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DMC: Nintendo Banning Success?

After 2 days at the Canadian Marketing Association’s Digital Marketing Conference, the one theme that really stuck with me was “Success”.

Not “how do we measure it” but how do we define success within the Digital Marketing world?

started me thinking about it in his keynote when discussing the Felicity Huffman webisodes for as being a successful innovation but not a successful campaign (my word not his).

’s keynote Day 2 slammed it back into my head when he said that the word “success” is banned at . Banned!

When talking about the Wii, He quoted his boss Satoru Iwata as saying they weren’t to use the word success

“… unless one of you can stand up and say they predicted this, then we can call it success.”

While last year it seemed everyone was keyed on the idea of measurement, this year the idea of success, and what is success, sat just underneath every presentation, every panel and every discussion. Even at the Branded Entertainment roundtable I sat in on, the discussion kept circling the same question.

Eventually the topic popped up on the when Kate posed the question of whether awards are a measure of success? Should that be how a client chooses agency? Which even triggered the question: should that be how new talent chooses where to work?

Over and over the question of “what is success” kept popping up.

So what do you think?

How do you know if you’ve created a successful digital marketing campaign? Is it the awards? A happy client? Increased sales? Hits or downloads? Is it visibility or bottom-line revenues?

What is it that really shows who has leveraged this digital space successfully?


Note: I was lucky enough to be able to get some one-on-one time with both Rob & Ron after their keynotes and we’ll be sharing those interviews (and more) with you on One Degree next week.


  1. miro
    miro November 1, 2008

    Excellent question
    I think many companies fail to describe what success looks like from a customer’s perspective
    listing metrics on volume, share, profitability, clicks etc… doesn’t help people visualize what they need to do to impact the consumer to achieve those company centric measures.
    secondly – having read The Black Swan, Fooled By Randomness and The Drunkard’s Walk – I now have a different perspective on purposeful success versus serendipity and find an even greater affinity/ appreciation for the work of Duncan J Watts

  2. david pylyp
    david pylyp November 1, 2008

    Great perspective; \how do you quantify success.
    \is the marketng successful if the websites are top 10 in google;
    \is conversion sales and sign in the key to success?
    \It needs to be the bottom line that measures the success.
    David Pylyp

  3. Leslie Ehm
    Leslie Ehm November 2, 2008

    Most controversial question out there. We’re supposed to train agencies for ‘success’ and yet everyone has a different interpretation of what success looks like. Which is how it should be. Success is simply about achieving the goal as established. It can’t come from some external criteria, but as measure by the challenge itself. One of the reasons so many agencies / endeavors / projects fail is because success criteria isn’t firmly established at the onset. It’s the same reason why more briefs feature 25 objectives instead of the singular one they should. Success requires courage, because it requires clarity if purpose and vision. And, in my humble opinion, the reason so many fail is that they lack the courage, vision and smarts to recognize a strong, single-minded objective and then go after IT to the exclusion of all else…until the next project. That’s the kind of partnership clients need – the unwavering dedication to a strong, singular objective. Remember, 9 women can’t make a baby in a month!!

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