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April 24, 2007

Online Advertising Industry’s Definitive Advertising Playbook

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Happy afternoon, loyal readers. I need you all to do me a favor real quick, okay? I need everyone to hold hands and recite this simple phrase, "You will have power in your laptop until 6:30pm. You will have power in your laptop until 6:30pm". Maybe if you all believe it will come true and my laptop will last through the day’s final session. What do you think?

Maybe you should cross your fingers and toes too?

Right now I’m planted and freezing in this afternoon’s Online Advertising Industry’s Definitive Advertising Playbook session where Ridgway "Taddy" H. Hall is set to moderate panelists Rex Briggs (Marketing Evolution), Stephen Kim (Microsoft), Kevin Doohan (ConAgra Goods) and Clark Kokich (Avenue A | Razorfish).

Taddy starts off recalling a dream he had last night about all of the panelists and the odd things they did. In Taddy’s dream world, one of the speakers gave their presentation while wearing a Ferrari helmet, while another speaker came in costume. Yeah, I don’t know either. I think someone visited the bar during lunch time. I kid, I kid.

Getting away from the scary remarks, Taddy says that the Internet is changing advertising. It’s making it more relevant, more interactive, more engaging, etc. And people are expecting it. All advertising is now being held to a new standard and a new metric of accountability which is, "what did my advertising do to generate brand demand?" There are some interesting repercussions that fall out of that finding, says Taddy. Agencies that are embracing new ad models to generate brand demand.

Taddy outlines three primary models for how advertisers are approaching the use of the Internet.

  1. The On-Demand Model: Clients, Ad agencies are really focused on how they can help consumers get what they want when they want it. It’s about creating the empowered consumer.
  2. The Engagement Based Model: All effective advertisers are looking to engagement models to attract customers.
  3. Advertising that’s a service to consumers. Generate positive returns.

Taddy then invites the panel to share their advertising playbook.

Up first is Kevin. Kevin is a big Red Sox fan. I like Kevin.

Kevin’s online advertising playbook is effectiveness versus hype, and using experiments to discern between the two. Effectiveness may mean not using the Internet at all. Not every product is made for the Internet. Blasphemy!

Rex’s company looks at and measures three things: their current campaign (what can we learn today to help us tomorrow), past campaigns (what can we learn from past campaigns to improve effectiveness) and portfolio management. One of the things to look at in online advertising is the difference between innovators and imitators. The innovators are doing extensive research to determine how to make online marketing really work. The imitators come in, see what everyone else is doing, and then try to copy it. These people aren’t learning or evolving. They really know how to use the technology they’re trying to master.

Clark is up and admits to being a recovering traditional advertising agency. Hi, Clark. Clark talks about merging traditional and digital media.

Microsoft’s Stephen is up and is the only panelist using a wireless mic. Taddy snarks if we should worry that it’s going to crash. Ooo, low blow! Funny, but low blow!

Stephen says research and understanding consumers is the key to today’s online advertising. How do users consume media? Where do they consume it? How do they interact with each other? Microsoft has done a lot of research to see how people work with one another. From that they’ve gotten a lot of clues about how to reach people online and in the workplace.

Interestingly, he says with online advertising you have to reach most audience members between 9am to 5pm since this is when they’re online the most. This is different from traditional advertising where advertisers had to reach customers during prime time because user’s mindset is different. You have to know when people are online and what they’re thinking so you know how to appeal to their particular mindset. This changes by time of day, and even during various times in the work day. Are you in full work mode or are you taking a virtual smoke break, or are you in the first hour of work where you’re not really working but checking your email instead? Not that I do that. I hear Susan does. [I check on my Blackberry on the way in. If you had a Blackberry, you could too. –Susan]

Determine what the assumption is that you’re making about your online advertising efforts? Is there a number or metric you’re trying to reach? Or are you just on the Internet because everyone else is? What are you trying to do? If you don’t set goals for yourself, you’ll accomplish nothing.

The Internet is always touted as the most measurable and accountable medium. Meanwhile, advertisers are pulling out their hair because they don’t know how to use the information they’re getting.

Rex says instead of looking at research to prove a point, look at as how to improve effectiveness. That’s how you’re going to help your business over the long term.

Clark says there’s a big cultural chasm about having to prove what you’re doing is right, not finding what you did that was wrong. Instead of finding what you did that was right to make yourself feel good, spend your efforts trying to find out what you did wrong so you know where you can improve. This is will have a huge impact on your business and aide you more than just trying to pat yourself on the back. That’s the future of marketing. Accept that you’re doing things that are wrong, find them and fix them. Probably one of the smarter insights of today.

Stephen says Microsoft is looking at ad systems that never existed before like Xbox or display advertising. When they look at who they want to work at they’re looking for the people who can bridge the native and immigrant Web consumer base. They don’t just want to speak to the traditional world.
I have to say, I’m not liking these one hour presentations so far. They go by too fast. I feel like we never get to the meat of the matter.

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