Next Steps

life in the fast lane : perpetual nascence

On_the_edge_3 The fields of new media and emerging media are not new, nor are they temporary.

Print publishers probably fretted over the rise of the radio.  And radio and print fretted over TV.  And network TV fretted over cable TV.  And TV is fretted over the internet.

The media landscape has always been in transition, the only thing that has changed is the pace of change.

Those of us working in "emerging" media however, frequently misjudge the timing and pace of change.  We advocate advanced social media information mining before our clients have managed to harness most of their own internal customer information.  We speak about IPTV when it isn't even available in most major markets.  We speak about WiMax, Android and Open Social before the true capabilities are yet known.  We are talking about the death of the 30 second spot while most major brands are still investing most of their money on television.

We are living ahead of the curve. 

In the words of one of my teammates, we are living in a state of "perpetual nascence".

And sure, QR codes may make it big in 3 years from now.  But in the meantime, it is far more important that we understand and appreciate the unique position that we are in.  We are AHEAD of the curve.  Preparing clients for the future isn't necessarily about building tomorrow today.  Rather, it is about incremental innovation, setting the seeds for tomorrow, building familiarity and a strong foundation on which we can activate in 3 years from now, when the world has caught to us. 

And you can rest assured, we'll be talking about as yet unknown technologies and platforms, and perpetually planning for the arrival of the nascent lives we are living.

4 Reasons to focus on New Media

During the interruptive advertising experience of commercial breaks...

  • 41.2% of viewers channel-surf
  • 33.5% talk with others in the room or by phone
  • 30.2% mentally tune out
  • ONLY 5.5% regularly fully attend to commercials

Why would this be any less true when we're talking pre, mid or post-roll?  Sure, we may not channel surf in the traditional sense, but we would...

  • chat with peers,
  • mentally tune out,
  • grab a snack
  • or more likely, we will multi task online

This is where brands and advertising are missing the point when it comes to digital advertising.  They are using old tactics in a new media.  They are looking for white space in which they can serve up a message, not an experience then can augment of live within.  Advertisers are missing the power, the potential and yes, the point of digital marketing.

And THIS is where the power of new media marketing is manifest.  New Media Marketing is about positioning brands to live within the channel experience rather than interrupting it.  New Media Marketing is about living within the content, within the utility, within the overall experience as a welcome and integrated partner, not as a branded element or wrapper.  New Media Marketing is about being a key part of the user experience rather than an intruder on it.

THIS is why I am working in Emerging Channels.  This is why we blog about everything 2.0.  This is the vision that drives us.  And please, please, please, share this post or evangelize this topic with your marketing or advertising friends and colleagues.  Without an industry-wide vision of the role of brands, digital marketing will see the same efficiency as traditional advertising.  We can do better than that.

Kudos to Ad Lab and Big Research for the stats.

PS3 as a Tivo + SlingBox - PlayTV (w/ video)

PlayTV is a hardware add on that allows any PS3 to record AND stream live TV (video below).  You can also perform a wireless sync to a PSP.  Now THIS is where Tivo and Xbox 360 need to go next.

Think about the power of wireless syncing of pre-recorded content to your Zune. 

Better yet, how about offering this add-on free, coupled with relevant advertising.

And how relevant would this advertising be? How about...,

  • advertising targeted to your online behavior as determined by MSN,
  • your TV viewing and recording and determined by your embedded DVR solution,
  • your purchased content as determined by your Xbox360 and Zune Store,
  • your social network as determined by MSN and Zune Social,
  • your tastes in music as determined by your most played in Windows Media Player and your Zune,
  • and let's not forget, your tastes in video games. 

Let's just say, this could be extremely well targeted advertising. 

Or you could just pay for the premium ad-free service.

PlayTV Video (after the jump)

adding carrier value to the mobile phone

So you're shopping for a phone. 

Phone A is $30 with 2 year plan. Slim, sleek, and flashy.  2 megapixel camera.  High speed internet.  Virtually no internal storage.  Flash drive slot.  This phone is available on T-Mobile.

Phone B is $80 with 2 year plan. Slim, sleep and flashy.  2 megapixel camera.  High speed internet.  Mp3 player.  Video player.  Virtually no internal storage.  Flash drive slot.  This phone is on at&t.

So I took an informal survey of friends and coworkers.  Almost everyone goes for Phone B.  And nobody uses the mp3 player or video functionality regularly.

  • Carriers are desperately trying to hold on to their ownership of the user mobile experience. 
  • Many carriers are doing so by discounting flashy and fun phones. 
  • But there is a smarter way to go. 
  • There is value that the networks can offer - unique value that device manufacturers cannot replicate.  Value that will carve out a significant value add for individual carriers.

If you had a choice between added built-in entertainment functionality like an mp3 player you will never use - or integrated services - like an emergency roadside assistance program, medical emergency assistance, cheap/affordable voice driven emergency directions etc - which would you choose? 

Would these value add services provide a better, stronger more differentiated revenue stream for carriers than integrated mp3 players?

what IS digital marketing?

Google_dictionary_2 Tangerine Toad over at Marketing Profs asked the question, "What is digital marketing?"


TT goes on to list a number of tactics, in an effort to isolate a single tactic that defines or otherwise embodies the essence of digital marketing.  However, to define digital marketing by a tactic or list of tactics is both narrow minded and shortsighted.

Wireless_baby_2 Digital Marketing is more than online marketing.  Digital marketing is more than one or two tactics.  Digital marketing is not about marketing to a platform or a technology.  Digital marketing is the act of marketing in a digital age.

As consumer's live become increasingly digital, as convergence and "always on" connectivity become increasingly mainstream, new doors are opened to marketers.  Marketers now gain the ability to enhance, empower, (interrupt?) and otherwise live within ever deeper segments of consumer's lives, well beyond the interruption and often irrelevance of the 30 second spot.

Digital marketing is more than a tactic, it's marketing reborn again in a digital era. It is about persuasive and at times pervasive engagement. It is about reinventing or more accurately the evolutionary revolution of the brand experience. Digital marketing is about returning to the core of marketing, the human experience, and enabling brand experiences and interactions in this new dynamic.

note: the Google Dictionary image above is photoshopped.  The cartoon above is the work of Avi Steinberg, close friend and raving lunatic.

near-term late night tv predictions

10. The few late night shows running new programming will feature almost exclusively top tier talent
9. Steven Colbert will get some correspondents to help fill in the gaps left by his writers
8. John Stewart will bring in an a handful of professional comics to fill the writer's gap
7. Someone will begin doing segments on viral videos - it's free, pre-packaged, fresh content and already part of pop culture.

  • PS - if you're looking for viral video pundits, I'm available!

6. Without fresh programming to (re)run in daytime cable, late night talkshows will be rebroadcast ad nauseum
5. Hulu, Joost or Veoh will jump on this fresh programming, inking a licensing agreement in the near term
4. With nothing else to download, BitTorrent users will be all over these programs
3. Ratings will be great (for late night that is).
2. This ratings boost will carry through for some time after the strike is over.
1. There will be significant buzz around ANY programs that return to air with any measure of success.

But that's just me.  Any thoughts?

why is the record industry still chasing waterfalls?

Broken_record Here's an idea!

Never move forward.  Never adapt.  Fight progress.  And above all else SUE EVERYONE who tries to adapt your offering to their needs.

You wouldn't think this business would be worth billions...  but the music industry is.

Sure, they got past Napster and got on board with web 2.0 (more or less).  But they're still stuck in a RECORD industry world. Today's youth and tomorrow's masses aren't about buying the hottest new record and having friends over just to listen to it.  We want to EXPERIENCE it.

Today's user is looking for EXPERIENCES, not just passive music.

When are we going to see audio tracks bundled with Guitar Hero or Rock Band extras? 
When are we going to see the music industry INNOVATE? 

Rather than begrudgingly following users from CDs to MP3s to DRM-Free MP3s, why couldn't the music industry LEAD us into the future rather than chasing long gone waterfalls?

innovation in an ROI driven world

Innovation_connection Over the past year I've encountered dozens of solutions, technologies, sales vendors, advertisers, marketers and futurists, all claiming to embody a single phrase - innovative. Yet to be totally honest, I haven't seen all that much that really blew my mind.  Is this because innovation has been stifled by realism, near term ROI concerns, a lack of vision, or is this a symptom of something greater?

Everyone claims to be pushing ahead, innovating, bringing forth new solutions that are "groundbreaking".

But most of what I've seen looks like everything I've been seeing for the past 5 years, just ported into a new channel.

As I see it, there are two types of innovation:
A) Incremental Innovation
B) Disruptive Innovation

Incremental Innovation is where much of the business world feels most comfortable.  This type of innovation is often referred to as, "the lowest hanging fruit".  This is innovation that takes a process or a concept that is already established and familiar, and builds on it.  It's not about reinventing the wheel, but adding a new feature to the wheel, making them somehow incrementally better.  Think of mobile OLA: it's nearly identical to regular OLA, just on a phone.  It's innovative,  but not yet a game changer.  Nearly all of the innovation I have seen over the past year falls into this bucket.

Disruptive Innovation is far more difficult that incremental innovation, yet the payout is far greater.  Disruptive Innovators are game changers.  They reinvent the wheel.  They are visionaries and big thinkers.  Disruptive Innovation is both risky and difficult, yet the end game payout is tremendous.  Think Facebook and social connections, the iPhone and user experience design and pervasive digital connectivity, Gigya and the widget, YouTube and UGC, Twitter and instant messaging, or BitTorrent and content distribution.  Without these innovators, 2008 would be a markedly different.

Key Takeaway: Most of us are putting the finishing touches on our '07 business and beginning to plan for '08.  If you don't have an innovation strategy or an innovation roadmap already in the books, it's time to do  so.   You won't be successful tomorrow if you don't have a plan for preparing for tomorrow, today. 

Dedicating all of your efforts to incremental innovation may satisfy the bottom line, but won't make you into a category leader.  This is true no matter regardless of the business you're in.  The time to begin planning for the future is now. 

If you've got any questions around innovation planning, PLEASE feel free to reach out to me via email or by commenting on this blog.  Karl Long just posted a great piece around the challenges and costs of getting innovation in-market.  If you'd like to learn more about innovation in business, check out any of the many fantastic blogs in reading list to the left of this post. 

Thanks for reading and as always, looking forward to your comments!