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28 posts from August 2005

Community Has New Rules

Brondmohanspeter_1Great article at ClickZ on the state of the art in community web sites.

ClickZ: Community Rules by Hans-Peter Brondmo

"What about ease of use?" you ask. Most sites I've tried, with a few exceptions, are complicated. It takes effort to learn how to use this stuff. That's OK, as long as there's tangible benefit on the other end. When there is, people start using the services to hook up, share, collaborate, and just plain old gloat. The consumer Web is hot.

Though I'm fascinated to see how many copycats take good ideas and wrap them in ever-fancier window dressings, there are some novel ideas, too. I love the Wikipedia phenomenon. Backfence is good, too. Del.icio.us introduced a neat hack in the social bookmarking space (but the space's killer app isn't yet apparent). I like the idea behind EVDB, too. There are many others. Lots of neat tools and some good technology... and waiting in the wings there'll surely be some that will defy gravity and take off.


Luck Your Way into Print

Warrenshand_1I read this article in the NY Times about novelist Warren Adler because I'm interested in the self-publishing revolution enable by the internet, but I recommend this joyous interview to everyone. It provides a wonderful perspective on 'breaking through' the publishing industry.

NY Times: Steal This Book. Or At Least Download It Free. by Claudia H. Deutsch

Don't think you are a lousy writer because publishers reject you. As Mr. Adler put it, "In the end, as in all things, luck trumps talent."


Current TV Gets Off on Right Foot

CurrenttvWe are starting to see some early reviews of Current TV, which does have advertising support from Sony and others. I've seen a couple of reviews (including the one below) and there seems to be some concern about content being in short supply and on-air personalities being a little slick, but the user-generated content itself seems to be quite welcome.

NY Times: Betting a Network on Youths Who Think by Alessandra Stanley

Current is an earnest 4-H Club of a network dressed up to look cool and contemporary, but it still seems fresher and less crass than "American Idol" and other shows that try to harness viewer participation.

The advertising reflects the network's target audience: Sony gear, sneakers and L'Oréal hair products. CBS and other network evening news broadcasts are bracketed by commercials for Cialis or rheumatism pills. Current has ads for debt relief. ...

For all its rough spots and blog pretensions, Current is for-profit public-access television, an attempt to add grass-roots diversity to a television universe that is ever more controlled by a few media conglomerates. Current is easily mocked, but it is at least one youth-oriented cable network that does not dance to the tune of the 82-year-old Sumner Redstone, the chairman of Viacom.


Kick your Branding to the Next Level

Taddy_hallOn of the freshest, most stimulating perspectives on branding that I've seen in YEARS appears this month in CMO magazine. A guest perspective by Taddy Hall, the chief strategy officer at the Advertising Research Foundation, is full of insight and statistics and bitterly funny experience. And it's beautifully written. He comes up with wonderful catch phrases I'll be using for years, such as "Customers do not buy products ... they hire them to do jobs for them." (Photo and bio at Digital Hollywood conference page)

CMO Guest Commentary: Are We Living in a 'Branding Bubble'? by Taddy Hall

Don't think "top of mind."
Instead, think "back of mind." The human brain, compensating for limited faculties of absorption, has developed staggeringly powerful filtering mechanisms. Neuroscientists calculate that each of us is bombarded by 11M bits of information per second, and we process a mere 40 of these bits. We have to be pretty good filterers just to make it through the day. Interestingly one of the hallmarks of advancing civilization, anthropologists have observed, is the quantity and complexity of tasks individuals perform without having to think consciously. If you can help people conserve their scarce thinking faculties, they'll reward you.


Give Econometrics a Chance

I've read the original WSJ story by Aaron Patrick and a couple of commentaries, but I don't think many people are grasping the significance of econometrics to marketing. All my life as a marketing professional, I've been frustrated by our inability to 'prove' that advertising and marketing expenditures are effectively driving the business. By the time the revenue numbers are in, thousands of outside events and interferences have muddied the results. Econometrics offers hope that we may be able to sort out the relative influence of the business environment from the marketing investment.

It's perfectly appropriate for Chuck Porter and other creative directors to ignore econometrics because it can never help them come up with the next big idea. But it's equally appropriate for Sorrell and chief marketing officers to be very excited about the possibility they can demonstrate the positive effect of increasing marketing budgets on corporate profits. Big ideas demand risky behavior and risky behavior takes a bigger budget and if econometrics helps marketers demonstrate the value of bigger budget, econometrics may make Chuck Porter's life a little easier by providing more resources. But not a lot easier--big money doesn't always lead to big ideas anyway. No easy answers.

WSJ.com - Econometrics Buzzes Ad World As a Way of Measuring Results by Aaron O. Patrick (subscription required)

Sharing the stage with Sir Martin [Sorrell, CEO of agency conglomerate WPP] at an advertising conference last month in Cannes, France, was Chuck Porter, chairman of Miami ad agency Crispin, Porter Bogusky. In response to comments from Sir Martin advocating a more scientific approach to measuring the effectiveness of ads, Mr. Porter said, "I don't understand what we're talking about." The audience cheered and clapped.


Organic CEO Recommends Sponsoring a Community

CGM stands for consumer-generated media. No longer due publishers and media institutions hold a monopoly on the news. And now the CEO of one of the most powerful interactive advertising agencies asks the question...should we be sponsors as well as advertisers?

ClickZ: The CGM Revolution by Mark Kingdon

Current [TV] is intriguing because it aggregates the increasingly hard-to-find youth market into a community. Users are producers, directors, writers, editors, voiceover talent, actors, and programming executives who green-light "good stuff for TV." The Web site becomes a platform, a portal, and a literal studio for the truth.

Traditional news isn't going away anytime soon. But CGM is no longer marginalized to the Web's outer reaches. No matter what consumer-facing industry you're in, this trend will affect you -- if it hasn't already. For Internet marketers, it means if you have a brand with a powerful connection to users, it might be time to think about a sponsored community.