Monthly Archives: June 2009

Foster, Bias and Sales


Foster, Bias and Sales is the name of the ad agency I always wanted to start. The name, unlike many, contains a branding idea. Okay three ideas. If you know me, you know that breaks one of my rules about focus — brand strategies can’t have commas or conjunctions — but rules are made to be broken so Foster, Bias and Sales it is. 


Foster is about developing "good will" towards a client’s product or service. People need to root for the product. Foster is about creating a positive, conducive sales environment. Bias is a word I often heard used by Eric Keshin, a past and learned boss. Eric’s a big macher at McCann Erickson. Creating bias or preference toward your product is "selling."  Sometimes you might have to create bias against a competitor, but only as a last resort. And Sales? Well that’s why we market. Sales are the ultimate metric. Cha-ching! 


One caveat: You may have to do a lot of fostering and biasing before sales come. A friend’s your son was on a soccer team with a talented Irish-American coach who told the little dudes “This year we’re learning the fundamentals. We will not win any or many games, but we will learn how to dribble and pass. We will learn about spacing and defense. If you all pay attention and stay with me, we will win the championship in two years.” Guess what? Sales. Peace!


Twitter Spam


Habitat, a British furniture company, spammed Twitter recently hawking a sales promotion tied to hashtag Mousavi (#mousavi).  Smartly, recognizing its error, Habitat posted an apologetic retraction, and even used “Social Media Today” to help spread the word.


Unfortunately, this type spammy promotion has only just begun. Like dinner time telemarketing, and “enhancement” ads in email, we can expect legions of marketers to jump on board and phantom tweet us for their own gains. Que nuisance!  


This being the Internet age, the technologists at Twitter will no doubt quickly figure out a way around it, but it will cost them time, money and resources. And considering Twitter has no monetization strategy in play, this spamming issue will be a setback resource-wise.  Let’s wish them well and in the meantime do our best to police this bogus crap.   Peace!


Augmented Reality. Selling in the Future.


It’s fun being me sometimes. As a marketingand brand planner, I come up with branding ideas, selling ideas and selling schema. Much of my world revolves around consumers, products and services but having spent a good deal of time in the technology sector, there’s a part of my brain that relishes what’s next, what’s new and what’s possible. Properly harnessed, these things can really help in my marketing life. So I am a student of technology.


There are a few tech blogs I read pretty regularly: Scobleizer and TechCrunch are faves — GigaOm and ReadWriteWeb are a couple of other good ones. BBH Labs tweeted a post today by Marshall Fitzpatrick, who writes for ReadWrite, on the subject of Augmented Reality. (Marshall’s an important blogger…you heard it here first.) Check out his post and watch some of the short videos. Augmented Reality is going to augment marketing. In a very big way. Peace!


John Battelle’s Little Secret



Have you heard the expression “To a hammer everything looks like a nail?” Well, I’m of the mind that to conversational media companies, say Federated Media, all marketing looks like a conversation. Thanks to Dave Knox and his blog HardKnoxLife, I watched a video of John Battelle’s introductory remarks his recent CM Summit. CM stands for Conversational Media. Mr. Battelle is CEO of Federated Media.


Mr. Battelle is a brilliant marketer, but if his platform for conversational marketing — Federated Media — was a conversation and not a well-managed brand, it wouldn’t be the successful property it is today. You see, Mr. Battelle has created and managed a brand with the help of great writers, terrific targeting, innovative positioning and a strong revenue model. He did it. The conversation may have been his inspiration, but mark my words, he created and nurtured it.


Content creators are still the life source of his business. Communing participants may be the blood, but they are not the brand. In my ebook, what Mr. Battelle is doing – and doing well – is brand management. He may not admit it, but he knows full-duplex marketing is a mistake. Good marketers need to manage the hen house.  Peace!


The Internet’s Next Business Model.



If you were to weigh all of the editorial that has been written about the Internet – the most exciting, disruptive communications platform ever created – I bet 75% of that edit would be about how it is tearing the stomach out of "old school" media ventures. Skype is killing telephone company landline revenue. Peer-to-peer music services have killed CD sales. Craigslist has halved newspaper classified revenue. Email has us on the verge of a 4-day postal service. Need I go on?


Not enough has been written about the money making side of the Internet…and that’s because there’s not a lot of that going on.  If Web 1.0 was about ubiquity and connectivity and Web 2.0 is/was about usability, search and community, then Web (dare I type it) 3.0 is about revenue.


What is going on at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference this week in Boston is all about revenue. Not about selling widgets or hard and soft goods but about how to make companies more efficient. The real breakthrough after companies are more efficient will be innovation. Innovation the likes of which we have never before seen.  We will cure cancer, solve the energy crisis and even morph into a more peaceful planet when we create “social business design” solutions for our planet. (Thanks Dachis Corporation.) Oh yeah, it will create lots of money for corporations, too.


A revenue Model for Twitter ?


Twitter does not yet have a revenue model. Here’s one to ponder:


The service should continue to be free for subscribers. To generate revenue I think Twitter should sell small ads on the direct messaging page and those ads should be targeted based on hash tags and other behavioral targeting information gathered. If, for instance, someone uses the hash tag #iranlelection, maybe their direct messages will contain a small ad for The New York Times. In addition, I’m wondering if the keyword bidding and pay per click method pioneered by Google Adwords would also be smart.


Think about it and get back to me. Peace!



Social Business Design



I’m a bit of a stalker and one gentleman I’ve been following the last couple of years is Jeff Dachis. Jeff started Razorfish, a pioneering digital agency, and the words "big thinker" are an understatement when describing him. Anyone who has been involved with large corporations the last 20 years knows they are not particularly fine-tuned machines. With good leadership and good structure corporations can outperform competitors, but there is still a good deal of waste and me-ism, keeping productivity down. Jeff Dachis knows this, and has a plan.


Mr. Dachis and his bullpen of strategic thinkers (Peter Kim, David Armano, Kate Niederhoffer, and Jevon MacDonald) have been trying to wrap their heads around this inefficient corporation for a year now and today made an announcement coinciding with the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston today.


It is fascinating to see how each of the Dachis strategists frame the new, still-to-be-named product. (To do so, please check out their links today at The explanations are the same, yet different. You can tell who came from which discipline in their posts.  


First off I love what they are calling the product category “Social Business Design.”  It’s descriptive, implies a benefit and is understandable. That’s the IS in the Is/Does. But here is a graphic schematic of the DOES. Hee hee. No one said redesigning business in a 2.0 world was going to be easy. Peace!  





Blackberry Shame



Blackberry (Research in Motion) revenue was up 53% year-over-year, according to its just released quarterly report, adding 3.8 million subscribers. Its forecast for next quarter is for healthy growth, though just under Wall Street expectation. The stock dipped in after hours trading. Amazing. Here’s a company doing well in a piss-poor economy and the street is selling. 


Blackberry is a smart company. They are innovating, taking chances, have a cornerstone product (with a nickname) and have created a market for a requisite business tool. How is this stock not rising every day?


Twice on Monday I found myself – I’m not a Blackberry owner, but my 18 year old son is – emailing business associates that I would be off the grid for a couple of hours. In other words, in transit without laptop connectivity. Off the grid sounds cool but it’s a euphemism for "I don’t own a Blackberry."  This was the first time in a long time I felt modest tech shame. The fact is I text like a dookie, but that’s not happening for the majority of your Blackberry-carryin’ business class. I don’t see myself buying a Blackberry, but if the shame turns into lost dollars….. Peace!


Black Eyed Peas and Target


The Black Eyed Peas star in a new Target TV spot that is visually and aurally very cool. Also cool is the fact that their new CD is only available at Target. Both of these things should be enough to get people into the store but, frankly, the spot doesn’t go far enough to leverage the “cool” in a why that makes non-target shoppers consider the store for other reasons.  The art director did a great job, the copywriter not so much.


Set to the new tune “I got a feeling,” the spot shows members of the band camouflaged against a floral wallpaper, bedspread, graffiti festooned brick wall, creating terrific visual impact.  The song concludes with copy explaining that the CD is available only at Target.  How hard would it have been to add some copy saying “You’d be amazed by what you can find at Target, if you really look.”  Check out the spot and let me know if you agree.  Peace.

MySpace Cuts…A More Social Approach


MySpace just cut 420 jobs at the behest of new CEO Owen Van Natta. See the Ad Age story here. Without knowing to what extent Mr. Van Natta researched these RIFed people (corporate speak for Reduction In Force), I’m going to offer a thought.


A more social approach to the layoff: Idea 1. Prior to the RIF, hold a town meeting asking all employees how to improve MySpace. The loudest, most ardent opinions will surface.  Idea 2. Ask everyone at the town meeting to weight in on the same question, anonymously, and as with a tag cloud organize the key words into a prioritized solution set. Idea 3. After the all-hands meeting hold face-to-face meetings with each employee on the RIF list asking the question “What needs to be fixed to make MySpace a better property.”  Not exit interview stuff, truly constructive stuff. Use this time to find the gems on the list.  MySpace, after all, is a social networking site. There are some things the algorithm can’t do. Finding and retaining the best people requires an ear. Peace!