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)
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)
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)
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
Domino's recently announced they were giving $500 "Pizzavestments" to 30 startups. I'd like to match the offer with $15,000 of my own money. There's just no way an individual should be able to match a giant corporation when it comes to making a commitment to startups, but there you go...
To Domino's CEO, Patrick Doyle: "Patrick, I think you're awesome. You've done a phenomenal job all round and led the brand through the YouTube fiasco to the well documented, Pizza Turnaround. I totally get the connection between pizza and burning the midnight oil, but I think you can do better. This isn't a fad, gimmick or ad campaign. Innovation is the lifeblood of corporate evolution and survival. Contact me and let's figure out a better way to spend our $30,000 and then some with bright and talented startups."
This offer is conditional on Patrick making contact with me and the two of us sitting down to brainstorm as per the challenge above. I will not be providing Pizza, but I'm happy to invest in these companies commensurately.
Microsoft just announced they are to write off close to $900m of excess inventory on their Surface tablets. OMG! How is this kind of colossal failure possible? Add the ridiculous amount of money spent wasted on marketing and advertising and you have a billion dollar white elephant and migraine.
I'm sure the surface is not a lemon, but I wouldn't know because all I see on TV is a bunch of out of work actors who can't a job on Apple commercials (because Apple just uses blue shirt geeks now in their commercials) dancing around like cool kids, snapping their surfaces.
Hint: It's a tablet, not a musical instrument.
This is a classic example of old school marketing that simply does not integrate digital and social best practices from 5-10 years ago.
To the execs at Microsoft, I'd like to volunteer my services free of charge to help you turn your frown upside down and Flip your Funnel.
Posted at 11:30 AM in Books, Consumer Central , Creativity, Current Affairs, Evol8tion, Fixing the Ad Agency Mess , Flip the Funnel, From the "I told you so" files, Madison & Mountain View, Make advertising relevant again, New Branding, New Marketing, Social Media Matters, Social Networking, Startups for Brands, Television, The Engagement Wars, Ugly Stuff, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
In Life after the 30-second spot, I wrote about R.U.E. - Relevance, Utility and Entertainment (which I would now rename as - Customer - Experience). Now Jay Baer has written the definitive book on Utility. What a novel idea…brands actually being useful! Bravo!
Here is our conversation, which you can download or listen live by clicking this link.
Posted at 09:21 AM in Books, Consumer Central , Customer Experience, Customer Service, Experiential Marketing, From the "I told you so" files, Inside the fish bowl, Interactive, Jaffe Juice - The New Marketing Podcast, Make advertising relevant again, New Branding, New Marketing, Social Media Matters | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Technorati Tags: "Amber Naslund", "Customer Experience", "Customer Service", "Jay Baer", "Joseph Jaffe", "Life after the 30-second spot", "Social Media", "The Now Revolution", "Thought Leadership", Brands, Utility, Wiley, Youtility
Quick update on our Z.E.R.O. Kickstarter Campaign: with 28 days to go (so less than half remaining), we are at $12,632 from 81 backers
I was just interviewed for About.com in their Entrepreneur column. Also, Saymedia wrote a very cool column on 10 Interesting Media Winners on Kickstarter. To be listed alongside heavyweights like Veronica Mars Movie Project (Warner Bros) and Zach Braff is pretty cool...but then again, so is Z.E.R.O.
Even though we reached our funding goal, this doesn't mean the project is over. In fact, I hope that you will get behind this project for a bunch of reasons:
Seriously. It's a no brainer and by not taking action, you're sending out all the wrong signals and making me sad.
...but seriously, as I've often said, "the only way to understand change is to experience it" and so I challenge you to experience Kickstarter and help kickstart this project.
I want to secure a minimum of 100 backers and to sweeten the pot, I will upgrade the 100th backer to the next highest reward!
Maarten and I really appreciate your support. Really.
PS If you have pledged, you'll get a private backer update shortly, but please continue to share this and spread the word with your networks!
Posted at 08:06 PM in Books, Consumer Central , Consumer Generated Content, Customer Service, From the "I told you so" files, Make advertising relevant again, Medium - neither rare nor well done, New Branding, New Marketing, Proof of Life after the 30-second spot, The Engagement Wars | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
My good friend and ex-client, Maarten Albarda and I are co-authoring a book together. It's my 4th book (after Life after the 30-second spot, Join the Conversation and Flip the Funnel) and Maarten's first. Besides sharing the same vision and passion for the subject, we're bringing a 1-2 punch to the table in the form of advertising-agency perspective on the giant elephant in the room: media or rather paid media.
The book is called z.e.r.o. and the sub-title, "zero paid media as the new marketing model" kind of says it all (and in less than 140 characters).
The book posits that in a perfect world, your paid media budget would be z.e.r.o. - literally, but also figuratively in the form of an acronym which stands for Zealots (advocacy), Entrepreneurship (innovation), Retention (customer centricity) and Owned Assets (moving from tenant to landlord)
On one hand, it's me returning to my "Life after" roots, but on the other other (and more poignantly), it's our set up of our premonition of a perfect storm approaching in marketing; one in which the bottom could conceivably fall out of the media model. Fortunately, the world is not perfect and change takes longer than we expect, but then again...just look at how your world has changed in the past few years to validate the fact that sitting and doing nothing is not a viable solution.
For me, it's a bold move for two reasons:
We just pre-launched the book and Kickstarter campaign at the Festival of Media in Montreux, but here's the crazy part...in just over 24 hours after I hit the publish button (in stealth mode), we've almost hit our initial funding goal of $10,000. With your help, we'll push this over the edge and see how far we can take it.
The wild thing is that the book will become it's own case study insofar that it will demonstrate how we were able to self-publish our book for "z.e.r.o." by tapping into our advocates and leveraging our owned assets. It's U.N.M.2.P.N.M. circa 2005 retooled for 2013.
So...if you're part of my community and/or appreciate my content, show your support on Kickstarter with the pledge amount (or more if your heart desires). I will post regular updates over the 6 week period to acknowledge my backers (which would be you)
And all things being equal, Z.E.R.O. will launch in September of 2013 and will contain the 10-point action plan towards implementing this bold vision towards helping marketing evolve, normalize and allocate scarce resources to a re-prioritized hierarchy of connection points.
Posted at 10:47 AM in Between the lines..., Books, Communal Marketing, Consumer Generated Content, Content is King, Creativity, Current Affairs, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Evol8tion, Experiential Marketing, Fixing the Ad Agency Mess , Flip the Funnel, From the "I told you so" files, From the desk of The Ambassador, Inside the fish bowl, Interactive, Join the Conversation, 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, Pithy Conversation Catalysts, Proof of Life after the 30-second spot, Sightings of the 30-second spot, Social Media Matters, Startups for Brands, Television, The Engagement Wars, Ugly Stuff, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Technorati Tags: "Archway Publishing", "Customer Centricity", "Customer Experience", "Customer Service", "Earned Media", "Festival of Media", "Flip the Funnel", "Join the Conversation", "Joseph Jaffe", "Life after the 30-second spot", "Maarten Albarda", "Non Media", "Owned Assets", "Owned Media", "Paid Media", "Self Publishing", "Z.E.R.O.", "ZERO Paid Media", Advocacy, Book, Crowdfunding, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Kickstarter, Retention, Wiley
Still playing catch up on the Mediapost column front. So here's a previous Online Spin article about customer experience (or the lack thereof) when it comes to Tea. And obviously the implications in terms of how you are packaging and ultimately putting a premium on your otherwise commoditized product or service.
I’m not sure what your personal experience is like where you live on this small planet, but here in America, when you buy tea in a restaurant or café, the most incredibly (bad) customer service occurs.
When you order tea, you typically receive a cup (and saucer) of boiling water and (separately) a standard tea bag from a popular commercial brand such as Lipton. Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to open the tea bag packaging and proceed to dip your teabag to your heart’s content. For this manual labor, you are charged some kind of ridiculous premium: typically $2.75 or more.
Even Homer J. Simpson himself would be able to do the math to calculate cost of good sold (COGS) of a cup of boiling water (it’s pretty much zero) and a teabag (again, pretty much zero).
Contrast this with a similar scenario at your local Starbucks, where an Americano (boiling water and a few shots of espresso) sells to willing buyers at around $4 +.
In the former example, I would contend that restaurants should give away generic tea for free. Or if not, you should get as many teabags (and hot water) as you like. Yes, I get the fact some people like strong tea versus weak tea, but by the same token, restaurants don’t slap a raw piece of meat on your plate and say, “grill it yourself, ” do they? Perhaps I’m a romantic, but I hold hope that my waiter or restaurant barista is trained in the dark arts of “weak” or “strong” tea brewing.
Or of course, a restaurant can get fancy and create a tea library that rivals its single-malt scotch collection. Green, peppermint, Rooibos, lemon -- and the flavors continue. They could even invest in real tea leaves, strainers and exotic flavors such as Mango Diablo (I recently purchased these from a new specialty tea store in Westport called Davids Tea).
In this day and age of transparency, there’s such a thing as too much transparence. In a time when customer experience is the new marketing, everything that touches a customer -- from website design and UI to preparation of tea -- is part of customer service. When done right, our customers will pay a premium for great service, storytelling, subject matter expertise and concierge solutions. When done wrong, Twitter is just 140 characters away.
If it’s true that necessity is the mother of invention, I would contend that survival is the father of innovation. There’s absolutely nothing stopping a restaurant from turning the uninspiring delivery of a commodity into a unique, memorable and sharable experience.
And in doing so, what a unique opportunity to turn the last underwhelming contact with a customer into a lasting impression that surprises, delights and delivers the triple threat of repeat business, referrals and “earned media.”
Innovation these days is largely associated with technology, but sometimes it is worth getting back to basics, with a common sense, “analog” approach to better business.
Posted at 06:18 PM in Customer Experience, Customer Service, Experiential Marketing, Flip the Funnel, Food and Drink, From the "I told you so" files, Mediapost Column, The Engagement Wars | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
My first Online Spin article, where I revisit good old Second Life as an analogy to present day commitment to startups by brands. It's all about patience, commitment, perseverance and staying the course, but more importantly, it's about recognizing that brands (and not the media) have the power to make the difference in terms of an emerging platform.
I guess I was called a “Second Life booster” back in the day -- and guess what, I was OK with that. I still am. As an early adopter (professionally) in the virtual world of Second Life, I witnessed firsthand the highs and lows; how the press initially went gaga over it, and then turned their back, to the point of making it their personal vindictive mission to destroy evidence of any self-created hype.
Perhaps my former company’s island of crayonville was a utopian oasis that existed in the eye of the storm. Perhaps our “Virtual Thirst” foray for our client, Coca-Cola, was the exception to the norm, since the brand did not (like many others in the early days of Second Life) get pelted with flying penises for its troubles.
In many respects, we were witnessing a mini-bubble being artificially pumped up and then burst in spectacular fashion. And all the while, real people were making real money -- admittedly, doing unreal things.
Virtual worlds, gaming environments, augmented reality, avatars and 3D simulation should not be alien terms to you. It should not come as a surprise that these items once coexisted in perfect harmony with each other, along with red dragons and drag queens. What might surprise you is my assertion that brands were to blame for the demise of Second Life.
Can you imagine if Christopher Columbus had looked out his telescope at the “New World” only to see angry, strange-looking people with painted faces and ornate head dressings waving native weapons -- and subsequently turned around to head back to Europe?
Sound familiar? It should be, because it’s the same scenario that happened in Second Life. And I hope it doesn’t happen again with respect to collaborating with startups.
These days, brands have become enamored with the next bright and shiny object, namely conducting tests or experiments with startups. Only startups aren’t some passing fad, gimmick, flavor of the month or test tube guinea pig. Collectively, they represent value propositions or utilities that disrupt norms, challenge conventions and move markets. Only they won’t get to realize their vision -- their proof of concept -- if brands continue to hold them at arm’s length, dispatching their agency minions to negotiate the impossible “big ideas at scale.”
Innovative and unprecedented executions are absolutely doable. It falls apart when brands turn away because the reach isn’t there -- or, put differently, they can’t measure or compare these “startlings” to incumbent blunt instruments like TV, radio, print or even online.
My message to brands is very simple: don’t be turned off startups’ lack of reach. In fact, this should turn you on! You’re dealing with the most fertile real estate, untouched and unspoiled by the “masses” (even your competitors). You have the incredible opportunity to help them achieve their path to reach with your brand dollars, talent, resources and media.
You have the unique chance to join forces with them at the earliest possible stage to co-create and own that big idea.
And, irony of ironies, you have Second Life to thank.
“You’re welcome!” – Divo Dapto
Posted at 09:09 AM in Consumer Central , Creativity, Evol8tion, From the "I told you so" files, Gaming, Inside the fish bowl, Interactive, Madison & Mountain View, Mediapost Column, Medium - neither rare nor well done, New Branding, New Marketing, Startups for Brands, The Engagement Wars, Ugly Stuff, Virtual Reality, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
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