Posted at 02:52 PM in Books, Consumer Central , Content is King, Creativity, Evol8tion, From the "I told you so" files, Inside the fish bowl, Medium - neither rare nor well done, New Branding, New Marketing, Proof of Life after the 30-second spot, Television, The Engagement Wars, Ugly Stuff | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
My last 3 Online Spin columns:
I’m not sure when Nike ceased to be a shoe company for serious athletes and instead become a technology company for average Joes (like me) looking to enjoy a health and active lifestyle.
Perhaps it was Nike ID that first hinted at things to come. Or Nike +, Nike Running, or Nike Fuelband that finally drove home the transformation from Just Do it to Just Digit (sorry).
Thanks to technology, Nike has elevated its relevance and resonance from just a brand to something much more: a community-driven experience. Dare I say, a customer-centric ecosystem powered by technology.
Case in point: #runstronger -- a call to action on the first anniversary of the Boston bombing, offering to donate $1 for every mile completed by volunteer runners.
I’ve become somewhat of a Fuelband fanboy. I wrote about it extensively in my latest book, “Z.E.R.O,” and have dedicated several columns in Mediapost to the same subject.
Last week I was in Australia, where, during a presentation, several members of the audience pointed out that Nike will be discontinuing its Fuelband.
What an embarrassment for Nike. They failed. They lost the battle to Fitbit. They couldn’t cut it with a piece of hardware that just did not iterate or evolve quickly enough.
And if you think the above paragraph is accurate, you couldn’t be further from the truth.
The actual announcement was that Nike is discontinuing its Fuelband production in order to shift its focus from hardware to software. The company is going to focus on the data, analytics, dashboard, gamification and overall experience, versus just producing rubber bands.
Let me repeat the key phrase again in case you missed it: Nike is shifting its focus from hardware to software. This is -- or was -- a shoe company, remember?
Nike is doing a classic pivot, just as an enviable class of past successful startups -- including, but not limited to, GroupOn, Twitter, YouTube and Fab -- did before it.
Playing to its strengths (or weaknesses), and ultimately reconciling this with its business, Nike is choosing to focus and prioritize versus spreading itself too thin.
Company strategists are also choosing to align themselves with an incredibly like-minded brand: namely, Apple, which will most likely be producing the one band to rule them all soon enough. This has not actually been announced yet, but Nike has subtly (about as subtly as a bull in a china shop) hinted at the continuation of this relationship in the wearables market.
As a betting man, I’m going to fairly confidently place my chips in the Nike + Apple camp. It’s a fairly inevitable no-brainer that Apple and Nike will join forces -- and when they do, it’s game over.
Enjoy it while you can, Fitbit.
In making this announcement, Nike has shown -- proven, in fact -- that it is a technology company -- a lean brand of sorts.
It’s demonstrated how an 800-pound gorilla can think and act like an agile gazelle.
At a time when most companies are still debating if they should sell directly to their customers via their website, what their Facebook strategy should be, which mobile platform they should develop in (because for some reason the budget allows only one) or how to approach a one-off pilot program with a startup, Nike has entered the next phase of its evolution.
By my count, v2.0 beats v0.1 any day of the week.
Not bad for a loser.
Posted at 02:41 PM in Books, Creativity, Evol8tion, Experiential Marketing, Inside the fish bowl, Interactive, Join the Conversation, Madison & Mountain View, Mediapost Column, Television, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Mitch and I resume our monthly "debates" to discuss the agency world, including a very frank discussion about the recent acquisition of Twist Image by WPP. Congrats my friend! @jaffejuice and @mitchjoel
Listen live or download here.
Subscribe to the show via iTunes here
Photo credit: Ad Age
Company credit: Sprinklr (for giving me back my baby)
Posted at 02:34 PM in Between the lines..., Books, Current Affairs, Evol8tion, Fixing the Ad Agency Mess , From the "I told you so" files, Inside the fish bowl, Interactive, Jaffe Juice - The New Marketing Podcast, Make advertising relevant again | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
My last 4 Online Spin articles are pasted below for your convenience and reading pleasure:
Using a Texting and Driving case study, I draw an analogy with marketing innovation in general and ask why we hold back investing in innovation efforts (in particular when it comes to incusive coverage across all mobile platforms), especially when we're talking about rounding errors.
Serendipity reinvented in a social age and social world. A report back on SxSW and how relationships are being rediscovered and shaped in a world of digital connections.
This one got a lot of traction and deals with the idea that startups are much more active "testers" or experimenters of consumer action, reaction, behavior and ultimately insights....than brands. The best way to understand consumers is not through one-way mirrors and focus groups, but rather through actual interactions. Startups remind us to "learn" by "doing".
I draw an analogy between weight loss and innovation as it relates to change. Best laid plans or fear of making the first move lead to the same outcome: lethargy, inactivity and essentially stagnation or decay.
Enjoy the articles and feel free to "join the conversation" with your thoughts, feedback and/or pushback.
Posted at 06:05 PM in Evol8tion, Join the Conversation, Madison & Mountain View, Make advertising relevant again, Mediapost Column, New Branding, New Marketing, Startups for Brands | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
My latest MediaPost Online Spin column:
In a previous Online Spin, "The Opportunity Cost of Inertia,” I wrote about a keynote I delivered to a room filled with senior brand marketers at the ANA’s (Association of National Advertisers) digital and social media conference last July.
At the end of my presentation, I challenged the audience to do one thing in the remaining six months of the year: test or pilot an innovation program that took them out of their comfort zones and allowed them to experience an emerging technology or perhaps just one platform they were deficient in.
I invited the brands to call me on New Year’s Eve, saying I would be close to my phone and looked forward to hearing a first-person account of their program, what they’d learned in the process, what they would do differently -- and most importantly, what they would do next.
Dec. 31 came. Dec. 31 went. The phone didn’t ring.
Even sadder was that I always knew it wouldn’t.
Scenario A: The overflowing glass
In this exceptional scenario, the brands were already piloting, accelerating, even investing in technology, platforms, startups and/or projects designed to obliterate their competition. They didn’t call because they didn’t need to call. They had successfully moved beyond dipping their toes in the water and didn’t need me to give them a gentle nudge (shove) into the blue ocean.
To them, I say: You’re awesome, but you still should have called. At the very minimum, I’ll profile you and your company in my next book. While I recognize your need not to share your successes with the outside world, you are in fact so far ahead that the others may never catch up. Plus, this is the sharing economy -- and if you want to learn from others, you should contribute to the growing pool of best practices and case studies.
Scenario B: The glass half-full
Let’s say every marketer left the event energized and emboldened to innovate. They ignored the hundreds of political and yet banal emails. They even delegated the “fires” back at the office to underlings. Instead, they piloted to their heart’s content. So why didn’t they call? Perhaps they thought I was joking. Perhaps they figured their job was done when they checked 1 x pilot program from their 2013 to-do list.
To them, I say: The only way to keep on innovating… is to keep on innovating. Now that you’ve completed one successful program, what will you do next? Innovation is a journey, not a destination and you will NEVER reach the finish line. Whether covering the digital, social, mobile or emerging categories, there will ALWAYS be an area where you’re lagging.
Scenario C: The glass half-empty
Same as earlier, except the programs didn’t work as well as perhaps was anticipated. Why didn’t they call? These brands didn’t want to admit failure, and so they refrained from calling out of empathy and consideration: they just didn’t want to let me down.
To them I say: Keep your head up. You are all winners. There is no such thing as failure in the Age of Improv. It’s all about the pivot. Don’t give up. You’ll be so much better next time.
Scenario D: The empty glass
Flatline. You did nothing. You forgot. You didn’t care. You were distracted. You didn’t have enough bandwidth. Your agency talked you out of it. Your boss talked you out of it. You couldn’t sell it. You gave up. You didn’t believe. You didn’t care. You weren’t motivated enough. Something came up.
Pick your poison. This is not mutually exclusive multiple choice. Check all that apply.
To them I say: you just lost ANOTHER six months. You bet the farm on the status quo, with hope springing eternal that the IPSOS data would be your salvation. You put your stock in the new tagline or campaign or promotion and the result was crickets. And in July of 2014, when the next speaker challenges you, you will have lost yet another six months.
Stop the rot. Make that change. Commit to action. Time flies when you’re stuck in purgatory, waiting in vain and resigned to die.
Those are my four scenarios. If you were in the audience, which one did you fit into? And if you weren’t there, which one do you think was the more likely scenario?
I think you know which one I believe is the more realistic outcome.
Why is this the case?
What needs to change to avoid this mindless reenactment of Groundhog Day?
The clock is ticking. Or maybe it’s just stuck.
Posted at 04:52 PM in Creativity, Evol8tion, Madison & Mountain View, Make advertising relevant again, Mediapost Column, New Branding, New Marketing, Startups for Brands, Ugly Stuff | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Actually what I really hope is that less brands will be doing the WRONG things with startups and more brands will be doing the RIGHT kind of partnership and collaboration.
Read on and weigh in...
My friend David Berkowitz, CMO of MRY, just wrote an opinion piece titled “Why Brands will Focus Less on Startups in 2014.” In the piece, he cites (1) clutter, (2) too much P.R, and (3) lack of results as the three reasons why “brand and agency love for startups is going to fizzle.”
What David is referring to is a sickness that seems to strike many marketers and is passed on to their agencies (or perhaps it is the other way round): namely TNBTS, or The Next Big Thing Syndrome. The good news is that there is a cure. It’s called strategy. When there is none present, I strongly recommend abstinence (hence, the title of David’s article, and why I chose to take the same title although I have a divergent opinion.).
“Clutter” represents all the noise out there; the tonnage; the quantity of startup candidates. In fact, when TechCrunch pretty much opened its entire startup database to the public, I rejoiced. 30,000+ one-liner descriptions in an Excel spreadsheet! That’s like referring to the phone book as your list of potential dates. Good luck with that! The antidote to noise is the filter, curation or vetting that helps weed “too many” and weave “too few” into “just right.”
The problem with P.R. is P.R. itself. Ever since I stumbled into the world of P.R. during my social media days, I keep coming back to “those who can, do; those who can’t, P.R.” as I wrote in an Online Spin six+ months ago. I do recognize, however, that there is value to both internal and external merchandising. I think where David and I diverge is that he is referring to P.R. as being first to market with Vine, Snapchat or Google Glass – ALL OF WHICH are hyped up by the very P.R. and trade engine that accepts or rejects what is newsworthy on their terms. In addition, none of these platforms are early stage; none of the collaborations are strategic; all of them benefit the trade publications and the platforms themselves (can you say acquisition or IPO?) as opposed to the brands that helped them get there in the first place!
Then there’s “results.” Certainly if a startup collaboration is being attached to quarterly earnings, then we would do well to cut off funding to them altogether and instead invest this money to determine the same “results” from “working” media – specifically, how many millions of dollars are being completely wasted and negligently justified through outdated marketing mix modeling.
I hope 2014 is not the year of the startup. It’s very simple: 2013 was the year of the startup. 2012 was the year of the startup. Every single year in which the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and kicking is the year of the startup. Startups are nothing new. They were, are and always will exist.
To cover startups so prolifically (Berkowitz notes that the word startup was mentioned in Ad Age more times in 2012 than 2005-2009 combined) and then summarily declare, “it’s over” is proof positive of TNBTS.
I hope 2014 puts an end to endless “speed dating” without any intention of a second date; hack-a-thons with an emphasis on the word “hack”; brand accelerators that are led by agencies who implode when their one-man-band startup-guy leaves to join another agency or, more likely, a startup; and, last but least, the $5,000 pilot program, which is nothing more than a checkmark on the Next Big Thing checklist.
When the dust settles, fewer brands will be standing, and these brands will continue to enjoy unprecedented competitive advantages from profoundly partnering with startups. Brands like Under Armor, which just acquired MapMyFitness. Brands like Intuit, which acquired Mint. Brands like Avis, which acquired ZipCar. Or Brands like Mondelēz International (an Evol8tion client) that just won Mobile Marketer of the Year based in part on their Mobile Futures Program.
They all thank you for reading David’s article and taking it at face value.
As do I.
Posted at 01:40 PM in Consumer Central , Content is King, Evol8tion, From the "I told you so" files, Inside the fish bowl, Interactive, Madison & Mountain View, Make advertising relevant again, Mediapost Column, New Marketing, Startups for Brands, The Engagement Wars, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
I haven't posted my Online Spin articles for a while, but I'd like to do so now with 3 related ones that all triangulate on a brand marketer's need to change, move quicker, embrace the "fear" of failure (the only thing to fear is fear itself) and ultimately, adopt a much more progressive lean-forward approach to new media, emerging technology and partnership with startups/entrepreneurs.
Here's the final article in its entirety:
Companies are their own worst enemies. The amount of wheel-spinning that takes place to get an initiative in place or even started, only for the rug to be ripped out underneath due to “a new CMO coming in” (or an existing one going out), “a budget cut” or “a reorg,” translates into significant hours expended, and therefore has a very real price tag.
I think it’s important we recognize the tangible cost of dragging our feet, being stuck in holding patterns and/or ultimately having cold feet as a substantial cost of doing business.
The waste of time -- and therefore money -- is mission critical, especially when dealing in a complex, dynamic and turbulent marketplace, with -- let’s face it -- extremely scarce resource (and by scarce resources, I’m talking about talent and time). While we all complain about budget cuts, in reality we are swimming in obscene excessive amounts of money that go into the temporal renting of multitasking eyeballs (yes, I’m talking about YOU, 30-second spot).
As a writer and speaker, I get to clench my fist and shake it disapprovingly at you a lot. You agree with me and yet you do nothing about it.
As a consultant and “agency” guy, I get to feel the short stick by being on the receiving end of your constant “reorgs” and additional approvals and reviews.
But honestly, don’t worry about me -- this is about you. I’m really worried about you.
Did you ever stop and think that all this time lost is actually hurting the current and future state of your business? In other words, hastening the next reorg and restructure? Your inability to get anything done that is different, original, unique and/or innovative is without question putting your own continuity and value INTO question.
Seriously, consider the ROI of not doing anything. It’s a Return on Inertia that is ironically very measurable both as an opportunity cost (past/hours) and opportunity lost (future/execution).
Instead, consider the analogy of waiting in a very long line. You’ve stood for an hour and you’re strongly considering calling it quits and walking away. Only, you’ve already spent an hour and who knows, the wait might only be another 30 minutes or so. And then before you know it, it’s 90 minutes or 2 hours. Now you DEFINITELY can’t walk away, because you’ve invested 2 hours, which is much more than the hour. And then it’s three hours -- and so on.
Why not apply the same logic to your projects? Stay the course!. Consider all the hours and legwork that got you this far and use that as the incentive to keep going.
And if all else fails, consider this: “If you’re not adding to your legacy, you’re adding to your eulogy.”
You can quote me on that if you like.
Posted at 09:31 AM in Creativity, Evol8tion, Fixing the Ad Agency Mess , Flip the Funnel, Inside the fish bowl, Interactive, Make advertising relevant again, Mediapost Column, New Branding, New Marketing, Startups for Brands, The Engagement Wars | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
A month after the book launches, I'm finally getting to the blog post about my 4th book, which I've co-authored with my former client and current friend, Maarten Albarda.
Why has it taken me so long to write about it? I suppose a number of reasons:
So with that said, I am pleased and proud to present Z.E.R.O.: Zero Paid Media as the New Marketing Model
In Z.E.R.O., our position is that a perfect storm is coming…in fact it may already be here. To make this case, we introduce several key arguments: business, economic, consumer, media and creative cases – any of which could – by itself - be enough to be the straw that breaks the camel's back, but when combined presents a perfect storm scenario.
Our central premise is that if media inflation continues to outpace and run away from economic inflation, the bottom may fall out the media model. Put simply, it will become practically impossible to maintain minimum acceptable levels of reach, frequency, share of voice and presence in the marketplace.
Our solution for this eventuality is the Z.E.R.O. Manifesto, which holds that in a perfect world, the optimal paid media budget would be zero. In other words, brands would not need to spend a dime on paid media, because they would have enough customers; enough word-of-mouth; enough rabid fans and advocates; enough referrals; enough partnerships with entrepreneurs, startups and technology investments; and last but not least, enough assets to activate, amplify and monetize. What is an asset? Your people. Your products. Your packaging. Your clothing. Your billboards. Your trucks. Your stores. Your website. Your content.
Talk is cheap. So many books outline a problem, without putting forward a solution. Section 3 introduces a 10-point action plan, which presents 5 ways companies can implement Z.E.R.O. Internally (Cultural, Organizational), as well as 5 ways they can truly bring Z.E.R.O. to life externally (Strategic, Tactical). From compensation to budget setting; from flipping the funnel to innovation. It's all inside.
Whilst the Z.E.R.O. Vision is for brands to shift from being tenants (renting media) to landlords (owning assets), the "hidden message" here is the paid media will continue to exist (after all the world is not perfect), BUT it shifts from being the "go to" first port of call or star of the show to the final piece of the puzzle; a topper up or co-star / supporting member of the cast/ensemble. That's a significant shift as is the call-to-action for brands to audit their connections and ultimately strive for a 50:50 mix between direct:indirect (assets:media) by 2020.
Z.E.R.O. is not for everyone and I think it's important to manage expectations. This book is specifically written for C-suite executives that work for leading brands. Which doesn't mean to say that if you are a small business owner, this book isn't for you. In fact, you should look at the struggles and challenges presenting themselves to larger companies as your "foot in the door" or gain. In the 10-point action plan for example, the first 5 items that Maarten writes about from first-hand invaluable experience should all be second nature to you and non-issues. So skip past these if you like...or plan for the time when you get so big that you too will suck (as Jay Chiat once said)
And now comes the part where I ask for your help.
Maarten and I know that this book will leave a lot of people very uncomfortable, but it's tough love at worst and a game changer at best. Maarten and I put it this way: if we're wrong about this, you're a winner because you diversified your portfolio, you retook control as a marketer and you invested in your customer...but if we're right about this, well then you just obliterated your competition, potentially changed the game and who knows...perhaps transformed marketing from a cost center to a revenue generator. Maybe you even discovered the next Snapchat, GroupOn or Instagram in the process.
Be a hero. Commit to Z.E.R.O.
Posted at 10:19 AM in Books, Content is King, Current Affairs, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Evol8tion, Experiential Marketing, Flip the Funnel, From the "I told you so" files, From the desk of The Ambassador, Inside the fish bowl, Interactive, Long Form Content, Madison & Mountain View, Make advertising relevant again, Making a difference, Mediapost Column, Medium - neither rare nor well done, Music, Mobile and things that make you go mmm..., New Branding, New Marketing, Proof of Life after the 30-second spot, Sightings of the 30-second spot, Social Commerce, Social Media Matters, Startups for Brands, Television, The Engagement Wars, Ugly Stuff, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Technorati Tags: "Flip the Funnel", "Joseph Jaffe", "Maarten Albarda", "Marketing Book", "Paid Media", "Startups for Brands", "Thought Leadership", "Z.E.R.O.", "Zero Paid Media", "ZeroPaidMedia", Advertising, Evol8tion, Marketing, Media, ZERO
Yes, it's that time of the year again. Time to rock the vote as the SxSW panel picker moves into overdrive and the audience participation phase of the rigorous selection process begins.
For those of you who don't know what SxSW (South By Southwest) is, check out the Wikipedia Entry. Or if not, in short it's essentially the banner event in the entire interactive/new media/social media/emerging media (you get the picture) calendar. Think CES for consumer electronics. Cannes for Advertising. SxSW for Interactive. The festival is not only for the geeks. There's also a Film and Music festival and for those of you that can make all 3 (Interactive and Music run back to back, but Film bleeds into both), you'll benefit tremendously from the blurring and synergy that comes from naturally overlapping trades.
One of the great things about SxSW is that anyone (and I mean ANYONE) can share the stage via the Panel Picker process. Literally thousands of proposal are submitted and via a 3-pronged vetting system (staff picks, advisory board, public), the eventual shortlist is chosen.
My 4th and new book, Z.E.R.O.: Zero paid media as the new marketing model, will be on bookshelves in October and hot on the heels of this release will be a book reading proposal at SxSW, where myself and my co-author, Maarten Albarda, will highlight key excerpts, takeways and central themes of the book.
If you'd like to vote for Z.E.R.O., please do so here.
In 2013, myself and the Evol8tion team are actually under consideration for 3 separate panels. If all my panels make it, I would have to choose one (the rules), so let's cross this "good problem to have" bridge when we come to it :)
To make things easier, Evol8tion created a simple splash page, which highlights the 3 panels and links to their voting page. For your information, the 3 panels are:
So now it's up to you to rock the vote. Here are the simple rules:
Of course, you can also share the panels on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This would be awesome, but your vote would be awesom-er!
Thanks so much for your consideration!
PS In the spirit of paying it forward, if you vote for mine, I'll vote for yours. Just ping me with your panel information. Rising tide floats all boats...
Posted at 10:15 AM in Books, Current Affairs, Evol8tion, Fixing the Ad Agency Mess , Inside the fish bowl, Interactive, Madison & Mountain View, Startups for Brands, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Technorati Tags: "Blue Chip Brands", "Joseph Jaffe", "Madison and Mountain View", "Madison Avenue", "Mountain View", "Rock the Vote", "Startups for Brands", Book, Brands, Evol8tion, Marketing, PanelPicker, Startups, SxSW, ZERO, “Maarten Albarda”, “Zero Paid Media”
It's been a while since I've shared my MediaPost Online Spin articles, so here are the previous 8 in reverse chronological order.
Posted at 09:24 AM in Current Affairs, Evol8tion, Inside the fish bowl, Madison & Mountain View, Make advertising relevant again, Mediapost Column, New Branding, Startups for Brands, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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