Alternative marketing thinking


Archive for the category “Media”

Anna Hazare and lazy protests in a frictionless world.

I just signed up an Avaaz petition supporting Anna Hazare. Took me one click and a five field form. In fact my form was incomplete, saved my mobile number from getting into yet another database.

In less than 30 seconds I had posted my contribution on my wall for my friends and their networks to view and participate. Felt good that I did my bit in helping weed out corruption in India.

I am an armchair protester you see, sitting in an air conditioned room, connected to broadband wifi, clicking away. Ah my bit. The world is in safe hands.

This is not a post about us armcharists. But about how easy it is to rustle up a group these days.

I counted and then lost count of the number of groups there are on Facebook goading us to to support the noble man. My search showed me 183 pages. There were more, but I gave up. Hard work Nishad. I am sure you understand my pain. Social networks make it easy. Click on a button and you are done. No money either.

There are online petitions, Facebook apps, Twitter widgets, what-have-yous. And there are millions of us taking the easy way out. Clicking on the create a group tab on Facebook without even looking if someone else has created one. Mind you there’s a search box on top of the page. And it is easier to join a group than to make one.

Would my contribution be good enough if I didn’t create my own thing? I am a geek you see. The guy who does cool things. Clicking a button is for others.

Maybe I should have started a group that protested the formation of so many groups supporting the Lokpal movement. Would have been quicker. Damn I spent half hour writing this…


Advertising. Not Like the Music Industry.

There have been many stories in the media in the last few weeks about the decay of advertising. There was this long one about The Future of Advertising in Fast Company. BusinessWeek countered it with this one on how Big Dumb Agencies may not be going away anywhere soon. The most provocative one, however was by Adaptive Path’s Peter Merholz. It was a brutal piece, one that tore apart our business as one with a “poisonous core”. While there has been a lot of debate and discussion around the post – in fact Peter has posted a rejoinder explaining various points on his original one, I thought the last item on his first rant to be a bit off key.  Advertising Agencies are the New Music Industry, he wrote.

I am not sure if the music industry analogy is the right one for the advertising business. While just like the music business, traditional advertising is being run over by the arrival of the Internet and other digital mediums, unlike the music industry, which went down primarily because of the growth of file sharing, I think advertising will evolve thanks to a combination of many smaller changes.

Search Marketing. While Google and others in the search marketing business are seeing exceptional growth, search marketing alone will not end advertising as we know it.

Social Media. Yes it is hot at the moment and will be extremely important in the years to come. Social media engagement will be one of the many things that marketers will need to help manage a brand.

PR. For years PR was a discipline that marketing had little influence over. Bougsky’s allegedly famous quote “…write me the press release” aptly describes how PR has become an important mover of marketing messages. Recently Pepsi’s Shiv Singh tweeted about wanting a partner who was a combination of a digital agency, a traditional agency and a PR company.

Video. BMW films showed us what can be done when branded messages are played out in digital media. There have been many experiments that have followed. The age of video, though, is just beginning to play out.

Mobile. Mobile devices will have as much or more impact on the marketing business as computers, TV and radio have had in the past. Always connected, always on phones are a tsunami that will change traditional messaging, but will need to do more to completely annihilate brand messages.

Location Based Services. These new and emerging concepts will add another dimension to real-time marketing. There are some simple and straight forward “Minority Report” kind of possibilities that location based messaging can do. These concepts will evolve and amaze us in the years to come.

Reality Enhanced. Ideas like augmented reality are just being experimented with at the moment. There will be more we will do by overlaying smart digital ideas over real things in the future.

Gaming. In an attention starved world, inventive new branded or brand embedded  games will give marketers access into the minds of people.

Crowdsourcing. Not so much a concept as much as an approach to producing ideas. Crowdsourcing will chip away advertising agency strongholds and change advertising in many ways.

Amazement. For decades, advertising had this knack of creating jaw-dropping moments. Not anymore. Anyone with a digital camera can now. Ads now have to fight even harder to be seen and talked about.

Marketers, marketing messages and the ones who create them, advertising agencies, will have to change to stay in touch with people who have lot more to do. The reason for this change will be many. All of them equally relevant.

Bogusky Blogs

The Future of Media series by Mediapost and Advertising Week is getting CPB’s Alex Bogusky to blog. He has an interesting approach to writing posts. Starts his of a typical rant via Twitter and gets people to respond. With over 11,000 people following him, he has quite an audience. Once this audience chimes back, he picks up the bits and writes a post. Recent posts include a rant against the growing tendency for companies to crowdsource their logos for cheap. Another interesting one, on the topic of being an expert in today’s world, specially in the area of social media. A social media expert, Bogusky thinks, is an oxymoron of sorts. Because the social media media scene is so dynamic, anyone who has legacy expertise in the field should already be a “has been” and not relevant anymore. In another post he questions the classic “medium is the message” paradigm and how in today’s world, where we can custom create messages for different kinds of media, the line between medium and messages is more often then not blurred. The blog gets a fair bit of comment, each one of which in some ways nourish the ideas he propounds. Worth a look

Stories From The Aisle. Boom Time For Shopper Marketing.

Not the first time are we writing about shopper marketing. And there’s good reason for doing so. Because the dynamics in the media landscape have changed, and now the one place you can still aggregate a mass audience is in-store. If 35 million Americans watched the season ending finale of American Idol, the most watched show on television, some 150 million Americans pass through the revolving doors of WalMart, Costco, Walgreens, Safeway and Kroger to boast weekly shopper counts of 20 million, 30 million, 44 million and 68 million, respectively. Point of sale is probably the most important point at which shoppers makes choices, and if you can hit them with a message, you can measure it with a sales lift. A study by Booze & Co found that over the next three years, in-store marketing activity will grow at a higher rate than any other marketing tactic. One of the key inflection points in this space has been WalMart’s decision to start an instore TV channel. With over 2600 locations around the US and hundreds and thousands of TV screens the network will rival the reach of traditional TV network. The IPTV based network is capable of delivering a precise message at the moment of purchase, down to one single screen. In India too such networks are beginning to proliferate. Future Group’s Future TV is one such player connecting up 10 million customers a week. Although there is a lot of buzz surrounding these latest in-store shopper marketing strategies, there’s still an ailing economy driving decisions. That could cause companies to pause before jumping into the newer in-store networks and rely on the tried-and-true shopper marketing tactics. More in AdWeek.

Online Revenues Support Offline Publication

Jeff Jarvis calls it right when he reports on how the online edition of LA Times now creates enough online advertising revenue to cover the Times’ entire editorial payroll, print and online. We are on the cusp of the moment, he writes, when online revenue could sustain a substantial digital journalistic enterprise without the onerous cost of printing and distribution. So will LA Times shut off their presses and start living a fully digital life? He thinks not. It will take more than a legacy paper to eschew traditional newsrooms and online completely. Despite millions of dollars in savings by shutting down its print shop, Jeff Jarvis thinks it will take bold new innovators with new ideas to reinvent the newspaper business. From The Guardian.

A War. Broadcast Through SMS.

The war in Gaza is the first modern conflict to be carried out across the social media-sphere. The Israel Defense Force has a Youtube channel, while Hamas uses this multi-lingual site to keep the world updated on the events on the ground. Both have Youtube Channels (or equivalents) and the Twitter chatter from voices both formal and informal has been nonstop. In 140 characters or less, writes Northwestern University’s Social Entrepreneurship Blog. There are many ideas and voices rising out of the conflict, like this little piece of open source software that Al-Jazeera TV has created to picks up tweets from around Gaza to plot where things are happening. Another important source of information comes from Norwegian doctor Mads Glibert whose SMS phone messages from a Gaza hospital are increasingly being cited in news reports throughout Europe. With a blanket ban on reporters entering Gaza, Web 2.0 media is becoming the centre of news distribution in the recent Middle Eastern conflict.

BBH creating media properties

What will agencies do if clients are going directly to media houses? Well BBH has a plan, and they are busy creating marketable ideas with their new company called Zag. Their first property, MrsO is a website that tracks the style of the new American first lady, Michelle Obama. Mrs. O and Zag are part of a business model transformation in the advertising industry. Agencies are parlaying their expertise in marketing the brands of other companies into creating and marketing their own. “Advertising is a massively old model based on the 1950s. As media has proliferated, it’s become a lot harder for us to earn enough money off our ideas,” said Ben Jenkins, the strategic director of Zag. “Zag is about creating the properties ourselves from scratch and having 100 percent of it.” More here.

Going Mad With Multiscreens

It’s a known fact that a large part of our lives now revolve around interacting with some screen or the other. From the original idiot box to the third screen of our mobile phone, we are armed and ready to receive communication of any kind, any time of the day and night. New York Times recently held a panel discussion with some of the brightest creators of new media, Benjamin Palmer of Barbarian Group, Lard Bastholm of AKQA, Robert Rassmussen RG/A, all moderated by Jack Hilt. Here are some quotes we picked up from the chat…

On the proliferation of screens
• What the proliferation of screens has done is give a zillion creators the power to publish.
• When the TV networks held the reins for content, all advertising had to do was buy into the public consciousness of entertainment, which was television
• (You can’t just advertise just anything anymore) with the internet, consumers have become smarter.
• Most media, like television, used to be a kind of flow. You’d sit down, you’d turn it on and you’d watch. The reason advertising is completely broken is, that flow doesn’t exist anymore. There’s no prime time.
• (On the Internet) brands have become transparent, and that’s changed the tone of advertising. Now you have to try to be more authentic — even if it’s just authentically acknowledging that what you’re doing is advertising.
• So advertising is by necessity a fractured narrative. We have a story we want to tell, and we use different media channels and different touch points to tell it.

On customer being in control
• It used to be that companies would commission a study at great expense to find out what people thought about their product. Now you just go online and find out. It’s really scary at first. You realize there’s a whole dialogue going on outside your brand, and you can’t control it.
• (When customers talk online) The feedback you get, is so much richer and more immediate than what we used to get.
• That’s scary because of the instantaneousness of it. I mean, people will call you on things in a heartbeat.
(Editor’s note, politicians and the government in Mumbai were at the receiving end of this new phenomena after the terror strikes in Mumbai; email, social networking sites and mobile phones became the centre of a movement that brought some 20,000 people together to a peace march at the Gateway of India. Read the tiny post that started it all)

On marketers trying to adapt
• We used to joke that advertising was “lying for a living.” We got away with that back then. We can’t anymore. And now, if we get caught in a lie, we’re in trouble.

On staying informed
• Most people no longer “watch the news.” Every morning I (Lars Bastholm) check the latest headlines on the BBC’s Web site. There’s a Danish newspaper that I check out every day, because that’s where I’m from, and then I look at The New York Times. I get a Twitter feed from CNN as well.

On how media can go with the flow
• The problem with established news shows is that they’re trying to be everything for everybody.
• Maybe the newscaster could begin with a Twitter feed where she’s talking about what she’s actually doing during the day – eg, newscaster talking openheartedly about what she experienced the second after she’s done with the interview.
• There is an interesting contrast between this fixed 6:30 p.m. news show and this idea of the fragmented narrative throughout the day.

On advertising money machines like the Superbowl
• The Super Bowl has become an advertising event. Everybody watches and talks about the ads.
• No one is saying that a Super Bowl spot won’t work. As a way to launch the conversation, why not? But you have to have lots of digital follow-up planned ahead of time.
• You can make revenue off multiple streams of content. If you’re giving somebody two minutes or three minutes of content, they’re probably willing to accept a brief ad.

On the future
• Clients are not saying, “Make us ads” or “Make us Web sites,” they’re saying, “Create interaction between our brand and our customers.” That’s our job now.
Read the whole round table here…

What Next For Obama’s 3 Million Database?

If you were one of the 3 million who received an e-mail or text message from the president-elect right before his acceptance speech in Grant Park thanking you for your support, you know that his outreach/marketing efforts and use of that database won’t end with his election.

Barack Obama and his marketing machine achieved unprecedented success in their use of direct/database marketing for a politician.

“We have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and I’ll be in touch soon about what comes next,” the personalized message from Mr. Obama read.

As effective as the database was during the election, many direct-marketing professionals said it can be even more important during his presidency.

Read more about how Obama could use Direct Marketing, his database and social networking during his presidency, from an Adage article….

Update: The first steps in engaging with people arounbd the world has already been sown, with a Change site

Wagamama’s Geo Targeted Ad Campaign

In what’s perhaps a first, UK’s Asian Restaurant Chan Wagamama is debuting a get-targetted advertising campaign. In partnership with mapping site Multimap customers who search for locations on the map site will see a branded message appear when any of the searched location is close to a Wagamama outlet, highlighted here in red

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