Sure, it might turn a few heads. But will they remember what it said about your brand? Will they remember your brand at all? Unfortunately, “cool” rarely works when it comes to translating advertising into sales. Neither does “technology;” I remember the first augmented reality demonstration I saw, but I can’t tell you what the product category was, much less the brand. Similarly, “social media” is not a strategy.

Don’t misunderstand me. Social media integration is something many businesses ought to be considering as a potentially prominent part of their larger marketing plan, but it is so easy to think that being on social networks is the strategy itself. Unfortunately, it’s a much bigger picture. Social media is the means to the end, the channel for your message, so it’s important to consider what you want to say before taking the leap.

As always, my full article can be found on the Social Media Marketing blog. I promise I'll spend some time writing something just for YOU, my loyal readers, soon.