Friday, October 31, 2008
From what I hear, the folks at Fox and NBC didn't know it either.
The rumor I heard was that the site is far more of a success than they had hoped and so much of a success that they are losing page views to it and more people are watching their programs on Hulu than on the individual sites. Of course, that's not bad at all. It's actually a good thing! That means more impressions on a higher CPM site than planned, which means more revenue.
The funny thing is that Hulu and other online on-demand platforms are becoming more of a game-changer than anyone would have thought. It used to be that I planned on my DVR catching all the shows I wanted to watch and when I had Tivo, it did. Now I have the Comcast DVR and that thing sucks. It is the worst DVR I have ever seen. It erases shows that I said to keep and it won't let me pick the station that it records for a program and it always defaults to the non-HD version, which also sucks. My Tivo was awesome, and this one is a sad imitation. All that being said, the point is that my DVR is supposed to catch the programs I would want to watch, but when it doesn't I don't fret, I know that I can go online and watch it! I can go the website, like Hulu, or I can go to iTunes and buy it (which seems a little sad since it's free on Hulu). I'm not the only one thinking this way. I've had multiple conversations with people that are acting the same way. The fact of the matter is that the DVR is no longer the end-all. The Internet is!
When technology changes your behaviors and habits, you know you've hit a nerve!
Congrats to NBC and Fox for getting it right. I hope ABC and CBS get theirs up soon. Lost is coming back in the spring and I need my back-up options!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
It's also a bit depressing, I warn you..
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The credit crisis is having a very obvious impact on the global economy as anyone can see from a day-to-day observation of the stock market, but there are some less obvious points of impact that may affect our business, as well. Simply put – clients and agencies need to stop delaying payment on their bills – it is unprofessional and fast becoming an even greater problem than it used to be.
One of the biggest problems in the advertising business has always been late payment. Clients pay late, agencies pay late and publishers are left holding the bag in many cases. When publishers don’t get paid, their sales people don’t get paid. Agencies hold onto money and play the “float” game, accruing interest and using this interest as revenue and in these cases the agencies are to blame. Too many times the client is at fault as they will sit on invoices and hold payment for cash flow issues or for budgeting issues, trying not to spend money in one month and have it held until the following month. Regardless of who is at fault, it’s a problem which we will all be forced into dealing with in the coming months.
The credit crisis is basically eliminating situations where businesses can borrow money and in our business there is a constant flow of credit because publishers run media based on signed insertion orders and agencies buy media based on signed contracts, but rarely if ever do clients pay that money upfront, prior to the launch of their media. Publishers almost never request money be paid in advance of media placements. Guess what; that is going to change!
It is very possible that publishers and agencies are going to start requiring partial payments upfront. If I were a publisher, I probably would. I did an informal poll of agencies and publishers this past week by asking 20 or so representatives about these very issues and across the board everyone agreed that late payment is one of their top five problems. On the average agencies and publishers were seeing accounts receivable between 60 and 90 days and much in excess of 120 days. In many cases this portion of their accounts receivable (above 120 days) was as high as 25% of the total outstanding. This is simply unacceptable!
When clients default on paying for media, they are acting unprofessionally. I could name names of clients and brands that I know are not paying their bills to a number of agencies, but as a matter of principle and integrity I won’t. However in reading this article many of you know who you are and you need to know the ramifications of these decisions. By not paying your partners you are clearly saying that their business does not matter to you. By not paying you demonstrate the low value you place on your partnerships and your partners should see this and act accordingly. If you don’t value your partners, why should they value your brand? Why should they allow you to run media or pay for services when you obviously don’t care?
A few years back the IAB worked with agencies and publishers to create a standard form insertion order in our industry and in that document are terms referred to as Sequential Liability. Sequential Liability refers to the precedent that agencies is acting as an agent on behalf of their clients and in cases where agencies have not been paid the media costs for a placement, and therefore are unable to pay the publisher, the publishers are legally able to hold the client responsible for that money. Unfortunately not every publisher abides by those rules. I can understand why they wouldn’t, but the result of this fact is that some agencies are being forced to take the brunt of the irresponsible finances of their clients and that means some agencies will go out of business as a result. It would not be the first time.
Of course if the agency is at fault and is not paying their bills in a timely fashion because they have the money but are sitting on the cash flow in order to accrue interest, then those agencies should be held accountable and they should not muddy the waters around their clients’ brands. Publishers should hold media from those agencies until their accounts are up to date. This situation isn’t getting any better and is likely to get worse if not addressed.
It is a difficult issue to deal with because there are so many cases and situations where either party is being irresponsible, but the economic environment we are in is going to force some companies to deal with this issue in a timely fashion. If I were you, I would start paying your bills on time because the repercussions are strong and will have an impact on the potential growth of your business.
What do you think?
They got covered in a few places, like Mashable, last week. They are an example of crowdsourcing applied to advertising and media. It's a great concept and one that I have been writing and talking about since back in 2005. That being said, they have done a much better of demonstrating it than I ever did.
Check them out and drop them a note and say hi.
And yes - I did say they are a client of mine, in full disclosure.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Surfing the web can be a chore, let’s admit it. With so many choices and so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to just sit down and let your “fingers do the walking”. Our goal this week is to give you somewhere to start that doesn’t involve finances or politics, both of which are taking up entirely too much time these days! It seems you can’t get anywhere without running head long into some user generated video skewering politics and the politicians involved. So with that opening we give you the Round-Up for this week…
Are you stressed at work? Are you looking for a presentation to rip off – err, use for inspiration? If you’re a fan of SLIDESHARE (http://www.slideshare.net) you can also check out DOCSTOC (http://www.docstoc.com/). Both sites are great resources to research presentations and insights from other academics and experts. I don’t know anyone who’s ever posted a presentation here, but it sure seems like a lot of other people love to share their powerpoint thoughts!
Now that you’ve ripped off someone else’s presentation, I mean gotten some inspiration, why not pretend to actually be someone else by watching the world through their eyes? That’s effectively what you do with QIK (http://qik.com/). Qikkers (as I affectionately refer to them) post videos live from their mobile phones. A friend of mine was live-posting while in a car recently and someone else started commenting in real time – it was a little strange but intriguing at the same time. Share your world with others and engage in a social network based on video, that’s what Qik offers.
Do you feel bad about ripping off someone else’s presentation or watching their videos? Maybe you need to do some self-exploration! Check out INPOWR (http://www.inpowr.com/). With InPowr you rate your well being, set your personal goals and share them with others who can support you in your personal growth. It’s the 2008 way of exploring personal therapy but without all those nagging “doctor-patient confidentially” issues! Personal growth for the world to see!
If you’ve gotten in touch with your inner-being and a rush of creativity has been let lose, why not explore XTRANORMAL (http://www.xtranormal.com/). They were reviewed last week on TechCrunch and I fell in love with it immediately. You can create, share and watch movies that you or your friends have created using their new, proprietary text-to-movie platform. Ever wanted to recreate your favorite scenes from The Godfather using Lego characters? Check this out! Some of the content is a little amateurish but give it time. It’s your-own-personally-directed Machinima platform. Fun for everyone!
As for our iPhone Apps feature this week…
Have you ever wished that the iPhone would let you type in sideways mode when creating your emails, check out the new TOUCHTYPE app feature. It works now and your chubby little fingers won’t get in the way (at least that’s my excuse for mis-spellings).
And if you really want to have hours and hours of fun, check out the CAMERABAG. It lets you play with your pictures and create new looks and feels! The choices are limited, but it’s a great place to get started.
That’s it this week – short and sweet!
See you in two!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
This new wave of opportunity lies in finding ways to get paid for what you know will work, such as build community and drive brand engagement. these are not items that fit nicely into an excel chart nor can you create them with an insertion order. That is why agencies are messed up.
The fall-out in the economy poses an opportunity for agencies to be re-invented. As ad dollars get squashed or become focused on accountability, agencies can re-allocate their dollars and save money for their clients if they put those dollars into creation of content and consumer interaction points rather than paid media. These are all typically referred to as non-paid media outlets and though there is a cost associated with them, it is still a dramatic savings from that of paid media placements.
I can't give away all of my thinking on this because that is my business, but suffice it to say that i have recently built a model that I think addresses these needs. I've put that model into action on a few businesses and it works. It's called a Behavioral Planning model and it integrates much from my past learning in advertising with my hypothesis as to how things work going forward. I am happy to share with anyone who asks, assuming they ask nicely!
Friday, October 17, 2008
The leaked presentation from Sequoia was posted all over the web and does a great job of summing up what has happened to date and what will happen going forward. It's planning and anticipation and has quickly become a guide for all start-ups and business people alike.
Ad Agencies could and should use this opportunity to reinvent themselves. The structures they are based on are fading from value and they need to find news ways to be compensated for thoughts rather than action.
I am not too sure where I am going with this post. I know that things are not looking so good right now, but I am sure that I will figure it out in the coming weeks.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Eight Predictions for the Future of Music - This is from an essay originally published for the Club of Amsterdam...
Music Like Water: Music is no longer a product but a service. Music became a product with the advent of recording (records, tapes, CDs) and the formation of an industry that quickly figured out that selling the bottle can make a lot more money than only selling the wine. For the future, think of a “record labe”l as a “music utility company.”
A Bigger Pie, But Cheaper Slices: Today's music pricing schemes will be completely eroded by digital music services (legal, and, mostly, otherwise) and by stiff competition from other entertainment products. A “liquid” pricing system will emerge, involving subscriptions, bundles of various content types, multi-channel/multi-access changes, and countless added-value services. CD prices will end up around €5-7 per unit. But most important, the overall music consumption and use will steadily increase, and – if the industry can manage the transition to a service-based model – can eventually bring in €50-90 per person per year, with 75% of the population in the leading markets as active consumers - the pie will be three times as large.
Diverse and Ubiquitous: A wide range of music will be everywhere, and music will be part of everything that used to be “images only”: from rich media advertising to interactive slide-shows to car software to MMS and digital cameras, to advertising in magazines (!), the audiovisual use of music will soar, and the licensing revenues will explode along with it.
Access to Music Will Replace Ownership: Soon, consumers will have access to “their” music anytime, anywhere, and the physical possession of it will in fact be more of a handicap or a knack of collectors. Music will feel (and act) like water. Multi-Point Access to Music Will be the Default Environment, allowing consumers to fill up their music devices at air ports, trains stations, and in coffee shops and bars, using all kinds of wireless connections as well as other on-demand and ad-hoc networking technologies.
Go Direct: Major artists will increasingly rely on their own “brandability” and – via their managers – go direct to the consumers, using their own in-house marketing, branding, and promotion teams.
The Software Pro: The (performing) rights organizations (PROs) as we know them will likely fade away. Compare technology solutions comprised of watermarking and fingerprinting, so called DRM and (better) CRM components, monitoring, admin/accounting, and instant payment solutions will do the job quicker, cheaper, and, of course, with complete transparency.
Mobile Mania: Cell phones and other wireless devices will eventually utilize and suck up more “content” than any Internet Service or P2O client ever has. Real-music ringtone offerings, Multi-Media SMS (MMS), Java-based games, wireless streaming audio and video, i-Mode type applications, and other cell-phone based offerings will proliferate very quickly, at first in Europe and Asia, followed by the U.S.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I think this is a very simple and precise way to appear successful.
Thansk for writing that Paul!
Or read it below...
A few years back, I had the opportunity to focus my attention and efforts on the mobile category. I hesitated, because I felt mobile was a bit too far off from becoming a mature medium. The running joke for the last five to seven years has been that mobile was always “three years away from becoming a viable stand-alone medium.”. That was the case up until recently. I think mobile just had its growth spurt!
Mobile as a medium has not evolved completely into what it will become, but it has advanced dramatically in just the last year. The mobile marketing model has grown far beyond the limited components of WAP because the smartphone has evolved into a true computing platform, moving beyond the standard format of a “phone with benefits.”
For those of you who are looking at mobile as a medium, let’s review the landscape of the opportunities that are afforded to you as content developers as well as marketers:
a. WAP vs. HTML: Most standard phones can view WAP pages (WAP stands for Wireless Application Protocol). WAP sites are text-heavy and viewing them is clunky from a consumer perspective. HTML is the standard for Web site development, and many of the new smart phones such as the iPhone and the Samsung Instinct view Web pages as HTML so the standard ad units on those pages are served, albeit not in Flash. This translates to the fact that many standard ad units can now be seen on these next-gen phones. What’s still confusing to me and many marketers is how this impacts page views and ads served in a standard reporting environment, but that’s getting worked out even as we speak.
b. On-Deck vs. Off-Deck: The term “on-deck” was always used to refer to OEM-placed applications that came with your phone when you bought it. It was hard to get “on-deck” and it usually came at a significant price. The launch of the App Store changed that paradigm and now anyone can place an application on the deck of the iPhone, assuming that application has been approved by Apple and distributed through the App Store. The upcoming Google Android phone has an App Store of its own and most major carriers are working on their own versions as well. Even the BlackBerry has a couple of competing application stores coming into the marketplace.
Once you understand these two basic landscapes, you can examine the advertising opportunities that are available as well. Standard mobile campaigns used to consist of WAP ads and SMS or click-to-call interactions. SMS specifically was used in many situations as an extender tool to provide interactive capabilities to print, TV and radio. I still like SMS, especially when packaged together with SMS search, because almost all phones in the marketplace currently can make use of them. Companies like 4INFO do some very interesting things with SMS as a connection tool and are worth checking out.
The immediate growth of the application space has created an environment for more Web-standard-type ads being integrated into the mobile environment. There are text ads, such as Google AdSense, baked into games and services (see AdMob in the Sports Tap application in iTunes) and there are full-screen static images (see the full-page units in the 21Pro Blackjack app also available in iTunes). There are also branded applications themselves (see the Audi A4 app or the MobileZodiac brought to you by the Chicago Tribune). These apps have ads baked in through differing formats, but as a consumer I’m not annoyed by them. They may indeed be intrusive in some cases, but not in a way that is too detrimental to the brand. (The most annoying of the ad formats that I came across would be the full-screen ad for “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed” which comes before the Lightsaber app, and even that’s not too bad). One additional note on this format: the integration of GPS in these applications immediately increases their performance, because you get information tied to where you are right now. I’ve seen a couple of examples of location-based mobile ads and they’ve resonated strongly with me.
Mobile video is still the missing link. Many carriers are offering mobile video (Verizon VCAST being the apparent leader) and in some cases there is advertising baked in (mostly 5-10 second commercials or pre-rolls). This component of the medium still has room to grow, as the platform itself continues to evolve and becomes a better, faster, more reliable platform for accessing video content — and consumer behavior changes to accept and expect this format to be available to them.
Lots of changes are afoot; it remains to be seen what effect the recession will have on the mobile category, but as prices for these next-gen phones continue to come down and users are thrifty with their time and their spending, I don’t see them straying away from these tools. I see them adopting them even more.
Do you agree?
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Why can’t our ad dollars be used to facilitate content rather than interrupt it? And when we do interrupt the message, we must be responsible and pay attention to the quality of the message that we are sending. It needs to be relevant, well thought and creative. By combining these two ideas we can create effective and meaningful marketing. Then we succeed.
Loyalty and favorability drive sales and true marketing can create these ideals.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I bet David Ogilvy never had to be dragged into a good idea.
Why aren’t agencies providing the kind of innovation and leadership that we know they are capable of providing? If you have the answer, please let me know. I know a few brand marketers who would love to hear it as well.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
The difference between the two is whether the response you are measuring is direct or indirect. If you can track a response in a short period of time, or in an immediate period of time, then you fit in the DR bucket. If you require time and some additional inputs to measure a delayed or latent action, then you fit into the branding category.
I started calling in Brand Response back in 1998 and people latched onto the term. I like it still and it still satisfies a need.
Try to evaluate your campaigns against all of the metrics listed above and see what you come up with.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
I feel as though we’ve been singing the same old song for 14 years now. Our industry is still lacking in standards when applied to advertising and these lack of standards are providing opportunities for error in the marketplace. If I had to wager a guess I would say that at least 75% of all online campaigns have errors in either implementation or optimization and these errors could be addressed with standards.
Some of these standards include:
· Acceptable margin for error between third-part ad serving and site side reporting.
· Finalized standards for ad units (IAB standards are good, but too many people still stray from them).
· Agreed upon standards for trafficking requirements including period of time between receipt and post of ads.
· Agreed to standards for delivery and under-delivery opportunities.
Maybe “standards” is not the right term. Maybe it should be acceptance. What are the accepted margins for these situations mentioned above?
The media planners and buyers and the sales people are given too much latitude and this slows the process down substantially. In addition our business still lacks efficient processes for trafficking creative and reading performance. I wish we had this all sorted out so that we could focus attention on strategy and trying to increase performance rather than verify what happened in the past.
Friday, October 3, 2008
- Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens was an optimist. At least that’s how I read that famous quote from “A Tale of Two Cities”. I wonder what Mr. Dickens would be thinking were he around today, witnessing the chaos at play within all aspects of the economy as a result of the decisions made by an influential group of greedy people over the last 3-5 years. I think Charles would understand that with collapse comes opportunity and with opportunity comes innovation. Innovation is a natural human tendency, the tendency to tackle challenges and embrace change. It’s evolution in its finest hour! Though the coming 6-12 months may indeed be difficult, entrepreneurialism thrives in these periods and some innovative and aggressive companies will use this environment to their advantage if they can identify a strategic path and stick to it. Maybe some of these following companies which we’ve uncovered over the last 2 weeks will be among those that succeed! You be the judge!!
For those of you having a hard time dealing with the stress these days, you need to turn to those who can give you support. Two such sites are FIRST 30 DAYS (http://www.first30days.com/) and PERSONAL LIFE MEDIA (http://personallifemedia.com/). One is a site that focuses on life changes and one is a site that focuses on how to get the most out of all aspects of your life. Both sites are focused on you “the person” rather than you “the employee” or you “the parent”. When stress is high and life is trying, the best way to gain the advantage is to first take of yourself and work outwards from there. These two sites will help you do that!
Once you’ve figured out how to take of yourself it’s time to take care of your business and one way to get that organized is to use ZOHO (http://www.zoho.com/). Zoho creates tools for increasing productivity and collaboration. Consider it a virtual office. All the tools you need to be productive are there and the interface is easy and fast. It’s substantially better than a number of other web-based office solutions.
Another way to be more productive while you’re at work is to make sure all your files are stored and synced in one location, which is where DROPBOX (http://www.getdropbox.com/) comes in. DropBox is a file saving and sharing system which is web-based and really easy to use. I’ve checked it out at home and it’s pretty much perfect!
I know it’s a little off topic, but I also uncovered a very cool company that allows you to do usability testing for your website. They’re called CRAZY EGG (http://crazyegg.com/) and it’s pretty inexpensive, which is a must during a trying economic time such as these!
As far as iPhone Apps go this week, check out the intellectual nuggets to be found in such useful applications as CHUCKISMS and IQUOTES LITE. If that doesn’t settle you down and bring you to a peaceful place, then download iFISH and visit Ireland for a little peace and quiet.
That’s it this week! Thanks for reading!!
Recently I was asked the difference between iteration and disruption in the creative process and after thinking about it for some time in some detail I came to the conclusion that the difference is subtle and has to do with where you look for the answers.
Iterative process comes from asking questions of the typical sources and integrating the answers that you find. Disruptive process comes from asking questions from unexpected sources and integrating the answers that you find.
The subtle difference lies in whether or not you are willing to listen to the answers from an unexpected, and sometimes un-knowledgeable, source. Too many people refuse to listen and this can be their downfall.
Not only will you listen, but do you have the courage to act on it. Courage is seen in many places and one of these places is in the ability to go against the status quo and try something different.
So, if you want to know the difference between an iterative and a disruptive process, look to the least expected source and act upon what you see. This will give you the insight into how you can affect change.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
When you have great people in your organization, be sure to put them in roles that allow them to exploit what they are good at! Too many times I see companies promote people right out of doing what they do well!
Agencies are really good at this.
If you have a brilliant strategist, don't make them manage accounts. Let them be on strategy! if you have a brilliant account person, don't put them in a managerial role that removes them from client contact.
You need to put your best suited people in their best suited roles.
That's an effective People Strategy!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
The solution lies in having a strong, effective People Strategy put in place. A People Strategy may sound rather touchy-feeley and I don't mean for it to be. A People Strategy is simply a name for identifying the areas of growth that you will likely have over the next 365 days and creating clear job descriptions for the management and execution of those positions and ensuring that any potential hiring that you do is done by evaluating the candidates against these job descriptions.
The idea is simple, but the execution is not. You have to understand that portion of the business you are hiring for, you need to know the skills that person should have and you need to know what criteria are "must-haves" while others are "like-to-haves".
For example, if you are hiring for an inside sales rep, or an account manager in some companies, then you need to identify what their role will be and what skills are a must. In my eyes that role must have a media planning background but you would also like them to have interfaced directly with clients. The first is a must while the second is an optional skill set.
The creation of these job descriptions is also important because you can create a checklist of the skills they should have and what you could potentially train them to do. It can also be used to evaluate them over time and determine if they are growing as an employee or not.
A People Strategy is like proactive employee planning. You know what you need, you know what you want and you can evaluate what you have against these points. Don't overlook it.
This is the expensive way to create a People Strategy.
ALERT - shameless self-promotion - ALERT
We can do it cheaper at my company, Catalyst:SF.
ALERT - shameless self-promotion - ALERT
Sorry - I had to do it!