December’s Purchasing Index is Up, Future in Question

Purchasing Index - Dec-17


Zhengsheng Zhong, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group, a subsidiary of Caixin sees December’s gains through a dual lense. On one hand, he notes that “manufacturing conditions improved, reinforcing the notion that economic growth has stabilized in 2017 and has even performed better than expected.” On the other hand, he cautions about 2018. He sees “downward pressure on growth” caused by government action; tightening monetary policy and additional regulation.  Source: Markit Economics

20% Increase in Mobile Commerce Projected by 2021

mCommerce - eCommerce


Projections from eMarketer foresee steady 5% increases in mobile commerce as a percentage of total eCommerce through 2021. Sixty percent of North American retailers have built mobile sites and 53% have created mobile apps in response.  Many of the remainder are planning a mobile entry. In a world of omnipresent advertising, it is almost a requirement that consumer driven businesses touch their customers through all devices, all the time.  Source: eMarketer

The Dependable Chinese Consumer

Retail Sales - Nov-17

China’s retail sales growth is one of the most extraordinary statistical climbs ever. Measured since June 2014, it has never declined in spite of the ups and downs in China’s economy. We have always described the Chinese consumer’s pent-up demand as a more and more influential driver behind the economy and as the sector in the economy that the government most relied on during its transition from communism to a more mixed, westernized economy. The Chinese consumer has been a dependable buyer. Source: www.; National Bureau of Statistics of China

This Picture is Likely to Change

US Mobile Shares

This graph tells the story of the current US mobile phone market, which might be in for a change over the next couple years as China’s big players attempt to enter. Bloomberg reports that Huawei Technologies Co. and Xiaomi Corp. are negotiating with large carriers – Verizon and AT&T – to find a low cost place in the market.

A confluence of trends has created the moment for these moves. In China, as our carrier data for 2017 has revealed, mobile phone subscriber growth has quieted as the country has settled into a replacement phase. The search for growth by Chinese manufacturers leads to the other big market in the world, the US. Meanwhile, US carriers have pulled their subsidies making US phones expense, thereby opening the way for low-cost Chinese imports. If the negotiations fail, none of this happens. If the negotiations succeed, the above graph will look very different in a couple years.  Source: Bloomberg

In-House v. Out-of-House, That is the Question

Brand-Agency Relationship

There is a trend among many brands such as Kellogg, Netflix and P&G to bring the advertising function in-house largely because of transparency argues an article in AdAge. They want the audience data and the bid prices in order to see the true nature of what is happening with their money. Makes sense. The graph proves the point. The number of marketers who have brought agency services in-house has more than doubled while the number of brand-agency relationships where transparency has increased is up 15 percentage points.

Though the trend appears to be toward in-house, there is a counter argument.

The issue – even for large companies – is that bringing agency functions in-house puts them in a business different from their core. For many companies considering the idea of setting up an in-house agency the combination of budget, talent, technology and bandwidth requirements is a step too far.

Brian Wieser of Pivotal Reseach predicts, “There will be many marketers who bring work in-house or work with a third-party and realize that they don’t want the responsibility that agency-like businesses have, and they’ll eventually fold [those responsibilities] back into a traditional agency model.”

2018 will be a year in which this inner dialog will come more forward.  Source: AdAge

More Positivity from China’s Leading Economic Index

Leading Economic Index Oct 2017

Though it is only a modest month-over-month increase, October’s Index reaches the highest point in the last 13-months, continuing a robust six month stretch, which has averaged 100.45. Given the steady Consumer Price Index reported earlier in the week, one would expect November’s Economic Index to maintain the positive trend.  Source: Trading Economics; National Bureau of Statistics, China

Six 2018 Resolutions

Cyrstal ball2

Marketers intend to use marketing technology too…

“…help the industry keep scaling connected TV since networks and content owners have made a lot more CTV inventory available.” Brian Stempeck, Chief Client Officer, The Trade Desk

:…engage with customers and prospects using a multichannel mobile approach, capitalizing on text messaging, mobile wallet notifications and email.”   Sophie Vu, CMO, Vibes

“…continue to reduce the friction among our audiences, our partners/sponsors and our brand.” Paul Beck, CMO, Storyboot

“…improve the lives of the ‘creative’ in every person.”  Peter Hobolt Jensen, director of digital innovation/CDO, Moleskine SpA

“…prioritize personalization, increase pipeline velocity and improve conversion rates.”  Judd Marcello, EVP, Global Marketing, Cheetah Digital

“…take a data-driven approach that finally gets rid of the inefficiencies that are eating up huge chunks of marketing spend and handicapping ROI.”  Chaitanya Chandrasekar, CEO, QuanticMind


Steady November Prices in China

Consumer Price Index - Nov-17


The last four months have seen quiet undulations in China’s Consumer Price Index. November’s number sits just a tenth above the 13-month average, including the radical drop in February. The steadiness may put us asleep, but for the Chinese consumer it means there are no surprises, an economic environment conducive to buying.  Source:; National Bureau of Statistics of China

China’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Personified

Fresh Food in China

If you want to better understand modern China, watching this TED talk video by Matilda Ho is instructional on several levels. First, she is a fearless smart Chinese entrepreneur and it is fun to see that spirit. Second, you’ll get an insight into the changing Chinese culture that we blog about, but you’ll get it from an articulate Chinese person who lives the change on a daily basis. And third, it will become obvious that Matilda Ho’s business is just the kind that could benefit from reaching the western-facing Chinese users captured in western ad stacks. They are type of people who would have a food quality consciousness mPoint’s re-directed impressions would appeal to.

One can read and write about the macro numbers that come out of China, but seeing it personified is really powerful.  Source: TED Talk, Matilda Ho: The future of good food in China

Challenges from P&G’s CBO

P-G products

Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer was hopeful back in June when he said that we were 40-50% toward full transparency and that by the end of the year – that’s now – we would have the transparency thing fixed. Not many would say that has happened, but they’d all say we have to keep moving the bar.

Pritchard’s other gripe was about the quality of publisher’s content and the quality of advertising. His argument was that, assuming the mechanics of transparency are working; the audience won’t be there if the quality in these areas is not better. Growing the market, he states, is the way to greater brand success, but that will not happen in a “crappy advertising” environment. Quality, beyond technology, is the answer.   Source: Marketing Week