Posters of Yore.

A Social Media Tip

Twitter Is the News.

Social Media

Twitter’s Billion Users.


My first tweet (, a fun application conceived by Noah Brier, contained a typo. That’s just about right. 

Though not a 10 tweets a day kind of guy, I do love the app. Readers know I have great expectations for Twitter in the business world.  Twitter doesn’t have the users of Facebook and many still think it a silly web exuberance, but it really has only just scratched the surface of its potential.  My daughter who’s a Millennial just signed up and she didn’t get Twitter for the longest time.

Yesterday I was in the locker room of a professional sports team.  Can’t say the name.  Outside the looker room in the hall next to the showers is where all pertinent team information is posted.  An 8 x10 memo on insurance, a notice that the barber will be on prem Friday, small laminated color piss charts encouraging proper hydration. Don’t forget to shower before you get in the whirlpool.  Next to all these little officious documents is a huge horizontal poster “Twitter Dos and Don’ts.” 

Dos: Okay to say “great game” and “thank the fans.” Don’ts: no RT (retweeting) other peoples’ unsubstantiated stuff, talk about injuries or the game plan.   The list is quite long and modular so it can be expanded. It starts at eye level and is currently down to the waist. Athletes love Twitter.

I once wrote a brief stating that a musician is never more in touch with his/her art than when staring into the eyes of the audience.  Twitter is not exactly the same thing but its close.  When marketers learn how to use Twitter to really listen it will become, as Dick Costello predicts, a billion-user application. Peace!

Brands and Social Media Noise.


 Branding is about creating muscle memory around a selling idea. It’s not about the color of the idea. Or the smiling faces.  It’s not about the talent or the sing-songy tagline.  It about finding a powerful selling idea and organizing it in a way that consumers can play back.  It’s what good brand managers and their agents go to school for. 

What makes one hospital better than the next?  The stuff that’s been planted in your head.

Social media and its ability to make everyone a media mogul is having an impact on brand management.  The Brett Favre brand has just taken a major hit thanks to recorded cell phone conversations and some unseemly texts.  Sorry Wrangler Jeans. Social media created a torrent of unintended and, often, untended information about brands.

“Hi, I’m Amanda.  I’m from DDB Tribal. I teach clients how to use Facebook.”

As an ad agency kid in NYC I once suggested giving away free tee-shirts sporting our logo to bicycle messengers. Messengers were everywhere in NYC…in and out of some of the world’s most important marketing offices. My boss said “No, what if a bike messenger broke the law and got his picture in the paper.” Like it or not, that’s brand management.

The pop marketing psychology of the day is “Companies don’t own their brands anymore. Consumers do.”  I argued this point with the chief strategy and innovation officer at an IPG promotion agency earlier this year.  He agreed with the pop marketing thesis. I do not.  As social media allows more and more consumers to make fake ads and weigh in on products that others spend millions to build it becomes more important for brand managers to tighten up. We can’t silence the masses but we can friend them, hopefully program them toward our way of thinking, and maximize the share of message to noise.  

Find your selling idea, campaign it, refresh it, invest in it.  And manage it. Because social media for all its good can create noise that is not always brand and sales-positive.  Peace!

Doing Goods Work.



We had a tragedy in NJ this week.  A Rutgers University student took his life after having an intimate relationship with another dude secretly videotaped by a roommate and posted to the web. Prior to taking his life, the young man spent some time online talking about this invasion of privacy, presumably seeking advice and counsel from other young gay men. Sadly, it did not work.

What makes the web important is that you can go online and find communities of people with whom you can open up.  Because we’re human you’ll get good advice and bad but at least you can chat with those sympathetic and experienced – and not feel alone.  Mom’s with kids with allergies, for instance. This is a very good thing and we can thank the web for it.

In the case of the Rutgers man, the online community he turned to did not change the outcome but it could have.  The web may be vilified as the place to “learn how to make a bomb” or “place for pedophiles” yet that is glass half empty stuff. (I love Danah Boyd for her undying perspective on this.) Finding and talking to likeminds privately can be a very good thing.

Teen Suicide.

If this thesis plays out, the teen suicide rate will reduce in time.  People by nature are good — even callous, hurtful teens. To those kids on the website who tried to help the Rutgers student, I applaud you. You were doing goods work. Don’t stop. Peace!

PS. “Doing Good’s Work” is a line I’m recommending to a nonprofit in Brooklyn. (No poaching please.)   Is it better with our without the apostrophe?

Coach Does Social Media Right.


A lot of people ask “Who is doing social media right?”  Tough question. What they’re really saying is “Who is using Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare effectively?”  

Social media is complicated and often convoluted. It is actually many media types: blogs, simple messages, texts, video, audio, pictures, email, etc. They are all social because they are shared.

So who is doing social well? Coach. They have a good mix of media and are using the right tools for the right part of the sales cycles: Awareness – Interest – Desire – Action.  Of course there’s some cross over, but the people pushing and pulling the buttons at Coach are leading the way and have a plan.

Motivation in Social Media

Readers know I advocate that brands using social have a motivation, kind of like actors in a movie. Each person at the controls of their social media channel needs to understand their role and stick to it. Understanding which social media type is used for which purpose is a start and Coach’s people are pretty close to delivering on that.  Twitter is for building real time, meaningful communal discourse.  Facebook is for selling so long as it’s not too smarmy or heavy handed. YouTube is where Coach creates desire and loyalty, though this is one area still under development.  Coach also gets it’s brand motivations: “fashion”, “NYC-culture” and “lifestyle” which are all clean and discreet.  They just need to continue to live and breathe the motivations and innovate with them. Get the motivations right and the media delivery will follow.

Good job Coach! Peace.

Social Media For Good.


When the Flip video camera, now owned by Cisco, first came out I posted it will change the world.  If you thought the video taping of the Rodney King beating changed the world, image how putting video cameras in every pair of pants and pocketbook might alter history.  Hello Iran? 

Social networking, still in its infancy, is going to change the world in even more powerful ways. Flatten away I say.  Social networking and social media started out as friend finding, simple messaging, and posting of photos and captions — uses which are still going strong. More recently, smart businesses have seen the upside of using it commercially to improve bottom line and topline revenue through a handful of applications: Customer care, promotions and research. We’ve along scratched the surface with Social Media in business…stay tuned. 

What’s Next?

The next wave will be the more thoughtful use of social media. More cause related. Ask Nestle about its palm oil/rain forest problems — the result of social media pressure. Ask Nike about its policy of outsourcing production to Honduran companies who demonstrate unfair labor practices…really torking off college students. If you think a Mel Gibson diatribe can go viral quickly, wait until you see what citizen journalists can do with watchful eyes and some motivation. This new wave of social media activism is going to have mad impact.  Cover-ups won’t cover as easily and corporations and governments will need to watch their steps. It’s next. And it’s welcome. Peace it up!

The Diffusion of Advertising


Advertising ain’t what is used to was (a little Southernism I made up). Creation of big selling ideas by highly paid creatives and marketing people, broadcast to millions via TV, radio and print was the ad business.  Today, thanks to technology, the ad business is undergoing a diffusion like never before. Digital agencies, though not yet offered a seat at the big table, are new and important players.  Google is the most profitable advertising agency in the world and Facebook is hot on their trail.  And when I say “mobile advertising” does any one company come to mind?  That one is going to be huge…but it’s still to play out.

Buy or Build?

Big traditional ad agencies clearly see the need to offer digital, social and mobile but are asking themselves “Do we buy or build?” Right now they’re doing both: hiring someone smart in each discipline and using them to select cottage industry players who are truly immersed.  Better than last year, which was all “Go out and get me a subservient chicken.”  Or “Find me those nerds who built the US Weekly Facebook poll.”

I’ve long thought that mid-size agencies were poised to win in this diffuse advertising world, but now I’m not so sure. True, they can more quickly parlay a powerful branding idea into a market-moving integrated campaign but the model may not be extensible.

Bud Cadell is right when he says the old ad agency model is broken. It will take open minds, forward thinking, experience, software, an understanding of brand building, and lots of money to fix the process. I’m of the mind that the successful model is more likely to come out of MDC Partners than WPP.  It will be fun to watch though. Peace!

The Ascent of Marketing.


Back in the 1700-1800s (in the U.S.) if you needed stuff you either made it or went to the general store.  The Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalogue was the next marketing innovation (1888), showing pictures of products and published prices, allowing customers to purchase by mail. Among the 322 pages in the catalogue published in 1894 must have been products didn’t sell and had to be replaced. The birth of ROI? 


The next massive marketing innovation was television. Television commercials which began in earnest in the 1940s became the most popular, effective form of advertising. But can you imaging trying to track sales to media and production back then in the very beginning? “Where’s the ROI? How do you measure this stuff?” Mad men. 

The Web

Fast forward to the Inter-nech. Banner ads and ad serving allowed us to count clicks. 2% click thru rates. Whoo hoo. Click to buy. Whoo hoo. But not everything could be bought over the web. (Discussion of that for another day.) CTRs diminished and web display ads became, so said the salespeople, a branding mechanism.

Social Media

Enter social media.  And consultants. When consultants out-number practitioners you know the market is in flux. The Altimeter Group, some very smart people let me just say, created a social media presenttion ‘splaining how to measure social media via a marketing analytics framework. Here are some of the measurables: share of voice, audience engagement, conversation reach, active advocates, active influence, advocacy impact, customer problem resolution rate, resolution time, satisfaction score, plus a couple of metrics tied to gathering input for product innovation. What’s not mentioned here, something Messrs. Sear and Roebuck might have added, is sales.  I love consultants ( am one) and the Altimeter Group is growing like a dookie, but until they and all of us tie these type of metrics back to da monies, we’re just making paper.

A smart client at AT&T once said to me, “we collect all this data now we have to do something smart with it.”  That’s business. That’s return on strategy. Peace!

Is Resonance the Grail?


My first encounter with metrics was when a friend at Ogilvy Direct (now OgilvyOne) explained how Vanguard Funds tracked ads to resulting investments.  Each ad had a unique code that found its way through the process and when money was deposited it generated an advertising-to-sales ratio. Ad creative, size, media could all be calculated.  This approach is why direct marketing, nee direct response, nee direct mail agencies were the digital agencies of the day in the 70s and 80s.

In the 90s banner ads were the haps.  They were new and measurable and web advertising was ready to kill traditional. But as click-through rates diminished sales people told you banner were awareness builders. Display ads started to get bigger and richer and CTRs increased again. Then search became the new “new” and SEM/SEO shops multiplied like rabbits.  Search though, is a half nasty business — with a good deal of practitioners hacking their way to the top. (Are these the people who always talk about authenticity?)


Today social media is the haps. And social companies are finally taking monetization seriously.  Twitter’s resonance concept is a great start. Twitter’s Promoted Tweets measure nine factors to determine resonance, which is used to determine whether an ad stays or goes and what to charge. According to the New York Times, three of those factors are “number of people who saw the post, the number of people who replied to it or passed it on to their followers, and the number of people who clicked on links.” Some say social media is not about selling, it’s about engagement. That’s like saying you go to a singles bar to make friends. It’s only a 5% true. Resonance tied to sales is coming. Who ever cracks that code will be the David Ogilvy of the decade.  Peace it up!

Twitter’s New Ad Plan.


It sounds as if Twitter’s new advertising program has been well thought out.  Sponsored 140 character Tweets, called Promoted Posts, will appear atop the results of key word searches.  If you search for Tacos, you might see a Chipotle tweet above all others.  Small type will let you know it’s a sponsored ad. And should you cursor over it the ad turns yellow. Twitter is stealing a page from Google by keeping only ads deemed relevant, i.e., that are clicked on, retweeted or direct messaged in reasonable numbers.  

Twitter will charge advertisers on a CPM (cost per thousand basis), the way TV and print media are priced. (Read more about social media monetization here.) I suspect that in a while CPMs will be one price and clicks another, but we’ll see.  

 Next Phase of Twitter Ad Plan.

Down the road ads are expected to appear in the midst of tweet streams surrounding conversations. The ads won’t result from searches but from the content within posts.  So if there are discussions about tacos Chipotle might buy its way into the conversation.  Whether these purchased posts appear in the stream or along side a la Google is still to be determined.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are so many other ways to monetize Twitter which we’ll all be reading about in the coming months and years.  I’m happy with the current approach – it is America after all – and I am happy that Twitter has tabled the in-stream advertising effort for a while. One bite at the apple at a time.  Peace!   

How to Charge for Social Media.


I was chatting with a friend at JWT the other day about how agencies can’t make money in today’s social media entranced marketplace  — and I may have solved the problem.  Here goes:

Say you come up a with a big engagement idea. It’s for a new product launch and you have created a fun video demonstration of the product.  A couple of graduate students from NYU did the production at a cost of $4,500.  You work at Publicis and know you can post the video for free and the mark-up won’t pay for the pastry at the presentation meeting.  How do you price it? Staff it? Measure it? Is it done under a retainer? Oy.

The answer is simple: You price it based on delivered reach, with a smidgen of frequency.  If the video is viewed 0-24,999 times (uniques) you charge $2,500.  If seen 25,000 to 75,000 times $4,500….and so on.

If the video is linked to another site, Publicis earns a bonus based on other site’s traffic plus the additional views. If the video gets played on TV or a big portal, another bonus plus those views. Think of the model as part SAG/AFTRA, part pay-per-view, part Nielsen Ratings.

Now that wasn’t that hard, was it? Piece. I mean Peace!