Mitch and I had a great conversation debate about creativity, the legitimacy and integrity of advertising, Jerry Seinfeld's zinger filled "acceptance speech" for winning an honarary Clio (you can read the full text here) and more.
Personally I think the last 5-10 minutes are particularly powerful.
Last week I attended a fantastic event in Chicago called “The League of Leaders,” an initiative run by the Path to Purchase Institute. Heard of them? Of course you haven’t.
That’s because the subject matter focused on shopper marketing, the red-headed stepchild of the marketing ecosystem.
I delivered a keynote to this group of marketers representing pretty much the crème de la crème of the entire consumer packaged goods spectrum. In my opening remarks, I made a joke about the fact that the advertising industry was slumming it in Cannes, whereas I’d hit the proverbial jackpot at the Westin O’Hare Airport Hotel, instead of puking off the port side of a luxury yacht.
Unfair comparison, really. The reality is, the only place to be was in Chicago. That's where the REAL money is! Case in point: Total U.S. retail sales projected for 2014 is a whopping $4.7 trillion (according to eMarketer), with in-store representing $4.4 trillion of this amount.
So why then is the overwhelming majority of marketers’ budgets being spent on acquisition marketing, designed at worst to deliver reach, frequency, awareness and whiffs of consideration, or, at best, to get someone into a store or supermarket, as opposed to completing the process and closing the deal in-store?
Observation 1: There is a complete disconnect between what is spent on prospecting, persuading and reminding versus what’s spent on sampling, converting and closing.
According to Veronis Suhler, $51.53 billion will be spent in 2014 on point-of-purchase, coupons, promotional licensing, premiums, loyalty programs, product sampling, and finally sponsored games, contests and sweeps. As a rough benchmark, eMarketer projects 2014 US media ad spending to be $177.8 billion (that’s ad spending, not marketing).
If you are familiar with my Marketing Bowtie™ framework that essentially unifies the traditional and flipped funnels (picture them side by side, where outside-in meets inside-out to deliver a bowtie), then we would be talking about what I call P.O.P. (place of purchase and/or point of purchase).
Observation 2: There is an acute lack of investment, intellect and/or innovation in the last three feet (in-store).
Speaking of P.O.P., there’s also a third expression, namely “proof of purchase.” This gets into flip the funnel territory, or retention as the new acquisition wheelhouse. In an era of mobile wallets and Passbooks, there is an extremely limited showcase of viable technologies, platforms and/or apps designed to deliver “from the cart into the heart” (stick a ™ on that for me, please).
Observation 3: The marketing machine abandons ship at the sale, and does not continue the momentum and relationship building post-sale.
The fact is that shopper marketing (increasingly being referred to as customer marketing) is still thought of superficially and tactically instead of from a more holistic and integrated perspective. If only there was a way to connect the dots…
Which brings us to the final piece of the puzzle, the one device to rule them all, the true common thread throughout the entire contact management continuum.
Of course I’m talking about mobile.
Observation 4: Mobile suffers from the same neglect in-store as it does everywhere else in the marketing world.
Arguably, mobile is even more important in-store.
As is innovation.
Fortunately, I did see a handful of incredible technologies and startups at this meeting that are looking to revolutionize the blue ocean of shopper marketing. These companies are also coupled with startups experimenting in areas like multiscreen integration, heat mapping, conductive ink, augmented reality, in-store mapping and big data.
And so, to those executives frequenting the aisles of their favorite supermarket for Pepto-Bismol to nurse those post-Cannes blues, I humbly suggest “canning” next year’s festival for a much shorter, less costly trip.
You don’t even need to leave the premises to have arrived.
For the rest of you, you would know FIR is one of the longest standing P.R. and Communications podcasts out there. Period. And the best.
I also had the pleasure of working with both Shel and Neville during the crayon days.
Last week, my co-author, Maarten Albarda and I had a great conversation about Z.E.R.O. and I particularly enjoyed the questions from a slightly different perspective (P.R. v Advertising)
You can listen to the post directly here (or if you're subscribed to Across the Sound or Jaffe Juice podcasts, it will download automatically via iTunes). The very thoughtful post on the podcast can be found here.
If you're still interested in reviewing the book, I'll send you a copy. Let me know.
If you'd like to purchase the book, you can do so here. It comes with a full 100% money back guarantee...however you do need to pay us a 10% fee on any incremental revenue or cost savings generated beyond $1,000,000 that comes from the book. Hint: The latter scenario is much more likely (you have been warned)
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:
I've been really busy with Evol8tion work, extensive travel and a ton of speaking, including giving the Z.E.R.O. Keynote, which I'm happy to say is extremely tight and being tremendously well received. Normally it takes me a while to find the perfect presentation mix, but with Z.E.R.O., I've hit the ground running...
I've had blogger's block or writer's blog or something to that effect. Writing a book really takes everything out of you and I've been waiting to find my writing groove at least on the blog
What I have been doing is writing Online Spin on MediaPost bi-monthly. It's been just over a year now and I'm happy to announce that I'm moving to the "Lead Off" position on Monday's, alternating with Maarten, who makes his debut next Monday.
Most importantly, Z.E.R.O. marketing is all about slow burn and long tail. It's about using existing customers to gain new ones. It's about utilizing customers and advocates in innovative ways, leveraging existing assets as opposed to piggy bagging on the borrowed interest and/or equity of middlemen.
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.
Buy the book. For yourself. Your clients, colleagues, partners, superiors, subordinates, friends, enemies, frienemies!
If you buy in bulk, I will do my best to help you out. Just contact me. I'll also try and sign copies for you, which can be done a variety of ways
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.
So if you haven't done so already, please give Z.E.R.O. a try. Based on the reactions we're getting from brand marketers who have embraced #zeropaidmedia already, you'll be glad you did!
Mitch and I sit down for our monthly debate and this one is a great discussion on the evolution of online video - Vine, Instagram Video and more. Some really great concepts introduced like "Authentic Place" vs "Authentic Voice" and more. Keeper quote: "The 30-second spot was the original SnapChat!" @jaffejuice and @mitchjoel
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:
It's hard to resist making this a looooooooooooong post, so instead I'll do my best to be as brief and succinct as possible, so here goes...
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:
I've made the move from being a 3-time published author to self-publishing (thanks to Richard @ Wiley for everything to get me this far and props to my new home, Archway Publishing)
Review the various pledge rewards and become a backer. We've named them after famous misers.
From the Hetty Green and Warren Buffet (digital and hardcover copies respectively) to the maximum reward, which delivers 10 autographed books and an in-person keynote from either Maarten or myself (only 2 available per person)
The no-brainer and value rewards are the Mr Burns and Mr Krabs respectively, that also include a 140-character acknowledgement (plug) in the book itself
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.
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.
to the reincarnated and reinvigorated Jaffe Juice.
What was once a weekly op-ed column is now an unshackled, uncensored and uninhibited dialogue
on the subjects of new marketing, advertising and creativity.