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With the news last week that P & G (Proctor and Gamble) was looking at its media buying and subsequent agency spending, it reminds me of the shifting sands that people in advertising work upon.

This statement can send a chain reaction down the hierarchy of any business quicker than high speed internet…in fact – it is most likely through the emails and digital files that most people will get this information. Spreadsheets are flying, you can bet on it.  Makes me shudder just to think of the poor sap at the end of that chain, the person who is performing the media buy as instructed by the layers upon layers of middle management.  That hard worker bee will most likely be the first one to go if the account drops its spending or leaves altogether.

The exact wording from Ad Age was: “The move to review comes as the packaged-goods giant aims to cut $500 million in agency fees and reduce the number of agencies it works with, according to comments from P&G Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller on the company’s recent earnings call. Though P&G doesn’t disclose its total spending on agency fees, executives close to the company have estimated them at around $1 billion.”

I worked closely with some people who bought and sold ads for P & G…they are not extravagant media spenders, truly they were downright penny pinchers.  Looking at that revenue they are cutting just shows me the bottom line margin is shrinking and they – like most big business – are looking at ways to keep the top echelon earning their ridiculous bonuses while afore mentioned media buyer makes 35K and is lucky to leave work at 1pm on Fridays during the summer.  Just for the record, Bloomberg reports that Jon Moeller (the guys looking for the cuts) made $7,017,862 in total compensation. Of this total $850,000 was received as a salary, $897,600 was received as a bonus, $1,295,683 was received in stock options, $3,908,749 was awarded as stock and $65,830 came from other types of compensation.  7 MILLION dollars…really? That’s not a salary, that is the GNP for some small country, and he is only the CFO.

This revenue is shrinking because of the internet, the same exact way poor media buyer found out it was REVIEW time and cancel your summer vacation because Jon Moelller is ready to lose his bonus. Broadcast and other mediums are gasping for air trying to compete with free content and relatively low costs on social media.  The moral of the story here is that nothing, but nothing is worth any more that someone is willing to pay for it…and with all of the ridiculous TV programming and sensationalistic radio (yes, Rush – I am talking to YOU), this is why things like the net neutrality (internet equality) are important.  Internet CONTENT and drop down ads are just the tip of the iceberg…think back to dial up…THAT is how slow your favorite small site will take to load if they draw lanes in the digital highway.  Before the media can figure out a way to gouge you for surfing, pay attention.  Your vacation depends on it.

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Can you feel it?  That rumble coming up from the ground?  It is the sound of creativity making its way into the hearts of people in the Motor City.  I am especially happy to living in Detroit right now because of it.

Sure, Detroit has haters…a LOT of them.  For some reason it is important to use Detroit as the benchmark for all that is wrong with the U.S.A.  We were too married to industry causing lack of public transportation, we had diversity until the riots of the 60′s sent a lot of people to the suburbs.  We are not what the media would have you believe however.

Detroit is quickly becoming the nerve central for all things creative.  Creative technology, creative thinking, creative funding, creative living.  We are sick and tired of you feeling like you haveIMGP0113 something on us.  I lived in Chicago for awhile.  When I moved back I felt like had to sell this city back to the people who lived here, they were believing the hype.  No longer.

For the record; Chicago has a 10.25 sales tax, think Kwame and Coleman were corrupt?  They actually auctioned off city jobs under Daly.   No offense to the Detroit Bad ass gangs – but Chicago gangs make ours look like West Side Story.

At the front end of all is this is artists.  Detroit and the state of Michigan over indexes the rest of the country in creative jobs.  Look, you will see it — Artists buying homes in Hamtramck, Artists living in New Center.  People like Dan Gilbert and others investing in a city that has all the same markings as any world class city and then some.  We have a riverfront, we have history, we have talent and we are running with it.  Do yourself a favor and look to Motown for your creative needs, we are ready for our close up.

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In the advertising and marketing business we constantly try to keep up with the trends and interests of the population so we can best serve our clients.  These days, its a little bit like catching mercury on a desk..just when you think you have it…it slips away.  It is especially difficult to catch the female viewer/listener/reader/follower.  I think women’s interests and triggers are as varied as their lipstick options, or as the flowers they plant, or jobs they juggle.  It seems as though, like women, we need to be all things to all women.

The ads we see on television are still focused on either the “average mom” in khakis with a mop in her hand, or the harried career woman trying to have it all.  There is no happy medium, which in my opinion, is what women are starting to achieve.  We see more women taking time to network – with EACH OTHER..or new “fluffy” social websites, like Pinterest.  No disrespect to Pinterest, but it is clearly a women’s social network.  Try as they might, you will catch the occasional male interest attempt amongst all the great recipes or patterns for pillows, but the dominate theme is women.  And that is okay, I don’t know about you, but I feel a little bit of a shift.  A shift not to a subservient role for women, but a mutual respect and partnership between women and men.

Now, I realize there are a LOT of exceptions, women still rank lower on the pay scale overall, but we are making progress.  It is important that we continue to remember that it is progress not perfection.  Today’s woman doesn’t kid herself into thinking she can have it all, she just wants what is good for her, and if it applies, her family.  She is willing to pay the extra money for a good hair product, if it what it says it is.  She is more discerning and pays closer attention to how you position your brand.  Don’t kid yourself by underestimating the female consumer.  She still makes the decisions for a household, sometimes with, sometimes without her partner.  She isn’t willing to compromise her integrity for the sake of brand loyalty, she wants to believe that the products she buys are as loyal to her as she is to them.

In the world of advertising and marketing it is always paramount to know your client, and in this day and age, you have to keep up with the changing landscape to find them.  Once you have them, don’t take for granted they will stick around by treating them like a number.  One great example of that is the CitiBank Women – they send out occasional (read closely – not obnoxiously regular) emails with great tips about finances.  Their newsletters are timely, thoughtful and succinct.  No three page dissertations, they understand how much time we have, how much time we are willing to devote to a newsletter, ( approx 15 secs – or ten words) and capture the reader with a bold topic, brief strategy and then sign off.  Follow their lead and the lead of other companies that successfully market to women.  By knowing them and their interests, their hopes, and their lifestyle you will not bore them, patronize them or lose them.

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I had promised myself I would write a post at least once a month – seeing my last post was in February, it appears I have let myself down.  Or have I?  In this digital age of connection, I am feeling an awful lot of pressure to keep up.  “I write on my blog everyday”, “The Wall Street Journal wants my blog”… We are barraged with updates, successes and profiles of people who are my peers, friends and casual acquaintances.  These people let us know when their child is valedictorian, when they reach a career milestone, when they land a big fish…the end result is that as happy as I am for them, it brings out an inferior feeling for me.  I consider myself successful, I am not blowing the doors off, but that was never a goal.  My motto is and always has been; “I just want to make my house payment and work with people I like”.  So, I am accomplishing that and having some fun along the way.

Google the sentence “self esteem and social media” and you will see a plethora of columns, articles, and reports about social media usage and self esteem.  Like most professionals I have been trained in the art of looking over your shoulder and being wary of your peers.  We have all fell prey to the “friend” who steals your idea, takes information and spreads it around, and some not as malicious activities.  Either way, these false relationships can be harmful to your psyche and can wreak havoc with your self esteem.  Seeing the person who brings an idea you have had in the back of your mind forever actually take action and launch it becomes a missed opportunity and creates a pressure to constantly stay moving forward.  But frankly, I am tired of the constant push forward.  I have to remind myself I can’t do it all, but the internet prods us to keep up by allowing us so much access to the people we consider our peers.  This person is now “connected” to that person, (someone clearly capable of helping them in some way) and it is glaringly obvious.  I feel a little jealous when someone is a “friend” or “contact” and not one of mine.  That type of thing resurrects grade school gym class thoughts, when it really is no big deal.  Networking is an integral part of the business world, but the internet and social media have amped it up to a level no one could have predicted.  It allows us access to individuals previously out of reach, and used appropriately it can be an excellent tool.  How many times have you run into a business acquaintance who references keeping up with you on one of your social websites.  Even though it is intended to work that way, it still makes me blush a little.

My addictive nature encourages me to check my social media sites a couple of times a day, my Facebook page is a great way to keep up with my friends and distant family.  It has helped nurture relationships never before possible – some random woman in San Diego with as much addition to her pro football team as you do yours and an affinity for a certain swear word.  It has also ended a few close relationships because of its forum type nature we have a tendency to feel safe behind our keyboards and spout off about topics we know we should avoid.  The internet, social media and the amount of information we have access to on a regular basis has created a society of narcissists and over achievers.  I think it is time for me to take a step back and start implementing those ideas I have and quit watching others successes.  Just as soon as I finish this blog post.

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Recently I sat in a meeting where the discussion was the recent marketing and advertising strategy of one of my clients.

The usual format was followed, first topic: the self published magazine they distributed to their client base. The usual challenges; advertising was sluggish with their retailers, what product should featured on the cover, etc. As per usual this portion of the meeting usually took about 60 % of the allotted time, yet reached less than 5% of the potential client base.

Next up was everybody’s favorite shiny new toy, Facebook. Almost one hour later we were still discussing social media. The whole table was engaged, leaning in, listening to “statistics” from the 25 year old, her dialogue peppered with “poke”, “like” and “friend” along with the usual, “um’s” and ” y’knows”. They were captivated by this new tool to reach people, and best of all, it was FREE! However, I need to point out we spent one hour talking about a Facebook page that had less than 800 people who “liked” this page, and most of them were the friends and family of the very same people around the table. No one was taking steps to link it to the other parts of the overall media plan. Simply put, the entire plan was fragmented.

Facebook and other social medias are only as good as your strategy and your message. The Internet is a powerful tool when used correctly. This means relevant and interesting updates and posts. Interesting photos and images. Things they can’t find out anywhere else, perhaps a special pricing on a particular item, or an event for Facebook or Twitter friends. Please don’t put your print ad from the newspaper, or drive people insane with too many posts of little or no interest. These bits of information should engage your customers and make them feel like you are reaching out to them.

Lastly, like everything else, social media is another vital component of the bigger picture and your brand. It won’t make or break you, but it is fresh, and it is necessary. It will enhance your marketing and advertising endeavors if you approach it with the mindset of all your other initiatives; keep it informative, interesting and relevant.

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