Archive for the ‘strategy’ Category

129252537 Media planning and buying professionals have been talking about Addressable TV for decades. Yes, decades. The first mention of it was back in 1980, when the dream of delivering a specific TV spot to a specific TV set based on the profile data contained in that set’s cable box started to look like it could become a reality.

Addressable TV is, indeed, here. It delivers efficiency, performance tracking and actionable insights. And it provides for greater accountability overall for a medium that historically has been a one-way communication vehicle.  But I have to ask the question: “What happened to television’s main role in the media mix?” With all of this applied data targeting, what Addressable TV may not deliver is the thing we always looked to television to deliver: mass. Take away “mass,” and I have to wonder what television offers that other digital media options don’t.

With about 66 million households, it is true that Addressable TV has come a long way from its earlier days of 8,000 Households in Huntsville, Alabama.  So now the technology is here, and we have some scale. But the fact remains, Addressable TV is a “precision-play” in a world with a lot of other precision-play options. In the new digital and mobile media landscape, what platform doesn’t enable data-driven hyper-targeting and the ability to track and measure results?

What’s all the fuss is about? (more…)

clint_hurdleClint Hurdle, manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, is also a great brand manager. You’ve probably heard about the daily inspirations he sends to his players to keep them energized and positive. http://espn.go.com/mlb/playoffs/2013/story/_/id/9726637/pirates-manager-clint-hurdle-inspiring-others-daily

But I also admire him for his courage to stick to what is working.  In the “First Pitch” game day publication, Clint talks about the challenges of continuing to play the same type of game as they run out of games.  He says we need to remember that the game we played all season is what got us to the post-season for the first time in 20 years.  I see those same challenges in marketing strategy.  Far too often, marketers give into the pressures and sense of urgency by abandoning what got them to their position.  They change their strategy dramatically and end up trying to be something they aren’t to satisfy a time crunch.  Expiring patents, release of new models and competitive innovations are just a few of the reasons we use for abandoning what drove our success. (more…)

The Business Case for Mobile First

For consumers, a mobile device is increasingly the “first screen.” It’s the the first media powered-up in the morning and the last shut down before bed. And for 91% of smartphone owners, their device is within a 3-foot reach 24 hours a day.

2013 signals a sea change in digital: more people will access the internet through a mobile device this year than through a PC. For more background, read Forrester’s 2013 Mobile Trends for Marketers.

What’s Your Brand’s Mobile Competency?

Mobile enables consumer connections at home, in the store, and on the go. Plus, it offers opportunities for deeper engagement by harnessing location, social media and the personal creativity of your consumer.

There is no perfect formula for selecting mobile channels. But you can chart your course by answering these questions, which will help you frame an approach to mobile that maps to business objectives and consumer behaviors.


Ready to get started? Answer these 10 critical questions after the jump.


About 15 years ago our agency picked up a small project from a manufacturer of fiber-cement siding. The product was called HardiePlank. It wouldn’t rot, warp, crack, or burn. It was even hurricane proof. At the time, wood composite sidings were experiencing huge problems around the country, yet no one would try this remarkable product called HardiePlank. Our challenge was to change that.

My father-in-law was a builder. My grandfather had been a carpenter for 40 years. I’d run my own painting and deck maintenance company in college. Heck, my first job ever was working in a lumberyard. So when it came time to choose a copywriter for this assignment, I was the unanimous choice. If anyone could talk about building products like a man, it would be me, they said.

Fast forward a few years and the brand was enjoying remarkable success. Our program had gone nationwide, and James Hardie was one of the top three requested brands in all of home building. So picking the good ol’ boy to be the copywriter was a wise decision, right? Well, yes and no. When asked how we’d found such a powerful way of communicating their brand, the CMO had this to say: “Brett is a 40-year-old mom trapped in a young man’s body.” Say what? (more…)

There will come a day when we don’t think of mobile first or mobile strategy. I equate it to the place where “digital strategy” and just “strategy” are headed today. Mobile will become part of the overall fabric with which you think and act every day as a marketer. We (the collective we) might not be there yet, but are we getting there fast enough and with a plan? Better stated, it’s coming, so what is your short and longer term plans?

Currently, mobile strategy is very much a separate silo, an add-on to overarching digital plans. Part of that is based on brand marketers’ comfort and familiarity with what “mobile” means or should mean to their brand. If you are not, or have not, begun to embrace what mobile means to your marketing, you will miss the learning and experience of it and in time you will be even further behind. You should be building on your experiences of today so that as the technology and use changes you are able to react accordingly based on YOUR experience. My colleague Rick Gardinier spoke to this in a post four years ago. So what have you done in the past four years to ready yourself and your brand for the next four? (more…)

As a marketer knowing what to focus on can be tough. It’s just Like That today. It’s like knowing when the old style is the new style. The guy that sits next to me rocks a different pair of Adidas just about every day. The old school shell-toes - he literally color-coordinates his Gazelles with his outfit. Reverend Run’s got nothing on him. Everyone knows that fashion is cyclical to some degree. Apparently, that’s not the only thing. adidas_run_dmc_shoe2

I save things. I’m not at the hoarder level, but I do hang on to things that interest me. Links to work, screen grabs of ads or images, videos, blog posts, etc. Recently I came across an email I had saved -the topics of the three feature stories?

  • Content
  • Search
  • Mobile

Now that may not be terribly surprising but perhaps the fact that the email was from 2008 might be. As I scanned the articles it became clear why I saved the email, it was good stuff. The importance of having compelling content was prevalent. It talked of content strategy, even though it wasn’t called that. The search piece had a familiar refrain to it as well; search should be part of the fundamentals, smart creative and have a call to action, pointing in the right place. Even the mobile struck a chord - albeit a different one than today - but still pretty on it.

So flash forward to today, that email (or those topics) are probably landing in your inbox daily. When you read whatever you read today it’s the same general topics. Maybe the details have changed a bit and we know more about the impact these three things can have independently or collectively (that was not at all referenced in any of the older articles). Here’s the question for marketers; what have you done, really done, to advance yourself or your brand(s) in these three areas over the past four years? We know more. We talk about it more. You read more about it. But do you truly have a content strategy, a search strategy, a mobile strategy - heck a mobile search strategy?

A couple of things you should do quickly:

  • Take stock of the content you already have. It might not be perfect, but see what you have and use it to tell your story.
  • Create content that has purpose for different mediums.
  • Look at your web site on a mobile device. Would you use it the way it is?
  • Search yourself. Check out your brand and don’t just drop off if you see yourself, explore, see where you go - navigate like your customers - dig in.

You may have heard all of this before - perhaps even dating back to 2008 - but if you are still having the same conversations or are confused about what to do, start simple and build to the bigger programs. There are lots of things that can be a distraction and you can make it complex quickly - but you don’t have to. Back to my colleague…I’ve now noticed all manner of people wearing the new/old Adidas. I see it everywhere. Apparently it’s back….maybe it never left. Knowing when things are back in fashion is a matter of timing but focusing on content, search and mobile is never out of style. It’s Tricky…..just ask the boys from Hollis Queens.

Today, agencies and client organizations all over the world are having the same conversation. How do we prepare ourselves to deliver on the never-ending deluge of digital options? How do we grow our existing team to get there? Is that even feasible, or do we need to find new digital talent? But, if we do that, then are we prepared to lose good people with other skills that are important to us?

[For the full article as posted on iMedia, please click through below]

The Digital Hunger Games

The Digital Hunger Games

gorillaRecently, someone at our agency did a Google search for “atlanta ad agencies”, and in his words:

“..right there amongst all us creative wizards, a prominent listing for an ad agency offering the latest breakthrough in marketing today.  Taa daa…sign spinners.  Just contact them and they’ll send out a guy in a gorilla suit to stand in front of your store and spin your message on a propeller-esque sign while occasionally lunging at passing cars.”

That raises the question, how is most advertising different than a guy in a gorilla suit holding a spinning sign that says “Buy Stuff at Main Street Mattress Warehouse?”

It isn’t.

Well, superficially it is. Yes, the gorilla might actually be Danica Patrick and the spinning sign may be the $100k 3D graphic of your logo that dances on the screen 25 seconds into your 30-second TV spot. But it is still lunging at passing traffic, trying to attract attention, just like the guy in the gorilla suit. Which is not very encouraging, when you think about it.

So I say, let’s stop spending so much effort lunging at passing traffic.

Let’s stop jumping up and down on the sidelines, waving our arms, trying to be noticed. Let’s stop spending so much time trying to interrupt people with things that, with very few exceptions, they really don’t care about.

Instead, let’s, as an industry of both brands and their agencies, be more like Bob, the helpful guy who works in Main Street Mattress Warehouse. The one who walks up and politely introduces himself when he sees a chance, not when you are talking to your husband. The guy who takes the time to explain the REAL differences between your product and the others. The one who tells you a bit about himself and the asks you about your needs, what would work best for you. The one who will listen to your complaints when there is a problem, and then work hard to fix them. And the one who gives you some valuable extra advice about getting a good night sleep, along with a free mattress-fluffer.

Will you know about Bob, the helpful, likable salesman in the Main Street Mattress Warehouse when you are driving down the road, chatting with friends in the car on your way to Starbucks? No. But you won’t care then anyway - you’re doing something else and thinking about something else.

Instead, you’ll hear about Main Street Mattress Warehouse when your friends who have been there and met Bob, or who have friends who have met Bob, tweet about the experience and talk about their great new mattress on Facebook, as well as in person. You’ll know that people who you know will be shopping there when you see it on Foursquare. Google searches will not only tell you where the store is, but, more importantly will show you all the people like you who have reviewed their great experience there talking to Bob and how much they love their new mattress, which they bought because Bob was such a genuine, helpful guy. And of course, they’ll tell you about the great, free mattress fluffer that they got just for stopping by, no sale required.

Yes, Main Street Mattress Warehouse still needs a sign out front, ads to tell people where they are, etc. But, given the choice, would you rather be the guy in the gorilla suit lunging at traffic as it tries to avoid him, or do you want to be Bob, who forms even a brief relationship with the people who visit the store?

The world needs both, I guess. But what type of brand do you want to be? What type of agency do you want to be?

pinterest-logoThere has been a lot of talk about upstart social network Pinterest in the past weeks and months, with plenty of discussion around how fast it is growing, who uses it and how marketers can establish a presence there. And while there are a number of guides for how the site can be used, the question still remains: should your brand be on Pinterest?

That’s a question that a lot of marketers - and their agencies - will need to answer for themselves in the coming months. And the key to the answer lies within the very name of the social network.

Interest. Think about that and ask yourself, does your brand have anything of interest to say?

Success on Pinterest depends completely on content that people really WANT. Period. Now, you may be asking yourself, doesn’t everything on the web depend on delivering content? Well, yes, but there is a hierarchy to content and the way that people interact with it.

The Content Interaction Hierarchy:

Level 1: Content people want to SEE

This is the content that you need to include on your site, or any other digital property, in order to get people to show up and spend some time with your brand. Consider it the cost of entry.

Level 2: Content people want to SHARE

This is the content that people will spread around the web, and which works quite well for brands in most social media channels. But like Level 1, it is generally a “engage once then forget it” category of content - after it’s been shared, it’s out of their hands and out of mind.

Level 3: Content people want to SAVE

This is the content that will do well on Pinterest - content that is so interesting to people that they not only want to see it, not only want to share it, but want to save it for themselves in their own digital scrapbook.

If your brand can either deliver - or meaningfully connect itself - to content at level 3, then you may just have what it takes to make it on Pinterest.

Yes, there has been a lot of talk about Pinterest lately, and yes, the network has been growing at an astounding rate. And there are brands that have begun to establish a nice place for themselves there. There could be a lot of potential to establishing your brand on this hot new network with 11 million users and growing. But to find success there, your brand needs the type of content that people really want to hold on to and share with the world.

In the meantime, learn a bit more about how you can use Pinterest from Brunner’s Diane Walter.

This is the time of year when many of us reflect on the past 12 months.  What did we accomplish?  Where did we fall short?  What should our priorities be in the coming year?  For those of us in the agency world we often look at the past year under a few different lenses.  We’ve got clients that we serve and we reflect on those efforts.  Many of us manage teams and we review our team performances.  In my case, I also help to lead our innovation lab - BHiveLab.

For those of you who practice digital marketing (I’ve loosely defined to include the digital aspects of Paid, Earned, Owned and Shared media) we also often look through a couple of other lenses.  How innovative were we?  Did we drive results for our clients, and for ourselves?  Did we miss any emerging trends that we should be aware of?  The fact is that it’s easy to fall prey to the need to look smart by implementing the latest and greatest in digital technologies — whether for your clients, or even for your own agency brand.  When I look back at 2011 we did a lot of cool “stuff”.  We launched a LoSoPhoMo based app called TailgateChamp that landed in the pages of the New York Times.  We explored the merits of Kinect and Visual Search for several of our clients, and helped to expand the business of one in particular.  And we even experimented with new ways of ideation that go well beyond traditional brainstorming techniques.

But doing a lot of “stuff” isn’t enough these days.  Certainly experimenting with emerging technologies is important — if we’re not keeping ahead of our clients so that we can provide sound advice, then who CAN they rely on.  But driving business results is key.  And that takes focus — a methodical approach that ties everything that we do to business objectives.