Rx for Ad Agencies Suffering From Direct, Digital and Social Media Confusion or Disorientation

October 18, 2009


The opportunity is clear. Forget about continuing to structure your agency in silos like brand, direct, digital and social marketing, and start to think about People2People marketing. qIf you can integrate your marketing efforts and succeed in motivating customers not only to interact with you, but to share their personal networks with you, you will have created a powerful channel for your brand in the marketplace.

“Socialnomics” The Fuel For Future Ad Agency Growth

September 10, 2009

Social media has created a fundamental shift in the way we all communicate. In the process, we sometimes lose media, develop new media and in some cases see traditional media adapt to the new sociology and technology. A excellent new book titled “Socialnomics” explains how social media has transformed both the way we live and the way we do business.

Yesterday I was searching through some YouTube content when I found this great video about the book that highlighted almost 40 observations about the impact of social media. Some of them might be considered predictable, but many are really eye opening. What’s even more amazing is the speed at which these shifts have taken place, as well as the sheer size and geographic impact of many of them.

When I consider all of this from an ad agency perspective, it all just seems so overwhelming, yet exciting at the same time. From a sheer speed perspective, how does any agency be it specialist or full service keep up? How do they monitor these new trends and at the same time develop the expertise and capabilities to competently deliver them. Even more frightening is the concept of how an agency can stay ahead of the changes and deliver innovation and thought leadership to their clients? without resorting to the good old default approach of smoke and mirrors.

Here are a few findings from the book that I think you will find thought provoking:

  • 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 brands are links to user generated content.
  • 90% of people who can Tivo ads actually do it.
  • 25% of Americans have watched a short video on their phone in the last month.
  • 24 of the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in readership because we no longer search out news, the news comes to us.
  • By 2010 Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers, and 96% of them will have joined a social network.
  • If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s 4th largest between the USA and India. A true example of a global community.
  • The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females.
  • 80% of twitter usage is on mobile devices.
  • Email is passé’. In 2009 Boston College stopped distributing email addresses to young freshman.
  • There are over 200,000,000 blogs out there.

If you have not seen it already, please take a moment to view the YouTube video entitled “Social Media Revolution” by Erik Qualman. I think you will find it well worth your time. I know that it will get you thinking about your agency and whether you have the right plan and resources in place to take advantage of these changes in consumer behavior both now and in the near future. They are the fuel to a whole new world of opportunities for agencies who are embrace the changes and adapt accordingly.





How Should Your Ad Agency Live Online?

August 5, 2009


Just what is the optimum way for your ad agency to live online? Should it be through a website, a blog or alternatively leverage the video rich world of YouTube?

I can certainly provide you with one definitive answer right off the bat. There is no benefit to website that is:

  • Closer in design to a brochure than an interactive experience.
  • That is cluttered with client work and streaming video that plays automatically on arrival.
  • Hard to navigate, full of flash and limited customization that does nothing to create a unique visitor experience whatsoever.
  • A site devoid of any user forums, consumer insights or dialog of any sort.
  • Not designed with SEO in mind and supported by a SEM campaign.

Unfortunately most current ad agency sites are probably guilty of most, if not all of the above. A pretty frightening fact even if you just consider the fact that, 100% of client decision makers go online and look at the websites of all the agencies they are considering.  

A number of leading agencies have enjoyed significant success utilizing an innovative website approach. The keyword being innovative.  Crispin Porter, Ignite and Modernista have all created a tremendous amount of buzz through their websites. Each of them strategically leverage social media best practices integrating twitter feeds, blog postings, RSS feeds and links to Facebook,Flickr, Google and You Tube. Alex Bogusky refers to their web presence as “a giant digital fishing net” and the agency claims that it gets over 1000 visits per day.

Another innovative approach comes from a little known agency, until recently, called BooneOakley. I am certain that most of you reading this post recently received an email from a colleague referring you to their site. View Site. They opted to have their URL redirect the visitor to a You Tube channel, where the agency has posted a comic video introducing the agency. The video is embedded with links to other videos that feature agency work and bios etc.

It really does not matter what format or approach you decide to use. What does matter is that you create a presence that quickly gives your prospect a clear idea of who you are and what you offer. One that engages them and customizes the user experience and content delivery. Above all, it should be one that is designed with the user needs in mind versus what the creative department thinks would be a “cool” website.  



If your agency claims to be a Social media expert, make sure you really are!

June 14, 2009

images-3Social Media is the hottest topic out there right now in advertising and marketing circles. Every client is trying to get their heads around it and how they might incorporate it in their marketing communications plan and not be left behind. On the other side every agency out there is trying to capitalize on this new trend and the revenue opportunity associated with it. All of a sudden there is this large group of agencies claiming to be able to provide social media expertise.

Social media is inherently a very transparent medium, and I believe it is this very transparency that may lead to clients finding out that the agency is not as adept as they claim to be.

For starters, how many agencies out there claiming to be SM experts, do not even integrate social media into their own agency marketing and advertising? Unfortunately the answer is too many.

 In a recent survey of agency CEO’s and New Business Directors by Michael Gass Consulting,  67% of agencies were found not to have a blog. Worse still, is it also highlighted that those who did have one were using it to boast about their capabilities and credentials, totally missing the key function of a blog, which is building an audience.

In many instances clients are way ahead of the agency world. Barry Judge, who is the CMO for Best Buy, has his own very active blog.His following is incredible and the interaction he gets from his audience is stellar. He is constantly communicating with both fellow marketing professionals and consumers/customers alike. He posts rough cuts of upcoming TV commercials for comment. He is very active on Twitter with an enormous number of followers. In fact, his twittering recently gave a great call out for his agency Crispin Porter. One quick tweet said, “I just met with two individuals from Crispin Porter. They are the smartest agency on the planet”. Barry, if you are reading this, I hope I got every word of your tweet correct? The question is, who’s helping promote who here? Can you imagine what that one tweet was worth to Crispin?

The bottom line is just how credible can your agency be when claiming to be an expert in social media, if you do not have a demonstrated track record of including it in your own marketing communications mix.

And worse still, what does it say about you if you do include it yet publically demonstrate your lack of understanding of the medium by. Makes you think, doesn’t it?