Thursday, July 16, 2009

Quit Fussing About Behavioral Targeting

Recently I was asked my opinion on this article by Jeff Einstein.

He attempts to slay the practice of behavioral targeting. He attacks the practice from a variety of angles. I find most of the those angles irrelevant.

1. Consumers don’t WANT to be served relevant ads.

Consumers don’t want to be served ads at all. They also want to free BMWs and houses made of ice cream. Stuff costs money. Free content, tools, and games costs ads. Starting with that as a given, and the choice of a relevant ad or an irrelevant ad, I’m confident that consumers prefer relevance.

2. The CTRs are low.

All clicks measure is a way to see how well you are effecting people open to engaging with your brand at that very moment. Not all advertising can make everyone you want to reach, jump out of their seat and act. You should aim for that and if you have a dollar and the choice between a tactic that will make everyone do that and behavioral targeting, choose the former. But once you spent all those dollars, and still want to change how people feel about your brand, BT is one of several tools in the box.

3. You risk breaking the law.

There is no law. There might one day be a law. When there is one we will follow it. Most of your deepest darkest secrets are bad targeting criteria. And using that data would probably be a moral and major PR problem, but not yet a legal one. Knowing whether or not someone might be in the market for snow tires doesn't require that kind of information.

BT is NOT Spam. We are taking ads people were going to see anyway and making them more relevant.

4. You drain budget

I doubt any advertising budget is higher or lower based on the existence and use of behavioral targeting. Perhaps digital budgets are. But digital budgets are dumb. Marketing budgets is where the allocation should begin. Put the money in the place where it makes the most sense. There are often better places (many better places) to put that money than in behavioral targeted banners, but your marketing teams should have strategic conversations around that, and wrestle with that on a day to day basis.

His last point does make sense

"Much better instead to reinvest your time and money in the fundamentals of a good message and better online destination experiences. Challenge your agency to explore and learn how -- in an on-demand media universe -- to let your audience target you."

With that I agree. At least I would if my business was building online destinations like his probably does. Objectively I'd invest in brand experiences wherever they may live, social networks, mobile phones, the middle of Times Square. But I digress...

A good message and awesome brand experiences are way more important than any of this nonsense. They need to well funded. But there are lots of territories to fill in a marketing plan, once your done creating awesome experiences, and all the people that can find you, find you. Sometimes you still have more product demand you need to drive.

As I've said on many occasions 200 million Americans are going to eat ketchup this month, you can build the best ketchup game in the history of the world, no more than 5% of them will play it and you got a lot more ketchup to sell.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

It's Saturday @ Noon

And this is the best damn team in the media business

Thursday, May 28, 2009

And Now A Few Words From the Boss

So I learned 2 things from these videos. 1) Utah is a bad place to kill people. B) I'm pretty fortunate I found this place.

How "Just Do It" came to be

How Wieden + Kennedy is Different From Your Ad Agency

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Protect Our Precious Bodily Fluids

The Russians have invested in Facebook

We must protect our precious bodily fluids. I'm not saying Facebook should avoid them entirely, but they should deny them their essence.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


I never got into Kings of Leon. I had heard them, thought it was cool, didn't care enough to seek it out.

Then I heard this mashup, I played it on my iPod about 20 times. Always came back to it. Then every time I heard Kings of Leon, I paid more attention and like it more and more.

Tonight I'm buying a bunch of KOL tunes from iTunes.

Lesson: Let fans play

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Team Star Trek Does Earned Media

Star Trek does an awesome job rewarding their fanboys, by turning a run of mill screening of Wrath of Khan in Austin, TX into a World Premiere of the New Star Trek movie.

Its yet another example of JJ Abrams and Damon Lindeloff walking the talk with the fans who drive the early buzz around the excitement of their projects. It's not only good for the new Star Trek movie, but its putting money in the bank (or "earned media") for the next project. Its on brand. Its beautiful marketing strategy.

Call me greedy but I would've tried to hold up more of a megaphone to this moment. Multiple cameras, fan interviews, encouraged a hashtag on Twitter, promoted a live stream. Cut it into a pre-roll commercial and served it to a targeted group of movie goer's and Star Trek searches.

Do you think the further promotion of this authentic moment takes away from it? Or if you could directly expose a couple million people to it (instead tens of thousands), does the benefit of that echo outweigh what you lose in authenticity?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Making Us Sweat

CBS waited until the last possible to let the Wolverine faithful know they made the NCAA tournament for the first time in over 10 years. Although it should've (was) a lock, paranoia began to set in. Here's the view from Ann Arbor

Sunday, March 1, 2009


If I Had a Hammer

Gary Vaynerchuk at FOWA Miami 09 from on Vimeo.

Posted this comment in response to this video


I think your totally blowing it when you (chastise) Cartier for buying a print ad or a TV spot. Are website ads, maintaining twitterfeeds, dropping Seismic comments unique and valuable? Absolutely. And they are underutilized. Definitely.

But TV, print, and all other media have a role to play. Whether its reaching more people in a specific period of time or associating a brand with a pop culture moment, or many other things

For example maybe Cartier sells 80% of its watches on 4 specific weekends. It could tolerate the inefficiency in targeting a print ad in SI for efficiently timing a message to half the men in this country with a glossy picture at the perfect time of year.

Maybe I'm Coke, and being part of the fabric of America is best articulated with entertaining everyone's family and friends while they are together during the Super Bowl.

Digital advocates say that if your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. I say even though you have all the tools, sometimes you use the new ones and sometimes you just need a fucking hammer.

"What is this Twitter? What is it all about?"

So I'm watching Chris Matthews this morning and they talked about Congressmen Twittering. They laugh smugly at the Congressmen and women that tweet (HAA! Tweet, what a silly word) about all the inane crap in their day. Then they proceed to read tweets from Congressmen derisively.

Wow, I've never heard that POV. I've never heard anyone say any, "I don't want to know what people had for breakfast!" Right, because that's all Twitter is, people talking about what they had for breakfast. Yes, if your not a professional media person, and you lay this on me, I'll give you a pass. Chris Matthews doesn't get one, he definitely knows better. If not he's an ass.

The 140 character limit lowers the mental commitment of Tweeting. Its easy, its short, its layered next 100 other people's tweets. You don't need to over analyze your thoughts before you distribute. And most people don't. When you follow someone what you typically get is a less filtered view of them. Does that filter let uninteresting stuff through. Yes. (CM mocks this is as if there's no uninteresting stuff on the news) But on Twitter its much easier to move onto the next thing compared to TV. My guess is that if you follow someone, you might get at least couple insightful thoughts from your Congressman per month. How many would you get otherwise?

Maybe Chris is worried because when I get to hear directly from my Congressmen, maybe I'll rely less on the practiced, spun, rehearsed, talking points these people swill on his show. I might form opinions of these people on my own instead relying on his biased filter.

Anything that bypasses Chris Matthews and connects me to my elected officials is good. The elitist derision of that direct contact offends me. The sheep that are managed by Matthews and others like him, are probably talking to their friends today about how stupid Congressmen that use Twitter are. Hopefully some of those people Google "Chris Matthews Twitter" and this post comes up and they choose to follow and learn more about their elected officials.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rock, Paper, Scissor, Lizzard, Spock

After posting the interactive video based game of Barack, Paper, Scissors. I recalled a funny bit on CBS's Big Bang Theory where the nerd characters reinvent the game in their own delightfully nerdy way in order to avoid the game's obvious mathematical problems.

Which video did you enjoy more? Which video would you talk about to your friends?

Friday, February 27, 2009


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I'm Sir Martin Sorrell, And I'm Smarter Than You

In an interview with Martin Sorrell in AdRants, I LOL'd at this Q&A.

Question 7: What has been your biggest failure as CEO and what did you learn from it?

Sir Martin: "There are failures every day. The biggest one was probably in the recession of 1990/91, when I over-geared the company following the acquisition of ogilvy. I didn't understand that a convertible preferred stock in a recession was debt not equity.

The lesson — make sure it doesn't happen again."

I wonder what AdRants follow up question would've been. "Yeah,...convertible preferred, stock equity, ratio, market, yen, exchange rates, bonds, oil, er... der.... me no get it."

My guess at what Martin was thinking. "I'm titan of corporate industry, you write a gossip blog. You dare talk to me of failure? How about I give you (and your peon readers) an answer involving M&A and corporate finance that your tiny brains can't comprehend and watch you stare back at me blankly."

Maybe, the "over your head" response is a useful tactic when your the CEO of a conglomerate talking to the press, but I've seen many middling digital marketing exec go for it with colleagues that are less tech savvy. Its self satisfying, and often unchallenged to your face. People fear looking stupid, but ultimately it erodes trust and will bite you in the ass.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Playing Against Type

If a place doesn't have an Applebee's and a golf course I don't want to vacation there. Many a night on business travel, while colleagues explore the city, I order Domino's and watch Sportscenter. I bought a house down the block from my suburban high school. Being "cultured", is NOT an accusation that's flying my way all that often.

That said, I watch the TED talks podcast almost every weekend. Today I watched one from Robert Forbes. This guy travels the world and takes pictures of regular shit and talks about why its interesting from a design standpoint. I was fascinated. Still, I'd rather play 18 in morning, and have a hamburger and Bloody Mary by the pool than go to a city I don't know anything about. Why do I need to go anywhere with cool talks like this coming right to my computer?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Car for Sale

Some might think, its in bad taste to use your blog and the attention you've earned from people by consistently delivering marketing insights and digital infused thinking. Those people would be missing out on a great deal on 1995 Honda Accord with less than 90k mi, running great, with new belts and AC system for under $3,000.

This car has at least 160k miles left in it. That's less than $.02 per mil. Its practically free. I'm practically paying you. Really.

All you city dwellers, you want to shop in a real supermarket BOOM! How about trips up to check out the wineries in Long Island, no railroad, Honda will get you there, WITH MUSIC. I've got a softball game on Randall's Island, how do you get there. I'll tell you, you take the Honda, and bring friends, its going to be awesome.

Life without a car is terrible, all you Manhattan folks say you don't need one, who are you kidding? Do yourself a favor email and set up an appointment to test drive this beauty.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Musings on Leading A Digital Media Group

When it comes to digital media strategy I feel like I'm repeating myself on this blog. Don't fear bigger ads, blah, blah, blah. If I'm tired of it, then dear readers, you guys must be.

One thing I've learned running a digital media group is that while having sound, well thought out strategy is important, its not the most important aspect of this job. Neither is your ability to come up with creative ideas. Reality is, that if your hiring well, you have many smart people working for you that have their own well thought out ideas. Those ideas might be (gasp) better then their boss's.

When it comes to running a digital media group, like any group, good leadership is the most important thing. It doesn't get your name in the trades, invites to vendor boondoggles, or even as many immediate "attaboys" from agency management.

What it does do is retain talent, inspire your employees to give the most out of themselves, provides more cool heads in a storm and optimism. Hire well and do that and you will have happy customers. Happy customers are the beating heart of any strong business. In time (years my impatient digital friends) attaboys will come in the form of salary increases (and opportunities) when your group consistently makes more money for the agency year after year.

In order to be a good leader here's what I try and focus on:
  • Candor - Above all things. When its hard to candid, that's when it matters most.
  • Never be content - I expect every employee I have to be the best in the industry at their job. Expect that, and then they will expect it as well.
  • Be positive - Balancing this and never be content is tricky but not impossible. Respect their journey, and their effort, pay them when its justified, just keep moving the finish line.
  • Cut bait - Give every effort to coach an employee to meet your needs, but if you can't do it, be honest with yourself, and them and cut bait. The difference between a great employee and an OK one is dramatic.
  • Know Your Shit - This one IS about craft and strategy. When it comes to marketing strategy and tactics your ideas don't need to always be smarter than your employees. But you absolutely must be smarter some of the time. If not, you're an empty suit and all the leadership traits in the world won't save you. When focusing on being a leader, never lose your craft.
  • Integrity - Simplest thing in the world. Do what you say you will do.
Those are mine. What are some other keys to your success in your business?

Monday, January 12, 2009

David Cross Has Something to Say TV Marketers

Although its cute to watch David Cross dressed as woman drop the "F Bomb", his analysis is flawed. You fired the same guys that blew it on Arrested Development, they wouldn't have been there to turn a talent show, into the biggest ratings powerhouse of the decade.

Point is, some entertainment is for broadcast TV, some isn't and producer's guild awards are not the litmus test for that. Marketing is one piece that sits along side programming, scheduling, star power, luck, quality, audience and timing. Making a hit is a tricky stew and they don't come around all that often.

I'll buy into actors calling out marketers for failed shows right after I hear them thanking us on stage when they accept them. David Cross should stick to playing pretend in his bra.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bringing Marketing Thunder, Changing the Marketing World

I know I'm going to get torched for being a Gary Vanderchuck Fanboy, but who cares. The way this guy carries his business, is really inspiring.

  1. In my Twitter I feed got a free shipping offer which means alot because shipping is normally very pricey for wine. Spent money. Wife will be pissed when she finds out, but I have some great new wine on the way.
  2. So I checked his personal blog today and learned one of his sites got hacked. The story broke on TechCrunch, a widely read technology blog.
In the comments section he responded with this:

Inspired lots more comments like this:

This impresses me because here's not a guy talking about how brands should use social media, as Nike says he Just Does It. It doesn't cost a ton of money, and it works. But reality is I can't articulate the value and thinking of what he did better he already did.

My last take away from this is that the most useful social marketing doesn't require a lot of money. It requires speed and authority. Something a lot of large companies lack. Charging your marketing department to do amazing social marketing isn't good enough. Hiring a social marketing guy or a social marketing agency isn't good enough. You need to give whoever is responsible for social marketing a TON of authority over PR, product offers, customer service, and marketing. Is that risky? Shit yeah. But if a large company could operate like Gary just did the upside could be worth it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

From the Desk of Chris Cunningham

Received the following from Chris Cunningham @ Appsavvy, via email. Chris is a smart guy who's championed portable media like widgets and apps as long as anybody. He's got a well thought out, informed POV and his gut predictions are based on as much experience as anyone.

However, I take issue with his treatment of Facebook as an already proved out business success. True, Facebook has gotten a ton of usage from people but I don't see a business model that justifies the valuation. If Facebook had to spend less money than they made what would they do, what's the path to that look like? Are small, out of the way, ads with tiny CTR's valuable enough to support all those genius developers when the VC runs dry?

The fact that he suggests the iPhone, a sickly profitable business, might "grow" into a Facebook "killer" scored a 10 on the Greg March, What the Fuck??? O-meter. (TM)

Not to take a shot at Chris. In fact, I think Chris's model might be more sustainable, can be managed off of lower cost, and if his apps create real value for people (big IF), these apps might be able to sustain larger, more impactful and disruptive advertising solutions. Just stop selling shitty, tiny banner that my eyeball is trained to ignore.

Chris's comments cover alot more than that, and worth the read, they are in green, so maybe you think of money and throw the guy some business, enjoy:

Thus far, we’ve seen the creation of tens of thousands social media applications for Facebook and while less so, other social networks, including MySpace, hi5, among others. The next step and a trend we’ve seen in the second half of 2008 is the maturation of the space. Not only are developers and publishers focused on utility of applications, so are Internet users. Right now, there is a strong move from quantity to quality applications. I believe the biggest reason for this evolution is the creation of a new advertising vehicle for advertisers, thus an opportunity to monetize developer and publishers creations, while providing valuable content, entertainment, community and more.

Let me share with you some of the trends we’re seeing as we approach 2009 and beyond:

1) Social media applications truly becoming communities and evolving into portable Web platforms

2) I’m also very bullish on the standardization of consistent metrics and measurement of social networking channels in the New Year. I’m most optimistic about metrics outside of CTR (Click Through Rate), such as time spent, usage and more....

3) Social networking sites exceeding expectations as it relates to user adoption, traffic and page views. I also see social networking destinations evolving their thinking as it relates to the developer community. Expect further cooperation and – gasp – data sharing and more.

4) From an overall Internet industry perspective, Facebook and its momentum will be to Google, what Google was to Microsoft a few years ago. Facebook is doing a tremendous job of building mindshare and not only competing, but beginning to lead in the core platforms of the Internet: communications and dare I say it, increasingly so in search, but in a different way. Through social networks, the Internet becomes less about searching and more about bringing all of your interests together.

6) Outside of Facebook, I’m encouraged by MySpace, recently Yahoo! and LinkedIn’s efforts in the application space. To an extent, the other social networks have missed at least the first inning or two of the game and need to take a close look at the success of Facebook and put the resources and energy behind the application opportunity. That being said and all, they shouldn’t do it because Facebook did. They should leverage applications by implementing plans around the unique nature of each platform. Each social network outside of Facebook, needs to figure out how their consumers could benefit from applications, what will the engagement look like and how they will see an application ecosystem within their platform.

7) Moving on, the expectation has been that MySpace will drive the application space forward as the #2 player, but that won’t be the case in 2009. Apple and the iPhone get that nod from me. Reports in December that more than 300 million applications have been downloaded from the Apple’s App Store demonstrates the iPhone’s opportunity and ability to take mobile to a whole new level. If iPhone applications become more social, which they will (we’re already seeing it in plans with developer partners, including five of the top 15 applications, and advertisers), the iPhone may not just make mobile a true platform for marketers, but the platform could become a Facebook killer. Talk about a place where all of your friends are currently.

8) Lastly, I’ll make this 140 character prediction: Twitter is a great tool. Look at the prez election & Mumbai attacks. However, It's not a business. Facebook’s Status will overrun it in '09.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Show Us the Money

TechCrunch published a chart showing the where that M&A and IPO
dollars are extremely low. IPO's at their lowest point since 1979.

And Boom Goes the Dynamite. To those working or running a business that depends on digital media dollars, time to start to making more money than you spend.

Think banner ads are the ship to take you there? What was the banner ad on the last page you were on?

Let's take the internet's targeting, measurability, dynamic content, broadband tubes, growth in time spent, and develop larger palettes for creative people to blow minds with. Might prevent you from ratcheting up traffic numbers that VC's and potential suitors drool over, but it'll show you the money. Ask Hulu.