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!
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.
I began my thought leadership/writing career with a column on Mediapost and so it is fitting to return to the scene of the crime so to speak for a new weekly column on all things Innovation.
My primary focus will be on technology-led innovation, which is about as wide and deep as the blue ocean (digital, social, mobile, emerging, startups etc), but I hope to also dial into true originality, disruptive thinking and creative flair as it relates to the ability to tell stories, surprise and delight (some might call it classic advertising...or at least my good friend Don would)
Mediapost were very kind to write up this piece, which outlines my return to weekly thought leadership columns and also gives a pretty good update on my update so to speak.
Its crusaders are the passionate pioneers that represent a new marketing reality never seen before in history. This is the story of the evolution of the Internet -- and its progression from a superficial flavor of the month to quite possibly, the most profound weapon ever presented to the treasure-chest of the marketing community.
The war in question is a war against ignorance and those who resist change. It is being fought on two playing fields, by two very different armies. Their insignias are the head and the heart. Progress has been varied.
The infantry of the head, earmarked by research, data, metrics and media has emerged victorious.
The warriors of the heart, however, have not fared as well. Along the way, there have been many casualties, but when the dust settled, the brave and the dedicated creative community stood firm, supremely focused on their prime directive: to win the battle for the heart.
I wrote that blurb in 2004 when I put together a roadshow called “The Battle for the HeArt”. You’ll notice that I capitalized the A in Heart, as this was about art; the right brain; creativity…or the lack thereof in the online space. My position was that online was dominated by science; the left brain; analytics; metrics.
And in the vacuum, was an infinite void of desolate inspiration.
Battle for the HeArt was a Creative Roadshow, designed to celebrate, uplift and showcase the best online creative you’d never seen or perhaps had, but you couldn’t quite articulate or put your finger on exactly what made it unique or special.
The show lasted two years and save for the fact I founded my first company, crayon, it would have continued. Interestingly enough, 2006’s Battle (the third year) would have been sub-branded as Madison + Mountain View (I even registered the URL www.madisonandmountainview.com, with a positioning that the future of advertising lay in technology.)
It’s kind of sad and even pathetic that we’re asking the same questions today. We're questioning the lack of creativity and innovation in the online space. It’s not too late for an intervention though, but I fear that soon enough, it will be unless we inject a good dose of truly game-changing digital whoopass into the mix.
My antidote is the intersection of technology and advertising; Mountain View meets Madison Avenue. I’ll use Albert Einstein's famous quote to illustrate my point: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."
Dictionary.com defines creativity as “productive originality.”
Originality = Doing things Differently Productive = Getting a Result
“Doing things differently to get a result” is, in fact, the exact opposite of doing the same thing over and over again to get a different result. So it hit me: Creativity is the solution to insanity; the remedy to mediocrity and status quo.
Similarly, the dictionary defines innovation as new approaches that achieve positive outcomes. Is it coincidence that this is a synonym for creativity? I think not.
I think this underscores that the future of marketing is a digital one, a tech-laden one. Brands have got to innovate in order to evolve and arguably, survive. I believe that the intersection between marketing and start-ups is one way to mix together creativity and innovation into a powerful cocktail.
The catch perhaps is that innovation is typically associated with product or packaging R&D, as opposed to marketing itself. It’s time to change that.
I always like to quote photographer Diane Arbus who said: “It's what I've never seen before that I recognize."
Our consumers are the same. They ignore what they’ve seen before time and time again. And they notice the unanticipated. They crave the unexpected, the unpredictable, the surprise and delight. They long for the intellectual sparring that comes with an idea that provokes, irks, challenges or dares them to think or act different.
And they’re not insane, although we might be if we don’t rethink the way we go to market, or the way we utilize the full potential of the Internet and its social portfolio of gizmos and gadgets. The way we partner with our consumers -- and the way we combine what we do best (creativity) in a form, function and utility-laded service that truly delivers transformational (innovation) value.
In this monthly debate, Mitch and I have a meaty conversation about one of the hottest and endless topics in the marketing world: how to correctly value, price and position ideas.
It all stems from an article which Scott Montgomery wrote in Ad Age, where he attempted to debunk the myth about how long idea generation takes and on a parallel path, how ideas should be valued and compensated as such.
We also open on a brief conversation about blogging, authentic voices and being re-certified.
Join the Conversation dammit (it's not a cliche when I coined the term and wrote a book on it!) @jaffejuice on Twitter and @mitchjoel on Twitter.
And be sure to forward this to any brand marketers you think would benefit from the discussion and ultimately give their perspective on the theme at hand.
Listen to it LIVE (left click) or download it HERE (right click)
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.