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?
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!
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.
In this episode of our monthly debates, Mitch and I tackled the "Rise of Machines" i.e. automation of marketing & advertising versus "How do you Scale Humanity?" with respect to investing in talent and "humans" to serve "other humans." It's The Matrix meets Sixth Sense. Creepy! @mitchjoel and @jaffejuice
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.
I have a love-hate relationship with Apple. I’d like to describe myself as a Pragmatic Advocate (as opposed to a Zealot Fanboy prepared to sleep outside for 5 days to get a phone that everyone else will have within days or weeks).
I personally have switched almost entirely to Apple products (Phone, Pad, Air) based on the unbeatable form and function combination that truly is superior to anything else on the market. I don’t do this blindly. I feel like it’s been a logical and natural process. I love the tangible product family, however I really love the intangible service and experience excellence (Blue shirts, Genius, 1-to-1) that truly separates them from their competition.
With a bar set so high, one would think it’s OK to slip up once in a while. Perhaps they’ve earned a Mulligan or two in the marketplace. Only that they actually slip up more often than one would think (the antenna fiasco, battery issues, cracked screen, overheating – the list goes on.) My problem with the company is their detached closedness, secretive opacity and perceived arrogance associated with how they go to market.
This is a company that projects aloofness and a superiority complex, which does not behoove a humble leader. I say that intentionally, because I don’t think they want to be humble. They absolutely believe they know better than their consumers and aren’t influenced by the market.
I don’t even have a problem with that. I just wish the company would — occasionally — admit when they’ve made a mistake.
Here’s the most recent one: My new iPhone 5 arrived on Friday, Sept. 28. Today (as I write this), it’s October 12.
I still don’t have a case for my iPhone.
The Apple store has nothing in stock. In fact, they’ve never received a single case. They also have “no idea” when they’ll receive cases. They are, however, very happy to sell you Applecare for $100 and a $49 replacement fee for when (not if) you drop your caseless phone and crack the screen.
Here's the full text, but of course you can view it on Mediapost (and comment there or here if you like):
On Sunday night’s Emmy Awards, host Jimmy Kimmel, “pranked” the unsuspecting Twitterverse with the following ruse: he got Tracey Morgan to come up from the audience (all spontaneous of course) and essentially play dead by lying on the floor of the stage (oh, the dignity). Then he encouraged hundreds of millions of viewers to Facebook or Tweet something to the effect of “OMG Tracey Morgan just passed out on stage at the Emmys. Turn ABC on now.”
According to EOnline, “the prank blew up online,” with “OMG Tracey Morgan” becoming a hot topic online, registering 54,000 tweets. (I searched their source, Topsy Free Analytics and found around 15,000 tweet.) It also registered an increase of 127,300% of Tracey Morgan mentions on Facebook at the exact moment Kimmel uttered his innovative breath.
So what did we learn? Tracey Morgan has a baseline level of conversation on Facebook at around zero!
To me, the real experiment was to test to what degree people were watching live versus time-shifting. Only the live watchers would have been participated, with their networks jumping on the Retweet bandwagon. By inference, those time shifting would have been avoiding Twitter -- to avoid spoilers.
So would this “stunt” drive tune in, which really is about the only thing anyone in the broadcast business should be concerned about? All the rest is nothing but noise or “clutter.”
May I have the envelope please: This year’s Emmy Awards registered 13.3 million viewers, up 6% from last year, but down 10% among adults 18-49, which tied a record low from 2008, when the show registered a record-low audience of 12.3 million. Some 4.9 million of them were 18-49. That’s an abysmal 37% of total viewers falling into the coveted demographic.
Even if the goal of the experiment was to gauge engagement, we’re talking about 0.4% of total viewers -- taking the higher tweet estimate and running on the assumption that every tweet was unique, which we know it wasn’t.
So, no. Not exactly the smash hit capable of catapulting this year’s Emmy’s into the Hall of Fame. At best, it's the tweet that saved the Emmy’s from catastrophe. Kimmel, who is terrific, should stick to his “viral” successes, which are less about innovative approaches to digital or social and more about producing great content, which today -- more than ever before -- are capable of being embraced, shared and distributed to every corner of the world in nanoseconds.
The Kimmel-Morgan prank is sadly just another example of how we’re trying to force fit our tired old ways into new forms and formats; how we’re incrementally tweaking an approach instead of blowing the whole thing up and making an exponential leap of educated faith.
Case in point is the plague of hashtags used in broadcast from #telljimmy Iovene on "American Idol" -- why? -- to Nancy Grace’s #CrockPotWifeKiller. Seriously?
Hashtags are truly an evolution in syntax and vernacular. From a function(al) standpoint, it’s a smart and efficient categorization taxonomy of conversation, which is easily searchable and findable. From a form standpoint, it’s a creative and colloquial way of self-expression: #justsayin #toomuchinformation
Hashtags really will change the way we communicate with each other. They already have. That said, we are in danger of poisoning the drinking waters with our overwhelming obsession to control, force and contrive every last bit of humanity out of what is still in its absolute infancy.
When I watch TV, I want to lean back and submit to a great story. It’s no surprise that these days, the only way to find great script is to go beyond the broadcast networks, which seem to be trying to cover as much of the screen as possible with #hashtags.
And for what purpose? Driving tune-in? If so, where’s the call-to-action, incentive or even Tracey Morgan cadaver? I’d like to challenge anyone working for the networks to share their vision, objective, method to the madness and/or metrics associated with their social media integration and use of hashtags.
While we’re waiting for their response, Tracey you can get up now and dust off your tux.
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.