Friday, April 4, 2008

Online Is All Grown’sd Up!

Ok, so it’s bad grammar, but it’s funny! I was thinking the other day about when we got started in this industry, way back in 1995. The Internet was all new; a bright and shining line item in an otherwise standard media plan full of TV, Radio and Print! No-one had been on a Social Network, no-one had ever heard of Google and Yahoo was still a start-up! Back at that time I was forced to write a POV on the difference between a Search Engine and a Browser for BMW (at the time, the difference was actually pretty minimal) while planning inserts on a CD ROM for Discovery Channel Interactive.

My boss’s were Pete Meluso, Ed Dintrone and Scott Heiferman. They had the bright idea to start an ad agency in Scott’s apartment, trying to convince companies like Disney that this was a viable medium for the future. They brokered deals with clients Big Book and we bought banners tied to search engines. Our idea of a homepage takeover was a 3-frame html overlay on a page with Hercules busting through the content or the page flipping around to show a “Powered by Duracell” back-end. Ahhh, the good old days (i-traffic for those of you who remember).
Now the business is growing up, and growing up fast. I feel as though we’ve reached our late teens and early twenties. We’re a force to be reckoned with and everyone seems to recognize our potential, but we aren’t there yet and a couple of wrong turns or poor decisions could do us in. We continue to reinvent ourselves, have some fun along the way, but we are definitely getting down to business!

The economy doesn’t even seem to heavily affect us anymore. We are no longer a “why” or an “if”. We no longer have to rationalize our existence or our inclusion on a media plan anymore. We are a must-have at some spend or another. Your consumers are here, so your brand needs to be as well!

If we are a mature business, or at least one that no longer needs to be rationalized, then our people need to act like it too! Training is more important now than it was before. Before it was about good ideas and innovative thinkers. Those people are still required, but we need to be more professional now. The rag tag ways we used to run our businesses are no longer going to cut it. If you want to be taken seriously and you want to continue to see growth in your company, invest in your people. Invest in training and help us represent a united front to the oncoming dollars and attention they bring. My bosses taught me that in the first place, and I just wanted to make sure you heard it too!

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