BABELFISH – Top Headlines August 29, 2008

August 30, 2008 at 3:11 pm | Posted in Control, Digital thinking, Disruption, General, Integration, Mobility, Segmentation, Strategic planning, Through-the-funnel, Top-of-the-funnel, Traditional, video | Leave a comment

Survey: Many executives say on-the-job Web surfing is OK | The Business Journal
Why you should be interested:  One of the biggest challenges in corporations is to foster a digital culture. Obviously, web based tools and enterprise content access systems can generate considerable efficiencies. Web based tools encourage self service / pull information rather than companies having to hire people to manually push content out to users.

The line gets blurry when managers see staff appearing to waste time on Instant Messenger or in non-work related social community blogs. Flipping the coin, hypocritical corporations can’t ban at work social web use while they continue to invade employee personal time with intrusive devices like Smartphones / Blackberrys (always on / always connected to boss and client syndrome).

Similar to corporate policies regarding access to pornography, companies can establish rules of engagement without over-policing staff (or causing unnecessary tension between work and personal functions). Sure, employees need to respectful and have some limits on socializing during work hours, but a the same time, managerial styles need to change to reflect disrupted consumer expectations, especially regarding control, multitasking, content rights management, collaboration and networking.

Blocking access to information and tools that encourage digital culture is short-term corporate thinking. Maybe corporations need to cater to the growing expectation to balance / multitask personal and work based content consumption and integrated social and work based tools (like the way people use IM).


Yahoo Launches Fire Eagle To Manage Location-Based Information | Washington Post
Mobile phones will become main marketing tool: KV Kamath | The Economic Times

‘Sports Illustrated’ Sells Ads Via Online Auction | Advertising Age
Why you should be interested:  Location based targeting is the emerging frontier of segmented marketing. It is liberating small to medium sized businesses to use once mass media content forms and vehicles.

The pioneers in this area are the US cable companies e.g. Comcast. They have been able to isolate demographically (and behaviorally) down to specific households (based on Cable TV billing details and viewing habits)

Geographic or location based targeting, is complicated and limited via traditional internet alone. Most people connect to the internet via an ISP (Internet Service Provider). The problem is that ISP’s are not organized geographically (you could be using an ISP backbone based in India for all you know). Hence, to geographically isolate information via internet, the user either has to nominate where they are (e.g. a drop down menu on entry…resulting in extra clicks) or we have to ask consumers to register and provide their geographic location.

Mobile is opening up a whole new level of geographic targeting because it allows marketers to send messages to consumers within a specific location (Via Bluetooth or Infrared) or target people in a specific region relative to the internet base station that they are using to connect. This opens up efficient marketing opportunities to a whole new market of local businesses.

Another linked trend is the development of low cost / template based content generation / management tools e.g. SpotRunner. These tools facilitate good quality, extremely dynamic production, flexible for localized versioning, at a very low cost.

Lastly, internet based bidding systems are allowing vehicles to efficiently monetize once fragmented, unsellable or undervalued space.

When you link the three efficient elements (Space + Content + Targeting), you have a functioning version of the accountable and dynamic future of marketing.


Imagining a World of Interactive Movie Theaters | Advertising Age
Why you should be interested:  Without sounding like an advertisement, cinema inherently has many qualities that attend to the needs of the digital era, including: a) an  attentive, captive audience, with few distractions b) one of richest and most efficient content forms in video c) geographically and behaviorally segmented audiences.

Arguably, live performance / interaction is the most powerful content form because: a) it’s ability to engage all of the senses (including smell and temperature), b) ability to adjust messaging on the fly to the audience mood c) geographically and behaviorally segmented audiences d) facility to offer product samples and value added material e) ability to easily measure exit attitudes and opinions.

As many music performers have already discovered, when you combine the two, video with interactivity, you have a very powerful experience. Moving forward, when you incorporate automated feedback mechanisms e.g. using mobile devices / phones, the cinema environment becomes a very powerful marketing tool.


ZAP & BuscaPe Unite to Integrate Classified Ads and Online Shopping in Brazil | PR Newswire
Why you should be interested:  BuscaPe is a price comparison site. Zap is an online version of traditional newspaper classifieds. The combination of the two provides significant scale and a richer online shopping experience journey (both new and used products). As e-commerce business models mature, keep an eye out for these disruptive mergers / integration of tools and content to gain a competitive value added advantage.


If you have a few more spare minutes, a more extensive list of headlines is available – click here: BABELFISH Full latest headlines


The opportunity cost of over-engineering / over-producing TV commercials.

February 29, 2008 at 7:03 am | Posted in Digital thinking, General, Segmentation, Traditional, video | 1 Comment


Back in the good old days before audience content consumption fragmentation, it made sense to invest heavily in the crucial staple 30 second commercial. We relied heavily on it’s ability to drive demand. We made an art of measuring the frequency of exposure and constructing it’s content became an unquestionable `high ticket`art form.

Contrary to advertising doomsday analysts, the content landscape is definitely changing, but no, the 30 second commercial is not dead and will not be as long as marketers have the need to stimulate mass demand. Video will remain an extremely powerful content form and TV is still the most efficient content mass distribution form ever invented (that is if they don’t break the model by spending rediculously on High definition).

A cynic may also say that it’s still good business to spend someone else’s money the easiest way possible and increase production values.

My question though is, has this game gone too far?

When developing genuinely innovative connection ideas and insights are either too expensive, or beyond the capability of an antiquated structure, or when a brand has nothing worthwhile to say, it is much easier to mask our charade and wow a client and customer with `bling, bling` special effects and mega productions.

I fear that it may just be one more case of an old (very profitable) industry holding onto it’s business model. Ad agencies make easy money producing just a few expensive mass messaging commercials. Likewise, film production companies refuse to erode their very profitable business model.

Web video is reminding us that the idea is the key to start a conversation, not the production values or the expense of the production.

At the same time, we are approaching a tipping-point between mass and segmented messaging and that TV film production, and possibly bad advice from ad agencies is robbing new media of production investment and retarding much needed content diversification and interface design.

So, what’s the solution?

OK! Ad agencies will argue that producing more video and other content forms will be way too expensive and work intensive. Sure, planning departments are not structured to generate the multiple segmented insights required for more molecular messaging.

Similarly, clients are not structured for the increased vendor roster, project management / approval burden.

Also, there is a definite political risk for clients who dare to expose themselves and support change. No IT manager will get fired for buying Microsoft (regardless of the bugs and flaws), but by forcing a change to Linux, even if it is a smart decision, every disruption is amplified.

The reality is that there is too much inertia / too many structural problems in the agency model to drive the required change. If disruption to their business demands more segmented messaging or a innovation from a diversified content & contact mix, this change needs to be driven by clients.

Risk is merely perception. To affect change, I think we also need to take a step back and re-look at our perception of `too expensive`. Is mass messaging with short term, often totally unaccountable effect a wise place to over-invest??

The real question that we need to reflect on is; If diversified content forms and more segmented messaging produce more relevant and effective brand / consumer conversations, are they actually more expensive?? Is there a larger opportunity cost to ignore the change or set a measured (even if it is perceived as more costly) action plan to find a communication mix that makes our brands relevant to our consumers again.

Cheers, BC

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