The End of the Big Advertising Agency

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

– Charles Dickens, “A Tale of Two Cities” in reference to the French Revolution, (I am also a history buff which is a little ironic for this website)

As a 26 year old career-searching, tech-savvy, media-junkie, with big agency experience, I would argue that this statement is true for anyone trying to find a defined career path during the Digital Revolution. Don’t get me wrong – I consider myself extremely lucky to be a witness, a participant and hopefully a key player in this great time of change. Technology will provide us with an infinite number of new opportunities to be innovative and creative – especially from a marketing perspective. We cannot even begin to comprehend the extent of change and progress that will occur in the next ten years. There is an insatiable demand for innovation and this truly is the best of times. What could be more exciting?

While many industries will be forced into radical transformations and upheaval, none will be more affected than the Media, Marketing and Advertising trade. For the old Madison Avenue stalwarts, this will prove to be the worst of times. Already companies like Google threaten the very existence of an agency that specializes in strategically placing your advertisements. Google has transcended the Internet genre and seeks to expand their pinpoint targeting expertise to radio, print and even television. Google is only the tip of the iceberg – maybe even just a catalyst.

Currently, the allocation of billions of dollars is determined by research methods and protocols that have been the standard for thirty years or more. The relevance of Nielsen ratings will essentially be obsolete in five years (thanks to DVR, VOD and ofcourse internet video access).

What will happen to the big advertising agencies – the JWT’s the Y&R’s and the McCann Ericsons? Upheaval and Revolution. Will the same agency structure be relevant in the 21st century? Managers and decision makers are either in denial or secretly scared to death. In his book “Life After The 30-Second Spot”, Joseph Jaffe addresses this issue in depth. I strongly suggest reading Chapter 10 if you work at an ad agency and care about your future.

One might argue that it is ok to be cautious. For example: do not immediately embrace or invest in a new type of media or technology that is not completely established yet. Don’t devote an entire department to people who specialize in only one medium. That’s exactly the approach that WPP’s Martin Sorrell is taking. The opposite, of course is Publicis’annoncement of new wing Denuo, specializing in emerging media. Which side of the spectrum will prevail? Who knows. Maybe neither.

One might also argue that the current big-agency model is not even capable of adapting to new technologies quickly enough. Shouldn’t it be the responsibility of leaders to re-think the strategy of the future?

In his book “The World is Flat”, Thomas Friedman strongly urges businesses to develop a model and structure that is highly adaptable to change. He warns that jobs, industries, and entire careers will be born and die due to the rapid pace of technology. This will prove to be very true for the future of Advertising. The new agency model of the 21st century will be effective for it’s unconventional, highly adaptable and constantly evolving structure. It will continue to mold and shape itself around what is important. It will constantly embrace change and technology in order to survive unlike its predecessors whose fates lie with the dinosaurs.

Will the baby-booming leaders of the big ad agencies understand the implications of new technology and emerging media? Will it be the best of times or the worst of times for marketers and advertisers? By the way – even the pope has an iPod!

Suggested Reading:

www.jaffejuice.com

http://www.imediaconnection.com/index.asp

http://ana.blogs.com/liodice/

[tags]denuo, advertising, advertising agency, new media, madison avenue, WPP, Publicis, Martin sorrell, Thomas Friedman, joseph jaffe, DVR, marketing future, google, google advertising, marketing.fm, Denuo[/tags]

The Entrepreneur Meme

The hardest part about being an entrepreneur is running the risk of both a catastrophic failure or a runaway success. Figuring out why it would be bad to fail is easy; embarrassment, lost funds, accepting failure, learning from defeat etc.. The hard part is figuring out why being a runaway success can be difficult though. Most people find themselves in the middle ground or what I call the “safe zone” of corporate America where big talk at the water cooler ends up being just that – TALK. People find all kinds of reasons why they “cant” or “wont” do something in life and taking a chance to start your own company, fund your dreams, or just do something different are all just as scary. Being successfull means dealing with everything that comes along with that including the pressure of managing a companies finances, to teams of people that rely on your company for their survival. (this is a simplified outlook but hopefully still helpful)

This post is a tribute to those who have taken the road less travelled and taken a chance on life. Here are some recent collected links to get you startedmotivated:

Go It Alone! Book

Go It Alone!
The recent book published by Harper Collins in which both the author and the publishing company are taking a risk by releasing the ENTIRE book free online. (also helps that the book is about taking the giant leap into being an entrepreneur)

Don Dodge – The new way to launch your product or company

This article defines the launch of a product or a company in the post web 2.0 world perfectly. If you are currently working in or thinking about a startup company – start by reading this post. He speaks about the proper ways to approach bloggers and the benefits that can arrise from this, but always concentrates back on the importance of the product or service speaking for itself. I think there are many ways to launch a company or spend marketing dollars – but they all fall back on the backbone of your product.

Today it is much easier to get a company started. But, with so many companies and products launching does it make it harder to get noticed? Not if you take advantage of the new approaches to exposing your beta product on the web, and engage the blog community for early feedback and promotion. It only takes one or two A-List bloggers to get you noticed. Then it is up to the product to speak for itself.

I think this is a great link because it also outlines the way to go about launching a new blog – in this case marketing.fm 😉

Next up is another mandatory feed subscription for an entrepreneur looking for some advice: Feld Thoughts – On Corporate Structure

This article simplifies the difference between an S-Corp, a C-Corp, and an LLC – all with links back to everyone favorite new resource wikipedia.org

Thanks all for now but stay tuned for more entrepreneurial coverage.

[tags] entrepreneur, marketing.fm, starting a company, venture capital, VC [/tags]

How to make a brand evangelist for LIFE

1 Billion iTunes

In recent Apple iTunes events covered by many news outlets (here, here & here) Apple recieved some of the best press I have seen in recent months without spending any money on advertising. The lucky downloader of the 1 billionth song on itunes (Alex Ostrovsky from West Bloomfield, Mich.) recieved the following:

  • 20″ Screen iMac
  • 10 iPods
  • $10,000 gift certificate to iTunes

How could this guy not be a mac person now for life? Granted its in no ones best interest to spend over $10,000 per customer aquisition, but the influence he willalready has over his friends and family definetley makes for quite an allie for Apple.

Looking at this entire process from an advertising perspective its clear the Apple PR machine was well oiled up for this spectacle. I also agree that this is exactly what should have been done. Can you imagine if Dell, Sony, or others did a similar thing for their hardware sales? This is what keeps Apple ahead of the pack.

Although there has been much talk of change lateley…this is what keeps Apple a “we” company and Sony a “they” company.

[tags] Apple, iTunes, 1 Billion, Marketing.fm, Brand Evangelist, Mac [/tags]

Advertise Different – EggVertising

EggVertising

The first in a series about advertisers that go against the grain and help forge ahead in a sea of sameness a company called EggFusion has gone ahead and become the winner of the first company to be covered in Markting.fm‘s Advertise Different coverage. EggFusion, as you can see from above, is banking on the fact that you are going to look at your eggs before you purchase them (as well as when you get home) and see the advertising that will now be lasered into every egg. The added benefit to the consumer comes in the form of laser etched expiration date’s that will also accompany every brand message.  With over 50 billion eggs sold per year EggFusion certainly has a large sales number to work with. Only the future will tell us whether or not this company will succeed or not, but hey – what a great idea!

Thus I have named this new channel – EggVertising

[tags] advertise different, marketing.fm, eggvertising, eggfusion, new advertising [/tags]

Olympics on TV: An Olympic Failure

This was the scene on the frontpage of msnbc.com today and it struck a cord with me that the “finale” has finally come for the olympics on TV. What will be observed by some in the future as a historic event, but not for the normal reasons.

Olympics TV
The Olympics in Torino are now over and they not only mark the end to the 40th Winter Olympics, but also to the end of traditional television advertising during the olympics. For the first time in history a website had more video consumed than traditional television. Although the website www.nbcolympics.com is owned and operated by the official broadcaster of the Olympics, NBC, it still marks a dramatic failure of advertising numbers that were promised by NBC. For back to back nights throughout the main Olympic events such as figure skating, and alpine skiing, NBC’s ratings did not even compare to the #1 rated show during this period: FOX’s American Idol. Not only did NBC fail to capture the ratings it was looking for, but it placed a distant 7th place…far from silver or bronze (sorry I just couldnt help it).

On Wednesday February 22nd 2005 Nielson ranked the Torino games the fifth-lowest rated olympics in history with only 11.3 household rating. Although the final outcome did place NBC in second place overall, and barely delivering on their advertising promises, overall I see this as a failure. Moving forward buying ads during the Olympics will never be the same.

[tags] NBC, NBC Olympics, Olympics Advertising, Marketing.fm, Online Olympics [/tags]

Internet Explorer No Longer Allowing Macromedia Flash…

Thanks to John Dowdell, it appears the IE/no-Flash development is not as serious as originally reported by marketing.fm. Please see below:

(Q) Will advertisements be affected?
(A) Because most ad servers use an external script-based mechanism for detecting and serving Flash, they already employ a technique proposed by Microsoft for activating active content. To learn more about the expected changes to Internet Explorer and Microsoft’s proposed solutions for active content, please see the MSDN article.â€?
http://www.macromedia.com/devnet/activecontent/faq.html#item-1-7

Original Post:

As reported by Adotas from email, Microsoft officially announced the suspension of flash technology for all those who use Internet Explorer software. Microsoft has been involved in an ongoing patent dispute with Eolas Technologies since 2004. Despite numerous appeals, the struggle continues. This will essentially put a halt on all “Flash-based” media across the web for IE users.
While a suspension of “Flash” may sound dire for interactive advertising, it could also be temporary relief from annoying advertisements for web surfers. Furthermore, the problem will be easily fixed through a patch that is already available. More information can be found here.

More importantly, what are the implications? From an advertising standpoint, some paid media will certainly be affected and pre-empted given the widespread use of Internet Explorer. In addition, this issue may result in more users switching to alternative browsers such as Firefox which has been growing browser market share.

Watch this space closely as things will change quickly given the fact that multiple sides to this battle have dynamic flash inventory running out on the internet right now.

Insight: Microsoft may be happy about this “block” in support of its supposed Flash killer

Links tracking the story:
eWeek

[tags] interactive advertising, marketing.fm, marketing, ie, ie flash, flash advertising, firefox[/tags]

Joining The Conversation

There has been much talk lately of the blogosphere and the A,B, and C list bloggers. Everyone seems to disagree on the importance of having these lists, or whether they should not be used at all. One positive thing that has occurred is that more people are joining the conversation. Articles and blog posts have been written recently about the state of the blogosphere and how difficult it is to break into this field. I believe that content is still king and the right ideas and questions can generate as much traffic as a so called “A list blogger”?. The benefit some of these popular blogs have is that during a down cycle of posts or writing the readers do not ever take the author off of their reader or surf habits due to, well habit. By pro actively joining the conversation “late”? it is my goal to generate ideas, garner conversation, and spark interest in the areas I cover in an effort to give other marketers and executives a window to what they have been searching for online.

As the curtain in front of Marketing.fm is pulled away you will see a different approach that allows novices and experts alike to participate in the conversation and learn together. One of the biggest problems I have seen to date for a “late adopter”? (i.e. most large agencies) is that there is no starting point for vocabulary, knowledge, or comprehending new and innovative ideas. This blog will cover learning about new media, learning about emerging media, and explain all aspects of interactive marketing for beginners. Some of the topics will delve into the most advanced and expert topics of the moment – while always keeping in mind that our reader – the marketer – will always make up his or her own mind.

To all those that say you cannot start a blog in 2006 – please use this blog as your exception to the rule in your 2007 predictions…

[tags]marketing.fm, interactive advertising, marketing, new blogs[/tags]