The Content Glut: Why It Stinks To Be King

11 02 2010

I’m flattered that Jack Myers has asked me to join his group at the always-interesting MediaBizBloggers.

The people who blog there are people I have a ton of respect for — Shelly Palmer, Cory Treffiliti, Jim Louderback, Matt Greene and a whole bunch of smart people from Group M among others.

It won’t be easy to keep up with a group this smart, but I’m going to try my best.

My first post is here.  I’m hoping to spark some discussion and so if you feel like commenting I’d be grateful.

Thanks!

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The Digital Future of Magazines?

21 12 2009

UPDATE 2/21/10: New iPad demo from WIRED magazine.

==

When we got married 16 years ago, my wife and I subscribed to 7 magazines and read them all cover-to-cover. Plus, we’d buy more at the newsstand.

Today, we subscribe to just two.

Both pile up, unread, for months at a time.  Even The Atlantic Monthly, which I find both brilliant and entertaining. I feel lousy for not keeping up, but at least I’m supporting great journalism with my subscription dollars.

A lot of very smart people are working feverishly to restore the magazine business back to health.  Some friends passed me this intriguing video from a design house that has a slick-looking approach to the problem.

As good-looking as it is, for me it still misses the mark.

The problem isn’t that magazines aren’t slick enough or that they lack digital functionality. The problems is that magazines are a time-killing content medium in an age when we don’t have time to kill, and we’re already drowning in content.

My RSS feeder of free content is overflowing with stuff I can’t get to. I’ll bet yours is, too.

The Design Idea At 7:35

But just when I was getting ready to close the window and abandon the video, something cool happened. It’s at 7:35 in.

Now THERE’S something potentially revolutionary and useful: little intriguing chunks of quick, easily digestible content in a fun interface. That genuinely feels like a fun experience, and doesn’t fall into the trap of “but it has to feel like a magazine”. It reminds me, in a good way, of the Babelgum iPhone app.

The interface idea at 7:35, especially if some of the items were video, feels like it has the potential to be a winner.  What do you think?

UPDATE: Micah Baldwin, a friend of mine from The Internet Oldtimers Foundation, had a smart observation about the design which he has agreed to let me share:

“(this design commits) what I consider to be the cardinal sin of any web app today. It creates a uni-directional relationship. Its between the reader and content, but doesn’t take into account other readers. Basically, the concept of social. The recreation of the water cooler online.

What if the reader allowed for communication and conversation?

Now, the NatGeo piece I read on pygmies could be shared and discussed with my friends that I know are into the subject. Time and speed are now on my side.”





The CPG Digital Marketer’s Resource Page

26 11 2008

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the day-to-day of our jobs.

But if we don’t stay smart about what’s happening in CPG, we’re not actually doing our jobs. Fortunately, there are a few billion resources out there to make it easier for us to make ourselves smarter.

Below is a completely spurious side-by-side brain scan of a marketer at a major CPG company.

The scan on the left was taken immediately before consulting these resources. The scan on the right? Immediately after.

brains

OK, it’s time to feed your head. Dig in.

CONSUMER PACKAGED GOODS: INTERACTIVE AND SOCIAL MEDIA

CONSUMER PACKAGED GOODS: ADVERTISING

CONSUMER PACKAGED GOODS: NEWS

CONSUMER PACKAGED GOODS: RETAIL

CONSUMER PACKAGED GOODS: JOBS

FORRESTER: ALL THEIR FREE RESEARCH ON ONE PAGE

Are there great resources I’ve missed? Please let me know and I’ll update this page.





The Twitter Election: Three Lessons For Marketers

3 10 2008

If you listen carefully these days, you can hear the subtle sounds of something very fundamental shifting.

It’s the sound of keyboards clicking, iPhones beeping, TweetDecks purring. Welcome to the Twitter Election.

The political debates are happening in real time, both on the stage and around the world. Opinions are being shifted on a Tweet by Tweet basis.

The Digital Back Fence and The Mainstream Media Are Merging

How it impacts your marketing depends a lot on whether your brand says “Hi, I’m A McCain” or “Hi, I’m an Obama” (more on that soon, I’m still thinking through exactly what I want to say on the subject.)

There was a time when print or TV pundits told us who won or lost a debate. Today, the Digital Back Fence (social media like Twitter and Facebook and YouTube etc) and readily available digital editing tools have made the gap between event and analysis, between gaffe and parody, disappear.

As Brandon from Octane Interactive notes:

“In 2004 Facebook had just launched and was open to college students only, and YouTube didn’t even exist! These two sites alone have totally changed the game…”

The Power Of Instant Political Parody

On September 25, Katie Couric interviewed Sarah Palin. 10 days later, this devastatingly funny political parody video mashing up Palin’s voice and video of Miss Teen USA’s famous flop answer hit YouTube.

Social Media, Meet TV.

And it’s not just online. Have you seen what’s happening with Hack The Debate? Current and Twitter are putting TV and social media together in an entirely new way. This radically alters expectations: we no longer expect to watch debates. We expect to be IN debates.

CPG Marketers: Watch Closely. But Don’t Draw The Wrong Conclusions.

John McClain and Mr. Clean may look alike. But from a new marketing perspective, they’re not exactly the same commodity.

People are more passionate about politics than cleaning products. And, the stakes are higher.

Still, I think 3 lessons can be learned:

  1. People’s expectations about participating with media are fundamentally changing. What do our customers care about? How can we get them involved with our products? What conversations do our consumers think we belong in, and which should we steer clear of?
  2. The split in how we consume media is widening daily. McCain voters largely get their news from TV. Obama voters largely get their news from new media sources. How a consumer thinks the world works is radically impacted by where they get their news. Which mass medium — TV or digital? — does your consumer live in?
  3. The people at your company and your agencies need to live in both worlds. If you have a young creative team and a product with an older consumer, how well can they understand the worldview of that consumer? Conversely, if you have an older creative team for a product aimed at younger consumers, how good will their understanding be? As a professional duty, I believe that people at all parts of the process on both the marketer and agency sides need to spend a little time in both media worlds every day. Left to my own devices, I would watch a whole lot less TV than I do. The reason I watch is because I need to understand what that’s like, and how different the world looks from that POV.

It’s a new world. Very exciting stuff. How are you dealing with it?





How To Do A CPG Launch Without TV

12 09 2008

Karl Greenberg reports in yesterday’s Media Post that Procter & Gamble will be launching the new Oral-B Pulsonic toothbrush entirely through digital, PR, events, print and in-store. They’re giving TV the toothbrush-off: it’s not part of the launch at all.

It’s not a typical P&G move, but I think it’s very smart. Here’s why:

  • Real News Means Real PR. We all think we have revolutionary products, but in reality the media has seen most of them before. Oral-B has genuine news. In 2002, Ries and Ries argued in “The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR“, that giant brands like Palm, Starbucks, the Body Shop, Wal-Mart, Red Bull and Zara have been built with virtually no advertising at all. These brands didn’t have ads, but they did have a different story to tell.
  • In The Mommy Blogger Sweet Spot. This has a beauty story (whitens teeth in two weeks) AND a healthy kids story (a toothbrush kids will want to use). Plus, it’s a very high-value trial item.
    The only way this could be more suited to the blogosphere would be if it was a Mac-branded tech product that let ugly teenage boys instantly date supermodels.
  • Bigger Cash Register Rings = More Patient Retailers. Normally, you need TV at launch because the trade has no patience for a slow build. But when your suggested retail is $70, you don’t need a whole lot of velocity to make it worth the retailer’s while.

Don’t be surprised if the “TV is dead” crowd online trumpets this as incontrovertible proof that digital has at last killed TV once and for all. But, don’t believe the hype either.

This is the most traditional thing you can imagine: P&G being a smart marketer.





9-11

11 09 2008

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

Lao Tzu (570-490 B.C.)

Photo Credit: Bitzi





Ad Age Mobile Roundtable

9 09 2008

An unusually useful article on mobile in today’s Ad Age: less “pie-in-the-handset” and much more “here’s what’s actually being done and how it’s working”.

Excellent, commonsense advice from Ogilvy’s Maria Mandel:

“A consumer is looking for one of three things. (…) information (…) entertainment (or) community (…) building interaction between people using their mobile devices?

Full article is here.