Monday, August 27, 2007

The State Of Advertising - We Miss You Mr. Ogilvy

The "The Father Of Advertising" Would Be Appalled At The State Of His Beloved Industry

By David Miranda

David Ogilvy, considered by many to the Father Of Advertising, penned the "little red book" of advertising, "Confessions Of An Advertising Man" in 1963, yet his wisdom, insights, and advice still ring true today. Mr. Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy, Benson, and Mather, passed away in 1999 at the grand old age of 88 after a legendary career on Madison Avenue.

Here are quotes from the master:

On Advertising: "I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be."

On Advertising Effectiveness: "Ninety-nine percent of advertising doesn't sell much of anything."

On Consumers: "The consumer isn't a moron; she is your wife. It is flagrantly dishonest for an advertising agent to urge consumers to buy a product which he would not allow his own wife to buy. "

On Advertising By Committees: "Committees can criticize advertisements, but they should never be allowed to create them."

On Creativity: "If it doesn't sell, it isn't creative."

On Using Judgement vs. Research: "I notice increasing reluctance on the part of marketing executives to use judgment; they are coming to rely too much on research, and they use it as a drunkard uses a lamp post for support, rather than for illumination."

On Setting Goals: "Don't bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals."

On Hiring Talent: "If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants. Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine."

On Clients: "I avoid clients for whom advertising is only a marginal factor in their marketing mix. They have an awkward tendency to raid their advertising appropriations whenever they need cash for other purposes."

Mr. Ogilvy, we'll try to do better.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Future Of Search - Local And Niche

The Next Generation Of Search Will Be More Localized And Specialized

By David Miranda

As someone once said, "the more things change, the more they remain the same" and such is the case for the burgeoning search environment.

Media uber-fragmentation has given us countless television shows, cable channels, niche magazines, radio stations, web sites, and blogs on just about every subject and interest imaginable. General interest has given way to special interest. Today's most powerful programmer is the consumer each with their own distinct media consumption pattern including the devices they choose to consumer the media on. Getting the news is no longer confined to TV, radio, or print. Watching TV is no longer confined to the TV. Listening to music is no longer confined to terrestial radio or CD's.

With this fragmentation of media and their respective audiences, marketers have been challenged to find new ways and means to reach their targeted audiences. The most popular choice has been the internet and on the internet the most popular choice has been search.

Today, Google, Yahoo, MSN, and AOL represent over 90% of paid search revenue with Google being the 800 pound gorilla in the sector.

But things are changing in search and time will tell who will exploit this change.

The change is search becoming more locally and niche relevant for the consumer rather than the open-ended search model that dominates today's environment.

If one is searching for travel, for example, is the consumer more likely to go to Google or search Expedia, Travelocity, or Orbitz? A comparable search for "airline tickets" or "cruises" on Google and Expedia will tell the tale. Similarly, if one is searching for a Chicago DUI attorney, is the consumer more likely to go to Yahoo or search "chicago dui"?

Good marketing is relevant and all marketing is local. The future success of search will be premised on existing or new competitors to deliver both. Local and niche are the Achilles Heels of the big guys leaving daylight for aggressive competitors to exploit.

Doing Your Own Thing - It's A Leap Of Fate

An Open Letter To Those Who Are Contemplating Making The Jump To Control Their Own Destiny

By David Miranda

It's inevitable for those with talent and experience to ponder the possibility of "doing your own thing". It is the most exciting (and scary) consideration in anyone's life. Musings, however, are plagued with self-doubt, timing, fear of the unknown, fear of failure and on and on and on. Those with steady and fruitful employment consider the security of the steady paycheck and the natural procrastination that ensues by rationalizing that it might be better to consider it at some future date when they have more money in the bank account and more experience under their belts.

Although one should always consider the practical side of going out on your own, it is, generally, this thing called fate that is the most powerful influencer in controlling one's own destiny. Think about your own life up to this point. Chances are you are where you are because of a serendipity of people, events, circumstances and the resulting choices you made - not some master plan you developed.

There are two types of people in the world - those that just dream and those that make their dreams come true. Walt Disney, the great dream maker, once said "You can dream, create, and build the most wonderful thing in the world, but its takes people to make the dream a reality."

Take marketing, for example.

The traditional marketing model (TV, radio, print, etc) is broken and a new marketing landscape is being created before our very eyes; enabled by new techology and a myriad of marketing media and channels. Brands, both large and small, are desperately searching for new creative ways to reach a harder-to-reach audiences. In this environment, those with the talent and experience will prosper. So go prosper.

Bottom line for those considering the jump from employee to employer - do it now before you become too comfy and risk-averse. It should be noted that the older one gets, the least likely one is to do it. That's why you meet a lot of old people using language like "I was gonna" or "I should've" or "I wish I had" as they look in that rear view mirror called hindsight.

So take that leap of fate into the marketing pool of opportunity. The water's great.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Recognition Marketing Buzz Meter - Week Ending 8/12/07

The Following Are The Winners & Losers For The Past Week:


  • Tiger Woods - wins 13th Major, 4th PGA Championship
  • Hillary Clinton - widens lead on the field
  • Mitt Romney - wins Iowa Straw Poll
  • Hank Aaron - class act taped memorable congratulatory video on Barry Bond's 756th
  • Richard Branson - Virgin America begins service
  • Buick - ties perennial leader Lexus for Top Spot on J.D. Power Ratings
  • Rupert Murdoch - wins control of Dow Jones
  • Tom Glavine - class act wins 300th game playing by the rules
  • Cal Ripken & Tony Gwynn - role models inducted into Cooperstown


  • Wall Street - dealing with crisis in sub-prime mortgage market
  • Chrysler - taps former Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli to lead company
  • Bush Administration - Karl Rove calls it quits
  • Wall Street Journal - Bancroft family sells out
  • Airlines - delays and lost baggage woes worsen
  • Pentagon - only administers slap on the wrist to general officers in Pat Tillman case
  • Google - less Luke Skywalker, more Darth Vader with acquisition of DoubleClick
  • Tommy Thompson - first casualty of Republican Presidential Race
  • Rudy Guiliani - Hero of 9/11 moniker wearing thin
  • Barck Obama - losing ground to the Senator from New York
  • David Beckham - the Paris Hilton of soccer?
  • China - lead painted toys, tainted pet food and toothpaste. What's next?

Online Marketing - Big Brother Or Much Ado About Nothing?

Did We Give Permission On Who's Analyzing and Profiting From Our Internet Behavior?

By David Miranda

Consumer databases have been aggregated for many years in both the private and public sectors. Historically this information has been protected from dissemination to third parties by law unless a consumer has agreed for it to be shared with others. Despite this fact, databases are collected and aggregated by firms and sold to other firms for lead generation, market research, etc. This is, of course, how mailing lists and telemarketing campaigns acquire their prospects. Here consumers have a modest defense - do-not-call and do-not-mail lists.

Today, however, there is a different, more powerful weapon to target consumers - the Internet.

Most web sites collect and aggregate information on visitors to their sites without the expressed permission of the consumer. Google, for example, collects and analyzes search behavior on millions of consumers daily. Imagine, for a moment, all the searches you have conducted on Google. Now consider all this search history on a Google server for analysis by complete strangers with little or no oversight other than the covenant by Google that it is only using the information properly, whatever that means.

Google has recently stated it keeps the information for only 18 months, but will reduce this time to 12 months. The question is why does it need to be kept for any amount of time and if it does what the purpose?

The new buzz word in online marketing today is behavioral targeting (BT). It means that information is collected and analyzed to create predictive models for targeting appropriate and relevant ads to consumers. The question is when did consumers agree to this? When did a consumer's search history or behavior become the property of Google to monetize?

I have used Google in this example, but only because they are the largest and most sophisticated and, one might argue, the most powerful. They have acquired YouTube and is in the process of acquiring DoubleClick, the largest online ad server. Why? Vertically integrating more information on consumers for monetization. The DoubleClick purchase is being scrutinized by regulatory authorities, so stay tuned.

The real issue here is consumer privacy in a generally unregulated medium. Will it take a major faux pas to awaken consumer concern and , if so, what will be the consequences on this powerful new medium?

Are we witnessing Big Brother or is this much ado about nothing? It's worth considering.

You decide.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Market Like An Insurgent Part II - Know Your Terrain

Understand The Topography And The Dynamics Affecting The Landscape

By David Miranda

Part I - Know Your Adversary, showcased the requirement to understand an adversary - who they are, their leadership, resources, organization, culture, strengths and vulnerabilities, etc. This provides a predictive indication on how they will react to market and competitive opportunities and threats, i.e. where the Achilles Heels are.

Knowing the terrain (or playing field) is also critical for successful marketing insurgency. This is referred to as the business ecosystem, i.e. key players, target audiences, channels of distribution, interrelationships, pricing and cost structures, barriers to entry, seasonality, and regulatory guidelines.

Key Players - Identify and study the incumbents. (See Part I - Know Your Adversary). Typically their attention is elsewhere, i.e. dealing with bureaucracy, eyeing major competitors, becoming more risk averse, embracing the status quo. This where insurgents have a clear advantage operating stealthly under the radar screen of scrutiny.

Target Audiences - Identify who the primary, secondary, and tertiary target audiences are of the incumbents. Chances are their are pockets of underserved, undersatisfied, underappreciated consumers that are vulnerable to a better, faster, cheaper alternatives.

Channels Of Distribution - How do incumbents distribute their products/services to customers? Is there a more cost efficient and effective solution? Sam Walton, for example, determined he could offer "everyday low prices" by eliminating the middleman, the wholesale distribution channels employed for years by incumbents. He reinvented the ecosystem for retail at the expense of incumbents.

Interrelationships - Incumbents benefit by the interrelationships they have developed over time with their consumer base, vendors, media, etc. It is imperative to understand these relationships. These relationships represent a potentially powerful force that can be brought to bear on insurgents. The most obvious are trade associations funded by incumbents that lobby the consumer and trade press and the government to increase barrier to entry.

Pricing & Cost Structures - Incumbents, generally, have a major advantage over insurgents - economies of scale and financial reserves. Incumbents are wise to pick a fight they can win. A full frontal assault of an incumbent can cause devastating consequences. They can lower prices for a sustainable period or unleash a powerful counterattack to overwhelm an insurgent. Price to gain market share quickly, but not at the expense of losing money on each sale. It is not sustainable.

Barriers To Entry - The two biggest barriers to entry are sufficient capital and time. Not enough capital or too long to market are each, in themselves, problematic. Together they are fatal.

Seasonality - Study the seasonality and business cycle of the business ecosystem. Typically incumbents have a predictable behavior in their marketing plans, i.e. they are aggressive during periods of high demand and are more passive during periods of weak demand. Insurgents must be aggressive during the weak periods and not attempt to go toe-to-toe when the incumbents are "feeding".

Regulatory Guidelines - Some verticals must operate within government regulatory guidelines, i.e. telecommunications, financial services, etc. An insurgent must understand the regulatory landscape or be thwarted by incumbents.

Market Like An Insurgent Part III - Planning The Insurgency

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Video: What's Web 2.0?