Archive for February, 2008

Taking a Couple of Weeks Off!

Posted: February 10, 2008 in Uncategorized

Apologies to my loyal readers, but I need to take a couple of weeks off from the blog to wrap up some major projects. Stay tuned!


Watch out world – I had to do it. There’s a newly created new-marketing/business term coming our way. Actually, the dynamics behind the concept have been at play for some time now, so it was just a matter of time before someone articulated it as a one word addition to our growing lexicon.DATANOMICS

First, let me fill you in on where the motivation behind this post came from. I was inspired by the Group M deal with Celltick in Asia, (Celltick delivers a ‘LiveSreen’ streaming ad interface to millions of mobile handsets), to write a post titled “When Looking For Mobile, Look Overseas”, when it dawned on me that there was a bigger story here. A much bigger story (well at least the straw that broke the camel’s back for me), a story about data value, about sharing case studies and key learnings, about leveraging standardized tools and technologies, developing proven processes and techniques, globally. Hence the birth of Agency “Datanomics.”

Update: the announcement in MediaPost about Publicis adopting a yield management system (Rapt) to create digital media buying efficiencies and collective knowledge across its portfolio of agencies, including Starcom Mediavest, Zenith Optimedia and Digitas, is exactly the type of system that will become standard at the holding company levels. Scale does offer tremendous benefits in the world of datanomics!

I continue to see many non-big-agency-folks bashing the big guys for not ‘getting’ digital channels (granted up until recently they certainly deserved some of the bashing). But I must say, big things are happening and I think many naysayers out there can’t see the forest for the trees. Some of the big guys do indeed get it. In my “Agency Darwinism” piece, I point out that WPP’s digital revenue represents 23% of the total $29 billion in 2007. Barely a week goes by without news of another WPP acquisition or strategic partnership. Kudos guys. Keep keeping on!

Of course the market forces that affect agencies affect marketers, publishers, technology providers, content creators and all parties in the entire ecosystem. But of course I am partial to focuses my thoughts and writings more so on the agency ecosystem specifically.

So with that background, I introduce to you, “Datanomics“: The study and practice of creating direct and indirect value by leveraging data at all points in the business, encompassing everything from simple communication of collective experience and knowledge to the implementation and management of sophisticated data analysis tools and dashboards. In practice, it is a mindset, always focused on how to harness and leverage data for planning, evaluation or implementation of any and all business investments. It’s the application of econometric thinking at all levels of the organization. Essentially Datanomics is not just about measurement, analytics and modeling, but the strategic thinking and pragmatic application behind it. Datanomic training would include helping all staff understand how to think about data inputs, and outputs as well as possible correlations between different data sets.

I would argue that the most successful digital or integrated agencies of today are those with a strong Datanomic position.

A company’s “datanomic position” affects its overall position in the market, creates or impedes competitive advantages, creates operational efficiencies and increases profitability. A global presence automatically expands a datanomic position, while firewalls between divisions hamper it. Human resources and technology will both play a pivotal role in driving Datanomics, but the human role is an essential one. The levels of technological progress has outpaced that of our ability to absorb this progress at scale. Therefore pockets of “those who understand how to use and/or apply the technology and tools” and “those who do not” have emerged.

Understanding how to apply the additional dimensions of data and the dynamic interactivity of digital media to the planning, execution and evaluation of marketing investments, is a requirement for the transformation of “traditional” agencies, who truly wish to become integrated and ready for battle in the new age of marketing before us, as opposed to simply marketing themselves as such.

After speaking about a data driven marketing and business economy for many years, I had to stick the stake in the ground and coin a new term to describe the concept. It’s not a buzzword, it’s just a term. A term with real meaning. Remember, Datanomics relates to the requirement of an ever present cognizance of the data-dimension. Direct marketers have been riding this wave forever. But data is now in the realm of all marketers and all agencies, DR and brand advertisers alike. Your ability or inability to embrace this data-cognitive approach can affect your competitive positioning, the work you do for your clients, and ultimately your ability to maximize agency profitability in the future. I’ve watched agencies embrace data, new tools, systems and ways of thinking, while many others have feared it. There is no choice any longer.

So what’s your Datanomic position compared to your competitors?

I admit it. I love widget advertising. It adds a social media element to rich media, and on a larger scale, it helps social mediaWidget become better entrenched in the consumer’s online journey, versus existing only at destination points. With each jump in ad format quality, richness and interconnectedness to other systems are enhancing the consumer experience by making it more relevant, while in lock-step also improving marketing effectiveness.

I reported last September that Google Gadget Ads added the additional dimension of rich media and interoperability to a well distributed existing ad sense network. Following that, in October I reported that EyeWonder had launched a social media / embeddable rich media unit, and the trend will continue with all other rich media platforms and even large publishers and agency holding companies following suit. AOL’s Platform A just made their foray into the mix by acquiring Goowy Media last week – soon widget ads will be everywhere. Consumers will one day soon become accustomed to accessing and embedding information from their favorite brands through their online marketing.

“Reach out and touch someone? Screw that – reach out and embed someone!” (quote – Jason Heller 2008)

It’s a formidable battle ground in the widigetizing, sharing, bookmarking, tagging or otherwise socially integrating everything into everything else game. Incorporating social media attributes into rich media opens up a new dimension that taps into the social fabric of the changing web itself – the same social fabric responsible for the spurts of exponential and organic growth of some of today’s social media darlings like YouTube, Wikipedia, MySpace, Digg, or Flickr, as examples. Marketers will learn how to distribute marketing assets of various formats, thus increasing consumer (market) engagement, extending the life of marketing campaigns, and leveraging brand advocates and ambassadors in new ways and more extensively than ever before.

Question for my fellow media geeks out there – did technology drive consumer adoption, or did adoption drive technology? Or – did technology first drive consumer adoption, which drove more technology, which in turn drove more adoption, and so on? Do the iterations of each shift happen at an increasing pace? Are technological progress and consumer adoption becoming one? Then why do my laptop and mobile device keep crashing all the time? (Ok I took that one too far …. does chicken or egg really matter anyway?)

It’s a lot of fun to be a marketer and a consumer these days!

In the spirit of having fun marketing, I have just launched a widget and Facebook application for The Digital Blur . It’s actually a Blidget – part blog part midget, err – widget. You can grab it here for any social media site or blog. Enjoy!

Microsoft adCenter Labs unveiled some new technologies this week during their annual demo of future technologies.Online Video

I’ve been eagerly following the developments of ‘Surface’, the interactive …well…surface computer. However, Surface is a while away from being part of my daily life, and it’s far too early to even discuss the marketing implications, so I digress…

More practical announcements cover a few areas I’ve been waiting for – contextual video targeting, the video hyperlink, and social video.

Let’s just focus on contextual video targeting for now. I’ve been preaching this one for the last year or so, ever since my clients have been increasing the allocation to video advertising. Let’s face it – we developed a text based internet. All of our systems and tools do a great job of parsing text and building models for targeting and/or dynamic content creation. However, video has not enjoyed the same flexibility and matchability at as granular a level as text-based content due to technical restrictions that prevent us from easily understanding the context of the content. Audio-to-text technology, in theory, should solve all of that. In reality – have you seen any systems that work perfectly yet? Just think about the telephone based speech-to-text / speech recognition systems, some are good and some stink, so I guess it’s all in the specific technology used. Hey Microsoft is a technology company – think they can nail this one? Probably, as will many others. There’s a bright future for video advertising that will benefit advertisers, publishers and consumers alike – it’s the trifecta of satisfaction, if you will.

Others have been experimenting with these types of technologies (Sanscout, & Blinx for example), but none have seem to really become the primary “These guys nailed it” destination for contextual video targeting technology yet. With video inventory of YouTube proportions and a pool of 350,000+ advertisers, surely Google is experimenting with these technologies as well. Targeting videos contextually will fuel the growth of the online video advertising. Just think of the search engines and contextual networks adding an extra option to your campaign “Include contextual video placements?” – instant scalability. The valuable usage data can will be combined with existing systems and algorithms for use beyond contextual targeting, to include behavioral targeting as well.

Advertisers love video for its emotive qualities, digital marketers love identifiably and data for their scientific virtues – combine the two and we have a winner folks!

Hence, the future of video is text…

The Only Place Crazier Than Brooklyn After The Giants Win The Super Bowl, may have been the ad agency water cooler theSuper Bowl Search Ads day after the game…uh…20 years ago maybe. The water cooler effect is a concept of yesteryear of course, however the continued impact of Super Bowl advertising became evident to me in the streets of Brooklyn, as the Bud Light must have been flowing through the veins of those who started an impromptu parade of drunkeness.

With all the hoopla over Super Bowl advertising – marketers jockeying for position, competitors blocking one another out and even buying non-super bowl networks – what’s up with the web’s lowest hanging fruit – Search? A search for Super Bowl just hours after the game yielded mixed results. Two were from ‘official super bowl advertisers’ and Both advertisers were capitalizing on the overflow of TV viewing to search engines, some ads were relatively out of context. Few and far between were the clever marketers trying to work pop cultures response mechanism to sway in their direction. I would have expected the direct competitors of the super bowl advertisers to have a strong online presence, but I did not find it so. An opportunity missed. Shame on their SEM managers.

Just thought I’d post a handy reference from Ad Age for all of the Superbowl commercials. Historically marketing geeks like me love watching the Super Bowl commercials more than the game itself (why people spend so much time and money watching other grown men having fun while making tons of money is beyond me, but that’s a whole tainted perspective that I will leave for places other than my marketing blog).

Here are the commercials.

I woke up today wishing I never sold me Yahoo stock. Microsoft made a $44 billion dollar bid to acquire Yahoo, the equivalentMicrohoo! of  a 60%+ premium over the current share price. Ok, reflecting on my day trading days aside – this is a huge announcement!

Should the deal be accepted and pass FTC regulatory scrutiny, the combined entity of Microsoft (which has strengthened its position significantly since the groundbreaking aQuantive acquisition last year)  and Yahoo, would rival Google in a way that neither would have ever been able to achieve alone at this point.

I’ve been predicting that Microsoft is as much a player to look out for as Google is, in the age of “coopetition” and “frienemies”. In my ‘Agency Darwinism’ piece from weeks ago, I point out that lately WPP chief Martin Sorel has mentioned Google more than his direct competitors like Publicis, IPG, & Omnicom. I pointed out that Microsoft should be looked at equally as seriously, and wouldn’t you know it, 2 weeks later the industry is already moving in its next hyper evolutionary state.

This is a new era we are entering once again…

Mediapost today ran a statement from former aQuantive CEO Brian McAndrews, it’s a good read.