Friday, November 25, 2005

AdTech NY Nov 2005 – Day Two Journal

AdTech NY Nov 8, 2005

Cindy Gallup former chair of BBH, offered her contrarian point of view that the consumer is not in control (as was forcefully argued in many of the search marketing sessions), but argued that consumer buying behavior is more influenced by “social endorsement”. “What other people thinks matters to consumers” and drives many purchase decisions. Case studies were presented from Seattle’s own “Ranier Beer” campaign to re-ignite a long dormant brand that still inspired passioned response from loyal customers. Virgin Airlines “Porn Movie,” with tongue firmly planted in cheek, promotes first class luxury to male business travelers by way of the “special attention to service” lavished on male recipients stereo-typically—and quite humorously-- associated with behavior celebrated in the trashiest of porn movies. Gallup argued that Virgin’s use of humor created an intimate bond with viewers who were in on the joke and would share their experience of the humor with other business-traveler colleagues.

James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds expounded on this theme of social engagement putting forward his theory of “collective intelligence”. Citing numerous examples where crowds have a higher success rate in predicting outcomes than individual experts (horse races, internal stock markets, presidential caucuses, HP’s employee market forecasts, “Ask the Audience” technique on “Millionaire), Surowiecki urged marketers to go beyond suggestion boxes and focus groups if marketers want better predictors of a new product or service’s success stating “Customers are the best source of information for determine what OTHER customers will want.” To tap into this cognitive intelligence, markets must create the right set of conditions to extract accurate forecasts:

1) Establish a method to aggregate the data
2) Insure that your audience includes a diversity of perspectives and information about the subject
3) Provide a vehicle to enable and record independent and individual decision making from each participant

Businesses that are adopting this approach include Hollywood Site Exchanges whose members more accurately predict success/failure of Hollywood releases better than the studios that produce the movie; Google’s page rank algorithm reveals “hidden order behind the chaos” of consistently retrieving relevant search results; taps into collective intelligence to predict consumer behavior.

Stimulated with these fresh ideas, we headed back to the booth and our respective customers appointments. The “penthouse suite” continued to alternately impress and amuse client visitors. The sheer spaciousness of the penthouse with its jaw dropping views of mid-town and Central Park combined with the spare and faded glory of the furnishings, create quite a contrast, but never detracted from the conversations we had with customers. The grand piano perched at the edge of the window, on the other hand, proved quite a distraction for yours truly as I longed to tickle the ivories… ah well, next time! (maybe I’ll sneak in a moonlight serenade…)

View from the Penthouse, NY Hilton, Nov 8, 2005

In a seminar titled, “Search Beyond Direct Marketing” Joe Pilotta from BigResearch and an analyst from Piper Jaffrey cited some global market stats/projections and the implications for the current and future search marketing industry:

- Paid search will grow to a $30BB by 2010
- Online advertising will grow to $23BB by 2010
- Search is customer acquisition AND product purchase
- Search re-inforces other campaigns and messages delivered by brands in other media
- Search is uniquely designed to deliver call to action

However, advertisers would be remiss if they extract from these stats an overly rosey forecast of what they can expect search marketing to produce. Joe Pilotta provided these stats with some sobering statistics about the 18-34 year old demographic that marketers mistakenly see as a gold mine waiting to be mined through search marketing:

• Facts about the 18-34 demo:
• Average annual savings rate is -1%
• Average credit card debt is $12,000
• More than 50% will not have the resources to pay off their college loans
• Traditional word of mouth is more influential than purchase decisions than search, internet and email combined.

Pilotta offered these stats and warned marketers to not believe the hype of search marketing and instead recommending that “search should not be used as a standalone, but be used synergistically with other media types” to reach the desired audience. He was also critical of the hype around “behavioral targeting.” Behavioral targeting “is irrelevant if as a marketer you do not know where the consumer has been before they got there.” Given the “consumer interest index” (CII) feature of MetricsDirect newly launched behavioral product which tracks and stack ranks consumer behavior for up to 14 days before presenting an ad, Pilotta’s threshold for delivering effective targeted ads would be greatly exceeded. (Note: Before exiting the seminar, Pilotta was promised by yours truly to get a demo of the new MD behavioral product for review and comment.)

Keeping in mind Zango’s efforts in the games business, we eagerly anticipated the comments and observations from the panelists delivering a presentation on “Games As Marketing Vehicles.” The panel was kicked off with some market sizing stats:

• AdverGaming is a mainstream sponsor driven medium
• Funding continues to pour into the space (DoubleFusion announced this week a $10MM round)
• IGN, interactive game agency sold for $650MM
• Demographics of gamers highly sought after by marketers
• Ubiquitous broadband fueling adoption and reach
• Ad Agencies are opening dedicated AdverGaming divisions
• Avg gamer spends >1 hour per day as compared to ~3 hours/day for the average television viewer
• Jupiter forecasts 360MM online gamers WW by 2009

The speakers including former VP Marketing for Xbox, Julia Miller, now CEO of iBloks, were quick to point out that the hardcore gamer community, while very dedicated are not to be construed as the only gamers online. Women are increasingly apt to spend discretionary time gaming and are twice as likely as men to download mobile games. Jennifer Mekon, VP of IGN Entertainment, a games promotions company, pointed out that games define the audience and therefore make for a particular effective advertising medium for targeting specific demographics. Eg: Need to reach female >35 yo, sponsor Mahjong game. Marketers however cannot dismiss the strong community attribute of gamers. Promotions must be consistent with the values of the demographic and transparent in their intent– i.e. if users already have the full version of a game, why would they would want to download a sponsor laden version? And be warned, as quickly as the community will praise a game product for it’s skill-challenging innovations, they will also just as quickly—and vocally-- disparage what are seen as transparent attempts at exploitation of their community.

Recognizing this attribute of the community, Scott Tannen, VP of Games at Wrigley, and operator of game site, recommended “that advertisers who want to enter the game space, should build the game first and then attempt to brand the game experience” once development is complete. Shallow attempts such as Tide detergent’s “shoot out the stains” game are seen as completely one dimensional and therefore completely irrelevant to both the casual and sophisticated gamer. “The game and the experience always take priority in the mind of the gamer.”

This last point in particular really struck home as we identify and evaluate potential content partners in the game space who may wish to exploit the revenue potential of distributing Zango, but may not create sufficient value in the mind of the consumer.

Panelists for “Marketing Through Online & Video Games” seminar. Nov 8, 2005

Under the heading “save the best for last” the closing keynote, and most highly anticipated, was delivered by Guy Kawasaki, founding partner of Garage Ventures and former VP Marketing of Apple Computers. Reflecting on how marketers primary role is that of “evangelist” Guy provided his “10 Rules of Evangelism” as inspired by Constantine Brancusi’s quote; “Create like a god, rule like a king and work like a slave.”

Guy Kawasaki delivers his “10 Rules of Evangelism.” Nov 8, 2005

“Create Like a god.”
1) Kill the cash cows. Have the courage and foresight to go against conventional wisdom. Eg: Apple’s software division was completely isolated from the MacII hardware group so as to reinvent the software with no reliance on the hardware which at the time was 100% of Apple’s revenues.
2) Make Meaning. Make the world a better place. End bad things, make things good or make things better. Eg: Nike converted, cotton, rubber and plastic into meaning (women’s shoe campaign)
3) Jump to the Next Curve. Do things 10x better not 10% better. Eg: HP didn’t attempt to create a better daisy wheel printer; they created laser printers.
“Rule Like a king.”
4) Follow the 10/20/30 rule. Receiving 100s of presentations every week, Guy knows what makes for an effective evangelist’s pitch: Never have more than 10 slides in your presentation. Deliver your entire presentation in 20 minutes. Use a type size that is at least 30 points.
5) Make a Mantra. Explain why you exist not a MBA-style mission statement. Eg: Wendy’s: Healthy Fast Food. FedEx: Peace of Mind. Nike: Authentic Athletic Performance. Target: Democratic Design
6) Niche Thyself. Make sure your idea ranks high on the matrix of “Ability to provide unique product or service” as it relates to “Value to the customer”. Dell offered little that was unique, but was high value to the customers and competes on price. “Stupid” companies offer something unique that has little value to customers. Majority of “Dotcoms” delivered little that was unique and little value. But “Bullseye” companies (Fandango, FilmLoop) deliver something that is at once unique and has high value.
“Work like a slave.”
7) Sow entire fields. Don’t sweat when customers buy your product and you don’t know why. Embrace it and learn.
8) Provide a slippery slope. Don’t make it easy to be copied or replicated.
9) Don’t ask anyone to do something that you would not be willing to do.
10) Ignore Bozos: Thomas Watson, IBM “There are 4 customers who will buy computers.” (1945) Digital Equipment Company CEO “No one will ever buy a computer for their home.” (1977). “That job is too far from my home and I will not commute one hour to get there.” The reason Guy Kawasaki offered in 1996 for not accepting the CEO position at Yahoo!

Guy’s passion, intellect and generous use of humor were on display during the 40 minutes he was on the stage. In closing, Guy provided all attendees with complementary copies of his new book The Art of the Start. Everyone left the auditorium with a palpable sense of excitement and re-newed energy. Guy’s insight and passion for evangelism provided the perfect exclamation point to an exhilarating set of experiences that were AdTech NY 2005.

AdTech NY Nov 2005 - Day One Journal

AdTech Daily, Nov 7, 2005 - New York City

What do you get when you combine 200 exhibitors, 42 workshops, 7 keynote addresses and 8500 pre-registered attendees? The world’s largest interactive conference: AdTech 2005.

Back in 1995 when AdTech was first launched, discussion among exhibitors and conference attendees speculated on whether or not the Internet would be around in 10 years. Taking residence at New York’s Hilton Hotel, AdTech is celebrating it’s 11th consecutive year and billed as the world’s largest gathering of interactive advertising professionals. And judging from the diverse activities and opinions expressed throughout the day, AdTech is embracing a far greater scope of ideas and techniques than ever before. Today’s blog provides an overview from the perspective of MetricsDirect participation as both an exhibitor and attendee of AdTech’s many workshops and educational sessions.

Day One was kicked off by educational sessions by a pair of thought provoking keynote speakers: Debra Wahl Meyer, VP Marketing for Toyoto Motor’s Lexus brand discussed brand strategy in “The Age of Engagement” using Lexus’ promise of creating a “covenant” with customers to deliver a “luxury experience” at every point of interaction with the product and the brand. Lexus is using interactivity to enhance “intimacy and fluid access” with consumers citing it’s recent launch of the “New IS” model. The company invited customers to load personal photos to that would be integrated in a digital photo montage of the company’s new product and displayed dynamically in an electronic billboard NY’s Times Square. Using live chat interactivity on, Lexus’s General Manager held a live chat session with over 400 sports cars enthusiasts prior to launch and anticipating potential criticisms of the new model before it was release. This tactic neutralized potential criticism the vehicle may have received had Lexus waited until launch to establish dialogue with this important influencer audience.

In a media environment characterized by a bewildering array of media choices confronting today’s consumers, Sean Dee, VP Marketing of Hard Rock International emphasized the critical importance for brands to establish a unique visual identity. Just 20 years ago, a television advertiser could buy a spot on the #2 rated television show (trivia - “Family Ties” starring Michael J Fox was the #2 rated show in fall of 1985) and reach a potential audience 46MM. Today’s top rated show (CBS’s “CSI”) delivers less than _ of that audience size. To make your message stick, Dee recommends translating a brand into image iconography that resonates emotionally with your consumer. For Hard Rock’s “I Rock NY” new store opening, HR relied on image of rock icons (The Who, Johnny Cash, Jim Hendrix, The Ramones, Nirvana) that reflected the core attributes of Hard Rock’s brand: authentic, passionate, irreverent, unpredictable, and democratic.

Taking a break from some of the big ideas surfaced by these big thinkers, the Sales Team from MetricsDirect immersed itself in what we do best: service customers and optimize campaigns. With over 40 pre-scheduled appointments to supplement the steady stream of traffic that was running past our booth, we had numerous opportunities to interact with current customers as well as meeting nearly one hundred new contacts.

The most common feedback from customers visiting the booth:
1) Service from MetricsDirect is always exceptional
2) MetricsDirect self service web site beats all of its competition
3) MD’s new Behavioral Targeting product is a welcome complement to our traditional CPV product

Keith Smith, CEO, along with Quinn McKee, Account Manager and Matt Doden, Account Executive welcome customers and prospects to MetricsDirect booth at AdTech New York, Nov 7, 2005

After a welcome lunch break we returned to a busy exhibit hall with more meetings and drive buys packing the schedule. The afternoon also featured some terrific workshops. Two that were sampled were “Marketing to Women and Children in the 21st Century” and “Internet Brand Marketers and ‘How Pure Play Works Best’”.

A panel discussion among advertisers and market research firms focused on women were emphatic in their assertion that women in the 21st century are a diverse market set with a wide variety of interests and concerns. To create actionable campaigns, Mary Meehan, EVP of Iconoculture, classified 21st women in the following segments:

• Boomer Women: Age 41-59 years old, these women are accustomed to managing it all and associate with brands that above all provide convenience and control. Meehan noted that this segment also contains a subset of Boomer Grandparents citing the average age of a grandmother is 48 years old and number 32 million in the US. These are not your grandma’s grandmother; these women are active, engaged, involved and technologically, very sophisticated with money, lots of money, to spend.

• GenX Women: Age 28-40 years old, GenX’ers are discerning, realistic and pragmatic. “Good enough” will do. They respect authenticity and real voices. These are the women that are blogging and spending time online chatting.

• Latina: Age 21 -44 years old, Latina’s are avid learners and are on a quest to define their identity. Latina is Super Mamá. She can do it all and wants information, support and community.

• Millenials (aka Gen Y’s) age 21-27 years old expect things their way. This is the “cut and paste” generation that is accustomed to support. Everything must be personalized, customized, and shareable.

Lable Networks CEO Kathleen Gasperini added her perspective to the panel. Advertisers like Apple and Burton Snow Boards use these techniques to appeal to youth culture in the 21st century:

• Imagination – speak to youth in a way that demonstrates yours
• DIY – let youth discover your brand
• Viral Cred – blogs provide independent stamp approval to your brand
• Driving Subcultures – Music, Tech, Sports, Fashion are the real drivers
• Be a part of their lifestyle – it’s not enough to have youth buy your product

Turning attention from theory to practice, top internet brands Shutterfly, LowerMyBills and ELoan discussed the techniques they use to drive traffic, sales and life time value from their respective customer base.

Matt Coffin, CEO of LowerMyBills describes the company’s marketing strategy as “Go big or go home.” Living up to this aspiration, LMB is the internet’s largest financial services advertiser spending over $10MM per month using online advertisinig as a primary vehicle to acquire customers supplemented by traditional print, outdoor and television buys.

ELoan CEO Catherine Muriel takes a more surgical approach to acquiring its younger demographic of 35 y.o. customers relying on exhaustive data analysis to identify the most effective sources of leads and conversions. ELoan use on a mix of search engine marketing, contextual and behavioral networks to manage its brand. Similarly, Shutterfly CEO, Jeff Housenhold cites his company’s effective use of partner marketing (eg: 800flowers co-op mailing) combined with rigorous customer life cycle data analysis to drive their marketing and promotions. Shutterfly has developed over 100 customer segment profiles based on demographics, psychographics and past product consumption to stimulate creative, build traffic and effect conversions.

During Q&A, all three CEO’s cited proficiency at statistics and analytics as the most highly prized skill set their organizations will require for future success. When asked “ If you could select one of the following wishes to predict success for your business, what would you choose: Eliminating your largest competitor, doubling your marketing budget or identifying a new high performing advertising network, all of these internet brand CEO’s selected doubling the marketing budget as the best of the three.

Monday’s sessions were closed appropriately by a highly engaging keynote address delivered by Saatchi & Saatchi, CEO Kevin Roberts. Roberts, author of Lovemarks, The End of Brands, and self described “bald, fat, rich white guy” prognosticated on the “screen age” that consumers in the 21st century live in and the opportunity for all marketers to take advantage of SISOMO: as described in Robert’s new book SISOMO, The Future on Screen. (Screens are defined as cell phones, tv, computer, devices, signage, etc). Roberts implores marketers to take advantage of SISOMO to deliver emotion to drive choice in the “attraction economy” where choice is driven by emotion and emotion leads consumers to take action.

Using a mix of tv spots (New Zealand Blacks rugby team, Brazilian beer, New Zealand Telephone, Lexus IS) Roberts illustrates how SISMO inspires “loyalty beyond reason”. All of the spots relied on strong story telling and make magical the moment of truth when the subject of the ad endorses the product. Roberts also warned how market research and testing can deaden creativity; the only measure that counts: “Do you want to see it again?” Make products irresistible. Roberts challenged conventional thinking about brand marketing, saying “brands do not own consumers, but consumers own the brand.” Apple has such incredible brand loyalty because the consumers of Apple own the emotional connection and affinity for the brand. To build this kind of loyalty, Roberts encouraged those advertisers who are attracted to the efficacies of CRM to stop asking customers for permission, and instead create attraction through the use of mystery, sensuality and intimacy. Using the tools of story, music and humor advertisers can create the attraction that the will connect consumers to a “lovemark” not merely a brand. Roberts ended the session re-capping the thoughts above recommending that “instead of making your next call to your office, call your Mom and Dad instead.”

SISOMO Guru and Saatchi & Saatchi CEO, Kevin Roberts implores AdTech attendees, “Don’t call your office, call your mom & dad.” Nov 7, 2005

Time for one more meeting at the suite, before I think I’ll take Kevin's advice and call home.