Is #SocialMedia a consumer haven or a #marketing channel?

March 5, 2012

adage digital facebook articleWhile reading an #AdAge article today, it dawned on me… we have yet to see how social will really play in the marketing mix. The article – “Facebook Warns Brands that Scale in Social Won’t Come For Free” – explains Facebook’s position that marketers are going to need to increase their expectations of cost when it comes to reaching the large audiences they’ve amassed. Here’s a provocative question, do consumers agree to the value exchange? Do they believe in giving up their personal information and being exposed to ad impressions? Sure, they agree to terms and conditions, but do they reciprocate that interest by clicking, buying and advocating the advertisements?

My prediction… the game has hardly started, we don’t yet know the players and it’s too early to calculate the final answer… but todays’ consumer will win.

My humble opinion… social media sites are perceived differently than other consumer tools and destinations. It’s a very personal experience that will prove to result in strained relationships as technologist and marketers attempt to monetize. Consumers add content, share it with others and increase their networks… for themselves. Intervention by external forces who attempt to shift the value equation for the consumer, from participation to monetization, will result in flight to the next “cool” thing. Search engines, blogs, portals and commerce sites have familiar business models and rather predictable consumer interaction and reception. I don’t purport to speak for all consumers but it seems to me that the familial, personal interaction with social sites serves a vastly different purpose on the part of the consumer.

I’m just say’n… but do mark this date on your calendar:-)


#QuoteOfTheDay – “There’s a difference between knowing your $hit and knowing you’re $hit!”

February 27, 2012

Some people don’t get this…  It’s OK to not know everything… it’s not OK to present that you know something when you really don’t. Find the things that you know, and then the things that you don’t know but would like to learn. Don’t dabble in what you don’t know and don’t need to know. Let it go… have some focus!

A scary, privacy embattled ad solution by any other name is still a scary, privacy embattled ad solution

January 23, 2012

I love reading the DigiDay newsletter, a great publication, but some of the articles recently have just been odd. This morning’s article, Ad Industry Want to Rebrand Behavioral Advertising, is the second in a row. Here are a few quotes from the article that caught my eye…

  • “It stands to reason that the advertising industry, faced with unease over behavioral advertising, would choose a rebranding exercise. It’s not behavioral advertising, you see, it’s ‘interest-based advertising.’ ”
  • “The new effort, done by McCann’s MRM in Salt Lake City, takes on the thankless task of educating consumers about the AdChoices icon that’s popping up in many banner ads. One thing the “Your AdChoices” effort doesn’t do is call behavioral advertising, well, behavioral advertising.”
  • “This makes sense. Interest-based advertising sounds much more benign and let’s face it creepy than behavioral.”

Rebranding of behavioral advertising is probably the right thing but the whole thought that this is the best approach is just missing the point. Cross domain tracking of consumer behavior, selling the insight to the highest bidder, is a scary proposition. The fact that it can be done doesn’t mean that it should, or that it is actually good. Leave aside the part that behavior is bottom of funnel activity, and the online channel is lamenting its’ inability to attract brand ad spend (anyone see incongruence?), the whole concept of behavioral targeting is tech based and seeks to extract value exchange from consumers in a rather insideous way.

The balance of ad tech has been, and will continue to be, technology driven and not focused on the actual engagement of consumers. The idea that behavior is a meaningful predictor of purchase intent is flawed… I once read a research piece on the predictors of buying a flat panel tv… one would think that the online behavior of looking at flat panels was a good predictor, it was number 26.

Instead of trying to convince congress and consumers that this is actually “interest-based advertising”, why don’t we start by asking what the actual predictors are to purchase intent and audience identification then back into that question an approach that provides value to consumers and not just ad tech intermediaries?

Link to my New Years resolution byline on the Demand Metric Blog…

January 19, 2012

Here are the highlights… in three points…

1) Learn to identify and digest anonymous, semi-identifiable and identifiable data

2) Learn how to leverage customer lifetime value, or a strong proxy for customer value, in your media investment decisions

3) Learn how to better market at the customer level, this will be the trend to discuss next year!


#QuoteOfTheDay – “never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity”

December 28, 2011

Whether competitive intelligence or personal relationships, consider this quote. It’s easy to get wrapped up in trying to figure out why people do or say something… flip the equation and first figure out if they actually knew enough to have intentionality.

Attribution –

500 years of marketing…

April 12, 2011

Over the last 500 years there were very few inflection points to the advertising and marketing ecosystem. In the last 5 years we’ve seen hundreds more infection points…

In the beginning… 1440 to 1940…

  • Guttenberg invented mass printing in 1440.Yet, it wasn’t until 1704 that the first newspaper advertisement, an announcement seeking a buyer for an Oyster Bay, Long Island, estate, is published in the Boston News-Letter.
  • Fearing there may be a pattern occurring, the first convention of advertising agents is held in New York in 1873.
  • Still not knowing which portion of his advertising is wasted, department store founder John Wanamaker is the first retailer to hire a full-time advertising copywriter, John E. Powers, in 1880.
  • Not until 40 years later did KDKA air the first commercial radio broadcast in1920.
  • 21 years after that, with 7,500 TV sets in New York City, NBC’s WNBT aired the world’s first legal television commercial July 1, 1941, costing the Bulova Watch Company a whopping $9.00.

Fast forward 37 years…

  • The first recognizable email marketing message was sent on 3 May, 1978 to 400 people on behalf of DEC – a now-defunct computer-maker – This is also noted as the first SPAM message.
  • In 1990, the very first tool used for searching on the Internet was launched, Archie.
  • Then, in1993, the Internet becomes a reality as 5 million users worldwide get online.
  • In 1994 HotWired coined the term “banner ad” and sold the first clickable advertisement to AT&T

During the last 15 years we’ve seen a flood of new media and advertising options: comparison shopping, SMS, mobile advertising, social media, games. As well as the digitization of our analog world: mobile phone, Kindle, addressable TV, HD radio, digital variable print.

Five years ago, who would have thought that MySpace would now be a worn out social network? Who’s next?

Digital Promiscuity

April 12, 2011

In conversation with a team of people far brighter than I, I had a glimmer of resolution and coined the term… “digital promiscuity”. Framed in the idea that consumers have too limited an idea as to how marketers have developed data traps… facebook apps, mobile apps, and even cyber crime attacks like phishing. In the abscense of an informed public, organizations are pilaging an unknowing public. The public unwittingly partnering too deeply with too many partners.

MediaPost article: “ISP subscribers have no expectation of privacy”

September 14, 2010

“US District court judge Rosemary Colyer ruled that Web users cant quash subpoenas to their ISPs because subscribers don’t have a ‘cognizable claim to privacy in their subscriber information.’ “


I’m not going to purport that I actually read the entire ruling or that I’m a legal expert… but from my window this looks a whole lot like courts allowing private businesses to legally intrude on private consumers because the business thinks they did something wrong. What’s next, wire tapping their phones? As well, what about NebuAd… didn’t they just fizzle out of existence because of privacy concerns in their business model – aggregating consumer activities from ISPs? If a subscribers activity online is not private, let’s just go ahead and publicize it, how about blog format… sure, that makes a lot of sense. NOT!

I’m in no way advocating the sharing of copyright protected material, the substance of this court case. However, this is the US, right? There certainly are other ways these big businesses can work with folks like the FBI to defend their IP content rights.

In any case, here’s the full article…

MediaPost Publications Judge Rules ISP Subscribers Have No Expectation Of Privacy, Allows Filmmakers To Unmask P2P File Sharers 09/13/2010.


Consumer trust and social media marketing

July 19, 2010

I came across a new chart today, Consumer trust and purchase behaviorand found the relationship between source of input for decision-making and the resulting usefulness and trust they found in the content – people tend to trust content at approximately half the rate that they find it useful.

Point #1 – Consumers trust AND value the usefulness of information gleaned through conversation with friends, families and co-workers (peers) at an exceedingly high level around the globe. I suppose the only interesting point here is that the observation is global in its’ nature.

Point #2 – Those same consumers trust comments and blogs less. Core social content is seen as less valid in decision-making. In fact, comments are trusted and found useful at about half the rate as personal relationships, and blogs at half of that.

Point #3 – Not just that, but they tend to trust the content half as much as they find it useful. THis is probably the more interesting stat… seen from a different dimension, people consciously use the latter two sources of content at twice the rate that they find it trustworthy. This doesn’t seem sustainable. It seems to beg for a new solution… consumers around the globe appear open for new social solutions to amass decision-making content.

Love to hear your thoughts!

The world is multichannel, are you?

July 4, 2010

Recent research identifies that nearly 50% of all in-store purchases are influenced by online research.

As marketers we tend to view the term multichannel as an aspirational goal, to use multiple channels to communicate with our audience. The reality is, we’re just trying to catch up. Those pesky consumers, who do they think they are? 🙂

I’m a tremendous fan of the “low hanging fruit” approach to driving change. That is, to identify high value, speed to market, low effort and high yield executables – to quickly deliver high value. Here are some ideas:

  • Retailers –  whether you know it or not, if you sell high consideration or high priced items, your shoppers are already reviewing their purchase through digital channels prior to making a purchase. Sure, low consideration and low priced items are probably researched far less. In any case, how can you enable shoppers who are already using their smart phones to better view your offering and enable them to see your offering in a better light while in-store? Take what they’re doing already and try to bend the behavior or experience towards you.
  • Leverage highly adopted channels – we’ve all read a lot about the interaction of search and display advertising, how about the enabling capability of email to bring your audience into new channel relationships with you. Email has an incredibly high adoption rate in the US, more than 90%. Chances are, you already have a sizable database… use them as your starting point. The missing piece of the puzzle is likely consumer data that ranges outside of your general purview. While I do work for a company who excells in this area, my intent is to paint an opportunity more than pull out  my carpet bag. Information about cell phone ownership and social media participation are available for you to use in the expansion of your marketing relationship.

Love to hear your thoughts!


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