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April 2, 2014

There’s plenty of talk in corporate America about the importance of diversity in management positions, and how such inclusion improves decision-making and risk management.

But as Fortune reported on March 10, telling the difference between true commitment to diversity and mere window dressing can be difficult.

Corporate diversity programs have proliferated for decades, “aimed at filling the pipeline of talented women and racial minorities who could step into top executive and board roles,” the post said.

But today, more than a third of Fortune 500 companies have either one or zero women directors, according to the nonprofit organization Catalyst. Women hold only 17 percent of corporate board seats — a figure that hasn’t changed in eight years. At the same time, white men hold 73 percent of Fortune 500 board seats and little changed during the last decade, the Alliance for Board Diversity says.

Even when women and minorities have seats at the table, unless they have power over the bottom line — either as board members or as part of the senior leadership team — others are likely to consider them token voices, Fortune reported.


How people get to a news organization’s website says a lot about the level of engagement and loyalty that they display toward the site and its content, according to information that the Pew Research Center released on March 13.

In this study of U.S. Internet traffic on 26 of the most popular news websites, direct visitors — those who type in the news outlet’s specific URL or have the address bookmarked — spend more time on that news site, view many more pages of content and come back more often than visitors who arrive from a search engine or a Facebook referral.

The data suggests that turning social media or search eyeballs into equally dedicated readers isn’t an easy task.


So-called “big data” about a target audience can help marketers create more effective campaigns and gain a measurable competitive advantage, Fortune reported on March 17.

More than 40 percent of organizations expect to increase their spending on data-management services in the next year, says a recent report from Forrester Research. “It’s about turning data into insights that you can act on to drive business,” said Forrester principal Sheryl Pattek.

Digital marketing involves more channels, platforms and audience segments than ever before, and people expect marketers to make data-driven decisions on brand strategy.

Ad-tech companies like Rocket Fuel, a Redwood City, Calif.-based startup, are using artificial intelligence and predictive algorithms to help clients determine optimal online ad placements. The company discovered that business travelers and wine connoisseurs were most likely to purchase a particular model of Toshiba laptop computer. By orienting its ad spending to this group, Toshiba achieved $8 in revenue for every $1 that it spent on ads, Fortune reported. Such data analysis offers “tantalizing clues into human behavior,” said Eric Porres, Rocket Fuel’s chief marketing officer.


Global marketing agency Bite polled brands about their content marketing setup and found that 68 percent of business-to-consumer brands and 53 percent of business-to-business brands have a dedicated budget for content marketing, with about one-third (31 percent) saying that it was essential for their business. [via]


Samsung spent an estimated $20 million on ads that ran during breaks in the Academy Awards broadcast on March 2 on ABC, but the electronics company may have gained more promotional mileage from host Ellen DeGeneres during the show itself, The Wall Street Journal reported.

She toyed with a white Samsung phone onstage, and during a stroll through the audience, she handed it to actor Bradley Cooper so that he could take a photo of himself and DeGeneres surrounded by Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Lawrence.

The “selfie” stunt may have seemed spontaneous, but it was part of a sponsorship and ad agreement for the Oscars that Samsung had made with ABC. The company negotiated to have its Galaxy smartphone integrated into the show, according to unnamed sources cited by the Journal. Samsung gave ABC smartphones to use during the broadcast and the network promised that its devices would receive airtime.

Days before the show, DeGeneres decided that she wanted to take selfies during the Oscars and ABC suggested that she use a Samsung device since the company was a sponsor. Samsung executives reportedly trained her on how to use the phone.

Part of TV since the medium’s early days, product placement has become more popular with marketers in recent years as viewers fast-forward through commercials with their DVRs. But as the lines between entertainment and advertising blur, experts warn that overly promotional gimmicks could turn off consumers.


More than four in 10 Americans say the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated, while one in three say it is generally underestimated and about one in four say it is generally correct, according to research that Gallup released on March 17.

 



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