Todd "Turbo" Watson -- IBM Corporation
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  superbowl developerworks turbotech marketing 1 Comment 4,903 Views
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  advertising ibm_institute_for_busines... marketing digital_media 4,638 Views
When I was in Beijing this past May, I found it highly amusing that the signposts explaining each of the buildings inside the Forbidden City were "Brought to you by American Express."
I found it no less amusing to see "Squawk on the Street's" Erin Burnett broadcasting live this morning from Red Square in Moscow.
What's next, capitalist extraordinaire President George W. Bush is going to start writing checks so Uncle Sam can bail out the Big Three automakers??
Yes, the world of laissez-faire capitalism may have been turned on its head, but as author and globalist Tom Friedman has explained to us, the world is flat, hot, and getting more crowded day by day.
Whatta you gonna do about it?
All this talk of heat and crowds and bankruptcy is giving me a headache. Just be forewarned: Taking Motrin may be hazardous to your social media health.
And though that particular campaign may not have followed doctor's orders, IBM has some new prescriptions for advertising success.
In its second global online survey of 2,800 people in six countries concerning digital media and entertainment habits, the data from this year's study would suggest that consumers are getting jiggy with digital media, and are even willing to be marketed to in a more personal manner.
But before we get into the details, some quick catchup.
Last year, the study clearly showed the decline of TV as the primary media device even though it still dominated as a device. Flash forward a year, and we're now knee deep in the digital media, with large scape adoption and usage of digital content services accessed by PCs and mobile phones.
This year's study suggests that adoption for most categories of digital content services doubled from last year, with services like social networking now at 60 percent penetration and Internet data plans for mobile devices at over 40 percent for respondents globally.
Consumers both desired, and are comfortable with, wired and wireless content.
This year, 76 percent indicated they had already watched video on their PCs (up 27 percent). 32 percent indicated they had viewed video on a portable device or mobile phone (up 45 percent). And interest in mobile video content has more than doubled in a year, to 55 percent.
As to how and pay for all that new digital content? Ad-supported models (vs. consumer pays) are preferred by almost three to one around the globe.
For both PC and mobile video, over 70 percent of respondents prefer advertising-supported models as opposed to consumer-paid models, representing a huge growth opportunity for the industry. Preference for ad-supported models ranged from 62 percent to over 80 percent by country, with Japan having the highest preference for ad-supported on both devices.
But whatever else you do, don't get too much in the way of their content. When asked how they prefer to view advertising associated with online videos, a majority of respondents said they prefer to see it before or after a video.
And respondents from all six countries polled protested traditional television models such as interruption advertisements during the video or the use of product placements within programs.
As an Internet marketer and communicator, however, what I found most interesting about the study was with regards to the value exchange between marketer and consumer.
Close to 60 percent of total respondents were willing to provide information about themselves -- such as age, gender, lifestyle or communications preferences -- in exchange for something of value.
However, all respondents indicated the need for perceived value and incentives as a trade-off to provide personal information.
By way of example, consumers listed free high-quality music/videos, discounts to favorite stores, and air travel/hotel points as the most desired and attractive incentives.
These findings were consistent across all countries polled, with Japan and India having the least reservations about providing personal preferences, and with over 62 and 72 percent of respondents respectively willing to share information, versus 45 percent of respondents in the US.
This data would seem to suggest there's still plenty of upside in online marketing, but that marketers and advertisers need to learn to speak more fluently in the lingua france of the "round trip" that the digital interactive media can uniquely provide.
This consumer study is a component of the upcoming report "Beyond Advertising: Fact or Fiction" jointly authored by several folks at IBM associated with the IBM Institute for Business Value, a group within IBM comprised of consultants around the world who conduct research and analysis in 17 industries and across five functional disciplines.Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  social_media second_life marketing gartner virtual_worlds 4,546 Views
What was that old adage about advertising?
I know that half my advertising is working for me...I just don't know which half?
Well, Gartner analyst Adam Sarner has a report out that indicates over 75 percent of Fortune 1000 companies with Web sites have undertaken some kind of online social-networking initiative for marketing or customer relations, but that 50 percent of those will ultimately be classified as failures.
Why would that be?
Well, the Second Life land rush is one good example. Many brands jumped headlong into the virtual world because...well, they thought they had to...without necessarily having first clearly outlined their core marketing and communications objectives.
What are you trying to accomplish? Who are you trying to reach? What actions do you want for them to take as a result of your communication?
I had this conversation...when I could stop someone about their enthusiasm of getting their first avatar long enough to listen to me...many a time with IBMers during the Second Life bubble.
Not to say I was a virtual worlds naysayer myself. I thought Second Life was so cool I went in and bought my avatar some nice threads so I didn't give myself away as a newbie.
But my point to my internal clients was pretty simple: If you wanted to use the online media for marketing, at the time there were over 1 billion people using the Internet, and a handful million or two in Second Life.
Where would you place your bets?
So, as you and yours come down with Web 2.0 and social media fever, though there are admittedly some unique and relevant capabilities that can't be found just about anywhere else, remember not to throw the 1.0 marketing baby out with the bathwater.
That is to say, basic rules of fundamental marketing and communcations still apply.
One part basic marketing objectives combined with one part social media marketing tactic can help eliminate 50 percent waste in the overall capital "M" Marketing equation.
Now, has anybody seen my avatar? I've outgrown my once new virtual suit and need to find myself a digital tailor to have it taken out a couple of inches.Read More]
I had occasion to visit with some folks at both Apple and Google yesterday here in Silicon Valley.
While at the Googleplex, I saw the strangest thing when I first arrived. There were about ten people, assumably Google employees, riding a contraption that looked as though it had emerged from an Escher drawing.
They were all pedalling this contraption, but the "bike" (for lack of a better term) was going in the same direction despite ten people pedalling the thing.
I'm not sure if that was a metaphor for the state of Google's business at the moment or not. But I do think it was a metaphor presented by the opportunity for rethinking the structure of the marketing mothership.
They're still hiring like crazy at Google, and yes, the stories about the free food are all true (and no, I didn't drop off my resume). And I do hear tell that the left hand of Google not only doesn't always know what the right hand is doing, they oftentimes haven't even shaken hands yet and met.
But that's always a challenge for a fast-growing organization. And anyhow, it's Google's stock price that's reaching into the stratosphere, so they can probably get away with some growth pains and disorganization.
However, the key takeaway from my time on the ground at the Google campus yesterday and the "Searchonomics" conference today here in Santa Clara is that there is plenty of need for dramatic change in traditional marketing organizations everywhere if they're to take full advantage of the opportunity presented by search and the emerging digital media.
The disruption caused by Google in the advertising and marketing industry isn't just about the efficiencies realized from search. It's also about the inefficiencies presented by 50+ years of organizing around the mass media.
Most mass media-oriented marketing organizations organized themselves around the notion that the more eyeballs the better. The more money you spent, the more eyeballs you could get, although the negotiation was, of course, always about trying to get more eyeballs for less money.
The search marketing industry has organized around a completely different principle. With search, the opportunity is more about quality than quantity. Sure, quantity is still important, but with search and the digital media, it's the quality of the visitor that matters most.
Admittedly, some companies are using search to buy more eyeballs, but the efficiency of search also lies in its ability to take that visitor to the next step, and to acknowledge that that next step could be weeks from now (the offline impact of online investigations) instead of in an immediate transaction. Both are important.
Most important, however, is that search is akin to the inverse of mass media. Instead of hoping to catch someone's attention serendipitously, you instead put yourself at the intersection of interest the moment that the consumer decides, not the marketer.
But most of us are still organized to try and serendipitously capture the consumer's attention. Inherent in that system is waste, both in dollars and in organization.
Those companies that start to instead restructure and reorganize the marketing mothership around the intersection of interest will likely find themselves getting more and smarter customers for much less money, and in the process better satisfy the inherent demand that already exists in the market.
Those that don't will start to go the way of the eight track tape.
Currently, it is many of those gatekeeper organizations that are preventing the digital efficiencies from reaching their maximum effect, which means they are preventing those organizations from also reaching their maximum bottom line efficiencies.
I suspect that increasingly, it will be shareholders that will be driving the demand for those efficiencies in marketing.
But only when you can get those 10 people on that funky Google bike -- the traditional marketing mothership -- to all pedal in the same direction, can the opportunities that search and digital marketing provide large organizations be fully realized.[Read More]
Once upon a time, two Internet entrepreneurs were partying like it was 1999....well, that's because it was 1999.
(I remember when I used to listen to that Prince song in 1984, and think to myself, wow, 1999 seems sooo far away. Now I look back and think, wow, 1999 seems sooo long ago.)
And these two Internet entrepreneurs were almost laughed off the front page of the Industry Standard (that seems so 1999, too, huh?) when they bought the domain name business.com for $7.5M
I guess they'll soon be laughing all the way to the domain registrar bank, as word on the b'sphere is that the business.com name and business is going up for auction, and is expected to fetch upwards of $300M.
I was dreamin' when I wrote this
Forgive me if it goes astray.
But when I woke up this mornin'
Coulda sworn it was judgment day.
The sky was all purple
There were people runnin' everywhere
Tryin' 2 run from the destruction
U know I didn't even care.
Wow. Talk about a dot com hangover.
I hope Jake and Sky think about throwing one heck of a party.
To my mind, this just once again proves brand trumps reason or logic every time, and on the Intertubes, brand means name.
If it were to sell for $400M, that would be an estimated 53-to-1 ROI.
Not bad work if you can get it.
This makes me think more seriously about buying my own "GrandCentral" number.
GrandCentral is a beta company that positions itself as "the new way to use your phones."
All you need to know is this: One number...for life.
You use that one number to route all your other calls via GrandCentral's Web-based interface.
For life, huh? Would that be my life or GrandCentral's?
They're funded by Halsey Minor's "Minor Ventures," so they must have a little bit of money on their company calling card.
I just hope they have enough left in the bank for me to get a reservation at Limelight:
'Cuz they say two thousand zero zero party over
Oops out of time
So tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999.[Read More]
KnowledgeStorm is an online IT solutions research and syndication tool that
In partnership with Universal McCann, a media service firm, KnowledgeStorm conducted some interesting research last year to start to understand whether blogs have joined other highly-rated, but more traditional tactics (demos, Webcasts, white papers, etc.) as an effective way to communicate and attract high-quality prospects in the B2B space.
The survey was fielded via the KnowledgeStorm Web site and generated over 4,500 responses from business and IT professionals across a variety of job titles, vertical industries, and company sizes.
It examined blogging topics that included reader behavior, credibility, value, and impact on purchasing decisions, along with challenges and opportunities.
It also explored RSS preferences and behaviors (something that more of we
The executive summary concluded the following:
“By all accounts, blogging has transformed the Internet into a true democracy, where millions of people can have their voices heard….The new, live Web now offers users a true ‘experience’ where they not only gather information, but also generate, disseminate, and interact with it.
“Blogs are now commanding a powerful presence within the B2B marketplace, as demonstrated by the large number (80%) of respondents in this report who already take advantage of this technology. With their ability to offer relevant content and generate immediate feedback, in the form of comments and posts, blogs give marketers the perfect opportunity to generate demand, nurture leads, and stay connected with customers.”
Some specific sound bites:
Do you read blogs that influence your own perspective about products and services, B2B or otherwise?
Are they just another in a long line of inputs? More influential? Less influential?
What are you, kidding me? Who has time to read blogs???[Read More]
Monday morning's are for spinning. Head spinning, that is.
I was surfing the Internets early this am, basking in the glow of my Dallas Cowboys victory over the New York Giants yesterday afternoon (How about that new Dallas kicker?!), and couldn't help but be overwhelmed by all the digital media and marketing news.
First, on the search front, Baidu.Com, China's top search company, announced it will be taking on Google and Yahoo, with plans to enter the Japanese market (which is several times larger than China's search market).
Though Ask.Com's share of the U.S. search market is minimal (low single digits), the local search advertising market is substantial (think Yellow Pages online), and local relevance is key when looking for everything from a plumber to tickets to that Coldplay show. Om Malik gives Ask.com CEO Jim Lanzone the third degree on their "all search is local" play here.
Meanwhile, two seemingly unrelated stories strike me as intersecting vectors in the emerging new media paradigm.
Today's WSJ reports on the one hand that U.S. advertising growth is expected to slow to 4.2% next year (from an estimate 4.8% this year), while at the same time, AdAge is reporting separately that the web sites of Proctor & Gamble and Unilever are now reaching "nearly 6 million and 3 million unique visitors in the U.S. each month."
Such numbers "swamp the audiences of many magazines and cable and syndicated TV shows where they advertise."
Could the long tail actually be short, the new media revisit the old?? Will P&G take its soap opera storyline direct to the consumer?
Stay tuned...to www.pg.com![Read More]
It's not every day you get to have dinner with an advertising legend.
"You deserve a break today." "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there." "Two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun!"
Those are just a few of the famous ad campaign slogans that DDB Worldwide Chairman Emeritus Keith Reinhard was the creative force behind.
But judging by the kick-off dinner here in Austin last night for "Chaos: New Agendas in Advertising," a conference hosted by the University of Texas at Austin's Center for Brand Research and GSD&M, a prominent Austin-based ad agency, Mr. Reinhard may be saving his best campaign for last.
Though the dinner conversation rambled across all sorts of timely and fascinating topics (including my recent favorites, exploring virtual worlds), and included the participation of several prominent UT professors as well as some very thoughtful agency and client siders from the Left, Third, and East Coasts, it was Mr. Reinhard's commitment to changing the face of the ugly American overseas that most caught my attention, and one firmly rooted and with very real implications in the real world.
Reinhard has been the driving force behind an organization called "Business for Diplomatic Action" (BDA), a private-sector task force led by preeminent business leaders working to counter the increasing prevalence of anti-Americanism that has appeared on the flattened earth landscape post 9/11.
The argument? Anti-Americanism is bad for business, plain and simple. It brings unnecessary increased security and economic costs at a time when we can ill afford them, and hurts America's ability to recruit the best and brightest.
The BDA effort, however, is not about selling -- it's about sensitizing Americans to this trend, and helping educate American citizens as to how they can counter them through their own conduct and through public, but personal diplomacy.
So, the next time you're in Paris strolling along the Champs d'Elysses in your spiffy white sneakers desperately in search of a cup of ice for that Coca-Cola in your hand, consider grabbing a bottle of Evian instead or, better yet, a nice glass of vin rouge.
And hold the freedom fries.[Read More]
It couldn't have been planned, but what a fitting tribute on the day we hear the sad news about economist Milton Friedman's passing that three of the heavyweights in search -- Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft -- come together and demonstrate that the free market works by their agreeing on a common way for developing search sitemaps.
You can read more about Mr. Friedman's life and legacy in The New York Times' detailed obituary -- they do it far more justice than could I.
And as to the Sitemaps agreement, allow me to explain.
Sitemaps are an important way for Websites to point out which areas of their site that search crawlers should visit to ensure that the site is getting maximum coverage in that particular search engine.
Essentially, a sitemap is an XML file that lists the URLs for the site and some additional metadata about each URL (when itt was updated, how often it changes, its relevance and importance, etc.) so that search engines crawl it more effectively.
Think of it as a sort of traffic cop for search engines.
Though this initiative originated with Google's Sitemaps, Yahoo and Microsoft have also come to the table to announce their support for the new 0.90 sitemaps.org protocol.
Yeah, it's pretty geeky stuff. But it's also important cross-industry collaboration that, when taken advantage of, has the potential to help your site become more findable across these key search engines.
That means your goods, your services, whatever it is you're selling can become more findable across these three search engines. That's all good.
I don't know who, if anybody, played Switzerland in this deal, but kudos to the "coopetitiveness" shown by these three competitors. Far as I can tell, everybody wins on this one.
The free market works. Thanks, Milton. God Bless and Godspeed.[Read More]
It's Monday at IBM, what can I say. My day has been monopolized with calls and emails and work and...I just had to pause long enough to take a blog commercial break.
Okay, I'm centered and ready to blog. Can you say "I Been Monopolized?"
Speaking of commercial breaks, on the very same day that increased rumor and innuendo swirls around about the longer-term fate of AOL, and as CNN announces a revamped video portal that encourages contributions from citizen-journalists entitled "CNN Exchange," a completely and seemingly unrelated report suggests that houses with digital video recorders (DVRs) watch less TV than adults in the general population who don't have DVRs.
Excuse me? Can you hit the rewind button for just a sec?
They clearly did not survey yours truly's household.
Anecdotal though it may be, let me just set the record straight: I lived and worked in NYC for several years, where there are plenty of amusements and diversions of all varieties. Watching TV was not high on my cultural agenda.
But in 2000, when I had occasion to use my first DVR, I went from watching virtually no TV (the evening news, the occasional sports broadcast, etc.) to becoming a full-fledged TV junkie. Why?
Though some might have attributed this partly to my not having a life -- which would be at least true in part -- the more likely culprit was the shifting of control that the DVR presented.
For far too many decades, the commercial TV networks have been the traffic cops of our collective blissful idiot box entertainment schedule. From where I sit (which in recent times is way too much on my sofa in front of the TV), the digital video recorder changed all that forever. It unenslaved me from the confines of that evil broadcast programming schedule.
In just a few short years, I've gone from a world where the broadcast schedule dominated (at least from the perspective of the networks) to becoming largely irrelevant (My TV schedule is now called the "Time Warner Interactive Programming Guide").
Second, yes, I do fast forward during the ads (Oops, did I say that out loud?) Yes, I did. Again, I do fast forward during the ads. You want me to rewind and say it again?
But guess what else? Sometimes I also stop and watch the ads, especially if they're entertaining! Can you imagine??? Hitting the rewind button to go back and watch an ad that I missed?
Geico? I am all about that Gecko. I could envision getting together with that really cool little lizard and talking a little auto collision probability sometime over a Vodka Gimlet.
Or those new Apple commercials contrasting Windows and Macs? You know, the ones where the Windows guy freezes in his startlingly realistic recreation of the "Blue Screen of Death?" I wish I had a button on the remote to download those ads...talk about knowing your audience.
Yes, in Marketing 1.0, good and entertaining advertisements were optional. In Marketing 2.0, gaining -- and more importantly, keeping -- peoples' attention is going to be all about getting them to hit the stop, rewind, and play buttons. In that order.
Madison Avenue ad agencies' new mantra for training their TV commercial producing folks should go something like this:
"Stop, rewind, play. Stop, rewind, play. Stop, rewind, play." My thumb hurts! "Stop, rewind, play." This is worse than the Crackberry! "Stop, rewind, play." Cut!
No, I'm more inclined to believe the CBS proprietary research and my own experience which suggests that whatever their level of TV viewing, the audience tends to watch more telly after getting their DVRs than before.
The boob has been unleashed on the tube, and their vote is now the remote.
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  innovation social_computing supernova events marketing bloggercon 3,921 Views
I've had occasion in recent times to ponder upon the changing nature of industry conferences and events, both apropos to some discussions going on inside IBM about our own events and conferences (we LOVE throwing conferences, in case you hadn't noticed), and also because of some of my own personal experiences in recent times.
In a call with some colleagues yesterday, one of the points I tried to get across was the fact that actual physical events no longer need be bounded by four walls and a clock. That, in fact, the runway leading up to the event, as well as the conversation and sharing of information that continues long after the event, can be just as important and useful as the event itself.
The fact of the matter is that not all people can make all the events they would prefer, which is why it's nice to see some of the more cutting-edge Internet industry events getting a clue by sharing in real-time both the information and the conversation for those who, for whatever reason, couldn't transport their atoms.
One of the points I shared with my IBM colleagues in the conversation yesterday was that there are a variety of reasons each of us go to events and conferences. We go to meet new, exciting and smart people. To network. To get out of the office. To learn. To share. To complain. Did I mention to get out of the office? I'm sure there are plenty others.
Whatever your reasons, the great thing these days is that if you don't have the time or inclination to get on an airplane and go from Point A to Point B, the technology is such that you can "tune in" to many events -- real-time, or, if the event organizers had some foresight, after the fact, utilizing podcasts, media streams, etc -- and still gain plenty good information and insights. And, using IRC, chat rooms, etc., you can also participate remotely in real-time.
Speaking of which, if you'll excuse me, here I sit in Turboville in Austin, Texas, but have to get back to a SuperNova panel being held out at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. I'm attending a session entitled "Discussion on the Future of the Desktop."
I'm sorry I'll miss out on the dim sum, but the main course is being delivered straight to my ThinkPad.[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  digital_media innovation marketing web2.0 virtual_worlds 4,096 Views
I was in Armonk giving a briefing to my WW management team recently, and the topic of my talk covered all things Web Two Point Oh.
Because most of the team wasn't focused primarily on the Web as their day gig like mine mostly is, it afforded me a great opportunity to force myself to sit down and really think about the direction and opportunities that the emerging Web technologies and capabilities presented our business.
For fun, I incorporated a slide that provided an overview of Second Life. If you're not familiar with Second Life, it's a sort of SIMS-like virtual "world" (environment?) that people join and have experiences in (I mentioned it in response to a comment yesterday, in case you're wondering where you heard about it recently).
The experiences in Second Life range from selling digital wares to building virtual businesses to selling real estate to just about anything you can think of doing in a virtual environment online (including some things that propriety and proper business convention prevent me from discussing in this blog). But just know if you have ever played the computer game Myst, you will have a good idea of the kind of virtual world I'm describing. However, the key difference being that Second Life is on the Internet and customizable, and so has the opportunity to empower and connect people in a way that standalone virtual worlds never could.
As it so happened, there had just been a cover story from Business Week about Second Life that provided some great background and sound bites. Like the fact that a whole separate underground economy was sprouting up there, complete with the buying and selling of of virtual real estate using real money (yes, you heard me right...people are building and buying condos on the Internet that don't really exist, and using hard-earned real dollars to buy them).
Actually, they're using "Linden" dollars (the dollars created by the creators of the environment), but for which real dollars (and Euros, and British Sterling Pounds, and Yuan, etc.) can be exchanged on the "LindeX" currency exchange.
Of course there's a virtual currency exchange. Where have you been?
You think I'm making this up??? I guess it could be a figment of my avatar self's imagination.
Is It Live Or Is It Memorex?
Okay, so there I am surfing the headlines today to find out what's going on out there in cyberspace after a really hard day's real work, when I stumble across this article, one which suggests that virtual environments are primed for a major advertising breakout.
As an example, it says that just last weekend, BBC Radio 1 kicked off the U.K. festival season by airing a real-world concert in Dundee, Scotland simultaneously inside Second Life. Take that, Woodstock or Bonaroo.
Also according to the piece, a number of ad agency execs have proposals in for integration in Second Life (Ogilvy and Digitas, have you guys received a virtual proposal yet???) Quoted in the story, VP of marketing for Linden Labs David Fleck says that he sees "no reason why Starbucks shouldn't set up virtual outposts or Hummer couldn't give test drives."
Hmm, I can think of a few reasons, like I'm already having a hard time avoiding Hummers buzzing down the streets of Austin. But it would be great if I could get myself a Chai Crème Frappucino and a Tazo Citrus and Cream slurped down my cable Internet connection, double grande pronto! I hate waiting in line for my frozen java treats.
Yeah, it all may sound crazy now, but then again, so did the idea of teenagers using instant messaging to ask one another to the prom a few short years ago. But the last time I checked, social networks for teenagers were the hottest thing since the Hula Hoop and Shrinky Dinks, and advertisers and big media companies are scrambling to get with that virtual program.
No, all this may seem like a really bad Neal Stephenson literary mind trip about now (or good, if you've already bought that Second Life condo you've been dreaming about), but if you ask me, I think virtual worlds are here to stay, and me, I'm ready to go all in.
I figure it won't be long before we'll all be holding virtual meetings and conferences and going on virtual casinos and business trips and to virtual sports events and having virtual meetings and virtual conflicts with our employees. The only difference between what is real and imagined will be a fine one -- and if all this plays out like I suspect -- a very fuzzy one as well.
It's all good, if you ask me. Because before you know it, the real world is going to be the hip and alternative place to hang out again, which is exactly where you'll find me.
Kicking back in my virtual Hummer and sipping my latte double caffeinated virtual frappucino.
I just hope my avatar self can find something good to wear.[Read More]
I arrived in Toronto safe and sound last night, courtesy of United Airlines, only to arrive at the Delta Chelsea hotel bar to discover the "meshing" at Mesh was already underway. Several of us convened at the Elm Street Bar to discuss Old World Media vs. New, and the general consensus seemed to be that we're in a...well, a bit of a period of transition.
No sooner did I chat with Mesh co-organizer Stuart MacDonald about the blogging insurgency's breaching of big media's walls, and hear "GigaOm's" Om Malik tell us in the first session this AM that "the forces of Darwinism will apply in media, just as they have in technology," than I discovered that Johnson and Johnson announced today it was going to sit out the American media "upfronts."
According to an article in this morning's Wall Street Journal Interactive (subscription required), J&J decided to skip this year's annual advertising lovefest, where big advertisers come together with their agency partners and the networks to review the fall TV lineup and start the bidding for advertising time for the season's shows. J&J indicated that "it wants to bring the media-buying process in line with the business-planning process."
No, this doesn't mean you won't see ads for Tylenol and Procrit on your telly in the fall, but it's clearly a siren call that big advertisers have options...plenty of them. On the other hand, it didn't escape my notice that the very same day, MySpace struck a deal with Fox to begin selling episode's of "24" for $1.99 a pop, as well as offer some free episodes of Jack, Kim and the gang, brought to you courtesy of Burger King.
Finding a big audience in the Web Two Point Oh world is no doubt going to be an increasing challenge...but for my money, the real to key is going to be finding the right audience. Though real dollars are beginning to shift from the traditional ("Old") media to the digital space ("New"), I suspect a balance needs to be struck between eliciting attention and intention. Despite all the budgets shifting around, the winners in this Darwinian land rush will be those who can both shout from the cave entrance to the gathering hoardes, while also effectively tuning into that lone voice off in the distance.
I think somewhere between these two ends lies the sweet spot...and next year's ad budget.[Read More]
Our own sales guru Ed Brill is a fierce advocate for the personal and enterprise productivity-enhancing technologies that make up our Lotus portfolio...just stay out of his way if you happen to get him started talking "speeds and feeds" about things Red(mond) v. Blue (and I ain't talking about political states here, either, people).
Ed gives us the recap skinny for the announcement yesterday about IBM Workplace and Lotus Notes' support for the SAP platform. Few things in life, or information technology, are free, but you'll Note (sorry, couldn't pass that one up) that we are providing some free templates for easier integration between Notes and SAP. That's so that you can more easily integrate all those wonderful vacation, time reporting, contact management and other useful Notes applications with your enterprise SAP data.
Speaking of Lotus, if you're a Notes/Domino user and you haven't ever spent any time at Alan Lepofsky's blog, run to your nearest browser and feed your productivity head. Alan offers up more Note tips and tricks than a mere mortal like myself can consume. And while you're over in Lotus land, check out the IBM Workplace Managed Client (also free....for 180 days).
Wait a minute, where's my next paycheck comin' from if we're giving all this software away??!
Over the weekend, I'm off to Toronto to feed my own head while mixin' and mashing it up at Mesh (which, btw, is now sold out!) Hopefully I'll have some of my own buzz to report out on. The whole agenda looks Web Two Point Oh scrumptious, but I have to play favorites and say I can't wait to hear from Steve Rubel on the future of marketing, Tara Hunt on building community online, and Om Malik on the future (or lack thereof) of media.
More from the top of the CN Tower...that is, if the restless 2.0ers haven't torn it down by the time I arrive![Read More]
We find out this AM that AOL is introducing a new integrated VOIP capability into its AOL Instant Messaging client (and boy oh boy, did I ever need another VOIP capability!) Between Skype, Vonage, Net2Phone, my IBM Community Tools VOIP client...well, let's just say I don't exactly fear not being able to make an Internet phone call anytime soon.
The service, called "AIM Phoneline Unlimited," will cost U.S. $14.95/month and would become the first voice-over-Internet service to provide a free phone number for incoming calls. If you've got AIM already, it's a no-brainer (hey, free is free), although it will be interesting to see what happens when all those VOIP software clients ring at once. "Mr. Watson, can you come here...err, hold, please?"
MESH: The Great White North's Web 2.0 Gathering
Though I was chained to a desk here in Armonk the last several days, attending planning meetings (if it's May at IBM, it's planning time!), I'll be off to the buzzhot MESH Web 2.0 Conference in Toronto next weekend. It's been many Internet dog years since I visited the Great White North, but based on the all the pixel love being spread around the Internet about this confab, I'm looking forward to my brief, if uncelebrated, return.
I'm especially looking forward to MESH's "15 Minutes of Fame," where three Web Two Point Oh entrepreneurs per day will have a full 5 minutes to make their pitch to the anxious crowd. It oughta go something like this: Think 5 minutes in front of John Doerr and Tim Draper, with the international press and 1,000 hungry bloggers hanging on your every syllable, ready to fire out your celebrations and crashes to the world via Typepad in a virtual nanosecond.
But hey, no pressure or anything!
I've also been intrigued the last few days by Canadian journalist Stuart McDonald's comments about "Marketing 2.0," where "yelling at people via the television" is so passe, and where "marketing in the 21st Century is feeling more like a never-ending political campaign" as "set-it-and-forget-it marketing plans die as quickly as mass-reachable audiences" do.
Hey, I drank that Kool-Aid a few years ago, but it's nice to hear this new marketing mantra echoing from the north.
I look forward to sharing some serious shop talk "aboot" the Internet over a Molsen, making some new friends, and having some Canadian hockey fan explain to me why exactly it is that a hockey goalkeeper can't be sent to the penalty box![Read More]
We just conducted a survey about consumer expectations, and apparently a lot of businesses just don't get it.
Our "IBM Global Business Services Consumer Experience Survey" (hey, if the title of the survey wasn't at least seven words long, it wouldn't be from IBM) surveyed over 700 consumers and business leaders in North America and Europe and found that consumers believe companies are acting without understanding them -- and many companies even admit it!
Of more than 100 business leaders questioned, 79 percent admitted to taking significant marketing and promotional actions without clearly understanding customer expectations.
By way of example, less than half of retail banking customers surveyed had experiences that exceeded their expectations. They indicated that "higher-order emotive characteristics" (sounds painful) such as "dignity" and "empathy" as top preferences, while characteristics such as "friendly" and "informed" are less important. In other words, laugh a little, listen to what I have to say, and cash that check without a lot of questions!
But here's the rub: Only 17 percent of business leaders as a whole said that they consider such emotional factors when making consumer-related decisions. Instead, some 74 percent indicated that they act on an operational basis (e.g., "what can be made faster or more efficient"). And while many companies continue to put inspirational and emotional brand messages into the market, they often fail to deliver on those promises when they interact with customers.
My take on the study: The essence of a brand is every experience your customer has with it: in person, online, on the phone, in your TV commercials. So, listen to your customers and optimize their experience with your brand 360 degrees, and your company can demonstrate that they get it...and subsequently laugh all the way to -- and inside -- the bank.[Read More]
Once upon a time, I got a Canon digital camera. I think it was one of the "Elph" models, although the camera is back in Texas and I'm working from IBM's headquarters today in Armonk, NY, so I can't check to be sure (You'll find out shortly why Elph is not with me on this particular trip).
I used to take my Elph pretty much everywhere, and took pictures of everyone and everything. I even bought my Elph its own accessories, so that it wouldn't feel outdone by other, more chic products introduced in later generations (like the Sony Cybershot, for example...Elph was very jealous of the Cybershot.)
I even bought my Elph an underwater housing so I could keep it dry underwater and take it diving with me to take pictures of all the great sea life. It served me very well last summer in Belize when I got scores of great pictures and video of the swarm of nice, (and supposedly harmless) nurse sharks swimming all around me.
Then, one day, without any advanced forewarning, my Elph took ill. I'm not sure what happened...I didn't drop it, or abuse or it anything...it just...sort of....suddenly died. These things happen -- some call it "planned obsolescence" -- so suddenly I was forced to use my Motorola Razr camera phone to take pictures.
Now, the Razr's good for certain things -- like talking on the phone, for example -- works great for that. But for the whole picture thing, I preferred the Elph. I have absolutely no clue how to offload pictures from the Razr to...well, anywhere...and the pictures on the Razr vs. the Elph...well, let's just say it's a pixel-size thing.
So no sooner had I gotten to the Big Apple that I learned Yahoo has introduced a new consumer technology site, aptly enough called "Yahoo Tech."
Tags and Sliders and Wizards and Things
John Battelle said it best when he called content "the new black" in his review of Yahoo Tech. Seems like everyone is throwing a new content portal together these days...it's the hip and happenin' thing to do....We're gonna portal like it's 1999!
But Yahoo Tech may be onto something. First, it's aimed at non-geeks (so they're not aiming at me)...and yet even I found their implementation of some of the cool Web Two Point Oh widgets -- slider bars for pricing, tags for categorizing stuff, drag-and-drop "Save my stuff" windows -- pretty cool, and useful. The whole page seems like a virtual AJAX smorgasbord, so even though it may not be fitted for geeks, it still has some chic geek appeal in its construction.
Second, I think it's great that a big Internet media company is using new technologies to help educate consumers about consumer technologies: digital cameras, MP3 players, camcorders, PCs, etc. Sure, it's an advertising-fest (what do you think PC Magazine was?), but have you bought any of these types of gadgets lately? I need all the help I can get! Trying to figure out which camera does what, price and feature comparisons between new laptops, etc....apps like Yahoo Tech could go a long way towards helping folks make more educated consumer tech decisions. And the tools are great and very usable so far...comparison shopping online has never been more fun!!
Finally, Yahoo is bringing user-generated content into the mix, including original content coming from bloggers with pseudo-demographic names like "The Mom," "The Boomer," the "Techie Diva," and "The Working Guy." While they are generic names, they are represented by real working people who represent various segments of the Yahoo audience and who provide some seemingly useful tips. As an example, today "The Working Guy" today tells us how we can do dictation via the phone. Tres chic, lots o' potential for mucho productivity increase.
Now, if I could just talk my Elph back to life.[Read More]
Let me just state this for the record: I watch the American TV show "Lost" pretty regularly, but I don't think I have the first clue about what's going on on that island.
That's probably the point...it keeps me comin' back and all...but every time I watch Jack or John or anybody type that series of lottery numbers into what looks like my dad's first IBM PC XT, I just go absolutely berserk.
Why? Because! I want them to completely let the thing run down and see what happens. Will the island blow up? Will some little "Lost" Lilliputian elves run out and declare psychological warfare victory? What?? What's gonna happen???!!!
Now, I can get a clue, apparently. ABC has announced a new "Lost" interactive challenge. They, along with 19 other networks stretched across five continents, are introducing "The Lost Experience," an Internet game that will feature a parallel story line and which "will give insight into the top-rated show." Insight? I don't want any insight! I just want to know what's gonna happen when that clock hits 00:00!
Fast Forward Faster!
Apparently, the game will consist of a multimedia treasure hunt, one that incorporates everything from e-mail messages, phone calls, commercials, billboards, and fake Web sites that are made to seem real. "The Lost Experience" will also apparently incorporate new characters into the experience, and information revealed in the game will be applicable to the TV storyline as well!
So, let me get this straight: now I have to play an Internet game to find out what the heck is going on in a fictional TV show??? Well, of course I do. Because what happens if I don't play the Internet game and they reveal some hidden clue in the game about what's going on in the TV show, and all that time and energy I've spent programming my DVR to record "Lost" religiously every week will have been a complete waste of time!
I don't know if ABC is an IBM customer or not, but I do know we advertise on their network. I wonder if that might buy me some sort of unfair competitive advantage in the Internet game! Maybe I can use some of our media buying clout to and get the skinny on some of the clues before the rest of the "Lost" public??? (Hey, I'm just trying to think like the characters in the show!)
For your information: ABC's press account indicated that the first clue for the Internet will be incorporated into the May 3rd episode next week. I'll be watching closely...and will be prepared to hit the pause and/or rewind button on the DVR, just in case they've hidden a slow motion clue in the commercials!
Meanwhile, I just hope my remote...and my heart...can take the added suspense.[Read More]
A colleague of mine sent this along earlier this AM and I just had to share:
On Wednesday (tomorrow) of this week, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06.
That won't ever happen again.... Think of it as a numerical eclipse...and consider yourself warned.
Will Ronald Be There?
Meanwhile, McDonald's is casting the Internet in a starring role for its marketing as it goes in search around the globe for customers to be featured in a new McDonald's campaign.
Yes, that's right, you, could find your mug on the side of a McDonald's cup or paper bag! Just go to the McDonald's Global Casting Web site, file your photo and 100-word-or-less-essay, and tell McDonald's what you love.
I submitted mine this AM (mum's the word on my essay, but suffice it to say it was deep...very deep...as in Jacques Costeau deep).
Up to 25 winners will be chosen from the entries, and those who do will be flown to London for a McDonald's photo shoot.
However, it was unclear as of press time whether or not Ronald McDonald will be in attendance.[Read More]