This is the MOST accurate, intelligent, comprehensive explanation of why big companies manage to mess up great ideas time and time again. Pure genius.
These posts about my journey with this new venture are often characterized as a surprise. In fact, it’s a surprise on so many levels that the unlikeliness of this enterprise is, in itself, a pretty big surprise.
So in this sea of surprises – the biggest surprise rests in the unlikeliness of me as the one to coalesce this vision; only useful to ponder so that we know what makes us different from many other marketing tech companies out there today.
Clearly I am an outlier given my age, gender, training and temperament causing even the casual observer to wonder: “Why me?”
On the surface, one could point to my diversity of experience spanning B2B and B2C marketing. I’ve been fortunate to have worked in a diversity of industries spanning advertising (NWAyer), technology (Bell Labs, CloudLinux), software (CA, Comodo) and telecommunications (AT&T, Lucent, and Paltalk). The combination means I have a quirky understanding of how to look at a marketing situation from the brand point of view as well as the end-user perspective at the same time.
O.K. – That begins to answer the question but doesn’t wholly get at it since many of my colleagues are tech savvy too. While they express curiosity about the new marketing technology, they aren’t going off and creating new businesses. Instead, most of my friends leading marketing agencies or marketing departments (like I was) are banging their heads against the marketing brick wall trying to figure out how to incorporate the “new” technologies into the “old” system profitably. In the chaos of “creative destruction” (a term coined by economist Joseph Schumpeter), my peers can’t see the marketing forest for the financial trees.
So again I ask; Why me?
In digging deeper, I then realize that my experience with communications networks gave me a unique understanding about social networks. Both types of networks serve a similar purpose – the efficient transport of a call or a marketing message from the network edge (the initiation point) through the switching stations along its way to its ultimate destination.
It also became clear to me that as social networks evolved into a powerful marketing network – it urgently needed system architects. But I saw no hint of any serious understanding of the issue or how to address it – not at the agencies or the social network companies or even the armies of consultants who offer insights but few tactical road maps.
When at first I noted this architecture gap back in 2010, I wondered out loud in Ad Age about the impracticality of integrating new technologies into existing marketing systems in posts like “Five Trends That Marked TechCrunch Disrupt Conference 2010.” Then, my wonderment continued unabated at the lack of system attention when I wrote: “Has Facebook jumped the Shark”. Actually, I was writing mostly in the hopes of uncovering the technology companies that were focused on solving this system gap. I knew someone had to it…
But all I heard was deafening silence. I seemed rather alone in recognizing the utter futility of trying to retro-fit the older marketing system with the newer technologies. The sheer tonnage of all these new marketing “platforms;” so defined because they incorporated some combination of the mighty local, social, mobile triad; were built by technologists (usually under 30) and not marketers. This meant they were long on cool but pathetically short on practicality. Yet as slim as many of these businesses seemed, they were getting valuations disproportionate to their real world usefulness (think Groupon), further highlighting the underlying weakening of the business of marketing. It was an ominous echo from a decade ago.
This explains “Why me.” It takes depth of experience to see beyond the buzz to the potent marketing model evolving. I wanted a role in that evolution largely because it seemed few of us with any real world marketing experience were doing the heavy lifting of operationalizing the brilliance of all this new technology.
The journey to understand “Why me” is useful in that it defines the business we are in – creating the system upon which the rich marketing innovation engine can flourish. It’s a surprise that it is me – but perhaps, this is the sweetest surprise of all.
Filed under: Communications, Corporate business models, Digital Agencies, Facebook, Internet, Marketing Management, Marketing Measurements, New tech venture, online marketing, profitable business model, social media, social media agency, social networks, Technology, VC | Tagged: "creative destruction", "opensky", "seeded buzz", AT&T, Bell Labs, CA, CloudLinux, comodo, judy shapiro, klout, Lucent, NWAyer, Paltalk, quora | Leave a comment »
I am not sure what I expected to be doing at this point in my career. I have been blessed to have been at the center of the changing, blossoming technology landscape of the last 20+ years. My earliest days were at an advertising agency called NW Ayer which gave me a broad perspective on Corporate America’s practices, problems and possibilities for triumph. I then gracefully made my way into the tech stars of Corporate America itself with stints at AT&T, Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies and Computer Associates. I also had the great good fortune of working at small innovative technology companies led by visionary innovative leaders. Two prime examples include Melih Abdulhayoglu, CEO of Comodo and Jason Katz, CEO of Paltalk.
This unusual combination of corporate marketing experience coupled with the feet on the streets training born of working at tech startups, gave me a balanced perspective of how the marketing business is evolving in this technology driven world.
So here we are.
The marketing business is going through a fundamental shift that throws into question almost every tactical practice built over the last 20 years. And, amazingly, it seems that just as marketing becomes this new discipline that weaves creativity into an interactive user experience that is tech heavy – it’s a perfect fit for my peculiar type of networking meets technology marketer experience.
This seems nothing short of extraordinary. Which is why I am all the more stunned at the work I am doing today. I had not planned on any such seismic move in marketing, so I certainly did not plan on launching a marketing tech venture.
But here I am.
My journey has been one of surprising excitement at the possibilities in marketing excellence that was simply not possible before. The vision of this venture, therefore, is to take advantage of these new trends to deliver a sustainable and productive “marketing machine” (a phrase I attribute to Melih) that can turn the tables on how marketing gets done.
In our vision, we don’t approach monetization like Google or Facebook’s who are about pushing more accurate marketing messages to consumers. We are looking to deliver a marketing platform that lets consumers decide what content they see, what ads they see, how their social networks are managed, how they conduct commerce, even how they communicate within the social networks. The organizing principle for this platform is not ad-driven monetization but oriented around Judy Consumer. Our vision is to create the kind of system that we want to live with for the next 10 years . In effect, we want to give Judy Consumer the tech power to create her own personal “Trust Web.”
To the few friends we have shared our vision with – all have come to a similar conclusion – it is an ambitious (maybe too ambitious) vision. They are correct. But as I entered marketing in the 1980s most of marketing at first was human powered with marketing systems emerging later on.
And here we are – again.
This next generation collection of marketing technologies is rich in creativity but is not organized for sustainable marketing programs for brands. This is work that I, among others, are focused on – creating v1.0 systems to operationalize the business of social marketing.
We are all at just at the beginning of this journey and it’s a journey I didn’t expect to be taking at this point.
But here I am – and much to my surprise – I am having the time of my life.
Filed under: advertising, Agencies, Digital Agencies, digital marketing, Facebook, Google, Marketing Management, New tech venture, online marketing, social media, social media agency, social networks, startup, Technology, The Trust Web | Tagged: AT&T, Bell Labs, comodo, Jason Katz, Judy Consumer, Melih Abdulhayoglu, NW Ayer, Paltalk | 1 Comment »
The great talent hunt yields an unexpected gift that keeps giving.
Hiring is tough on all companies.
Hiring is brutal for new companies.
One bad hire could spell irrevocable disaster. You have to pick people who can get the job done today, have a passion for the work we are doing, be a mensche, be creative and be just quirky enough to add to the color of our community. But I also know enough though to know, practically speaking, there’s a thin line between a “quirky” and a high maintenance team member.
No wonder it scares me to death. No wonder I put if off. I’d rather have oral surgery. Honest.
But in the past few weeks, I could avoid the truth no longer. I needed to balance out our team and I needed to find the perfect tech architect. In my view, every tech venture needs three architects – the vision architect, the business architect and the tech/ product architect. Sometimes this is all one person, but not in our case.
So with a deep breath – I began what I thought would be a painful process. I was wrong. In fact, I’ve learned much to my surprise, that the hiring process was the best gift I could give my business because I got to learn about the very essence of my venture itself.
I began the process hesitantly knowing that the type of talent I wanted can be highly selective about where they go. Quickly, I was lucky enough to get the chance to chat with the head product guy at a large, very cool social media company. He was thinking of leaving and he graciously agreed to hear my story. Then a few days later through another contact, I was put in touch with an “ex-Microsoft guy who was looking for his next project.” I talked my heart out to convince him to see the vision.
Both of them gave generously of their time and advice. Both reminded me how much I love to talk to developers. I love how their individual creativity is reflected in their choice of languages. I love the quirky, binary-colored way they see the world.
But in talking to them during this process, I also realized I could not really express my vision with the technological crispness to satisfy these folks. I was horrified and I knew from experience, any hint of uncertainty would send the best talented developers running from the virtual room.
It was a surprisingly painful lesson I needed to learn. I thought I had created the elevator pitch suitable to satisfy any audience. I was wrong. I thought long about how they reacted and it was then I had a breakthrough. All of a sudden I could see where I had gone wrong in how I described the platform, and thus the venture. Through my openly sharing with talented people during this process, I vastly improved our architectural vision.
I confess. I would never achieved this revelation on my own or even with the team I have now. My aversion to hiring could have deprived the company of this precious gift of clarity of technological vision.
I’ll end with a note of gratitude. To any candidate we are talking to now – my deepest thanks. To all future candidates – I can’t wait to meet🙂.
P.S. – Wanna help architect the next big gig – (hey – optimism is part of job req’s🙂. We are working on creating The Trust Web. Interested? Drop me a line.
Filed under: Corporate business models, Digital Agencies, HR, online marketing, profitable business model, social media agency, startup, Technology, VC funding | Tagged: developers, hiring, judy shapiro, social media, social networks, The Trust Web, Trusted Internet, VC, ventures | 1 Comment »
The roller coaster ride feels thrilling and yet …
Last week I had some ups and downs. I was happily surprised to be asked to speak at ad:Tech NY this November and I got my press credentials approved for the Clinton Global Initiative. The Social Media Technology Resource Guide is coming along and the team is working hard on creating the Sports Community of Interest for a few properties. On the sales front, we closed a small client that is doing interesting things with their mobile site. On the product front, our CTO – Louis Libin ideated for a way to provide an “overlay” to existing sites using a combination of social media technologies that we put together. It’s a great way to capture our “systems” approach to social media within a marketing environment. This is all good🙂
On the down side – I have to cancel a Sept 28 Meetup event we scheduled to launch the Social Media Technology Resource Guide site. We are delayed by about two – three weeks😦. I developed this free guide as a directory of social media technologies since I could not find one anywhere (and my apologies if one exists – I could not find it). I am more bummed about this than I should be. After all, the delay was because we are pitching some really excellent clients. That is always good. But I am disappointed that I am delayed nonetheless.
At a more philosophical level, though, this set-back triggered one of my bigger challenges — managing the extreme highs and lows. Good things taste almost too wonderful – disproportionate to their “real” good news-ness. And inevitable bumps that occur feel more extreme than they should. I know not all CEOs suffer from this – they are more even-keeled. Some compartmentalize to keep things in check. I see why that might work – but it’s not me. Still groping around on that one.
But on the positive side, more than anything, this time of year is special to me. Yom Kippur is just over and with it comes a potential for a new start. It is a time for refocused purpose, re-organized thinking and re-energized gratitude for all the people that are helping/ rooting for me. It is incumbent on me to hang onto to the intense feeling of positive potential that characterizes this time of year for as long as possible. I hope to rise to the occasion but I credit myself with a fair amount of talent in that department.
Now – onto the “what keeps me up” list:
- Creating a simple way to communicate what we do -this is a carry over from last week and it remains a top priority. Some good progress on one hand but nothing substantive yet.
- We have quite a few follow up conversations coming up soon. This is good news but they want to see “under the hood” which leads me back to point #1.
- I see an undercurrent of “downsizing” already going on in the social media space. Bigger companies are buying up smaller companies if they are in any way related to social media, especially on the technology side. On the one hand – these roll ups don’t worry me at the moment because they lack a cogent system for integrating the technologies (programmatically if not literally), but I worry that there will be too much consolidation too fast leaving just really big guys and then lots of tiny fish. Hmm.
Now, how am I doing against the milestone list I posted last week:
- 3 page executive summary of engageSimply with financial outlook – some progress but not as much as I would like.
- 1 signed client using the entire new Interaction Engine platform – new “sports” channel may be first one to launch or Trust Web – but tantalizingly just out of reach (a note of frustration intended here).
- Initiate discussions with at least 2 possible funding partners – no progress
- Get website up to date – no progress
- Expand sales funnel to having 20 active leads in pipe – added 2 more
- to write in this diary a minimum of once a week or 8 entries (hey – I need some wiggle room J) – so far so good.
OK – all. I am off for now. As always your comments are welcome.
This is post #2 in a series on the life of a new tech venture (and its CEO). Wish us luck. .
Filed under: Agencies, Digital Agencies, New tech venture, online marketing, social media, social media agency, startup, Technology, The Trust Web | Tagged: ad:tech, advertising agencies, judy shapiro, Social Media Technology Resource Guide | 1 Comment »
“But isn’t that everyone’s goal” exclaimed a business friend who learned I had started a company. My friend, a clever software developer, expressed the reality for most of his kind – smart, talented and ambitious to have their own company.
It was never a goal for me actually. I had the best marketing career working at an amazing mix of large and small technology companies. I was fortunate to have learned from the best about digital and social media at an intimate, practical and hands-on level beyond the experience of most of my peers. But starting my own company had not been a high priority for me – at least not until about 12 months ago.
You see, I was working at a profitable social networking company and I wanted to create a marketing program to gain more subscribers. I had a very healthy digital budget ($ millions) and so I did a few agency RFPs. I struggled to assign the projects because the agencies pitching were often very narrowly focused. Sure, many of them had a cool technology or creative concept – but in isolation it had very little value. I found I needed to put together a few of these new technologies to create programs that seemed worthwhile.
But becoming a “system integrator” was not really practical so in the end, I usually did not award the business to any agency. While I nursed my frustration publically in AdAge.com, one day in September 2009 I simply snapped. I had enough after a particularly tedious 2 hour presentation with a large digital agency who, towards the end, insisted that social media could not be branded. That was it. I was done. I kept thinking to myself; “I can do better than these agencies” and I left my employer at the end of 2009.
This was the seminal moment where I made the leap to business creator. I knew the agency business well since I spent 11 years at an agency before going client-side. I knew many of my friends at companies could not find agencies that “got it” either. Consistently they told me their agencies seemed stuck in a model that was becoming less effective and they (brands) were the poorer for it. There seemed to be a place for the type of agency I could imagine and I was determined to create it.
But how to begin? I began by I listening carefully to what my marketing peers were telling me; “My agency does not get it”, “I know I should be doing more in social media but I have no idea what.”; “We don’t do Twitter because we don’t see the value”. In hearing the litany of complaints, I quickly realized that agencies were “stuck” because they were furiously trying to adapt their “one to many” business model of the last 30 years to the emerging “many to many” marketing world of the next 30 years. I could see that was not going to work. I could see that the agency model I had known for 25+ years was giving way… I was on my own.
I took a deep breath as I became amazed that this was my chance to start creating an agency fresh – with no assumptions or sacred cows. This was my chance to do a “green field” build as one might see in the tech space. This was to be an agency built entirely from the perspective of a “many to many” marketing model.
With clarity of purpose, therefore, I set about to the task of creating this “many to many” marketing agency. And in doing so – it seemed I had rethink everything.
My first 60 days (March and April 2010):
I was interested in offering a new type of marketing platform using this new technology so brands could efficiently execute social media and direct response within a sustainable engine. But it became very clear very fast that I had to build this type of engine for myself since all the attention was on individual technologies that VCs were pouring their money into. No one, it seemed, worried about how any of this technology was supposed to operate together at a practical level within a marketing system.
This realization meant, like it or not, I had taken (hesitatingly) my first steps to becoming a technology company. Once I took that first tentative step, I sensed there was no going back and the “Failure is not an option” mantra of a previous boss, Comodo CEO, Melih Abdulhayoglu rang in my ears. My friend, the brilliant writer Gay Walley encouraged me onward. As daunting as it felt, I knew I had to create the right technological platform that could execute the type of marketing campaigns I had seen work in my real world experiences. The agency in the “many to many” world is as much, maybe even more, about robust technology as it is about the creative (again many thanks to Melih for teaching me this vital lesson). There’s just no getting around that point.
The next 60 days (May & June 2010):
Using my training in direct response, I created the engine to functionally curate users (not content) within a “community of interest” paradigm. I designed a three part marketing platform that uses promotional video, live internet programming and custom content within a highly architected “hub” to curate users. I had worked with video innovators like David Hoffman and Stephanie Piche, who were doing amazing things using video to drive audience engagement. I asked them to join me and they did.
Next, I had to create my own custom content network so I could get messaging out there efficiently thus driving traffic to the hub. I realized ads were not designed to engage in a “many to many” architecture but content had become the “new advertising platform”. While the logic of creating a custom content network was sound, the task seemed beyond daunting. Then, right on cue came two wonderful people, Donnetta Campbell and Joy DiBenedetto (CEO of HUMNews), who had deep roots in the content/ media world. Soon they had organized all their media assets and outlets into a content network we could use to push our messages through. I asked them to come play with us too.
Then there’s the “hub” (note to self – need new name for this part ASAP!!!). It’s a different type of web experience that is a mashup of live communications, content, community, video and commerce designed on the “community of interest” concept. My previous experience in monetizing communities gave me a blueprint for which techniques, overlooked by many, I needed to include to drive results. The secret sauce to the hub was to build it as a real time community with a lot of real time connectivity and video engagement baked in (emphasis on “real time”).
All the pieces were coming together … but there some real technological challenges to deal with. The platform was clear in my mind – but it was in no condition to be useful to brands – at least not yet.
And the 60 days of summer (July and August 2010):
To make this vision a reality, I needed to round out my dream team. I found out about a cool company doing real-world work in measuring social media which we needed to match this system. The CEO, Dag Holmboe, whose background in engineering was invited to join and came on board too. I managed to snag an ex technology leader from NBC, Louis Libin; a CBS network pro, Lester Spellman and Jerry Cahn, an IR pro with PhD in psychology (always useful). As the dream team came together, I laughed to myself when I realized the days where a creative guy, a copywriter and a biz dev guy can just; “put up an agency shingle” are long gone.
I spent hours and hours seeing what the leading tech companies were doing. I was writing for Ad Age DigitalNext as a way to learn about how marketing technologies were evolving in this “many to many” world. I wrote about the all the amazing technologies at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in Ad Age (and yes I did lament the lack of women at the decidedly he-geek con-fest). And every time I got stuck on how to do something – I wrote about it and asked for advice. I got plenty.
Then, I began to outline my business plan. The task was made easier by the fact that I had other tech friends who were generous in guiding my progress. My thanks to Igor Seletskiy, CEO of a new company called Cloud Linux who was an invaluable technology sounding board. With his patient coaching, I had crystallized in my mind the outline of a product roadmap largely so I could understand exactly how any agency could financially thrive in this “low billing, social media, many to many” world. As I started creating the revenue model, all I knew for sure was that the old agency revenue models were falling apart.
After more thinking and talking, the product roadmap came into view. Importantly, it does not solely rely on “client” fees. In this roadmap, our agency offers real products (not just services) that can be used by a variety of companies – large and small. It also includes healthy, alternative revenue streams from a wide variety of sources. I lay my “product roadmap cards” on the table even though some of you may gasp at my seeming lack of concern about competitors because TBH — I am far more worried that too few agencies are even thinking along these lines. The agency business needs outliers – agencies who are willing to go where few agencies have gone before…
Here we go (and if this inspires others out there to do something similar – have at it🙂
- Near-term product/ service roadmap (through 2010):
- Goal – Create integrated marketing platform for social media/ direct response campaigns.
- Revenue model: 1) Service fees from brands to create content assets for marketing programs 2) Licensing/ Media fees from Brands to run program through the Interactive Engine. IE can be sold as a whole program or in 2 modular “mini campaigns”;3) Partner revenue from affiliate partner technologies that are being integrated into the platform
- Development status: This is a three part “platform” – 1) Custom Content Network, 2) Specialized Promotional program and 3) Hub web experience. Items 1 and 2 are live. Prototype hub under construction.
- Sales readiness: Key elements of the Interactive Engine platform are live today (yes – I know – I need to update the damn website😦
- Funding needed: None – this is self funded through sales
- Mid-term product/ service roadmap (through 2011):
- Goal – Create self-serve platform of integrated social media technology campaigns so companies (small/ medium businesses) can launch integrated programs without the need for a serviced based agency. (This concept is following the “control panel” model used today by web hosts to provision lots of services to their customers.)
- Revenue model = 1) Service fees from brands to content create assets for marketing programs 2) Product fees: a) Brand use of IE with existing client content assets; b)License fees paid by SMB for “self serve” campaigns executed 3) Partner revenue: Expand affiliate fees from partner technologies since many more options can be integrated into offering.
- Development status: Lead developer identified and overall architecture being mapped.
- Sales readiness: 9 months to working prototype/ 14 months to sale-able solutions
- Funding round = $2MM
- Long-term product/ service roadmap (starting Q3 2011 through 2012)
- Goal – Create the first “trust agency” for “Judy Consumer” so she can pull trusted information, software/ services and advertising for herself. At this stage, we reverse the revenue model. Instead of brands paying to get to “Judy and Joe Consumer”, consumers hire “trust agencies” to curate their digitally connected experiences (see my article in Ad Age about “The Six Screens” – Aug 23, 2010).
- Revenue model = 1) Service fees: – a) from brands to create assets for marketing programs; b) direct subscriptions from consumers 2) Product fees: a)use of IE with existing client content assets; b)License fees paid by SMB for campaigns executed 3) Partner revenue: a) affiliate fees from partner technologies; b) As a perfect “opt-in” ad platform, charge brands premium ad CPM rates; c) content producers via affiliate revenue (they pay us for new subscribers)
- Development status: not initiated
- Sales readiness: 18 months to prototype/ 24 months to launch
- Funding needed: $1.8MM
Which brings us pretty much up-to-date.
When I step back, I can see our progress after six months:
- We created the tech platform, called Interaction Engine (IE), that integrates direct response techniques within a social media ROI program. Today, companies are using elements of the engine effectively.
- We have coalesced into a solid team of 8 people who all had “hands on” experience in this “many to many” paradigm. Rare folks indeed because they had (often painfully) walked the walk.
- We are in serious discussions with 2 media agencies, 2 F100 companies and had “tentatively” closed one new direct response account (I say tentatively because as if this date – no contract has been signed yet).
These days are spent getting everyone on the team coordinated, getting some basics housekeeping done (e.g. web site is totally out of date!), pushing forward in the sale process and writing the biz plan. It is very intimating but amazingly exciting.
I will end this and each future entry in this digital blog (expect a once a week post), with my “What keeps me up at night” list. I expect this list to change over time.
- While we are doing well at getting meetings, the close process is slow because prospects want to see a fully working engine in action. The classic chicken/ egg problem. We have some great clients who have used parts of the engine – but none is currently using all of IE in a singular campaign. Pressing ahead.
- I don’t wan to be the Edsel of my industry – too far ahead of my time. My team keeps coaching me to keep my presentations simple and they are correct. The trouble is that this platform is simple in concept but not in execution to understand. So the presentations swing wildly between being too complicated or too simplistic. *Sigh*. My biz dev head and CTO are on the case though. I hope they can come up with a solution – I have hit a wall.
- I now have 7 senior, wonderful people who have joined this venture – this is in addition to the 8 or so junior workers that are also part of the company. Keeping them all motivated and engaged as we build our sales pipe will be hard especially since many of us are virtual. I have no good model in my head for this yet.
- Knowing the difference between networking and over networking. There are many people who want to connect with me now especially since I also write for HuffingtonPost in addition to Ad Age. I have to make choices about which contacts I can commit to. I find this very very frustrating and difficult since I never know which contact can lead to the break we need. URGGHH! Anyone with advice on this point?
- Figuring out what’s the best use of my time as I try to lead both the sales process and the business plan development process. Most people in the company have a role here, but it still requires lots of “hands on” management from me since too much in still in my head and not on paper. I wish I were 3 people (would I get 3 salaries – hmm).
Now, finally my milestones for the next 60 days (not necessarily in this order):
- 3 page executive summary of engageSimply with financial outlook
- 1 signed client using the entire new Interaction Engine platform
- Initiate discussions with at least 2 possible funding partners
- Get website up to date
- Expand sales funnel to having 20 active leads in pipe
- to write in this diary a minimum of once a week or 8 entries (hey – I need some wiggle room J)
So much of this journey is a surprise. I am surprised that as a woman, I am starting a tech business. I am surprised that I am woman of a “certain age” starting a new company. I am surprised at the generosity of people who have agreed to throw their hat into the ring with me – they are a very faithful and brave group of people. I am surprised at the graciousness of our partners who give of their time and contacts unreservedly.
But mostly I am surprised at how utterly confident I am that one way or another this is going to work. My confidence (perhaps even overconfidence) is the biggest surprise of all because with my long experience with tech venturing, I know my chances of success are not, rationally speaking, in my favor.
I remain undeterred. I remain unabashedly optimistic which is why I decided to document my journey in this blog. When I first started this blog (about 3 years ago), I did it because I sensed that fighting the marketing wars happening “in the trenches”. That remains truer today as I start this new venture. So as the Jewish New Year begins later this week (Year 5771), it seems particularly propitious to begin this digital diary. I may be “in the trenches” in starting this business but my view is firmly focused on how we reach the stars.
Judy Shapiro, CEO/ Founder, engageSimply
P.S. – Have advice, an idea or wanna do business with us. Just drop us a line. We’re ready.
Filed under: Agencies, Communications, Community, comodo, digital marketing, direct response, DM, Marketing Measurements, Melih Abdulhayoglu, online marketing, profitable business model, social media, social networks, Trusted Internet | Tagged: CloudLiux, custom content, F100, F500, interactive agencies, Interactive Engine, Judy Consumer, media billings, The surprised entrepreneur, The Trust Web | 8 Comments »
The ad business is going through a change not seen in 3 decades.
For 3 decades there were three chairs at the marketing table — agencies, brands and the media. All 3 parts technologically evolved in a symbiotic “one:many” model to grow the business. Agencies “produced once and ran many times”; brands (one) had a message to get out to many and each media property created its media content for many people.
But Internet was a fourth chair that came to the table. It started to dominate the other three chairs utterly disrupting the “one:many” efficient, profitable marketing model in favor of a “many:many” model brought on by social media and mobile technologies.
As technology continued to evolve much faster than the other chairs at the table, the result of this disequilibrium was first felt by the media which suffered a near fatal blow. Agencies, now are feeling the full brunt of this dynamic largely because the “complexity” of social media is taking more and more of the traditional ad budgets.
So while the business has gotten more complex, agencies are trapped in an old “one:many” business model and have no clear way to evolve. Clients do not pay often for agency’s’ technological learning curves (how many agency folks were at TechCrunch Disrupt for instance???). And agencies can not charge $10,000 for a bunch of twitter updates (if you want to sleep peacefully at night).
That’s why in this new scenario even agencies that want to embrace complexity — can not because the profitable “one:many” marketing business model does not support the “many:many” business model. Case in point. Digital media buying agencies are paid as a percentage of billings, but since there are few billings in social media — they do not create those types of programs for their clients. There is no incentive for a digital agency to develop a program with no/ low billings and high complexity – now is there?
So before agencies can embrace marketing complexity – we have to figure out how to make money at it. Talk about complex.
Filed under: advertising, Agencies, Digital Agencies, digital marketing, Journalism, judy shapiro, Mobile Communications, online marketing, profitable business model, social media, Technology, twitter | Tagged: advertising, advertising agencies, digital marketing, marketing complexity, Media, media planning | 10 Comments »