What is influence?

"That's the million dollar question," Duncan Watts, professor of sociology at Columbia University, and an outspoken critic of influencer and viral marketing, told me a few months back.

This past week I had the pleasure of attending an amazing conference put on by Federated Media dedicated solely to conversational marketing, a concept I have for some time firmly believed holds the key to the future of effective marketing.

Is there a better pill?

After 10 years of direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising and growth of the US Internet population, the question is not who is searching for health information online but rather who isn't.

A McKinsey global survey of marketers shows that companies are using digital tools—from Web sites to wikis—most extensively for customer service, least in pricing. Two-thirds are using digital tools for product development, almost as many as are advertising online.

Ever see a campaign or a single ad that has stayed with you because it is "bad?' Just sit around and watch TV with your out-of-the-industry friends. Some of them will cringe when they see ads they don't like. Most will just downright say they hate the ad and grab the remote control.

Have you watched the PBS program “Brown is the New Green: George Lopez and the American Dream”?

Well you better. It is an open attack on what we do ... Marketing to US Hispanics.

A majority of teens learn about new television shows from TV ads and promos, according to an OTX-eCRUSH study.

Word of mouth, video sharing Web sites and blogs were far less influential, the study said.

According to Yankelovich's 2007/2008 MONITOR Multicultural Marketing Study, African American and Hispanic customers are almost twice as likely to "enjoy looking at or listening" to advertising than their peers, but most find current messaging is not relevant.. The study shows that only 25% of African American. Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White consumers feel that today's marketing is both personally and culturally relevant to their lives. To make brands more attractive to a multicultural audience, brand managers need to implement integrated marketing strategies which address life-stage and personal interests in addition to cultural values.

The Florida State University Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication released today the first study of its 2007 series of reports on the Multicultural Marketing Equation. These studies conducted by Florida State University and DMS Research (an AOL LLC Company) highlight the commonalities and differences among major culturally unique groups in the United States in regards to important marketing issues. The first report of 2007 released today is entitled “Old and New Media Use.” It contrasts the use of television, radio, newspapers, and magazines with the use of the Internet, cell phones, and other new technologies by Hispanics who prefer English (HE), Hispanics who prefer Spanish (HS), African Americans (AA), Asians (A), and Non-Hispanic Whites (NHW).

Forrester Research reported this month in a new report (subscription or purchase required) that 29% of new-vehicle shoppers view automotive online consumer-generated media (CGM).

Are you investing in online video platforms? If so, you may be missing a crucial piece of information that can be of key importance.

Youth exposure to alcohol advertising in magazines declined 49% from 2001 to 2005, according to a new report released by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at Georgetown University.

JupiterResearch has found appreciation for the environment is alive and well among online teens age 13 - 17. Outlined in a new report "Green Teens: Reaching A Trendy, Engaged Audience Online," some 38 percent of all online teens admit concern for the environment, while 15 percent are hardcore Green Teens.

Look where the money is going.

"Talk of TV's short-term demise is premature," says Ben Macklin, eMarketer Senior Analyst and the author of the new report, US TV Trends: The Impact of DVRs, VOD and the Web. "Yet it is equally shortsighted to think that the traditional TV model will not change significantly over the next decade."

Procter & Gamble (P&G) and its home care brands Tide, Febreze and Dawn announced today that they have teamed with Target to launch the “Touch of Scent on Every Room” campaign to help enhance the moods and the environment of Hispanic consumers with scent tips, based on the research results by taste and smell expert Dr. Alan Hirsch.