3 posts categorized "Old Media"

10/01/2009 Teach Your Dumb Media to Speak

I had an interesting conversation yesterday that started about social media but turned into a discussion about two-way communication. Right now, there's so much buzz about social media and things like Twitter's billion dollar valuation that we might be missing the whole point of what's going on.

The business of Twitter isn't that important. The functionality Twitter introduced is. That's why companies like Facebook are trying to duplicate it.

Twitter and social media created a giant leap forward in dialogue branding. They provided ways we could have two-way connections in real time with people and brands all over the world. The connections are immediate and public. That combination is unique and is changing the way brands communicate.

What's lacking right now is the way companies connect its overall marketing to its social media presence. That's why everyone talks so much about Starbucks, Dell or HBO when they actually do something like this.

Since you can access social media from any connected device, like laptops or cell phones, it's surprising that we don't see more marketing that connects fixed and dumb media (think billboards, taxi tops, truck siding, or products like cups, hats or food wrappers) to social media.

Think of all the McDonalds paper wrappers people open up to eat their burgers. For most people its garbage. How many of those do they produce each year? Imagine if there were something fun you could actually do with those, connecting to Twitter, Facebook or Foursquare?

How about if billboards and truck siding encouraged you to do something on social media and you received rewards for acting? In that way, social media could make ignorable media worth participating in.

Now I know that some of these do have response mechanisms. But they broadcast: "Everybody look at this and call this number of visit this Web site." It's not immediate, and it's not public. That's where the fun of social media comes in and that's where the difference is. McDonalds burger wrappers might be a stupid idea, except when you can see that other people in the restaurant participate at the same time you do. Then you've built some unexpected and sometimes odd connections. But they're usually pretty fun and memorable.

Every company has a ton of fixed and dumb (that is, it can't speak) media. It's time to teach your dumb beasts to speak and create dialogue with your audience.


10/27/2008 Newspapers ads down, digital adds up

I read in our local paper this weekend that Gannett Corp. (which owns our local rag and was actually started by its old publisher) announced that their earnings declined compared with last year. The publishing side of the business led the downturn due to sub par ad revenues. USA today saw its paid advertising pages decrease by almost 12 percent.

According to news reports, other publishers will show the same trend as Gannett. On the bright side, Gannett’s digital business was a clear bright spot, with properties such as CareerBuilder and PointRoll.

You might say that the ailing economy is the reason and you’d be partly right. But think back and look at the fact that we’ve had a summer Olympic and a presidential campaign this year, two great ad drivers.

It’s clear that news ads continue their decline, while online ads continue their ascendancy. Microsoft just reported that they expect a 10 to 13 percent growth in online ads over the next year.

All of that is good news for us digital marketers and worrisome for publishers. What businesses need, however, is not just a shift into online marketing but an effective engagement strategy when they do so. We need to help develop dialogue branding, the key advantage of the digital space, rather than repeating the monologue branding of yore.

That means that newspapers, agencies and clients need to get past the moving billboards and splashy technology that plagues the online channel and step it up a notch.

I’ve noticed that a number of local newspaper sites are offering things like peelbacks or images moving across the screen for free now. While those technologies look pretty cool and are fun to play with, they simply follow the pattern of intrusive advertising we’ve lived with for so long.

If I were Gannett, I’d integrate PointRoll into every single online newspaper I own. Make it part of the product and let businesses and agencies have a PointRoll specialist help develop the creative. I think they’d end up growing their online ad revenue by twice as much while providing advertisers with great results.

The online ad space has come a long way, but it’s still got a long way to go. I’ll be talking about some of the things we digital marketers should push for to make this happen.

10/01/2008 This IP Revolution will be Televised (Part 1)

Adweek trumpeted an article this week about David Verklin, CEO of Canoe Ventures, who said he believes TV will give the Internet a run for its money in the delivery of more relevant, engaging ads. Good! It seems, though, that something is missing from this discussion.

TV vs. Internet isn’t such an interesting argument for the future of advertising, except, maybe, for media buyers. The biggest challenge for anyone in the marketing and advertising business is how do we take advantage of an IP-based world.

If that sounds too techie, let me explain: If you’re reading this now, your computer has a unique IP number assigned to it that identifies it to the rest of the world. It usually looks something like For most people, their address changes ever time they restart their computer.


If you’re connected and have an IP number, you can start two-way communications. You know where you want to connect to, and the place you’re connecting to knows where you are.

TV is one of the first places that should happen. And when it does, then David Verklin will be right: TV could have the same type of engagement and measurability as the Web does.

With wireless IP, we’ll see more and more devices and products with their own IP numbers. Bus advertising, billboards, refrigerators and maybe even magazines will have an IP address you can communicate to.

When that happens, all of us in marketing and advertising will scramble to create digital, IP based strategies to encourage two-way dialogue everywhere. Right now, the Web is a good testing ground to get us smarter about this.

What should we be doing? Stay tuned for part

My Web Sites