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Ways of controlling information overload

Did you know there is another famous Albert Einstein besides the world-renowned scientist responsible for that elegantly cryptic formulation we all know as E=mc2 but really don’t understand?

The comedian and Oscar-nominated actor Albert Brooks was actually born Albert Einstein. At some point early in his career he must have decided he had a marketing problem and that his brand would always be conflicted if he retained his birth name. And so, voila, with that insight and a touch of inspiration, the moniker Albert Brooks was created. He would go on to star in the 1970s and ’80s films Taxi Driver and Broadcast News and become known in some circles as the West Coast Woody Allen.

Although some things have remained the same since the days when marketing relied on insight and inspiration, the advent of the Internet and broadband in the 1990s has been a game changer that has led me to devise the following proposition: Marketing equals the Internet plus information plus insight plus inspiration, or m=i+i+i+i for short.

For those of you old enough to know the meaning of “duck and cover,” the ramifications of Albert Einstein’s theory were very scary. Today, the Internet is equally capable of burying us all — but this time in a deluge of information. That said, here are one or two good ideas that may help make life a wee bit easier for struggling marketers who are seeking to manage information overflow or looking for credible, forward-looking information.

If your file drawers are overflowing with articles you’ve either read or haven’t yet had time to read and are in danger of disappearing into that proverbial black hole, the Internet has the answer in Although a number of similar websites offer a variety of features, has become an invaluable tool in my organizational arsenal, allowing me to establish a virtual personal library online.

I pass this along as a prime example of the KISS principle.

Say you come across an article that’s full of great information and useful hyperlinks that might be helpful on a future campaign. Once you’ve signed up with this nifty free website, all you have to do is click on your “favorites” tab and the article is conveniently stored on the site. Once stored, it can be accessed and viewed either in columns of 2-by-2-inch color screenshots or in a list format that can be segmented as an article, video or image.

A review of articles I’ve saved just during the past few weeks includes:

• One by Erik Johnson, of, about a relaunched Facebook ad platform called Atlas that the company says represents the next step in tracking ad effectiveness across devices. According to Johnson, “today’s technology for ad serving and measurement — cookies — is flawed when used alone. Cookies don’t work on mobile, are becoming less accurate in demographic targeting and can’t easily or accurately measure the customer purchase funnel across browsers and devices or into the offline world.”

Anthony Ha, of, says this means “Atlas can tell advertisers whether someone saw an ad on, say, their smartphone and then made a purchase from their laptop, or vice versa. The platform will also link users’ ad interactions to their Facebook accounts, not just on Facebook itself, but on other websites and apps as well.”

• Another article by Jeffrey Trachtenberg in about a new monthly audience-measurement tool that will be launched by the Association of Magazine Media, the industry’s leading consumer trade group. It includes a dashboard that tracks the consumption of magazine content across a range of categories. There are separate metrics for print and digital editions, the mobile Web and online video, as well as a total audience reach calculation. See

Mary Berner, chief executive of the trade group, says, “This redefines the state of magazine media because you can’t sell what you can’t measure.” The information will apparently be available to the public on the trade group’s website; a separate tool that tracks social-media usage is expected to launch soon.

• For those of you just dipping their toes into social media, James Scherer of has a comprehensive overview of the six major social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest) with tips on how to best use them. See

• And, for those magazine publishers struggling to find their way in the new digital era, Antoine Boulin of has an insightful article optimistically titled, “How Data and Editorial Teams Can Work Together.” I especially agree with his insight that “Data informs editorial decisions. It shouldn’t define them. A content strategy needs to be shepherded by content creators — those with expertise in creating high-quality content that traffic drivers such as Google or Facebook reward. If you let data lead editorial, you might see some short-term gains in scale, but, long-term, you’re more likely to be punished.” See

Although is a great way to store information from the Internet, there’s so much out there that I find I need help in discerning and explaining the latest trends in business and how they might relate to marketing. For this I religiously read Bloomberg Businessweek, a weekly publication that is both easy to digest and chock full of information I consider essential to developing marketing insight. Some examples:

• An eye-opening article about how the Weather Channel became a tabloid marketing machine, “The Forecast Calls for Clickbait,” by Claire Suddath. It’s all about how the once staid channel now uses its massive collection of weather data to help companies sell products based on the weather. Sure seems like a natural platform for marine marketers!


• Another recent cover story by Felix Gillette, titled “Greetings from YouTube,” which focused on short-form digital video to be particularly relevant to the visually rich marine marketplace. See

I also consider Bloomberg’s website, which includes many of its marketing columns, to be a particularly interesting read. See

* * *

Lastly, a salute to Alan Wendt, president of Boating Writers International, for successfully pulling off the inaugural edition of “Pitch the Press” at IBEX. Conceived as an opportunity for marine companies to showcase new and innovative products and services before a live audience of marine journalists, the event drew representatives of 19 companies who made lightning-fast presentations. The event was such a success that plans already are under way for more opportunities to bring marine journalists and the industry together.

Michael Sciulla is president of Credibility & Company Communications, as well as vice president of the Marine Marketers of America and a member of the board of directors of both Boating Writers International and the Marine Marketers of America. During a 28-year career at BoatUS he built the association’s brand as membership grew from 30,000 to 650,000.

This article originally appeared in the November 2014 issue.



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