The study—titled “Empowering the Data-Driven Customer Strategy: Addressing Customer Engagement From the Foundation Up”—highlights the gaps between strategy and execution that continue to prevent marketers from creating seamless, real-time engagements with today’s connected customers.

According to The Walls Street Journal, The recent split between Honda Motor Co.’s U.S. unit and its media agency serves as the latest example of a breakdown in trust between a client and its agency.

For the most diverse generation in U.S. history, there's no single American Dream. Ethnic and racial influences matter, in both expected and counterintuitive ways. When it comes to Black Millennials, counterintuitive is the name of the game. ...

Although I’ve spent much of my professional life as a marketer, it’s safe to say I — like most of us — have spent much of my personal life as a consumer. Recently, a colleague asked me which brands I was loyal to, and I had to really think about it. Finally, I recalled a particular coffee brand that I always buy.

The other day Satya Menon, Senior VP of Client Solutions and Consulting, and I were reviewing the topline results from a set of market mix models. While qualitative in nature, the assessment suggests that brands may be increasingly reliant on driving short-term sales to maintain overall volume trends. If this finding proves more widely applicable then it has some scary implications.  by Nigel Hollis

Move over Millennials, it’s time to start discovering the next demographic headed our way: Generación Zeta.  The topic of what drives Latino teens – one of the hottest demographics that brands need to gear up for – is the focus of a groundbreaking survey completed by Alma, which was presented this week at SXSW Interactive.

In today’s fast-changing environment, it seems like we’re bombarded by new approaches and techniques to help us understand how much consumers “love” a new product idea every day. Product innovation specialists spend time and energy pursuing trends and various techniques, whether it’s “gamification,” the wisdom of the crowds, or the various “quali-quant” approaches prominent in new product innovation processes. The point of this post isn’t to debate the merits or limitations of these approaches—lots of great thinking is taking place in the market today. But we spend a lot of time on finding the “the new new thing” in order to pick the “best” idea and not enough time on the fundamentals.  By Ramon Melgarejo, SVP, Innovation Practice

Clients have started thinking about 2018, even though 2017 only just started. I know it seems crazy, but keep in mind, national retail and promotional partnerships require significant lead time. Meaning, as a marketer, if you want to do a promotion around next year’s big soccer tournament, you need to start thinking about it today. Yes, I’m referring to the World Cup. We are about 15 months away from Russia 2018, with soccer qualifiers and lead-up tournaments already in the works.  by Roberto Siewczynski / Epsilon

Professor Byron Sharp and the Ehrenberg Bass Institute have long championed distinctiveness as an important brand asset. They have been equally forthright in denouncing the role of perceived differentiation. While I agree on the importance of distinctiveness, I have to disagree with their viewpoint on differentiation and see the two qualities complementary.  by Nigel Hollis

HAVANA: Although the US trade embargo on Cuba still exists, a new report from Kantar Millward Brown advises international brands to take a serious look at the opportunities the country presents.

You'd have to be older than a Millennial to remember a time when corporate CEOs were heavily involved in marketing decisions, like increased spend on media, the development of new Big Idea ads, the launching of new consumer products (rather than the spitting out of line extensions) and the formulation of strategies designed to outsmart competitors. That was a time before "shareholder value" became the universal corporate objective -- the value to be delivered to shareholders because of management's ability to grow earnings, dividends and share price.  By Michael Farmer / Madison Avenue Manslaughter Archives

Markets are always complex, but there’s a phenomenon that gives them the illusion of predictability. This phenomenon is potential. Potential, in this instance, means the gap between the current market state and a possible future state.  The presence of potential creates market demand. Every time a new product is introduced, a new potential gap is created. Supply and demand are knocked out of balance. Until balance is regained, the market becomes more predictable.

The death of retail as we now know it is greatly exaggerated. Retail isn’t dying, it’s evolving and doing so out of necessity. The current retail evolution is being driven by a confluence of change. Changing consumer attitudes, behaviors, and demographics; ongoing channel and digital disruptions; and increasing competition for consumer mindshare and dollars are forcing a shift in long-held paradigms – continuing the status quo is no longer an option.  By Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Analyst – Retail, The NPD Group

Whether it is a car, bank, candy, phone or soft drink I doubt many people love the brands they buy.  by Nigel Hollis

The American Association of Advertising Agencies ("4A's), American Advertising Federation ("AAF"), Association of National Advertisers ("ANA"), Data & Marketing Association ("DMA"), Interactive Advertising Bureau ("IAB"), and Network Advertising Initiative ("NAI") issued the following statement in support of Senator Jeff Flake and Congressman Marsha Blackburn's recently introduced Joint Resolutions disapproving of the Federal Communications Commission's ("FCC") broadband privacy regulations.

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