Friday Five – March 14, 2014

The mobile single-purpose app strategy
http://bit.ly/1hiPYAN
Probably one of the best reads I’ve come across in a while. 1 app to rule them all is a concept that can’t sustain and it doesn’t drive growth fast enough. You can see this play out in Facebook’s app strategy. By having multiple apps, they’re able to learn faster, introduce features and then improve the main Facebook app quicker. Google has a similar approach. Amazon, ditto. If you’re thinking about your mobile app strategy and you’re not considering having multiple apps, you might want to rethink your approach.

Soft Skills Are Hard to Assess. And Even Harder to Succeed Without.
http://bit.ly/1hiNAKj
Great post. Assessing the soft skills and seeing their value is one of the critical elements that separates good managers from great managers. When you go beyond the things that are highly quantifiable, things get tougher. But, having the “soft skills” is what makes for high potential employees.

Office Depot Puts Customer Experience at the Center of Its Marketing
http://bit.ly/1hiOerg
Refreshing insights directly from a company about how their changing based on consumers needs. The whole post is solid, but this last line is tremendous: “But most of all, Office Depot considers its experience from the individual customer’s point of view. “We treat different customers differently,” he said. “All marketers need to think about customers not as an ID number, but as individuals.””

Twitter Data Shows When We’re Happy, Sad, Hungover
http://on.mash.to/1hiOAhv
On the one end of the spectrum, this is just cool and yet another example of how much fun data can be. On the other end of the of spectrum, if a brand was pulling the same data and analyzing it similarly, they might change the communication strategy based on the data. For example, if there’s a clear time period when people are hungry and you’re a snack brand, you have a match made in heaven. A tweet is not an insight. Many tweets can be.

Mondelez Inks 52-Country Ad Deal With Facebook
http://bit.ly/1hiPaMp
Bonin Bough continues his PR onslaught. I actually think, Mondelez has cloned Bonin so that he could attend all the events he speaks at. Following on the heels of their global partnership with twitter, Mondelez inked another deal with Facebook. One thing you have to admire about Mondelez and Bonin is that when they say they’re going to do something, they actually do it. They’re committed to digital and it shows in everything they do.

Friday Five – March 7, 2014

Getty makes 35 million photos free to use
http://bbc.in/1igZ4ih
The internet slays yet another institution. Rather than try and police the illegal and inconsistent use of their photos, Getty is making 35 million photos from their library free. Yes, free. When will music follow suit?

Watch this: Apple’s CarPlay running in a Volvo concept car
http://bit.ly/1igZN2Z
While everyone else was talking about the need for a mobile strategy, I’ve been pushing for a “mobility” strategy. Last year, I wrote, “This isn’t about about screens or screen sizes. The real opportunity, the real upside will come from not think about the idea of mobility, not mobile. What makes our smartphones such valued devices is that it’s keeps us connected to all the things that interest us. It’s the portability of information and content that makes our phones powerful; not the other way around.” And, In 2011, I forecasted, “Your car will be able to sync with platforms like Groupon Now, fourSquare and Google Offers. When you pull into a Best Buy, Starbucks or McDonald’s the car will automatically check you in, publish your check-in to your networks and serve you up an offer if one exists. Additionally, you’ll be able to use your GPS to find local and real-time offers.” With Apple’s launch of CarPlay, we’re clearly seeing the age of mobility mature and we’re getting ever closer to the your car being one giant always connected device that enhances and shapes your driving experience. You might enjoy sitting in traffic, now…maybe.

Why is American internet so slow?
http://bit.ly/1ih1kpS
Really thought provoking article. Thoroughly enjoyed the reporting and the approach of contrasting our internet speed growth, with that of South Korea. The only point I disagree with is, “We deregulated high-speed internet access 10 years ago and since then we’ve seen enormous consolidation and monopolies… Left to their own devices, companies that supply internet access will charge high prices, because they face neither competition nor oversight.” While this can happen, the idea that monopolies are bad, is misleading. Disagree? I point you to Google, who keeps on cranking out innovative new features and products, despite have a large monopoly on their core business.

FDA Wants to Monitor Social Media Chatter About Product Risks
http://bit.ly/1ih212p
A few years ago, there was nary a company in the pharmaceutical or medical deivce industry that wanted to participate in social media. The risk was simply too high. 5 years ago a consumer complaining about their medication would have been seen as an adverse reaction and would then need to reported by the manufacturer to the FDA. Thus companies, simply took an approach of ZERO participation. After all, if they weren’t participating they weren’t able to “listen” and if they couldn’t listen, they’d never know about the adverse reactions. My how things have changed. Now, “The General Services Administration has urged agencies to learn from social media to fine tune their services, noting that intelligence gathered from social media can help agencies deliver services more effectively and, ultimately, save money.” Social and consumer behavior, eats risk for breakfast.

Privacy Groups Call for FTC Investigation on Facebook-WhatsApp Acquisition
http://bit.ly/1ih3SEm
People want their privacy back. They want it back now. This didn’t just happen overnight. It’s been brewing for some time. If you’re organization is thinking about making social a key part of your business strategy, apply a consumer lens to all your decisions and ask yourself, “would I want this?”

The First World Problems Of Living With Second World Internet Speed

Cut the cord they say. Just stream everything. Join Netflix. Don’t buy music, just listen to it from iTunes Radio, Pandora of Spotify. Move on to the new revolution of gaming, where platforms like the XBOX One require an always on connection so you can download content…on demand.

In theory this sounds amazing. And the geek in me relishes that promise. As a digital marketer and dad, I’m always connected. It’s part of the lifestyle. This morning, I was checking emails, while both kids were streaming Netflix. There were no hiccups. No congestion. No buffering. Everything just worked. Then again, I was in Minnesota, not at home.

We recently moved back to Chicago. It’s a big city, right? We bought a condo. Our building is awesome. It’s in a fantastic location. It has indoor parking (a rarity in Chicago). The combination of hardwood floors, high ceilings, big windows and awesome views make for the perfect new home. Well, not perfect. Almost perfect. There’s 1 big problem. Get your small violin and kleenex box out. The problem…the bones of the building are a bit old and we’re stuck with DSL. At present, there’s a “Cable Committee” (GIANT eye roll) investigating alternatives, because I’m not the only one feeling stuck in 1997.

Internet Speed By State

So you might say, well, what’s so bad about DSL? Great question, glad you asked. Before I answer, let me take a step back and provide some context. My first connection to the web was via AOL 2.0 on a 28.8 modem. We graduated to a 36.6 and we were blazing! When I left home and went to college I had my first taste of a T1/T3 setup. The entire University of Minnesota was wired for speed! Of course, these were the days when infrastructure outpaced demand. Well, until Napster, Grokster and Limewire appeared. As sharing networks like that gained traction we had finally had a situation where demand/usage matched the speed of the infrastructure. I’ve always been pretty fortunate when it comes to internet speed. Be it Omaha, Minneapolis or most recently, Camden, NJ, the pipe has been wide. At our last place in Camden, we were operating on a 100mbps connection. That’s just ridiculous. More ridiculous, we paid less than $60 a month for that. Today, we get about 12mbps at a cost of nearly $75 a month. Think about that…1/9 the speed for 25% more cost. How does that make sense? It doesn’t, but that’s a topic for another day.

For the past month, we’ve been living the DSL life. Is 12mbps slow? Is it really that bad? Well, based on the current global speed data, that puts us in the company of Aruba, Mexico, Kazakstan and Vietnam. For even more context, that’s just above Guam, Brazil and Qatar, but well below Uruguay, Ukraine and Slovenia. The United States speed average is 21mbps.

Ok, so now I’m off the soapbox. The 460 words above were equal parts rant and context. Similar to my experiment a few years back, when I deleted by Facebook account, at about day 3 of living with DSL, I started to ask myself, how can the experience make me a better and more informed marketer. There are 4 things I’ve taken away from the experience:

  1. We’re years away from a truly connected home that relies on the cloud. It’s not desire. It’s not interest. It’s not consumer spend. It’s something basic: infrastructure. I wrote on the subject of infrastructure strangling mobile’s growth in 2009. It did. It has. And, the recent changes to net neutrality are keeping mobile from becoming dominant. Companies should be “designing” heir experiences to a lower common denominator. Microsoft is the biggest culprit here. The XBOX One was designed as an always on experience. It’s constantly checking for updates and downloads. This was annoying on the 100mbps pipe in NJ. It was damn near catastrophic in the new place. I purchased a new game. Inserted the disc. Instead of playing immediately, it needed to download an update. That update took almost an hour. By that point, I didn’t even want to play. I don’t think I’m alone in that feeling. As we think about new experiences to create for consumers, a major filter for me will now be, are we designing it to the right lowest common user?
  2. I’ve become less connected and more selective in what I do on the web. If you’re crippled by speed you have to adjust and change your behavior. For example, I’m back to a behavior I had in the mid 90s. I now setup all my updates before I go to bed and let them do their thing while I sleep. Before, I would have multi-tasked and done these types of things while I was also streaming a Netflix movie, after dinner. Speaking of Netflix, I haven’t watched 1 single thing. The experience is simply far too compromised. We need to create experiences that inspire a consumer to choose interacting with us, than all the other things they could do on the web. That’s a high bar.
  3. I’m thankful I never got rid of, nor did I stop investing in “analog” content formats. The 50,000 songs I have on my computer enable me to not rely on streaming Spotify. The 100 or so DVDs I own mean I’m not stuck waiting and waiting and waiting for Netflix, HBO GO or Hulu+ content. We think the world is digital and that digital provides a benefit over analog. Often times this is true. But, we need to consider that sometimes analog is faster, easier and better. My favorite example is list creating. No matter how cool a list making app is, it’s rarely faster or easier to use than a pen and a piece of paper. That’s what we’re up against, every day.
  4. The future is clearly mobile. I’ve used my cell phone or iPad, both on Verizon, as hot spots, more in the last 4 weeks than I ever have…combined. Seriously. As I looked into options to move off of DSL, the only consistent and real option was to use a LTE whole home device. I think it’s likely, I’m going to head in that direction. With that in mind, the consumption of content will happen more and more, away from home. In my role, it reinforces the need to make sure content is liquid, linked and loved.

Method Cards

This post wasn’t written to make you feel sorry for me. If you do, great. I certainly appreciate it. If you can set me up with something faster, I’d really appreciate it :) – no, this post was more about forgotten technique of walking a mile in your consumer’s shoes. IDEO’s famed Method Cards are designed to get consumers to look, listen, ask or try. As marketers we can get so caught up in the data, spreadsheets, decks and white papers that we forget to simply act like our consumers so we can understand them better. While I can appreciate that, I’d still really love to have my fast internet speed back…

First world problems, indeed.

Friday Five – February 28, 2014

A short Friday Five this week. It’s been a long week, so apologies for the brevity.

Neiman Marcus App Bridges Virtual And Retail Space – With A Simple Call
http://bit.ly/1hueaC1
Awesome. That was the first word that came to mind. Niemans has always been about service. Their new app represents the future of omnichannel consumer interactions. “And then there are the direct links to live sales associates at each of the stores. No kidding. For each of the stores in the app there is a list of the major sales associates in the store. For each one there are ways to send them SMS, email, direct dial and even FaceTime chats. Yowie.” Wow!

Philips’ new intelligent store lighting can track shoppers
http://bit.ly/1hueikS
“The beauty of the system is that retailers do not have to invest in additional infrastructure to house, power and support location beacons for indoor positioning. The light fixtures themselves can communicate this information by virtue of their presence everywhere in the store.” Pretty cool. I’m a recent purchaser of the Philips Hue system and I’m impressed. If this is anything like that, it’s a winner.

Top Journalists Are Flocking to Brands. Here’s Why.
http://bit.ly/1hugqcm
““Some things I do are things I would have written as my Newsweek column,” Lyons said of his work with HubSpot. “It would have been edited more and it went through more layers to get to print, but I try to write stories that I would have published there.” Layers. Bureaucracy. Autonomy. These are not just limited to journalism. They are what’s impacting a large shift organizations losing out on talent.

6 Incredibly Accurate Predictions About TV From 1989
http://bit.ly/1hueh0o
Sometimes, we get things right, as prognosticators. It’s amazing how spot on these predictions were.

Verizon CEO Says You Should Pay More If You Use The Internet Too Much
http://bit.ly/1hueD77
“We make our money by carrying traffic…I think it is only natural that the heavy users help contribute to the investment to keep the web healthy. That is the most important concept about net neutrality,” McAdam said. Should I pay more if I use more, yes. I can accept that. Should I pay to subsidize other users, no way.

The Human API Is The Future Of Big Data

You are the next app. Yes, you. And you. And you over there in the back. You are all the next app. Ok, technically, not you. But, your data. No, I don’t mean your name, your email address or your birth date. Those are old school pieces of data that will continue to depreciate in value, over time. When I say you and when I say your data, I literally mean all the data you generate.

On some level, the near future is mobility, big data and personalization. The irony of course is that’s not really a new trend. Companies as far back as the catalogue business models of the 1930′s relied on our data. Where we lived. What we ordered. How much we spent. How often we ordered. Since that boom of the 30′s companies have always valued our data and tried to collect it. Remember those warranty cards you filled out? They were really just an easy way for the manufacturer to learn more about the person who just bought their item. Smart, right? Today, when you login to a site with Facebook Connect, you’re trading your data for simplicity.

Digital DNA

We trade data all the time. But, something is changing. As companies look to advance their product pipeline, they’re more reliant than ever on us to power those products. Let me offer some examples:

  1. For Nest to continue its meteoric growth, it’s going to need more data about you and your home. Devices that are part of “connected home” will take off, provide value and offer a wow factor that leads to broad adoption when it’s powered by more and more data about us. Imagine Nest changing the temperature of your house when it knows you’re within 5 miles of it. How does it know? Because you allowed Nest to track your location so that this happens automatically.
  2. What about Samsung’s entire foray into wearable devices, including the biometric tracking that’s part of the Samsung Galaxy 5? Those “wow” features are only of value and help Samsung provide better phones and better experiences if YOU allow them to have access to your fingerprints, your pulse and more.

Those are just two very simple examples that underscore a simple truth: companies will need our “DNA” to make their products work.

It’s been long said, if you’re not paying for it, you’re the product. That’s helped us accept the pervasive tracking by platforms like Google and Facebook. We get access to their great platforms at no financial cost, because we’re providing them with data that they are able to resell to advertisers for a significant upside.

But, what happens, when you’re not only the product, you’re also paying for the product? Shouldn’t my data lead to some type of financial benefit? After All, without my data, they’re products are underpowered, which slows their roadmap, which leads to poorer financial performance.

We are entering an age of mutual exchange. Never before have we been on such a equal playing field as companies. They need us as much as we need them. Let’s take a relatively small example that proves this theory out. Today, Progressive Insurance gives you a discount for letting them track your car driving habits with their Snapshot product. You’re getting a financial value for your data. That’s mutual exchange. That’s the future.

Now, let’s take a bigger example. Today, Google takes your data and in essence sells it to companies to market you; you don’t see a dime. Yes, you get to access things like Gmail for free, but even with those products, you’re at the mercy of Google’s roadmap. Remember, Google Reader and how Google killed it, despite people not wanting it to be killed? If you’re not paying for it, you’re the product.

Well, what would happen if Microsoft’s Bing, said, you know what Joe Consumer, you’re in control of your own data and in doing so wrote you a check every month for how they’ve used it, based on how you’ve opted in. The more data you shared, the more you’re worth and the more you’re paid. Would you use Bing more?

You AND your personal social network are now the new API.  Don’t turn your most valuable asset, your data, into a commodity. You’re worth more than that. Companies should be paying us to access our API, not the other way around.

Friday Five – February 21, 2014

When did Google become a dirty word?
http://bit.ly/1flhtuV
I had to read this article a few times. Once to get the big picture point of view. A second time to re-absorb the charts and the data. And a third time to start forming an opinion. It’s amazing how many great products have been launched by Google, that no one knows about…and that’s part of the problem.

FCC Plans to Issue New ‘Net Neutrality’ Rules
http://on.wsj.com/1flhsaw
Finally, the government doing something right when it comes to the web. The FCC is once again making a push to re-establish the principles of net neutrality. I especially loved the verbiage they used to explain why net-neutrality is so important: “The Internet is and must remain the greatest engine of free expression, innovation, economic growth and opportunity the world has ever known.” Amen.

The best (and worst) times to do things at work
http://wapo.st/1flhz5L
Loved this article. We’re all looking to be a bit more productive and efficient. Instead of getting the standard, don’t read emails in the morning, or only check your emails twice a day, this article goes much deeper. I found a lot of the advice to be practical and easily applied. Small adjustments, make a big impact.

A Startup That May Change How We Value Our Personal Data
http://bit.ly/1flhAqm
The next big app is going to be YOU. Yes, you. Imagine what happens when YOU are your own API. Will an exchange exist where people can bid on access to my personal data, including DNA/bio-metric information? How much would you be willing to sell your data for? Remember, without data, most apps, platforms and companies would find themselves with a real product to sell.

Brands court legal danger in real-time rush
http://bit.ly/1flhE9J
Probably one of the best posts on social and legal that I’ve seen. This quote really sticks out: “What it comes down to is, Supreme Court rulings aside, corporations just aren’t people — social media was designed for human interactions and conversations. When brands get involved, the question becomes what is advertising and what isn’t. And there isn’t a straight answer for that yet.” The constant changes in social media make it challenging for organizations, especially when you consider that most in house legal teams are focused on eliminating ALL risk…which, as we all know, is impossible.

13 Reasons Tim Cook Just Bought Twitter

Ok, I lied. Well, technically, I didn’t lie per se. Sure, there’s nothing in this blog about Tim Cook, Apple or twitter. But, I didn’t lie. I just played by the wide open and loose rules of today’s publishers. See, what I did, was I link-baited you. You saw that salacious headline, “13 reasons Tim Cook Just Bought Twitter” and you clicked. If I had been selling ad-impressions on my site, I’d have just made a fortune.

Admittedly, you’re irritated. You expected to find an article outlining why Apple decided to buy twitter, instead, 1.5 paragraphs later, you’re still reading my lecture. You should be irritated.

Tonight, I was a bit irritated too, so, I got a bit cheeky on twitter and started generating semi on topic/semi off topic headlines that were completely made up. For example:

 

The number of people who tweeted me back asking for the link or thinking I’d forgotten the link was staggering. We have been conditioned to look for headlines/tweets like this…so we can click on them.

WhatsApp Link Bait

When the news first broke about Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp, I rolled my eyes and I debated avoiding social media for the next few days. But, I didn’t Being plugged in to social is part of the job and the responsibility that comes from leading an organization’s social marketing efforts. Why did I want avoid? Simple, I’ve seen this news cycle before. The announcement comes out and we end up with hundreds of posts that seem an inch away from the Tyson Zone. They all follow the same formula:

The + X (a number) + Y (a noun) + Z (the actual news) + A (preposition) + (simple phrase)

For example The 18 Ways Facebook’s Acquisition of WhatsApp Is a game changer. At this point, I’m half sure publishers have simply written a script that generates these headlines. After all if Len Kendall can do it as a side project, it stands to reason a large publisher could do it too.

So, yes, I got a bit cheeky, had some fun, but also learned a lot. For example, I’m not the only marketer who’s self-aware enough to realize that:

  1. We have become conditioned to expect headlines like this
  2. We know it’s a problem

This approach to “reporting” the news could very well be called link baiting. An interesting headline rarely is paid off by the actual content contained in the article. The headline is salacious, which of course gets you to click. This bothers me. It’s always bothered me. But, now that I also have the responsibility of our Walgreens enterprise content strategy, it don’t just irritate me, it really concerns me. Let me break this down…at the end of the day branded content can only live in 3 places:

  1. Our owned real-estate: For example our website or opted-in eMails. In this case, we need to think about how we use a variety of paid and organic approaches to drive people to those locations.
  2. Distributed on another platform (e.g. twitter) organically: In this situation, we’d be recognizing that you might not want to leave the experience you’re currently in, but you still want content from us.
  3. On another publisher’s site: Because buzzwords are king, let’s call this content “native.” If it’s native content, in essence we’re paying to have our content embedded on another publisher’s site. The upside here is rather than trying to drive someone from where they already are to my site, I can “engage” them where they already are.

Bucket 1 has been around since the early 90s. Be it web-rings (yes I said web-rings) or the earliest form of display ads (remember the 120×90?) companies have been “buying” ads across the web to drive people to their sites.

Bucket 2 isn’t quite new, but, it’s not quite a mature space. Brands are still figuring out how to balance the value of building a base of followers on someone else’s platform, for the purposes of marketing to them. Yes, I said marketing. I didn’t say engaging, which, let’s be honest, is simply a more polite way of saying, marketing.

Bucket 3, though, well that’s an interesting one. You can call it “native” or any other name, but it’s still an ad. I won’t get into the merits of native ads vs. traditional display ads, here. It’s a subject I’ll tackle at a later date. With native ads the publisher is selling traffic. They’re ultimately claiming, hey, we get X millions of eyeballs to our site, thus your reach is some % of X. Simple enough, right? After all, that’s really not too different than bucket 1. We’ve been buying ad inventory on CPM models for years. In those CPM models, an advertiser chooses to advertise on that publisher’s site, because they reach X millions of eyeballs.

The big inherent difference though between bucket 1 and bucket 3 is that bucket 1 created and built during a time when portals (e.g. Yahoo, MSN) were the starting point and people browsed for content. There was a certain assumed intent. In bucket 3, when you’re essentially advertising inside the stream, the intent is debatable. Publishers are selling reach in the form of impressions, which come from clicks. Well, if I were a publisher, I’d publish outrageous headlines, just like the one that brought you here. It’s smart economics after all. As the publisher, I craft the slightly misleading, slightly on topic headline, you click, I claim your traffic, I then aggregate all the people who clicked on the link and I tell advertisers, see look how much traffic we have.

But, doesn’t it beg the question, is it really quality traffic? And that’s the rub. I applaud Facebook for taking steps to change the newsfeed algorithm so that link-baiting sites, like Upworthy were de-prioritized. Shouldn’t the headline match the actual content on the page? Jack Marshall at DigiDay recently covered this topic, in superb fashion.

We have become conditioned to look for links that fit the: The + X (a number) + Y (a noun) + Z (the actual news) + A (preposition) + (simple phrase) formula. We can’t help but click. And doing that, allows the problem to continue.

As someone focusing on an enterprise content strategy for a beloved, large and progressive organization, I’m concerned and I’m pausing. I’m tending to scrutinize the numbers publishers are providing. I have to ask myself, how much of that traffic is actually legit and how much of it was manufactured through link-baiting headlines. The difference for some marketers could millions of dollars wasted on empty clicks and impressions.

But, see, that’s something a brand cares about. That’s something the advertiser would care about. There’s little incentive for publishers to change and the associations that should be providing leadership, like the IAB, don’t even have brand-side representation. That’s quite a conundrum and I have a feeling it’s going to change. As content strategies become ever more important for organizations, there will be many others who are asking the same questions I am. I hope that has a ripple effect and we see other platforms like Twitter start to de-prioritize content that’s clearly link-bait.

How can we expect our leadership to us seriously, when we, as an industry, perpetuate such debatably unscrupulous behavior? That’s not a sexy headline, but it’s something you should think about.

The 15% Rule Has No Place In Today’s Digital World

Read “Where The Suckers Moon.” Seriously. Before you continue with this post, go to Amazon, add it your cart and check out. Get the Kindle version and the softcover version. Why? Simple; it’s the greatest book ever written about the advertising industry. That’s broad. For the purposes of this post, Randall Rothenberg in a few hundred pages, gives all the background you could ever want or need, to help understand why the 15% model was created and why it’s been so challenging to move off of that outdated model.

In the earliest days of advertising, an agency took a straight commission off of placing and buying media. That commission eventually settled around 15%. There were companies still using this model 10 years ago. Old habits die hard. That 15% commission became a defacto standard for how much an agency should be compensated relative to the media spend. If you spend $10M in media, you shouldn’t spend more than $1.5M to produce the creative needed to satisfy that media buy. Depending on who you talk to or what association you belong to, that 15% is as low as 10% for some categories or as high as 20% in others. But, the general average is STILL 15%.

The model was simple. It was clean. It enabled planning to be easier and faster, because everyone knew the compensation model. It was also a model that was born when we were only planning against a limited number of communication channels: TV (3 channels at most), print, radio and outdoor.

The model worked well for legacy media channels, because the distribution was expensive, but production was relatively cheap. Let’s take a real world example: the cost to create a commercial is roughly 600K. The media cost for a 30-second Super Bowl spot is roughly $4M. This places the ratio of agency spend to create the ad, right at 15%, which is right in line with historical averages used for the last 50 years. It’s also quite consistent with reports from major industry associations and reports.

Today, where we have such high media fragmentation this model falls apart. Marketing in a digital world, requires a completely different set of models and requires us to rethink how we’re spending our money. With digital, distribution is relatively cheap. It’s the creative that’s expensive. Those who understand and embrace this have settled between 30% and 40% for the dollars needed to support a digital driven campaign. It makes sense. The rough cost to create the famous Oreo Super Bowl tweet was $2,000. That figure is based on the 15 minutes it took to create and publish the image, multiplied by the list of people who were attached to the Cannes submission for the ad, multiplied by a simple conservative blended rate of $200/hour.

Before we continue, let me clear, I’m not suggesting that Oreo actually paid 360i $2,000 for that tweet. I’m sure the cost to create that tweet, from an already once used image, was accounted for as part of a broader client/agency fee agreement. The $2,000 is a real number however. It’s the real dollars needed to create that tweet as a one-off piece of creative…just like the $600K is the relative cost to create a one-off Super Bowl commercial.

With that said, think about that…$2,000 for 1 tweet. What if you need 8 great tweets a day, every day for a year? Well then you’d be spending $4.38M in just twitter creative. Even with a volume discount of 50%, you’re talking $2.19M per year. AND, that’s just twitter? We know the digital patch quilt world we operate in is much larger than just twitter. We need creative and content for Facebook, Pinterest, your emails, Instagram, your website, Tumblr and so on.

But, for the sake of simplification, let’s just focus on twitter. And more specifically, let’s just focus on a 1 day twitter campaign. The most recent publicly documented cost for a promoted trend is $200K. A promoted trend can generate upwards of 90M impressions as seen my Coca-Cola, more is more generally in the 30M impression range. Let’s split the difference at 50M impressions for an average trend campaign.

Creative wear-out is a reality. If you show someone the same ad enough times they either take action or start tuning it out. With digital display, the rule of thumb is you need 1 creative unit per every 1.5M – 3M impressions. The variance is tied directly to the reach/frequency model you need for your category (eg auto vs. CPG). Twitter, of course, isn’t display. We check twitter several times a day. If anything you’d need more messages/creative units because the wear out would happen faster. That said, since there’s no publicly available data to substantiate that, we’ll roll with the following campaign specifics:

  • 1 Promoted Trend Campaign
  • $200,000 for the cost of the trend campaign
  • The campaign would yield 50M impressions with creative wear-out happening at 1.5M impressions
  • The cost to create an award winning tweet is $2,000

So with the above, we would need 33 creative units/messages at a cost of $2,000 per piece of creative for a total cost of $66,000. At that cost and the cost of the promoted trend, we’ve clearly exceeded the 15% “rule.” We’re at 33% (I did the math for you). If we get our bulk discount of 50%, we’re at 16.5%. Based on my experience, when you consider the cost of the account coordinator to open the job # to the Chief Creative Officer to sign off on the job, the cost is going to be more than $750.

Keep in mind, our example is limited to twitter. We haven’t even started looking at the costs to then produce creative unique to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other large social platforms, across the very fragmented digital landscape.

Screens are getting smaller and more varied.  The number of “media” channels consumers are flocking to is exponentially increasing. Consider that Vine, Jelly, SnapChat, Medium and so many others didn’t even exist a year ago. We’re adding more and more places to visit every day…yet the time we’re spending at those places is becoming more and more fleeting. To me, this means we, as marketers, get even less time to make an impact with our consumers. And that’s why you need award winning level creative every single time. You can’t deliver C-level creative experiences. They all need to be A-level. Creating A-level creative, means making your creative unique to each publisher, placement, consumer segment and person.

For years, traditional marketers have taken issue with a “shotgun” approach to marketing. The argument is that it’s too broad and not focused. Some I’ve worked with, favor a “champagne pyramid” approach to marketing, where you fill up the top glass (usually TV) and only delve into another marketing channel, after the first glass is full. This trickle down approach to marketing spend simply isn’t consistent with today’s digital world; it’s antiquated, but easy to manage.

Is it any wonder that people who cling to a champagne pyramid approach to marketing, still cling to the 15% rule; something created over 50 years ago?

I can’t tell you if the right percentage is 20%, 30%, 50%. But, I can tell you the 15% rule has no place in today’s digital world.

Now, go buy Where The Suckers Moon…now!

Friday Five – February 14, 2014

What Would Happen If You improved Everything by 1%: The Science of Marginal Gains
http://bit.ly/1jgDUSh
Probably my must read of the week. Great post. Real world application. Can’t beat it. In short…not a whole lot changes by improving something 1%…initially. But, over time these small improvements add up in big ways. There’s not right or wrong answer here. You could bet big like Google and want to change the world instantly. Doing so could lead to complete failure (eg Knoll, Google Wave and so far Google Glass). Or you can take the slow and steady path.

Pinterest Is Impacting The Real World
So I know this is supposed to be 5 links total, but 3 different pieces of interrelated Pinterest news happened this past week. First, Target announced it would launch “collections” from top pinners. Yes, I’m serious. Then Caribou Coffee created a 5-story Pin Board, built around #CaribouInspires. They of course, placed it in the Mall of America in Minnesota. I saved the best for last. The Redwood City police are using Pinterest to share items that have been stolen. That. Is. Brilliant.

Native advertising: Too expensive and too much effort for agencies?
http://bit.ly/1jgGAPF
Surface level analysis, but they’re spot on. The reason why it’s too expensive and too much effort is simple. It’s the shackles of the old media world, holding agencies back. Let me explain. In the earliest days of advertising, an agency took a straight commission off of placing and buying media. That commission eventually settled around 15%. There were companies still using this model 10 years ago. Old habits die hard. That 15% commission became a defacto standard for how much an agency should be compensated relative to the media spend. If you spend $10M in media, you shouldn’t spend more than $1.5M to produce the creative needed to satisfy that media buy. This might work for TV or Print, where distribution is expensive, but production is relative cheap. For example, the average Super Bowl spot costs between $800K and $1.25M to create. The media cost for a Super Bowl spot is roughly $5M. But, in digital, distribution is cheap. It’s the creative that’s expensive. Those who understand and embrace this have settled around 40% for the dollars needed to support a digital driven campaign. It makes sense. The rough cost to create the famous Oreo Super Bowl tweet was $1,500. That figure is based on the 15 minutes it took to create and publish the image, multiplied by the list of people who were attached to the Cannes submission for the ad, multiplied by a simple conservative blended rate of $200/hour. Think about that…$1,500 for 1 tweet. What if you need 8 great tweets a day, every day for a year? Well then you’d be spending $4.38M in just twitter creative. Even with a volume discount of 50%, you’re talking $2.19M per year. AND, that’s just twitter? Native ads shouldn’t be churn and burn banners. They need to be crafted specifically for that publisher and that placement…just like a tweet, or a pin or a status update. Right now, most clients still live in a 15% world and that’s just not going to cut it for agencies. The juice isn’t worth the squeeze.

Event Marketing Media Releases in 60 Seconds
http://bit.ly/1jgK8l5
It’s all about reducing friction and making it easier to get great social done. One of the single biggest friction points for organizations is making sure the appropriate rights for images and assets. Percolate has been attacking this space, with their platform, for years. Their most recent feature, acts like the mobile checkout at an Apple Store. Images are taken and the sign off for the usage rights are done right on your iPhone’s screen. Smooth, simple and awesome. Although, I’m sure some in-house counsel will find something wrong with it. When it comes to social media and legal, it’s a lot like whack-a-mole: there’s always some new issue to smack down.

Ordering fast food by mobile app is the new drive-through
http://wapo.st/1jgYou0
Great mobile apps offer great utility. Taco Bell is now letting you pre-order your meal before you even go through the Drive-thru. I know his technology isn’t new. Chipotle has been doing this for some time. But while Chipotle and Taco Bell both offer Mexican food, they offer completely different experiences and in theory target different consumers. This starts to change the dynamics of the traditional fast-food restaurant experience.

At iMedia Summit Old Challenges Become New For Marketers

I love iMedia Summit. It’s on my must attend list, every year. Great locations, great content and great people, make for a valuable experience.

At this year’s summit, it was clear we’re getting closer and closer to dropping “digital” from titles and org structures. We are on the precipice of people across all industries accepting, it’s less about digital marketing and more about marketing in a digital world.

As I connected with marketers across a wide range of industries, there were 3 familiar themes that could not be ignored.

Talent: The conversation about digital talent has evolved. At one of my 1st summits, nearly 10 years ago, the conversation was about getting funding to hire someone…anyone…who could be that digital subject matter expert. While we’re definitely past those days, talent remains a thorn. Today though, it’s a thorn because we need new recruitment models to find the right talent, we need a better talent investment plan to retain talent and we need a better plan for creating leaders in organizations who have a deep and wide grasp of digital.

Content: It’s king, right? Every marketer I talked with identified different challenges in dealing with content. The most consistent pain points were how to produce enough content in a financially viable way, how to safely source and share content (legal and Pinterest apparently are still not good friends) and how to distribute content the right way. With respect to distribution, this is a battle waiting of happen in a very epic way. The old model that classical marketers still adopt where your cost to create content should not be greater than 15% of the media but, is dead and doesn’t apply to digital and social content. You will spend more than $100k to create enough quality content to support a $1M ad but across twitter and facebook. In digital, unlike TV, distribution is cheap, but the content is expensive.

New Operating Models: What should you be doing internally? What should your agency’s role be? When do you bring social in-house…and do you bring it all in-house? We need new models and approaches to building internal capabilities and for setting our partners up for success. This will require our partners to pivot quicker than they ever have before. They will need new offerings, new types of talent and different pricing approaches. We are in a sea of disruption that’s not going to calm down any time soon.

This year’s iMedia summit reaffirmed some thoughts I had and offered new perspective to think about as I lead our Social Media and Content efforts for Walgreens. It’s also fair to say, iMedia once again reminds me of why I’ve stayed in digital for 16 years…the pace of change isn’t for the weak and it’s bloody good fun to try and keep up.

About
Digital dad to Cora and John. Love ironing, bourbon and BBQ; no necessarily in that order. Living life, like I stole it. I'm always up for a

spirited conversation. These are my thoughts and ramblings, not those of my employer.
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