Sunday, December 21, 2008

A New York Knicks Post

Been a while since I posted. I'm tired and I've got no rants, approvals, or opinions on marketing at the moment. Forgive me, gonna stray off strategy.

I'm enjoying a final glass of wine after a wonderful Chanukah party with family. We played, we watched sports, I had a hundred eager helpers to take care of Harry. I'm not ready to discuss the Jets loss, but although the Knicks lost, this Chanukah, I'm thankful for Nate Robertson. (is that this holiday?)

He is 5' 9''. This isn't a dunk contest, or an alley oop, or a fast break. this is a put back off an offense rebound. Are you KIDDING ME!!!? Points off the offense boards alone are pure hustle and scrap plays. You got to work, no one's setting you up, and your not relying on trickery or snazziness. Its just force, will, and attitude. Its, "I'm not leaving this side of the court without a basket, and its not going to be cute. Maybe we will miss, but I will outfight you for the ball, and put the mother in the hole. Mother-EXPLETIVE" This is that on crack by a guy almost a FOOT shorter than the average NBA player. Enjoy.

Please Donnie Walsh, don't trade Nate.

Football sucks.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Are Banner Ads Dead?

Mike Shields wrote an article about the end of display ads. I was happy to provide a quote and serve my role as the grumpy internet curmudgeon.

"Greg March, digital group director at Wieden+Kennedy, put it more bluntly. “Internet ads are small and out of the way,” he said. “Advertisers want to deliver impact, and I don’t think the impact for these ads is always that strong.”

Darren Herman, a peer of mine, running digital media for Media Kitchen wrote an post saying Digital Display Ads Aren't Going Anywhere?

Darren makes salient points about how engagement mapping will make banner ads more measurable, that integration with other mediums can enhance the value, and that there are business models and client careers invested in building off of these tiny little banners.

I totally agree with him.

Your probably thinking, "Greg, you are a fence sitting, waffling, vacillating, weak-kneed codfish hemming and hawing your way through your career trying to be everything to everyone." At least that's what you'd be thinking if you had a thesaurus handy.

Truth is he is right. The problem is that he's only addressing a portion of a robust communications plan. There is an aspect of a strong communication plan that relies on engagement, and a portion that relies on impact and disruption. Why can't the digital landscape house both? 200 million Americans are going to eat ketchup this month, how many of them are going to play (even the coolest) ketchup game or engage AT ALL with ketchup marketing. 1%? 2%?

That said, I don't think banners are "dead", I think they should continue serving their role of being low cost, navigational media that survives on targeting the perfect people at the perfect moment. Perhaps leads to immersive experiences that drive Word Of Mouth.

But as much as engagement is useful (and probably underutilized) the money in disruption is currently much larger. Whether its entertaining the masses to generate a feeling about your brand, or getting the word out about a sale, or owning a moment of popular culture, advertising often needs to get in peoples faces.

In order for digital marketers to have the strategic conversations with their clients about how much to allocate towards disruption and how much to allocate towards engagement, they need to accept that the disruptive piece has value.

When all the digital ad sellers and digital ad buyers ignore that, we reduce ourselves to a niche and get left out of the big picture discussions.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

CEO of Hulu

CEO of Hulu talks about their Mission, Culture, and Vision. Premium video content is highest CPM (non-search) media on the internet, with the highest sell through, and the most potential for growth.

Live TV : Ustream

Monday, October 27, 2008

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Recession

Dow continues to plummet, the bank's wouldn't let you borrow a pen, budget's of all kinds are cut but you know what, there's upside to all of this.

Here are 3.

The ad industry luminaries are going to have to roll up there sleaves and do some real work. Everyday hard-working smart people hustle, think, and sweat to bring marketing campaigns to life through complex bureaucracies only to unfairly read some luminary (that hasn't executed anything in years) snipe at them from their blog for not living up to some myopic tactical ideal. Later for that. Job descriptions of "I go to conferences, blog and Twitter" are going bye-bye. Some will roll up their sleeves, serve their clients and push the industry forward with action rather than opinion. The others will go back into the family business, or start selling something. "I used to be the Mobile Evangelist for ZebraZoo, and I can tell you, your clients need to advertise on calling cards!" Enjoy kicking them out of your office.

New digital media opportunities will be made available. Anyone hear this before the burst bubble burst. "You will NEVER buy an ad on the front page of Yahoo". I did. Now, for a price, I can turn it into a carnival. I know many luminaries hate this because its "intrusive". And to that I would quote Hyman Roth

We're in advertising. Sometimes we have to intrude on people to sell our products. I understand all the benefits of conversation. Engagement is a growing piece of what we do, but sometimes people need to be interrupted to learn that people buying a Toyota will be saved by 0% APR's and Subway sandwiches has some excellent $5 footlong options. Its not sacrilege to embrace that side our business. So let's see digital opportunities that are little less small and out of the way and might actually disrupt and impact people.

We will finally stop having to play pattycake with Millenial employees. I know I'm not the only one to notice this latest round of kids out of school that have known nothing but growth and 15% annual raises and complaints about working late. (not the ones that work for me, those are the best millenials alive, no joke) I've been saying for a while, these other kids need a little recession to whack them in line and recognize that this is the time in their career to work their asses off, learn their craft, and be reliable. To them I quote Judge Smails.

So yes I've quoted Hyman Roth and Judge Smails. Not the most beloved characters of American Pop Culture. I've praised interruption and minimized conversation and engagement. You may think I am the oldest, orneriest 31 year old in the world. Read the rest of this blog, you'll see I understand the value of conversational marketing, giving high level opinions, and even youth culture. But momentum usually carries popular ideas past rationale ones. Alot of digital marketers need to understand the historically successful ways of marketing products and the younger generation needs someone old fashioned humble pie.

Maybe its somewhere in the middle of these high minded new ideals and an old school approach that will sell the most stuff for my clients. And if it takes a recession to realign the talented people that work in marketing to achieve more success and become more valuable to their employers and patrons, so be it. Hopefully it will make us all richer in the long run.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Meet Harrison Jack March

In case your wondering, he's calculating pie.

And if you haven't seen enough of this little ball of awesome.  Go here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

This Is How I Cheat

I met Tom Cuniff at the MIXX conference a couple weeks ago. A colleague of mine asked me to maintain continuous tweets about the conference. I could not oblige, when I try and do that I don't end up following what people are saying.

Through Twitter Search I saw that Tom, (who I didn't know at the time) was keeping up posts aggressively, so I pointed my collegue to Tom. After speaking to him at the break and following his blog, it became apparent that it was worth my while to pay attention to what he says so that I can copy it and feign brilliance.

I've been trying to imitate really smart people and taking credit my whole career and no one seems to care. So I'm taking it a step further. For those that I work with, I WILL BE TAKING CREDIT FOR TOM'S EXPERTISE OFTEN. Feel free to beat me to it.

Check his blog out today and on the first page you'll:
  • Learn what marketers can learn from this election and social media's role in it
  • Read about a fantastic Kraft social media case study
  • See new innovation by the New York Times that justifies "tradional media" role in the digital landscape
  • Laugh at a hysterical video encouraging kids to vote or not to vote (with lefty celeb's almost holding back their gushy Obamalove)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Embrace Failure

I see @Armano tweets about a Clay Shirkey interview and I watch it.

Interview Clay Shirky from MarketingFacts on Vimeo.

He covered a lot of ground here but one of the more interesting points for me was that when bringing to life social ideas we can stand a little less planning and embrace a little more failure. Instead of investing tons of time and money on 1 idea, take a little bit of money and time and get 10 ideas in the marketplace. This might be a way to get more people participating with your idea (or if your a marketer, your brand). Then watch what happens kill the failures (learn from them), and optimize the success.

If you can agree that participation has value in its own right, that it in fact creates more passion around your brand, and that passion (even amongst a few people) makes your other ad tactics work harder, why not try a little more fail and little less plan.

Wanamaker says 1/2 your advertising doesn't work anyway. Grab a little money from there.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Your Ads Don't Always Need to Make Good Sense

There is a long acadamic style post I found through El Gaffney's Delicious page. While it wasn't my typical light and breezy biz blog reading, I suffered through it and came out richer. Maybe.

I'll try and sum it up as best I can here, if its interesting I suggest you check it out yourself and endure the same 20 minutes of pain that I did.

People's decisions are often truly made by their subconscious while they credit rational conscious reasons. An experiment in Ann Arbor, MI (go blue!) laid 4 of exact the same products and asked people which they like better. Most people picked one, and provided detailed rationale reasons. They were obviously nonsense (same product) but the patterns that emerged were driven by tactics playing to their subconscious (such as how the identical products are laid out on the table).

So if people's choices aren't always rational why are most advertisements focused on delivering rational sales points? And how does this tie to digital advertising?

Rational ideas "fits very well into rational organizations where order, analysis and control are always assumed to be the best ways of getting things done". Its hard to sell through (and stake your reputation on) ad ideas that are more emotional than rational. If it goes wrong you are a very easy target for blame. Blame holds back promotions and loses ad accounts.

Expecting an ad to "sell your product" is probably giving it more credit to advertising than its worth. Advertising should make products sellable. There's a difference. Friends recommendations, trusted editorial, specifications, details, salespeople, what you serve a customer after he searches for your product on Google, those things sell product, . I think most of your ads should create enough curiousity and positive feelings to setup those communications.

I think people's natural muting of advertising in their lives are due to many ads over-reaching their natural capabilities. Advertising needs to entertain and be enjoyable in its own right. Who wants to watch a sales pitch, but I can watch this all day.

New technologies can make advertising more than entertaining but functional and useful. As a Nascar fan, this was very helpful.

Now I don't think ALL advertisements need to cater to our subconscious. As I've always advocated, some ads plant seeds (subconscious) some harvest crops (very rationale, very conscious). A good marketer uses both.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Grey's Momentology

No show in the last 5 years has consistently delivered such funny and touching moments as Grey's Anatomy. ABC, Wieden + Kennedy New York, and People worked together to display the breadth of those moments and invite people into the conversation about which is the best one. Check it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama drives searchers to his message, McCain doesn't

McCain didn't think about having a campaign ad against Google searches of his recently selected VP?

Obama did put an ad next to searches about his speech from last night.

On a huge news day for the campaign, Obama will send more people to a crafted campaign message than McCain. McCain searches will be distributed across some positive coverage, some negative coverage, some crappy coverage, but none to a strategically developed message reinforcing his overall campaign architecture.

Some decisions are hard, not this one.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cool is cool, digital or not

So I just watched Michael Phelps win his 10th gold and at the commercial break Visa had a spot ready to go congratulating him. I was shocked, and it wasn't just me.

Within 8 minutes there was a bunch of mentions on Twitter. Tweeters included @jannygirl (over 500 followers), @designmom, @ederdnover, @lbbinc (all over 200 followers)

B/c of social media when you surprise, delight, inspire, entertain, motivate, enlighten, or teach people its so easy for them to tell EVERYONE (not just those within shouting distance) and sometimes they do.

The Phelps thing was so obvious, on point, and cool. Working in digital marketing its so easy to get caught up in a lot of jargon, tactics, and techs. Getting a spot ready to go in advance of Phelps making Olympic history was just a cool idea, not a digital thing to it.

Social media makes cool ideas everywhere more effective. Is the growth of digital media going to make TV advertising less important? I'm not sold on that. But I do think it will make weak TV advertising less important.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Always Be Closing Is For Boilerroom Meatheads

I've worked a couple sales boilerrooms in my day. It was in this environment I was banged over the head with the mantra "ABC, Always Be Closing". If someone wanted to check with their wife before buying a stock you would say "I'm sure you make lots business decisions in your job without checking with your wife, this is no different, and we need to move now." Then, ABC, "Let me just get some info from you and we'll pick up 100 shares. Where can I send the account package?" BOOM, ring the bell, I just caught a fish.

Marketers operate this way too. Anytime they get your attention, they are trying to get you to spend your money or your time on THEM. The folks behind Dr. Horrible, don't operate this way and I love that.

My Twitter friend Dr. Horrible tweeted about this link this AM.

Maybe you hated this campy musical and you might have already seen this campy video about a kid dancing around the world. The important thing to recognize is that here's someone who's marketing without selling. Here's someone who's trying build real relationships. And I think it will pay off.

I know the skeptical view of this. With the limited amount of people's attention I invest in getting why drive people to a video that doesn't tell anyone anything about me (or my product)?

My answer. If you do it once, it doesn't do anything. But over time if you establish yourself as a valuable resource for your fans to find entertainment (and in Dr Horrible's case become a curator for all things campy and kitsch) then the next time you put something out you've got some chits in the bank with some very important people.

Not only will these fanboys buy the Dr. Horrible dolls, and signed posters but their passion will give other people permission to pay $40 for a family to go to a film, or buy a DVD. It will inspire the curiosity of everyone they expose to their fanaticism. And maybe when a TV commercial hits their DVR, an ad hits their magazine, or banner runs over their email, they might not completely ignore it, and they might be driven to theaters, TVs or bookstores.

Sure, the 7900 people that receive Dr Horrible's Twitter message could've been pointed to something more "promotional" but I don't want to be friends with someone who's constantly trying to sell me something. And I'd be less interested in their tweets as well. Thank goodness, the Dr. doesn't do that. I would've been out of the loop about how I can learn about the adventures and schemes of Fake Thomas Jefferson.

I'm already excited to buy it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

That's No Moon

It's an intergalactic battle station of social media.

Let Our Congress Tweet

I am rarely political usually because I disagree with most people I know on most political things. I've learned over time, no cares what I think. But here's an issue I can get behind... who the hell is against our elected representatives using social media to communicate with their constituents?

What did your congressman do today? This month? This year? I have no idea, but if Facebook can keep me up with what my high school lab partner ate for lunch, I can certainly read a daily 2 sentence update on how my Congressman is spending my tax money.

So how do you fight against this ridiculous banning of communication? Use social media tools. I love how they applied the same approach I learned from my old basketball coach, Eric Stein. K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Shithead.

You can read the entire website in under 2 minutes then use social media to easily follow this issue and make your voice heard. You can keep up with the leaders of this fight on Twitter, read how people are talking about it, check out all the web links through, and declare your advocacy through post a button on your blog (or MySpace Page, or whatever you have) or by simply a copying link into your Twitterfeed that says " Congress, change the rules. Talk to us on our social networks. Let our Congress Tweet! #LOCT08" The movement has left the website its out in the world.

So basically to close the loop on the metaphor, this fascist rule about limiting communication with our elected leaders is Aldoran (Princess Lea's home planet) and social media is the Death Star about to blow it into tiny pixels.

Now get in the conversation.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dr Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog

So I'm a little pissed I paid $6 bucks for this and 3 days later its free but what the hell, it was worth the dough. Yes I like musicals and love stories. This particular love story is about a brilliant supervillan that falls in love with a sweet girl. A beautiful romance is beginning to bud then Captain Hammer shows up. Drats!

Keep your eye on Joss Whedon (the creator of this webisodic content). I expect many extensions of this, he's got my money and time and the money and time of many others. Very excited to see if he blazing a trail for professional produced content on the internet.

Here's how he rolled it out.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Will First Run Drama Work On The Internet?

Darren Star is skeptical

The reality is producing a show that can entertain the masses is difficult and expensive. There are only so many writers, actors, designers, & artists that can achieve it AND this is America AND they cost ALOT of money. You might be able to get a new writer to create something amazing on the cheap once. But they'll get more expensive each time they succeed and graduate to TV or Film, because that's where the money is.

So does the internet advertising business model support the costs for this talent? Not yet, not close. Because the internet is so vast and easy to navigate that every publisher is scared to interrupt a user. The ads are typically tiny, certainly out of the way and if you want to break these standards the rate becomes super high thus you reach less people.

Internet advertisers need users to choose our "experiences" for them to deliver value. When chosen, this type of advertising is uber-impactful. I don't think TV can match it. But that happens 1 out of 100 times if you're lucky (and good). So, 99 times out of a hundred you just paid for a non disruptive ad that gets limited attention.

There is a role for driving audience participation in marketing. Maybe that role is bigger than it gets credit for but there's a reason TV killed again in the upfronts. Its because impactful + scale is more valuable to most mass advertisers than uber-impactful and niche.

And until internet advertising can disrupt people at scale with an impactful message I don't see how it funds the kind of entertainment America expects.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hey Facebook Where Are My CPC deals?

As a customer of Facebook's Cost Per Impression media (ads paid for when they are seen), we've inquired about using their Cost Per Click programs (ads only paid for when they are clicked, merely being seen is free). Check out the CPC program here:

The response is that scale allowed is extremely limited. They say I could only buy about $15k worth of media in month. With the scale my advertisers are trying to reach its logistically inefficient to invest the time to go in the CPC system.

What is $15k of media or 15,000 clicks going to do for advertisers trying to effect the behavior of couple hundred million people? Yes, they might seed a viral explosion, but 1,000,000 people can seed a viral explosion a lot better.

I think this is another example of Facebook being inconsistent. Beacon was literally going to change advertising as we know it and then completely backed away from. Rules constantly change for application developers and they don't know which end is up. Advertisers get pissed because Facebook will posture that CPC is a great product unless you have real money to spend.

All this makes it difficult for their larger marketers to determine how Facebook fits in the very BIG picture of their marketing. Until that happens there are not going to be any HUGE ("sure I'll cut my TV budget type") bets. Want proof? Click here.

Facebook needs to get past the point of throwing a bunch of shit at the wall and seeing what sticks if it wants to swim in the deep end. Until we know where you stand and confidence that what you say to today will be true tomorrow, and true for everybody (especially your largest customers) advertisers might dip their toe in the water but we won't throw down.

I hope the new COO gets this together.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Potential Twitter Ads?

Is this how they plan to monetize Twitter? Are advertisers going to be able to buy that space?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Numbers tell a story

John McCain:
  • 53,381 MySpace friends
  • 136,793 Facebook friends

Barack OBama

  • 386,341 MySpace friends
  • 894,666 Facebook friends

Aside from the obvious, Obama's supporters are younger, have more time on their hands, and have been involved in a heated primary for 6 months, the numbers say something else to me.

Both candidates have more friends on Facebook than MySpace by a little less than 3:1. But MySpace total US traffic more than doubles Facebook. If they are both similar "social networks" the numbers would be opposite. If they had the same level of activity, that would favor Facebook a lot but this is pretty crazy.

People are just a ton more likely to share political views on Facebook, what else are they more likely to share? Alot would be my guess. Think marketers should care about that?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

What makes Facebook tick

Love how Josh Beil gets to the guts of Facebook's value. Its Newsfeed + Scale. I see the openness as one way to create valuable applications but not the only one (and potentially noisy to customers). Apple doesn't need it.

If you can build an engine for passive communcations between people like Newsfeed and have a level of ubiquity you can change lives. Tivo, cellphones, major retailers, airlines, hotel chains, governments, car makers can all be players. Facebook is a gateway drug.

New Title and URL

New title, name and URL for the blog. The name AdSportTech was pretty dumb, difficult to say, and false. So this blog is now called 'The Gist of March'.

Gist is defined as

–noun 1. the main or essential part of a matter: What was the gist of his speech?

What I really try to do in this blog is take the information I get from work, reading, chats with other folks and get down to the essential part of the matter for marketers.

I'm not sure if anyone was tracking this with an RSS feed but you might have to update it.

If you are reader I hope this new URL doesn't cause you to drop off. I want to sell sponsorships on this thing one day, I could use a thousand dollars a month like Mr. Schafer.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Does the shell matter?

I was recently asked if running an ad before a Martha Stewart clip on Martha has any more value than running an ad before that same clip on YouTube?

Its an easy answer for the buyer in me, but for the marketer its not as clear.

As a buyer, since syndicated content is a new way for content creators to increase their supply of ad space, I would pay less. Supply and demand, you create more supply through syndication, I pay less, simple. I'm sure the sellers would accept that, but what if they didn't?

As a marketer is there really less value? I don't know. Some people argue that it doesn't matter what content is next to ad, much less the subtle difference of what website hosts it. All that matters to them is who the individual is that see's the ad. What's their age, what are they in the market to buy, are they the right target. The context in which the ad is viewed means little, and they sacrifice that to get more exposure per dollar. If its cheaper to advertise to me during a Battlestar Gallactica rerun, why pay more to advertise to me during the Grey's Anatomy finale?

I think there are times to follow that logic and times not to. Your state of mind changes depending on what content your consuming, and seed planting is art that requires harmony of message, target, context, and timing. There is alot to that special sauce.

But I'm hard pressed to think there more's marketing value to the shell that holds the same content. YouTube or Martha Stewart, vs Hulu.

What are your thoughts?

Friday, May 2, 2008

What Wu Tang Taught Me About Social Marketing

When I was in college most of my friends were very into hip hop and it wasn't for me. I'm more into Springstein and the Who. But I wanted to be included in their conversations. If I showed knowledge of something that was both off the everyday's hip hop fan's radar and that the hard core fans thought was awesome, I could leverage this undiscovered gem.

So whenever I had the opportunity amongst a hip hop conversation I would say "Capadonna's verse in Winter Wars was the best rhyme ever." I was quite the hit at parties. Thanks for the tip Jared.

As a marketer there are conversations around cars, traveling, eating, clothes, food, entertainment, health, style that we want to get into. Most corporate messages are as out of place in these conversations as I was in hip hop conversations. But if we can create something that's just a little obscure but our most ardent influential customers think is awesome, maybe we have a chance.

I think our Portland Office did a great job at this with their Bruce Campbell Old Spice spots.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Why Participate?

Jason Calacannis writes a straightforward post about why he is a "Community CEO". Its short, to the point, and gives a concrete example. Its here.

I take some jibes at the office for blogging, twittering and delicousing. Because when you have a large, active community like Jason does you can leverage it for amazing benefits. I'll admit the value isn't huge for me yet, but I've only really been at it for 6 months.

In 6 months I have over 60 followers on Twitter (most of which are new people in my life and in aligned professions) and blog has started to get some comments and readers. My readers and followers grow every month.

All I do is try to provide valuable insights, write consistently, and participate in other people's conversations. The 2-4 hours a week I put in might grow my community and become a unique professional asset over time. The consistency keeps me well read and directs to me to form my opinions on digital marketing, which often find their way into my work at the office. Actually paying back dividends on the time I invested.

Faith in the benefits of a large, active community and a long sited view justifies the time I put in for me personally. But brands would benefit from the same perspective.

Even if your a company, you can't write a check big enough and buy a community that cares about your brand, its built over time with consistency and value. I know that's not easy, but the upside is that it shouldn't cost a lot either. And while your building you'll probably recognize some benefits you weren't expecting.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Blog Legendary

maybe its my fault
maybe I made you think I have a lot of free time to blog
maybe I made it look like these ideas just fell out of the sky
maybe I don't like the NBA and NHL playoffs and leaves me tons of time
maybe you think I put all my ideas in my blog and don't save any for my clients
maybe I made you think I don't need to recharge my batteries on the weekends
maybe you thought its easy for me to keep up quips on Twitter and still have blog posts in me
maybe I never draw blanks on new ideas to write about
maybe my blog posts are cheap cop outs to try and hype up other WKNY work that other people did

OR MAYBE, your just making excuses


Oh, and in case you didn't know. Your blogging owes my blogging $20

Thank you for coming.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Ning and the Underpants Gnomes

Article in Fast Company Today about Marc Andreeson's Ning. It talks about the viral loop, that creating a company that successfully get users to recruit their friends is awesome. How VC's love it, valuations go straight to billions and its nearly infallible.

Why haven't you heard of the viral loop yet:

You might wonder how something as profound, powerful, and potentially profitable as a viral loop has remained under the radar for so long. Andrew Chen, a blogger and former advertising executive who worked with MySpace, Hi5, and other social sites, has a simple answer: This critical insight "is worth a lot of money," and the few people who understand it "are all doing their own companies."

Here's my problem. Blogger, Digg, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr. They have the viral loop, loads of users, have sky high valuations and they don't have a profitable business and no one seems to care about that. Not important, at all.
Reminds me of my favorite cartoon that I along with old friend Brett Goffin used to laugh about as we waited for the subsequent burst of internet bubble 1.0 in 2000.
The UnderPants Gnomes. The "Underpants Gnomes" are a community of underground gnomes.

The Underpants gnomes have a three-phase business plan,

None of the gnomes actually know what the second phase is, and all of them assume that someone else within the organization does.

Watch the Underpants Gnomes Episode, its great. Fast forward to last 4 minutes for more detail on the business model.
This time its probably different though, the viral loop is too powerful, those who know about are so secretive and brilliant they are just withholding phase 2 until the opportune moment.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

So You Want To Twitter

Step 1: Got to and sign up for an account. If you’re not following at least 25 people the experience is kind of lost (some reco’s below). If you tried it before and didn't follow 25 people it doesn't count. Try it again.

Step 2: Download and Install Twhirl

Step 3: Using Twhirl search for people that talk about what you’re interested in, follow the ones with interesting things to say. If you like cooking, search the word "cooking"

Step 4: Once you observe Twitter users you think are providing you value, and you want to get in the coversation, base your post frequency, style, and topics on them.

Here are some people worth following if your a marketer, you can quickly add them by clicking on the Following link from my Twitter page

JasonCalacanis / Jason Calacanis - Cocky, opiniated entrepreneur. Owns

Scobleizer / Robert Scoble - Classic Geek, Loves Technology and Business

jowyang / Jeremiah - Social Media Expert from Forrester

loiclemeur / Loic Le Meur - Owns Seismic, great video's

Armano / David Armano - Designer

darrylohrt / darryl ohrt - Planner

bmorrissey / Brian Morrissey - Ad Age Writer

skydiver / Peter Shankman - Social Media/ PR guy/ high energy creative plane jumping nut

guykawasaki / Guy Kawasaki - Old School Apple Marketer gone VC

THespos1 - Tom Hespos - Agency Owner

mediadarwin - Jim Meskauskas - Gifted Media Expert, Dayjobbing as a Pirate

chucknorris_ - Chuck Norris - Beat a brick wall in a game of tennis

rgleeson / renny - World Wide Digitist

TechCrunch / Michael Arrington - Will tell you who's getting money, who's great, who sucks

ischafer / Ian Schafer - Digital Agency Owner, Creative, Daring, Interesting

sarahcuda / Sarah Lacy - Much harrassed but bright business writer

jasonclement - Search guru

daveknox - P&G brand manager

adrants / Adrants - They know when you are lame

Friday, April 11, 2008

Being a Curator

“The Internet allows every company to become a media company,” he said. “It takes resources, dedication and a nose for creating good content that people want. Brands will become digital curators in high interest niches. This will either be a solo effort, or more likely, in partnership with bloggers, media companies and/or everyday consumers.”

MediaShift . Digging Deeper::The Social Press Release: Multimedia, Two-Way, Direct to the Public PBS

It reminds me of a time I was in a meeting with colleagues who's client wanted ads that showed that they were an "arbiter of culture". I said, "Cool, but would it make more sense to just arbite culture". Its the commitment and change in business practices that makes that tricky.

Some problems you might encounter along the way.
  • If you want to keep content fresh and regular don't expect the same production values as brochures and commercials with 6 months lead times
  • Don't lie to yourself. If the little voice in your head thinks its not 100% authentic, its not
  • Don't expect immediate results, becoming a truly valued source of information takes time, if you expect this tactic to lift back to school sales significantly your too late
  • Accept that the last time you tried this that you sucked and nobody came because you didn't invest in enough promotion, or the content wasn't good enough
  • Don't bet the farm on it. Bet a little bit on it, but stick with it, learn from mistakes, and watch it grow.
  • Your other marketing budgets (TV, OOH, etc...) aren't going away they are just getting diversified and will need to be more efficient

Friday, March 28, 2008

What Cuss Words Bring the Table

I love curse words. I love them so much that speaking appropriately around my future child scares the shit out of me. But can curse words make better advertising?

Here's an example a car insurance company trying to cut through the clutter. They are probably reaching out to young men to get attention. Well they got mine, I didn't know that with a good credit score and education I can get car insurance at better rates. Fucking sweet!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I love this movie

And the fact I can do this

Long Live the Internet Music Marketplace (and Talkies)

Today I read a Times article, a TechCrunch post, and A VC's blog post about musicians their ability (or lack thereof) to monetize their content.

The VC blog post sums NYTimes article and Arrington. It's here:

A VC: Moving The Goalposts

I love music, I love bands, and I've treked far and wide to see musicians play and I've never stolen a song in my life.

That said, I don't care about musians getting paid. Not even a little. Business models change. I worry alot more about the American auto workers than musicians. There's a lot more of those guys, and if I can reconscile my dogmatic belief in the free market with screwing those guys over (as hard as it is), than musicians aren't a blip on the radar.

When movies became "talkies" the stars of American cinema that couldn't be compelling past their pretty face were out. This is no different. Tomorrow's musicians that can't make a living off of live touring, one to one outreach with fans, and merchandising are out. And that will lead to better music in very much the same way sound led to better movies.

What does that mean. More musicians touring and fighting harder for each fans. We'll probably see better talent in smaller clubs more frequently. Bands will put more effort in building a community out of their fan base and inspiring enough love amongst fans to get them to shell out real coin for collectables. Those making music to get laid and cash in will quit faster. Success in music will be more about the road than the destination, those giving it go in this marketplace will be pre-qualified when the end game isn't as rosy.

Yes, there will be less bloated rock stars selected by a king maker radio or studio exec's. And yes, there may be less money in it for artists. Maybe this new model will push some very solid bands to an unsustainable income, and they'll be lost forever. We will gain far more bands than we will lose with the democratization of audience access. I've spoken with some GREAT bands, that aren't rich by any standard. They've made their piece with it, they can get by. Its a shame, but its rock and roll and they like it. Maybe that's what makes them great.

Market forces inspire plenty of creativity. The great ones will find a way to get a good number of people to love them. Maybe that won't bring in enough money to "make it rain" but enough to keep doing what you love, and the great ones will still have it pretty good. Trust me.


So let's see how easy it is to embed a playlist on my blog. Good music can be found here:

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Colorwar 2008

This is pretty bad ass.

Colorwar 2008

Simple, unique, familiar. Maybe it could've been executed a little slicker without having to go to Flickr but there's alot to like here. Especially for students of the art of RoShamBo.

If this was an entrance to a contest that would be finished in front of national audience for prizes, I'd totally watch.

The RoShamBo Open. Love it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

One to Grow On... For Marketers

Here's an example of how a brand develops a personal relationship with its target. It is not MASS marketing, its smaller and more targeted and can create a deeper connection than standard advertising.

Jason Calcannis founded Silicon Alley Reporter, and Weblogs and is kind of geek famous. He blogs regularly, and updates his twitter a couple times a day and I track him as do 12,000 other people (a number that’s growing rapidly day over day) He’s a bit of a pompous jerk, but very smart. I track him because his ideas and thinking are useful to me professionally and he’s a wise ass and I’m curious to see which significant tech power player he’s going to pick a fight with next. Tonight he organized what he called Dim Sum 2.0 where he invited tech entrepreneurs, marketers, programmers, and writers to get together for Dim Sum at a place in China Town tonight to talk technology. The invite was extended through his blog and twitter feed. I would’ve been there but I’m in LA.

Around east coast dinner time in my twitter feed I saw this from Calcannis:

I'm streaming live right now, come chat!

1 minute ago from web

At his link he ran around with a video enabled cell phone and filmed the event. He kibitzed with other tech geeks while 500 people chatted live, and he spoke to them and shared their comments with other geeks.

For most people the content sucks, but they're not Jason Calcannis fans and they have little or no interest in him or what he’s talking about. But I do. When he tells people from ValleyWag to fuck off, that’s entertaining to me because I know the back story. When he talks to the founder of Trender about when they met in 1995, and saw the Mosaic browser, and believed in the internet when no one else did, that was cool b/c guys like that are pioneers to me. Take the nerdness out of it. Everyone has things they care about like this and our brands can draft off them.

I don’t think Qik or Twitter or a Blog is any more answer to communications challenges than Dim Sum is. It’s the frequent contact that’s always fresh, its inclusion of the audience with the brand, it’s the real-time interaction, and its niche content that matches a target audience. A blog and twitter and Dim Sum are tools to help you communicate more frequently with those that are interested and give your customers what they want.

You don’t need a twitter strategy we need an engagement strategy (knowing about the tools how they are used just opens up possibilities)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

And the meek shall inherit awareness

A great line in otherwise shill filled keynote today by David Carlick (Doubleclick founder/ investor). I could be mad, but he gave me this line to think about (and probably copy and take credit for) so job well done.

He was talking about how much harder it is to truly engage someone than buy a GRP at them. I interpret “harder” as expensive, time consuming and personally risky.

I think as a marketer you need to be honest about this. Each marketer needs to answer the question, “Do I want to impact tons of people a little bit (awareness), or a smaller number of perfect people a lot (engagement)”. If both, what’s more important? How do I spread my scarse resources (i.e. time, money) against these goals? This is going to vary from business to business.

But regardless of business once you make that choice I think there are some consistent best practices about how you allocate funds within the awareness and engagement filters.

Awareness = lots of media, lower investment in creative/ strategy/ and campaign stewardship.
Engagement = Creative/ Strategy/ Stewardship gets a lot more money and the media budget should shrink.

If you stick to an awareness based business model and try to generate engagement you’ll fail quickly. But if you stick with model you know and never fund engagement in a manner and scale that is logical you’ll fail slower.

And the meek shall inherit awareness and weaker brands.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Planting Seeds and Harvesting Crops

A smart guy once told me that advertisers are either planting seeds or harvesting crops. What he meant was advertisers were either generating demand for a product or they were taking existing demand and turning that into money.

When Bob Iger said, "I'm not worried about Google cannabilizing our advertising." I thought of this statement.

Google (all search really) is a fantastic tool for taking existing demand and turning it into money. Disney uses it to take existing demand of its content, harvest the demand into visitors, and sell other advertisers the opportunity to plant seeds. Advertising around (and yes even interrupting) content is a one (of many) tactics used to plant seeds.

Now is interruption the best tactic to do this? No. There are deeper ways to plant seeds w/ people through engagement and CRM. However, the ability to scale the reach of your seed planting is limited compared to interrupting great content. Interruption can go wide but not deep, engagement can go deep but not wide. An advertiser needs all of this. And impactful creative has to be everywhere.

This doesn't mean it will always be the biggest piece of the pie, or detract from the value of generating engagement but if we think interruption is going away completely we are kidding ourselves.

Disney's Iger: No AOL Bid

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friendfeed Makes the World's Collide

A couple former Googlers created this social network aggregator and it bubbled up on Techmeme. I saw a line about "2008's Twitter" so I needed to check it out.

What it does is brings all your social networking venues such as Twitter, Google Reader, Delicious, Facebook, Blogger all together in one stream that you can view and publish.

Problem for me is, I use all of these services quite differently. I'm experimental in Twitter and Blogger. I use Google Reader as a personal link archiving tool. I use Facebook to keep up with real friends. I use Delicious to promote social learning at my company.

By putting all this info in one place it zaps some of the value of each. As a content producer it bothers me. But as a viewer, I think I might enjoy tracking people across different vehicles, I might learn useful things or see a more complete picture.

What can marketers do with this? First they have to make the commitment to be a social marketer, then a diverse social marketer, then an aggregator of their own diverse voices. Is it worth the time and money, that's for you to decide.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Really, Apple. You can't get this together?

All the hipsters love Apple. I see them lined up outside the store in SoHo, this is how I know. Well, I tried to do something as hipster as it gets and Apple can't deliver

There's a song from a SWEDISH HIP HOP ARTIST, that I read about, ON A BLOG. I was going to DOWNLOAD IT ON MY IPOD from ITUNES, so I could listen to it on my way to work at AN AD AGENCY IN THE WEST VILLAGE.

They tell me I can't buy Swedish music. Thank g-d its not easy to steal music or else the music industry would be wasting precious opportunities. Wait... umm...