Posts Tagged ‘ad age magazine’



July 30, 2013

When I owned an ad agency I always thought making it bigger was better. I would have more resources to provide clients more help, and I could also make the business stronger with more money. Wrong. As I point out in my book, the basic challenge with size is that it doesn’t help put your client’s business head of yours.

That’s why the proposed merger of the second- and third-biggest advertising companies, Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe is a bad idea. It is good for a few bankers, lawyers and top executives. The Wall St. Journal reports that the deal highlights “how Big Data is transforming the advertising industry, turning Madison Avenue into a version of Wall Street, with its emphasis on data-driven analysis” and it allows them to sell their own media options. This is true, but nothing about creating a bigger, more bureaucratic organization is good for clients or staff.

Because most of my readers work in the small business world, this merger will have no impact on them, so why comment on it? It shows the relentless drive of big business to make more money at the top of the pyramid. It also allows me to remind readers that as you grow, you need to constantly shift more focus on your customers. What are you doing this week to make sure you and your staff are placing the customer’s interest first?



March 27, 2013

While most small businesses do little research to know buyers, national firms continue to track you even more. Case in point: Nielsen, the TV rating firm, is now tracking everything you buy — adding data from what an executive said is “virtually all” credit, check, billpay and debit card purchases.

As reported in Advertising Age, Nielsen is sharing all that data with its clients. This data doesn’t include item-level data — for example they don’t know what you bought at Victoria’s Secret yesterday or the movie you saw last weekend — just your name, dollar amounts and times of the transactions. That is still a bit scary.

But it certainly opens up a world of targeting possibilities. CBS Chief Research Officer David Poltrack used the Nielsen Buyer Insights data to expand his belief that demographics are increasingly useless and that the purchase habits of audiences should carry more weight.

That’s called psychographics (Chapter 9 in my book) and I’ve been telling people to focus on lifestyle decisions over age and income (demographics) for years. The CBS series “Elementary” has a low 2.9 Nielsen rating in the age 18-49 demo but a high 7.3 psychographic  rating among heavy movie spenders, Poltrack said at a recent conference.

Is it time to change from demographic to psychographic ratings? Mr. Poltrack said he already sees demo targets losing relevance. That’s because the prized 18-49 demo group will fall to 54% of the audience this upcoming TV season, continuing a long-term decline. Purchased-based program ratings might be the only way broadcast TV can maintain ad rates, since TV viewing is dramatically moving to online.

But back to the scary part. It’s not going to be long before someone says, enough is enough. Stop tracking us.



October 30, 2012

I love hearing pundits constantly telling clients that print media is dead. Michael Learmonth, Digital Editor of and the DigitalNext blog, had an interesting take on this subject. He was writing about the shutdown of Newsweek, the latest in a parade of former print publications like PC Magazine, Gourmet and Smart Money that have gone 100% digital.

Michael argues that we have become a nation that is willing to give up high-end, well-reported journalism and opinion to replace it with free, high-volume “good enough” content and aggregation. He believes that the success of The Daily Beast, owner of Newsweek, actually accelerated the failure of the print Newsweek.

However, he believes that many magazines and newspapers won’t go 100% digital because they are too busy balancing “the straddle,” using the prestige of the print brand and the old-media cash flow to fund investments in digital. I agree. Learmonth points out that The Economist has about the same print reader numbers as Newsweek, 1.5 million, but 632,000 readers used its tablet app in the month of June. But they have only 88,000 paid digital-only subscribers.

So, don’t write off print media just yet if you still want to reach a mass market. But you should be focusing on print media that has a robust tablet app or website and allows you to advertise on both for a discount.



July 29, 2012

With the launch of the London Olympics and NBC’s relentless coverage on six different outlets (NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Telemundo, NBC Sports Channel, and E!), and with Netflix reporting 1 billion hours of streaming viewership in June, you might ask where are people watching TV? Jeanine Poggi of AdAge had an interesting take on this in a July 6 story.

She reported that analysts believe that Netflix’s audience has now surpassed any individual TV network. But is Netflix’s growing streaming video audience cannibalizing hours spent watching commercial-sponsored television like the Olympics? Well, not yet.

Old-fashioned TV still dominates. People watch more than five hours of traditional TV a day each month, according to Nielsen research. Netflix’s billion hours of streaming content works out to less than 1.5 hours a day (80 minutes) for Netflix subscribers. So, relax NBC. Your multi-billion dollar Olympic investment is probably worth it. Of course, the disjointed opening ceremony with its few good moments certainly wasn’t worth 4.5 hours!

But with the average cable bill at $86 monthly, according to the AdAge story, and Netflix charging $7.99 per month for streaming, the handwriting is on the wall. Netflix customers now pay a little less than 23 cents per hour for content without commercials, while cable-TV subscribers pay around 56 cents per hour for programming with advertisements. That’s why networks are desperate to sell digital (cable and internet) rights to make up for the continuing decline in advertising revenue on traditional TV.

Note to 2013 media planners: start looking seriously at advertising on sponsor supported streaming video.



May 10, 2012

When I was writing my marketing book I remember looking at old research that stated we see 2,000 ad messages a day. Today, we might see that many before breakfast. We are inundated with pitches while driving, using our phones, while flying, at the movies – you name it, everyone is screaming for our attention. So, how do you cut through the clutter?

One solution, outlined in a recent AdAge story by Shareen Pathak and Alexandra Bruell, is throw an ad at your audience when they least expect it. With ads on urinals, straws and shoes, they outline 10 of the weirdest media placements from the past few years. It’s a fun story. Here’s a link to the story. Not sure how practical these ideas are for your business, but it might get your team to think outside of today’s digital ad box.



February 22, 2012

Because I launched the first frequent flyer program more than 30 years ago (1980), I’ve worked with numerous firms over the years in developing loyalty programs. But now rewards may not be the best way to grow customer loyalty.

Today your customer is bombarded with benefits, points and prizes. There are 1.8 billion loyalty-program individual memberships in the U.S., with the average household participating in 14.1 programs. Yet more than half of those memberships are inactive, according to an article in Ad Age by Martin Reidy, president of Meredith Xcelerated Marketing.

While rewards have worked for travel and credit cards, where increased frequency and value make the rewards worthwhile, they have been far less effective for other businesses. Why? As Reidy points out, “A successful loyalty strategy is underpinned by the consumer’s connection with your brand. The goal is to create sustained demand.”

Earning customer loyalty requires understanding the way your product/service meets the needs of your most important and loyal customers, not just giving them points for being on your side. How well do you know your best customer? Do you know what they value in your service/product?  Once you know that, you will know how to create a loyal customer and not a shopper.