It is do or die time -- for agencies and the companies who are trusting us. Now, more than ever, only the really tough survive. If your agency won't at least follow the rules below, you may as well resign and save yourself the heartache -- and your clients the pain and expense.
As clients and agencies alike continue to enhance and solidify their digital-marketing competencies, there is an emerging challenge that has to be addressed and met now to ensure maximum growth in the interactive sector: How do we as an industry create -- and importantly, maintain -- a deep pool of qualified and sufficiently trained digital-marketing professionals, specifically at the junior and middle-management levels?
The sixth tenet of the Marketers' Constitution states that the marketing ecosystem -- including agencies, media and suppliers -- must become increasingly capable. The concept of the marketing ecosystem was first coined in a landmark cross-industry study, Media and Marketing Ecosystem 2010: Digital Darwinism. The study, conducted by Booz & Company, was completed in partnership with the ANA, the 4As and the IAB. One of its core findings was that a capable marketing ecosystem is more than just an essential. It is fundamental to marketer's ability to make targeted, confident and effective business and brand building decisions.
As more and more advertising dollars flow into social media, some Madison Avenue firms are seeking to grab a piece of the action. But it will be a tough fight as the space is overrun with companies seeking to own the segment, from start-ups to public-relations firms. "You can't walk out your house without bumping into a social-media expert today, says Sean Corcoran, an analyst at Forrester Research. "The reality is the space is still very much a Wild West."
Access to digital data has brought a wealth of opportunity to marketers, allowing them to reach buyers and prospects anywhere online. Yet that abundance creates its own unique problems. Managing the vast amount of data associated with digital ad exposures and interactions -- especially as agency relationships change -- is a challenge that marketers must deal with in order to realize the full potential of digital media.
Advertising, PR, and marketing agencies are rapidly waking up to the fact that they can no longer be competitive without including social and emerging media in the work they propose to clients. But in many, if not most, agencies, social media is suffering from Slide 29 Syndrome. That's when an account exec calls the digital gurus and says something like this: "For the past few weeks, we've been working on an RFP that we need to send to the client tomorrow. Please add some social media recommendations to the deck and get it us by COB today." They say that because they think social media is Twitter and Facebook and that you pretty much just need to throw up a page so you can broadcast your press releases and announcements.
With so many advertising agencies out to prove their thinking can work outside the protective environs of their ivory tower, we’ve seen an influx of brands hit the market that are not only the brainchild of agencies, but funded in part or whole by them as well. The case studies are well documented, and some of the people behind this movement even took part in our last PSFK Conference New York in 2009. This phenomenon got me thinking about the inverse scenario. What about brands that start services agencies? I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some such agencies and have always found their perspective to be grounded in, well, reality. While their counterparts seem to be starting brands to justify their existence, it seems like most agencies that are born out of brands come into existence either because of the need for a creative outlet or a happy diversification accident through some sort of organic impetus, whether it be a request from a “client” or simply a need for new revenue streams.
Spring break, the alcohol-soaked annual rite of passage, can sometimes be a nightmare for the towns that host it. Just ask Fort Lauderdale or Daytona Beach, two Florida cities once synonymous with the event that have all but put out the "un-welcome" sign to college students looking to party. Then there's the flip side -- spring break is a $40 billion business, according to a Harris Interactive study, and many communities are willing to trade a couple of weeks of mayhem for their share of that pie. Panama City Beach, Fla., is one of them them.
Edelman today named BBC veteran Richard Sambrook, its first chief content officer. Mr. Sambrook, who has been the BBC's director of global news and a member of the BBC's Management Board for the last 10 years, will assist agency clients in producing written, video and audio content that will allow them to tell their own stories to consumers. Mr. Sambrook will report to Edelman EMEA President and CEO David Brain and will be based in Edelman's London office. The agency said he will also sit on its Global Executive Committee, chaired by CEO and President Richard Edelman.
Be afraid, Madison Avenue. Be very afraid. That seems to be the message in the aftermath of the crowded, frenetic advertising bowl that took place inside Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. Among those commercials consistently deemed most effective, memorable and talked-about, many were created or suggested by consumers — or produced internally by the sponsors — rather than the work of agency professionals.
Some advice for media companies trying to sell ads: Promising your senior staff's full attention might not charm potential advertisers as much as you think. Ad results, understanding a marketer's business, aggressive deals on price and customer service are the real top priorities, according to a new Advertiser Perceptions survey of more than 1,500 digital, TV and print media decision-makers at both clients and agencies. Each of those four criteria were rated "very important" by at least 75% of respondents.
Whether in the pages of industry publications or at prominent events, there's no question buzz has spiked in recent months about the butting of heads between agencies and procurement. While I understand where the generally negative sentiment stems from, as a procurement professional with extensive marketing experience, I'd like to offer an alternate view: The two functions don't need to -- and shouldn't -- be at odds.
Agencies and even rival mobile ad networks appeared to welcome Google's proposed $750 million acquisition of AdMob announced Monday as a ringing endorsement of the emerging mobile ad market. The hefty sum that Google is willing to spend to snap up the leading mobile ad network -- launched only three years ago -- shows that the long-hyped potential of mobile advertising is finally becoming a reality, they say. While the move is likely to shake up the competitive landscape in the short term, overall, it helps legitimize mobile as an advertising medium. "It's great validation for the mobile market, and sends a clear message to publishers and media buyers that there are real opportunities to make money off the sector," said Eric Litman, CEO of Medialets, which supplies rich media technology and ad-serving for mobile applications.
A long list of major marketers, including General Motors, Yum Brands and Emirates Airlines, are on the prowl for new advertising firms, a signal that the ad recession may be easing but not necessarily a herald of better days for Madison Avenue. During the economic downturn, many companies held off on searching for new ad partners. Reviews to select a new ad agency can be disruptive—and expensive. The process can run a marketer $50,000 to $100,000 for a domestic review and several hundred thousand dollars for a global one involving many regions, industry executives say. But the hunt appears to be on again. "Clearly we are seeing the beginnings of an ad recovery. The volume of ad reviews is way up," says Russell Wohlwerth, principal of Ark Advisors, a consulting firm that matches ad firms with marketers.
Former adman James Othmer spent two decades working in the ad industry as it was in the throes of a dramatic transformation. As more consumers zap commercials on DVRs and read magazines and newspapers online, Othmer has concluded that the Madison Avenue industry as he knew it is dying.
Publishing “top 10″ lists is unfortunately a staple of modern journalism. But alas, writers must drive readers’ eyeballs, even when discussing serious topics like the government. And so we find a new list that mixes Web 2.0 with the government: “Top 10 agencies with the most Facebook fans.” For the record, this list is topped by the White House with 327,592 fans, followed by the Marine Corps, Army, CDC, State Department, NASA, NASA JPL, Library of Congress, Air Force, and Environmental Protection Agency. Congratulations to all these hard-working agencies. But what exactly are we celebrating here?
Well, as you always kind of suspected, Bob Garfield hates advertising. He even thinks it will die, at least in its mass-appeal form. And big deal, he'd say. People hated that crap anyway. What he doesn't exactly explain is: What are all those big advertisers going to do with all that money instead? Nor does he think there's much chance of you blindsided, slack-jawed advertising people evolving into something that could help answer that question.
Ask around and you'll find that most marketers believe there is something fundamentally wrong with their media and advertising today. They will complain they are not getting truly media-neutral solutions that are grounded in consumer insights and are ownable by their brands.
For Grey Global Group Inc., its contract to create TV, print and Internet advertisements for Procter & Gamble Co.’s Pringles isn’t just about selling potato chips. It’s about the end of billable hours. Instead of being paid for hours clocked devising promotions for rice potato chips or crispy cracker sticks, Grey earns an undisclosed fee upfront and add-on payments for sales and market share gains. P&G moved brands accounting for 40 percent of sales to the new payment system July 1 and aims to expand that.
By undermining the financial viability of traditional media, marketers are jeopardizing the only viable means currently available for reaching mass audiences. That's the core premise of "The CMO's Dilemma: Can You Reach the Masses Without Mass Media?," a new white paper co-authored by John Rose and Neal Zuckerman of The Boston Consulting Group. Rose and Zuckerman argue that it's critical that marketers, agencies and media companies start addressing the issues surrounding this dilemma together.
Today's advertising agencies are filled with young, talented people whose job is to create messages for a world of consumers who look, act and feel just like they do. In advertising parlance, reaching the 18-to-34-year-old demographic is called targeting the "sweet spot." Ninety percent of today's marketing dollars are spent trying to reach this group. Marketers lust after them, and media companies do everything in their power to lure them to their Web sites, magazines, TV shows and radio stations.
One thing about summer is that you get out and see more people, more often at social events, barbecues, on the golf course and at the beach. One topic that has been coming up with those inside and outside our industry is the notion of free media. Or at least that's how those outside our industry refer to it.
Creative agencies generally have free rein and a wide field to choose from when hiring production companies. But in the current era of compulsive cost control, this is changing. One large global marketer is rewriting the rules for the hiring of production houses with an eye towards exerting more control and reducing costs, with another said by sources to be making a similar move.
As Twitter moves into the business mainstream -- nearing some 35 million unique global visitors, according to ComScore -- it's increasingly clear that one community has yet to fully embrace the social-networking tool du jour: agencies.
Advertising agencies and Internet companies once viewed each other as foes, but are now coming together to harness the potential for online advertising. Like many other segments, online ad spending has slowed from its previous breakneck pace during the deep recession, forcing companies to devise new ways to chase fewer dollars.
Beginning July 1, the largest advertiser in the world will integrate all brand functions at the corporate level. That means Marc Pritchard will add design and PR to his control and the moniker of global brand-building officer to his title. Here Mr. Pritchard talks about how Procter & Gamble organizes itself globally and what it asks of its agencies.
The advertising industry needs to do a better job of advertising itself, speakers and attendees at the 2009 American Association of Advertising Agencies leadership conference here said. On Tuesday, the association’s president and chief executive, Nancy Hill, announced the group would now go by the name 4A’s, since the “American” was too limited (advertisers do business internationally), as was “Advertising Agencies” (firms now offer public relations services as well). The name was not the only thing Ms. Hill wanted to change. With clients cutting budgets and the federal government considering stricter regulation of advertising, the industry needed an improved image, she said in a speech Tuesday.
There's something interesting going on with agency Web sites. Ironically, many of the shops that pioneered immersive Flash sites for clients are turning their backs on the high-tech immersive approach when it comes to their own sites. The Barbarian Group, EVB and Juxt Interactive are going this feeds-over-Flash route.
It’s been a while since I last wrote about the death of the microsite, but this week there’s been some comment worth noting on the subject.
There is a quite battle raging in the advertising industry over who will become the Agency of Record (AOR) for marketers' social media efforts. With traditional media for delivering advertising declining in reach and effectiveness, and an even greater call for advertising efficiency in a down economy, becoming a marketer's social media AOR can be a huge win and provide a map to a much-needed new business model and revenue stream for agencies.
Agencies are parlaying their expertise in marketing the brands of other companies into creating and marketing their own.