traditional media

Κακό πακέτο

Εδώ και χρόνια δεν παρακολουθώ τηλεόραση. Οι τελευταίοι τρεις guests που έμειναν στο σπίτι μου και δεν κατάφεραν να δουν τηλεόραση μπορούν να το πιστοποιήσουν, καθώς το καλώδιο της κεραίας δεν είναι καν συνδεδεμένο. Διάβασα χθες το άρθρο της Lifo για το Το πιο άσπλαχνο πακέτο, ένα επεισόδιο της εκπομπής που επανενώνει χαμένα πρόσωπα. Οι […]

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Even If You’re Not Doing Social Media, You Should Still Be Doing This…

In an effort to better involve themselves in social media, many brands still attempt to decide which channel to hop on.

It’s easy to do this. It’s easy to be attracted to whatever the bring and shiny object may be at the moment. Brands can be like little, distracted squirrels when it comes to social media. Some have already tinkered in places like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, while others simply haven’t invested the time and resources to figure out which one will serve them best. Many are wondering if Instagram, Vine and Pinterest can help them be better and do more. Most brands have fundamental challenges with the platforms because, while they are free to connect and engage with, it takes a tremendous amount of knowledge, patience and effort for it to bear juicy fruits. With that, the popularity of online social networking has also brought with it the complexity of paid media as well. For a lot of this more corporate content to rise above, it must now be boosted and supported with significant media dollars. We’re seeing everything from fan acquisition paid media strategies to companies that are paying to promote individual posts and tweets to garner attention. It sounds a lot like traditional media… and that’s because it is. Still, there are many brands (especially in the small and medium-sized business space) that are experiencing great returns by simply being present, helpful and interesting to customers and potential clients. If all of this sounds complex, it is because it is complex. The best way to understand this brave new word of marketing is to think of it as a publishing platform. Brands can create content (in text, images, audio and video) much in the same way that a publisher can create content, and brands can advertise on these publishing platforms as well. The biggest paradigm shift (that most brands still fail to comprehend) is that within this model, brands can also be the publisher or build their own publishing platform (meaning, they are no longer at the mercy of the publisher to run the content or negotiate the ad space with). It’s enough to make any business throw their hands up in the air and give up entirely. 

A way to step back, but still win at social media.

When asked where to start with social media, most gurus, thought leaders and ninjas will tell brands to listen. Spend some time on these channels listening to what consumers are talking about. Are they mentioning your brand, your competitors or the industry that you serve? It is sound advice and something that many brands can start doing right at this moment. There are free tools (like Google Alerts or Talkwalker Alerts) that can give you a semblance of what is being said, but times have changed. Social media is now close to fifteen years old (older, if you really want to get specific about when the popularity of blogging first took hold). There has been many layers of maturation in the space. Now, brands can (and should) be doing a lot more than just listening, when they decide to take the plunge into social media. In fact, if you’re still on the fence with social media, there is one big, major and fascinating thing that you can do to better understand not just social media, but how your brand is competitively performing in the marketplace: invest in a social media analytics tool.

Start with social media analytics.

This isn’t about measuring your brand efficacy in digital marketing (at least not yet), it’s about taking the first step (and making that first step a lot more power and profound than simply listening). Now, as a brand, you can gather insights about your business, your competitors and the industry that you serve like never before. Last week, eMarketer posted a news item titled, Marketers Adopt Social Media Analytics Tools, that looked at some new research on how close to two-thirds of companies in North America have adopted some kind of social media analytics tool (and how the increase has really taken shape in the past two years). What makes this research so compelling to brands who are not immersed in the digital marketing and social media space is how these tools are being used by organizations. According to the article, here is the breakdown:

  • Campaign tracking – 60%
  • Brand analysis – 48%
  • Competitive intelligence – 40%
  • Customer care – 36%
  • Product launch – 32%
  • Influencer ranking – 27%
  • Owned/earned media analysis – 18%
  • Product innovation – 11%
  • Category analysis – 11%
  • Risk management – 3%
  • Partner monitoring – 3%

What is this list screaming to you?

All of these activities. All of them. Can be used for every kind of business and you don’t need a social media presence to benefit from the results. I would argue that augmenting your current marketing and communications strategies with social media is smart, but that’s an entirely other conversation piece. Think about what these new (and constantly improving) social media analytics tools can tell you about everything that you are doing to grow your business. Even if all you are doing is taking out local ads in the newspaper and on radio, a good social media analytics tool can let you know how that campaign is tracking (are people talking about it online, sharing it, etc…), it can tell you how well your brand is perceived, what people think of your competitors, how well you are handling customer service issues and so much more.

Beyond listening. Beyond doing.

Sadly, most brands see social media analytics tools as an engine to better understand how they are performing in social media. Instead, the true opportunity is in understanding just how powerful and profound these tools are in giving you a true temperature check on the overall health of your business and the brand. Have you had success on Facebook? What about Twitter? If your peers are trying to talk you into (or out of) using these channels to build your business, it is in your best interest to start with a strong social media analytics tool and from there start building a true marketing strategy that is driven by your business goals. No need to to hop on the latest craze, and no need to just listen to chatter any longer. Do yourself, your business and your future a favor. Start paying attention to everything that is going on in the social media space, and use these analytics as a barometer for what’s happening in your business and what you can do – with each and every passing day – to improve it.

Social media analytics… it’s not just to see if Facebook is working for you anymore.

The above posting is my twice-monthly column for Inc. Magazine called Reboot: Marketing. I cross-post it here with all the links and tags for your reading pleasure, but you can check out the original version online here:

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Το μέλλον είναι… Arduino

Το Arduino ομολογώ πως το πρωτοάκουσα μάλλον αργά, το 2011. Την επόμενη χρονιά είδα κάποιες πρώτες του εφαρμογές στο marketing. Πέρσι πήγαμε την πρώτη Arduino-based πρόταση σε πελάτη. Και φέτος; Φέτος το μαθαίνουμε καλύτερα. Το Arduino προέρχεται από την Ιταλία και είναι το όνομα μια μικρής πλακέτας που κοστίζει όλο κι όλο 10 ευρώ. Η […]

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Crazy, Sexy, Cool: Attributes Of The Most Clickable Ads

How entertaining is your brand?

On the surface, this may seen like a simple question to answer. If you produce movies, energy drinks or running shoes, you probably have something that is highly entertaining. Most of us don’t work for brands like that. We sell valves, insurance policies, accounting services and the like. Not the kind of stuff that evokes deep emotions like laughter and tears. Still, we live in a day and age when most brands are forced to be out there. Not just with television commercials, flyers and ads on the radio, but actively engaged online. We need to get people to like our brand on Facebook, pin our images on Pinterest, subscribe to our YouTube channels, retweet our 140-characters of goodness on Twitter and more for attention. In fact, when it comes to the modern marketing mix, you will often find many companies struggle so desperately, that they are willing to buy media to promote their content posts or spend money on fan acquisition (there’s an oxymoron in there, if you think about it). There are countless strategies that marketing pundits will put forward in order to help brands understand where and how to create value in a world that has never been so cluttered with advertising.

Screaming louder than everyone else.

If you go back a mere fifteen years, marketing experienced a new dawn. Social media brought with it the ability for brands to have real interactions with real human beings. As powerful and profound as that was (and still is), the waters have become quite murky. The current arms race for likes, friends, followers, subscribers, retweets, pins and more has brought with it an over-simplification of what a brand should be pursuing. Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the like are no longer encouraging brands to figure out a way to create a depth of meaning and connection with their consumers. If you scratch slightly beneath the surface, everything that they offer is sold much in the same way that traditional media outlets have sold their traditional advertising. It has become just another type of marketplace, where the brand who screams the loudest gets the most attention. So, is the promise of social media dead? Do we really need to care about depth of interactions, building true relationships, nurturing people towards engagement, or are we looking for just another quick fix in a long history of advertising’s version of the one night stand?  

Tell me what you want… what you really, really want.

You would think that as your business adds digital marketing into a more prominent position within a marketing mix, that the true value will come from time spent digging deep into what adds value to the consumers life. How can your brand – in a world where anyone can publish anything in text, images, audio and video – create something so compelling that it becomes an integral part of a consumer’s digital experience. Well, it turns out that the pace with which consumers are ignoring advertising messages has not dissipated in a world where we have an incredible ability to target, customize, personalize and build a true relationship. According to a Research Brief news item published earlier this week titled, Four of Five American Consumers Ignore Online Ads Most Frequently, the digital world is having just as much trouble capturing a consumer’s attention. “82% of Americans ignore online ads, ahead of television ads at 37%. 92% of Americans ignore at least one type of ad seen every day across six different types of media,” according to the article about the first annual Goo Online Advertising Survey. “The online ads Americans are most likely to ignore included: online banner ads (73%), followed by social media ads (62%), and search engine ads (59%). The highest wage earners, those with a household income of $100k+ per year, were statistically more likely than those households making less than $50k per year (86% vs. 78%, respectively) to say they ignore online ads. Overall, the 65+ age group ignored the most, while the 35-44 age group ignored the least.”

Advertising revenue would beg to differ.

If that one study is reflective of the industry at large, the fire alarms should be clanging from Madison Avenue to Silicon Valley. We continue to see a sharp increase of ad spend shift from traditional channels to digital ones in hopes that customization, analytics and targeting will create a more effective form of advertising. So, what do consumers really want? The Goo Technologies went on to report that consumers would like advertising to:

  • Look more interesting.
  • Not feel like an ad (whatever that means).
  • Be funny.
  • Be entertaining.
  • Have stunning graphics.
  • Have a sexy man or woman in the ad (I can’t make this stuff up).
  • Be more interactive.

Nothing new in new media.

If you’re wondering why all of that technology, analytics, retargeting and more is not moving the needle in your advertising, or why that last YouTube video didn’t find the viral success that you were hoping for, it turns out that consumers – no matter how evolved they are in their technological prowess around media channels, content creation and devices – are overwhelmed. There is a sheer brunt force of advertising everywhere. They are either completely ignoring advertising or simply want it to give them a chuckle or raise an eyebrow and move on. As simple as that sounds, not many brands are in the business of entertainment, and that’s the true rub. Consumers are online, connected, creating, curating, sharing and more. As intellectual and powerful as that is, nothing will get them to act on your message unless you can really entertain them. Smart advertising is good entertainment. Surprise! Nothing much has really changed in the game of advertising no matter how sophisticated and evolved the platforms and opportunities have become.

So, how entertaining is your brand?

The above posting is my twice-monthly column for Inc. Magazine called Reboot: Marketing. I cross-post it here with all the links and tags for your reading pleasure, but you can check out the original version online here:

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Verizon Droid ad

Ο Edward Norton λέει πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα ιστορία στο 92-second TVC της Verizon για το Droid. Με 10 εκατομμύρια views σε 10 ημέρες, αυτό που μας λέει αυτό το βιντεάκι είναι πως μια ωραία διαφήμιση που έχει παίξει στην τηλεόραση, θα δημιουργήσει buzz και online. Όσο πιο μοναδική, τόσο το καλύτερο.  

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This Blog Is Dead

Let’s admit it. Blogging (as we knew it) is dead.

Is your blood boiling? Are you priming your fingers to lambast this thought in the comment section of this post? Go back in time. Not even all that ago and think about the early days of blogging. What we had was place for online journaling. Posts were seen in chronological order and could be commented on and shared. It was a technological and publishing breakthrough. Suddenly, the cost of publishing plummeted to zero and publishing to the world was almost as easy as it was to print up a document from your word processor. Suddenly, anyone with connectivity could have a thought and publish it in text for the world to see. It’s obvious why the popularity of blogs took hold. It’s equally obvious why the traditional mass media also took a liking to the platform. Newspapers could use blogging as a farm team for their printed publications. They could allow journalists not getting enough ink on paper to explore their ideas on a blog. They could test different types of stories and writers to see if there was a market for their writing, and more. For a person like me, publishing a regular blog enabled me to build an audience, to have a direct relationship with people who liked the same sorts of things that were turning my crank. If an editor didn’t like a story pitch, I could just copy and paste that same text into WordPress, hit “publish” and see if the story had legs. Blogging provided me with a powerful platform that has created awareness for Twist Image, got me on the radar of speaking bureaus, major publishers, a literary agent, book publisher and so much more.

What happened?

Yesterday, Nieman Journalism Lab published an article titled, The blog is dead, long live the blog, by Jason Kottke (who publishes one of the longest continuously running blogs on the Web). Let’s forgo the irony that this piece was published on a blog and read this: “Instead of blogging, people are posting to Tumblr, tweeting, pinning things to their board, posting to Reddit, Snapchatting, updating Facebook statuses, Instagramming, and publishing on Medium. In 1997, wired teens created online diaries, and in 2004 the blog was king. Today, teens are about as likely to start a blog (over Instagramming or Snapchatting) as they are to buy a music CD. Blogs are for 40-somethings with kids. Instead of launching blogs, companies are building mobile apps, Newsstand magazines on iOS, and things like The Verge. The Verge or Gawker or Talking Points Memo or BuzzFeed or The Huffington Post are no more blogs than The New York Times or Fox News, and they are increasingly not referring to themselves as such.”

The comfort of publishing and sharing.

Blogs aren’t dead, there are just many more ways to take an idea, to publish it and to share it. Blogs were as popular as they were over the past fifteen years not because everybody wanted to write and publish, but because that’s primarily the only way they could share things. Once better, faster and more technologically advance ways came about, consumers navigated to whatever areas were easiest or more congruous to their styles and preferences. The death of blogging is – as they say – greatly exaggerated. With more choices (shall I publish text? Images? Audio? Video?), places to publish (Pinterest? Tumblr? Snapchat? Facebook? YouTube?) and styles (short-like Twitter? Middle of the road for Medium? Long-like a piece for HuffPo? ), we simply have people who are finally able to match their publishing capabilities with their actual areas of interest. This doesn’t mean that blogs are dying, it simply means that people who like more personal/in-depth pieces would trend to a blog while others might like the rapid and real-time fire of Twitter.

It’s less about blogging.

What we’re seeing is an evolution of something I called, Instant Personal Publishing (almost a decade ago). Blogging is a legacy system within that framework. Instagram is as much of a blog post as this is. Consumers interest in sharing and creating content continues to evolve and grow. Blogging is starting to leave the “everyone” stream and finding it’s place in the “blogging” stream. It’s for those interested in more depth, more insight, with a personal slant/opinion, and a regular text-based publishing pace from those who have something to write. Writing isn’t easy. Blogging is a lot harder. Less people are starting blogs because not everyone is going to have the desire or aptitude to write. People are going to read less blogs, simply because they have more options. Bloggers have to do more within other social media and traditional media channels to get their voices heard. No, blogging isn’t dead. Blogging is just starting to find its more relevant audience with people who have a true passion for writing. That’s a good thing, but we can’t be fooled into thinking that blog-type writing will somehow become more popular than creating and sharing pictures and videos and tweets. When given the choice, humans tend to like the speed of looking and snacking.

That’s nothing new.

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Θάνατος για την τηλεόραση

Ο τελευταίος χρόνος, αποδεικνύεται ως ο χειρότερος για την τηλεόραση, αφού οι μετρήσεις του κοινού έχουν καταρρεύσει. Σύμφωνα με έρευνα του Citi Research, από το Σεπτέμβριο του 2011, η θεαματικότητα στην επίγεια και στη δορυφορική τηλεόραση, έχει πέσει κατακόρυφα, με μία μικρή εξαίρεση την περίοδο των Ολυμπιακών Αγώνων. Στην Αμερική, περίπου 5 εκατομμύρια συνδρομητές κατάργησαν […]

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Wind F2G Interactive Video

Θυμάστε το πανέμορφο pre-roll από τη Wind που είδαμε πριν ένα μήνα; To video είναι πολύ ατμοσφαιρικό και σε αυτό συμβάλλει πολύ και η μουσική, κάτι για το οποίο ρώτησαν πολλοί σχολιαστές στο YouTube για να λάβουν την απάντηση πως η μουσική γράφτηκε αποκλειστικά γι αυτό το διαφημισστικό. Τώρα ήρθε η συνέχεια με […]

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Katie Couric Will Give Us The Internet That We Deserve

What kind of Internet do we want?

Some might consider this a vague, daunting and even ambiguous question, but it begs for an answer. Anyone who has been online for a long time knows how interesting, diverse and different the Internet – as a medium – was (and can still be). It was very different from anything that we had seen before. In my second book, CTRL ALT Delete, I frame it in a more simplistic way: traditional media was very passive (it was created, edited and distributed for us and we consumed it in a very passive manner). Sure, there were “letters to the editor” and more, but most of this interaction was still strictly regulated by the media owners and highly edited to fit a specific format. While there is nothing wrong with passive media (I like to sit back and soak in an episode of Charlie Rose as much as the next dweeb), the Internet brought with it a dramatic change: active media. From sitting back to leaning in. From looking to touching. From consuming to creating and curating. In fact, it hasn’t been all that long since the Internet has been commercialized, and yet here we are at a fascinating moment in time when all of it can come crashing down in a massive heap of mediocrity.

Traditional media wants to becomes active. The Internet wants to be like television (and become passive?).

What used to be the most charming thing about the Internet is quickly becoming somewhat homogenous and frighteningly similar to prime time television. It used to be that blogging opened up our minds to individual perspective. We would share these online diaries, comment on them, dissect them and more. It used to be that the trendy topics on Twitter was a driver of new ideas. Things, events and ideas to explore. The stuff you would never find mentioned on CNN. Now, the trending topics on Twitter tend to look an awful lot like the breaking news tickertape graphics that scroll across the CNN screen. Podcasting used to be the home of independent and niche thinking, but the most popular podcasts today are mass media re-iterations of their content. Where has the diversity of these ideas gone?

What makes Arianna Huffington any different from Katie Couric in this day and age? 

That’s not a slight against either media personality. I’m a huge fan of all things Huffington Post (I contribute there regularly and Arianna was kind enough to endorse CTRL ALT Delete), but we are no longer seeing much diversity as consolidation and global behemoths battle for Internet supremacy. Look no further than Business Insider‘s The Future Of Digital 2013 slide titled, Value (and power) are still very concentrated. What you will see is that the market value online is divided up like this:

Compared to “old media”:

It’s not a true apples to apples comparison, but you get the idea.

Sure, Amazon is one of the world’s largest retailers, but they’ve also just announced more original programming like Betas and Alpha House (kind of like their own, little cable network). At the same time, Apple is still pushing iTunes Radio and Yahoo is making all kinds of waves this week by announcing that Katie Couric will be joining the company as their “Global Anchor” (does anybody know what that title even means?).

It’s a strange world.

Newspapers, magazines, radio and television companies are all scrambling to figure out how to be more like the Internet, digital and active media to make themselves more relevant, while these online companies are developing television shows, buying newspapers and poaching television celebrities. What’s going on here? We had too many people laughing at Google for things like Google Glass and driverless cars while we’re handing out belly rubs and lollipops in the boardroom any time new media does something so very traditional.

My kind of Internet.

I don’t know about you, but my kind of Internet is all about innovation, new platforms and the ability to do things with this technology that you can’t do on a television or in a magazine. I love television, radio, newspapers and magazines, but I want the Internet to do a whole more. In fact, I expect more of it. My hopes are that Pinterest can grow to the point where they can build whatever the next Instagram could be. That they push the frontiers of how we define media and what the media channels of the future might look like. If all they do, is scale and bring on Martha Stewart to run a bunch of boards, it’s going make me bored. We need the folks at Reddit to re-imagine the quirky corners of publishing, news and tidbits that will never have the mass appeal and scale to reach The New York Times. We don’t need another Lady Gaga AMA. We need these new media companies to focus on the “new” and to keep pushing whatever their agendas are to be unique, different and not the same old, same old.

I am hoping that we get the Internet that we need… and not the one that we deserve.

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Τα social media ως μια νέα μορφη word of mouth

Σύμφωνα με παγκόσμια, διαδικτυακή έρευνα της Nielsen για την εμπιστοσύνη στη διαφήμιση, οι συστάσεις, για ένα προϊόν, από στόμα σε στόμα παραμένουν το πιο ισχυρό μέσο διαφήμισης. Στην έρευνα συμμετείχαν πάνω από 29.000 καταναλωτές από 58 χώρες σε Ευρώπη, Ασία, Ωκεανία και Αμερική και διεξήχθη από τις 18 Φεβρουαρίου ως τις 8 Μαρτίου του 2013. Το […]

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The Cola Wars: Halloween edition

Τον γύρο του Internet έκανε η πρώτη από τις δύο φωτογραφίες για το Halloween στις 31 Οκτωβρίου. Η Pepsi ντύθηκε «τρομακτικά» βάζοντας μια μπέρτα με τη συσκευασία της Coca-Cola. Με τη δεύτερη εικόνα όμως έκανε το comeback η Coca-Cola δύο ημέρες αργότερα, αλλάζοντας απλά το copy. Και ξέρετε, εμείς λατρεύουμε κάτι τέτοια παιχνίδια… Ειδικά όταν […]

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The End Of Privacy… The Beginning Of Personalization

Marketers are at a precarious crossroads (whether they know it or not).

In my latest business book, CTRL ALT Delete, I lay out five movements that have fundamentally changed the brand forever (that most businesses are doing little – to nothing – about). One of these major movements is something I call, Sex With Data (with a hat-tip to Avinash Kaushik, the digital marketing evangelist for Google and author of the bestselling books, Web Analytics – An Hour A Day and Web Analytics 2.0). In this chapter, I also identify that one of the biggest challenges facing businesses today is their ability (or inability) to better explain to consumers the chasm that exists between privacy (knowing a lot of personal information) in contrast to personalization (knowing what people are doing online to create a better experience for them). Those who argue that these are simple semantics are completely missing the bigger picture. Amazon‘s ability to create such a highly personalized experience is core to their retail success (and consumer satisfaction), but as the company begins to roll out their Amazon Media platform, the world will be better able to see what happens when a company understands so much about their consumer, that all of the advertising associated with the experience will – at the very least – be highly relevant (if not substantially more transactional than most of the online advertising that we’re exposed to). My bet is that if Amazon plays its cards right, it will have capabilities as personalized and profound as Google’s AdWords.

But what about the rest of the Web?

Tracking is such a contentious issue that no matter how anti-tracking a marketer may be, eyebrows will be raised by the mere association of the profession to the action. Yes, it has become that dire. Every day, more and more traditional media outlets are warning about the nefarious actions of marketers in capturing all of our children’s information, in an effort to abduct them and force them into an international sex slave ring (ok, I made that last part up). But it’s true. When people see how their online usage is being near-freely traded on the digital market, it’s a far hop, skip and a jump to think about how much more personal information they would take (and abuse), if offered. Cookies used to be a tasty treat, now we’re all worried about our digital cookies and what crumbs we are leaving behind in an effort to use more cool free stuff like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

It’s time to come clean.

Did you know that Google accounts for close to a third of the worldwide online advertising revenue? I’ll wait while you pick your jaw up off of the floor. It’s true. So, how would you feel if Google did away with the cookie – as we have known it to date – and introduced a little something called AdID? That is what USA Today is reporting in the article titled, Google may ditch ‘cookies’ as online ad tracker. From the news item: “Google… is developing an anonymous identifier for advertising, or AdID, that would replace third-party cookies as the way advertisers track people’s Internet browsing activity for marketing purposes… [it] would be transmitted to advertisers and ad networks that have agreed to basic guidelines, giving consumers more privacy and control over how they browse the Web… on condition of anonymity.” It’s not hard to imagine the online squabbling that this is creating, as online advertising associations, ad networks, media professionals and more worry about how much more significant power and information this would give Google (and how this might affect the financial growth of their own businesses). Granted, I am an unabashed Google fan boy, but I would embrace this type of initiative, because it answers to a higher calling (hopefully). It removes the privacy issue (hopefully… and if done well) and brings the true power and glory of the Internet and online advertising to life: the ability to generate, distribute and engage in much more personalized advertising as a way to compliment the user’s experience. Say what you will about Google’s advertising platform, it is hard to argue that it is one of (if not THE) most efficient advertising platforms that exists. From simplicity and creative to distribution and consumer adoption. As much as people say that they hate advertising, the most cynical of consumers will admit that Google’s solution is the “best of the worst,” if pushed for an opinion.

Performance marketing for all.

Whether or not it’s Google’s AdID or something else, as a marketer we need to both applaud and get on board with these types of initiatives. We need these types of transparent and powerful solutions. It could lead us down a magical path, where brands are using this information to better segment and create advertising that… actually works! (believe it or not). Imagine that? The original promise of banner advertising – when it was first introduced – was all about putting an ad in front of a person that is relevant, and that the consumers could interact with. Sadly, the bulk of those ads sucked so bad, and were so annoying that users tuned them out. As an industry, we started calling them display advertising, because of the basic impressions that they could generate (yes, we went back to eyeballs and branding). What if this idea of personalized (without the worry of breaching any privacy) brings us full circle back to that original promise? What if Google (or someone else) builds a better mousetrap, that helps advertisers better understand how to personalize their creative without any transference of personal data? Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Imagine, if as an industry, we could get behind this type of solution. Imagine what could be…

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7 Reasons Why Marketers Should Be Twerking Miley Cyrus

Talk about a whole bunch of keywords in a headline that I never thought that I would ever write. But, here we are!

When cultural moments like Miley Cyrus at the Video Music Awards happen, we can’t help but stop and take a look. It’s the classic rubber neck syndrome, where we all, collectively, slow down to get a glimpse of the accident. It’s probably not the best part of the human condition, but it is who we are. We’ve taking rubber necking to a whole new level when you implicate social media into the mix. Now, we’re not just stopping to watch the madness and talking about it at the water cooler the next day, but we’re living it, sharing it, reporting on it and commenting on it like never before.

Media feeds the beast.

The Onion beat me to it. The satirical website had one of the most insightful (and hilarious) posts about the fiasco that points to the reality of what these types of events means to brands and marketers. And, make no mistake about it, brands, marketers and media entities jump all over this sort of stuff because it moves the needle. The article was titled, Let Me Explain Why Miley Cyrus’ VMA Performance Was Our Top Story This Morning, as a mock op-ed piece from the Managing Editor of CNN.com. Most will simply read this piece and laugh, but it has all of the major points about why moments like this get the kind of coverage that they do – particularly in this day and age when traditional media outlets are doing anything and everything to generate advertising revenue, and the wall between editorial and advertising is blurring faster than you can say: native advertising. You can read the article to get the humor, but here is a rundown of why marketers should be twerking Miley Cyrus:

  1. If the headline is salacious, consumers will click on the site and drive up Web traffic.
  2. When Web traffic jumps, publishers have impressive Web analytics to share with their boss… and with the advertisers.
  3. Once the story gets some traffic, spin-off articles happen (like 15 other Music Video Awards Embarrassments, and the like), these bump up the numbers even more.
  4. Digital editorial teams then turn these popular articles into slideshows (consumers love clicking on pictures). As the mock-article points out: “We also throw in a slideshow called ‘Evolution of Miley,’ which, for those of you who don’t know, is just a way for you to mindlessly click through 13 more photos of Miley Cyrus. And if we get 500,000 of you to do that, well, 500,000 multiplied by 13 means we can get 6.5 million page views on that slideshow alone. Throw in another slideshow titled ’6 ‘don’t miss’ VMA moments,’ and it’s starting to look like a pretty goddamned good Monday, numbers-wise.” Again, this is a satirical piece, but it’s one those, “it’s funny because it’s true” kind of things.
  5. One publishers have some articles rolling and slideshows that consumers are mindlessly clicking through, publishers will then create quick, cheap and dirty highlight videos and more, with experts discussing the performance or whatever. These video have pre and post roll advertising and some of them have sponsorship and product placement within the clips. More advertising. More traffic. More revenue.
  6. If consumers are spending all of this time with this type of content, media publishers have ammunition to tell brands and media agencies about how engaged and how much time their consumers spend on their property in comparison to others. Along with that, the bounce rate decreases (the amount of people who look at a page, but click on nothing else). These are prime metrics that enable publishers to command a higher advertising rate.
  7. We like to share. Once consumers watch this content, spend time with it, maybe even comment on it, they may be inclined to share it across their own social networks. From blogs to Twitter and Facebook and beyond. This propagates the content, drives more attention, amplifies it and builds the media brand. Yes, once a consumer shares it, they are complicit in helping the media entity to grow and to charge more to the advertisers.

So, in the end, everybody should read this fake op-ed piece in The Onion and realize that it’s probably the most accurate story about publishing, content and the state of digital advertising than any research report you are bound to come across.

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Nate Silver, David Carr And Charlie Rose

Have you seen this episode of Charlie Rose?

It originally aired on July 25th, 2013. It’s a great piece of video content to watch. These a traditional media personalities starting to better see just how much disruption the world has been through… and…

A Semi-Radical Idea About Offline Media

TweetIt’s time for this week’s Marketing Companion, in which my co-host Mark Schaefer and I discuss the recent purchase of […]

A Semi-Radical Idea About Offline Media is a post from: BrandSavant. Copyright 2010, Tom Webster. Thanks for reading!

Startup Founders Still Need Media Outlets for Good Publicity

It doesn’t matter if your logo is an exploding unicorn that’s about to cover the multiverse in rainbows. It doesn’t matter if you have a catchy brand name that’s so memorable, your next door neighbor, the one who has managed to live without internet access for the past twenty years, is enthusiastic about it. And it doesn’t matter if your tagline is so awesome, it is promptly co-opted in the latest Summer Hollywood flop. All of these things will play a role in your success later, but without good publicity they are and will be entirely irrelevant. So it’s your mission now to get your story straight in order to get that publicity as you build out this other stuff.

I’ve been working in PR since 1999, even going so far as documenting my misfortune as a Millennial during the peak of The Great Recession in the pages of the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Newsweek just to stay in the news. In that time I learned everything was secondary to a good story. If you don’t have that, regardless of whether or not you want to make the world a better place or possess the technology to do so, it simply won’t matter unless people know about it. And conversely, if you’re a broke Millennial living with your wife’s parents in South Glens Falls, New York, the opposite is true. You could have nothing and offer nothing while still making appearances in the national media; thus again validating what I’m saying to you now: don’t underestimate the power of a good story. It’s all you need to get that much-needed publicity.

It’s rare that your startup is going to have an opportunity like Google or Facebook did, where they were both able to grow extensively because they were founded in hotbeds of viral activity (elite universities with proactive alumni bases). I’m not saying it can’t happen, but I’m going to tell you that it is unlikely that anyone will know you exist or play with all your cool stuff unless they know about you via an external and trusted source, and nine times out of ten, that trusted and external source is going to be a media outlet like the Wall Street Journal, not an active alumni base.

If you’re a startup, and you haven’t yet figured out what your story is, the reason for your existence, and what exactly you can do for other people, there’s nothing I or anyone can tell you that’s going to make a difference in the failure or success of your enterprise. Too often, startup founders get caught up with themselves.

Sometimes, this can make a ton of sense. Like if you’re Tyler Spalding at StyleSeek, whose company delivers highly personalized product results while adhering to a super strict code of ethics about how that personal information is treated by the company. It makes total sense for your CEO then to be front and center as a privacy advocate because they’re there to tell the rest of the world, through their story and advocacy, that there is a better way forward than the fear, paranoia, and distrust we all now exhibit toward private companies and the federal government when it comes to the use of our data.

But this need for the founder and CEO to be front and center should be be a rarity. Startup founders are not overly relatable for a number of reasons. Often they will tell you a story of their frustration and that’s what lead to the creation of the company. That’s simply not good enough to sell the company to the press consistently over the long term.

So the story of the company in most cases needs to be separate from the story of the founder, and with that in mind, the heart of the matter is that the story of the company needs to be centered around the purpose for the company’s existence, not what issues the founder had. The press is more concerned about the why of the company’s existence and readers of the press are more concerned about knowing what your startup can do for them. What the founder thinks is does is often irrelevant outside of the Valley.

If you can get that part figured out, you can then flesh out the rest of the story. “We exist because X.” “We hope to achieve X.” “This is how we plan to get to X.” Very simple, very basic points. Points that can later be recycled and repeated, almost ad nauseam, to the press as talking points about the company that employees can use and have readily available. It’s only once you have your story straight that the other stuff like logos, design, and tag lines makes sense to talk about. Without the story, you have no guide, no one knows what you’re about, and the press won’t go anywhere near you. You can fix that. Go do so and worry about the other stuff later.

Image by Slavoljub Pantelic.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

An Advertising Tide Probably Won’t Raise All Of The Boats

There has been a lot of talk online about the end of advertising lately.

Whether it’s a new book on social media, some pundit pushing for social business or someone who is very excited that Instagram now affords their consumers the right to shoot 15 seconds of video along with their filter-tinged pictures, everyone is screaming that advertising – as we have known it to date – is dead (and/or dying). You can’t throw a marketer down a flight of stairs without hearing the words “big data” tumble out of their mouths and smart, smart people like Jeremiah Owyang (Altimeter Group) is banking on newer business spaces like the collaborative economy, while Jay Baer is pushing for something he calls, Youtility (which he defines as smart marketing that is created by helping consumers and not just hyping at them). It’s not a stretch to know that I fully (and categorically) back a lot of this thinking (see my latest book, CTRL ALT Delete for more on that).

But, there’s this thing…

As much as I can’t stand brands that are chasing likes on Facebook for the sake of chasing likes, or the ones who are doing nothing but shilling on Twitter, it’s hard to argue with the effect that it is having. Yes, these channels are gateways that allow brands to have these amazing direct relationships with consumers where they can be helpful, provide levels of utility and create levels of engagement like never before, but still there have been many instances when the numbers don’t lie. It turns out that chasing likes, shilling on Twitter and more have helped these brands increase their followers by impressive leaps and bounds, and that all of that pushing of products and services has created a level of activity that the brands are happy with. Crazy, right?

Maybe we don’t blame the brands?

It’s easy to sit here – as a marketing pundit – and take jabs at brands that are using social media as a megaphone to generate nothing more than free, cheap and easy impressions. It’s kind of like owning a guitar and insisting that there is nothing more to be played on it but crude power chords. There are dynamics and intricacies at play here that could engender the brand in a completely new and fascinating way, and yet they’re still doing whatever they used to do in traditional media by simply copying and pasting that model into these very different platforms and channels. Think about it this way: what if that’s what consumers know, want and expect? Sure there may be a segment that knows and understands how much more marketing and advertising could do because of these new tools, but what if they either don’t care or are simply used to (and accept) the advertising as they have seen it to date? Ask people if they like marketing and advertising. What do you think that they will say? Over the history of marketing, I’m going to guess (because I have no actual research to back this up) that when asked, the vast majority don’t like marketing and advertising and simply “deal with it” as a part of life (like death and taxes). If that’s the expectation – and it’s an understandable one because of the deluge of marketing messages that marketers place everywhere and anywhere – perhaps our own desire to evolve the medium is simply that – our own desire.

Advertising doesn’t work.

We like to say that advertising doesn’t work, but what do we really know? What if advertising works just fine, but the challenge is that there is simply too many choices (and a lot of bad advertising)? Not exactly rocket science, but we many of the new(er) media folks like getting their knickers in a knot when they see brands doing the selling game on social media instead of the long term value and relationship play. An advertising tide probably won’t raise all the boats, but it will for some (if not many).

We advertise to sell stuff.

Lest we forget. This is the reason that we are in business. Yes, we are here to add value. Yes, we are here to build brands. Yes, we are here to get excited. Yes, we are here to get people passionate about the things that we do. But… if they don’t buy, none of that matters. Many brands have (and only require) one imperative: create some kind of distraction/disruption in a consumer’s patterns to let them know that the brand, product and/or service exists. It’s a game of inches in a very crowded marketplace and, sometimes, the best way to do it isn’t by trying to be everyone’s best friend over the long haul, but to simply get in front of those eyeballs, let them know that you exist, make an offer and them get out of their way so that they can get back to the more important things in their lives.

Sometimes to sell, brands have to push. We may not like it, but there are sometimes no other way to get a very distracted person’s attention. Don’t believe me? Go play with some young kids for a bit.

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The Billion Dollar Branding Play

What is Yahoo going to do with Tumblr? What is Tumblr going to become with Yahoo?

Those seem to be the billion dollar questions, these days. After it was announced that Yahoo would be acquiring Tumblr for a little over a billion dollars, the online ch…

Supporting Those You Like – CTRL ALT Delete Comes Out Next Week

My new book, CTRL ALT Delete, comes out next week.

It took well-over six months of concentrated effort to write my second book, CTRL ALT Delete, which comes out on May 21st, 2013. The thing is this: you would have never known it or felt it. In that ti…

Hannibal: Making history?

Κάτι διαφορετικό αποφάσισαν να κάνουν οι παραγωγοί της σειράς Hannibal που παίζεται αυτό τον καιρό στο NBC. Η σειρά είναι στο 6ο της επεισόδιο από τα 13 που έχουν ανακοινωθεί, αλλά αυτό που έκανε διαφορετικό είναι στο 4ο της επεισόδιο, Ceuf. Το επεισόδιο ήταν προγραμματισμένο να προβληθεί λίγο μετά το Μαραθώνιο της Βοστώνης, αλλά λόγω [...]

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