Next week is Advertising Week in New York City. I'm looking forward to it. There are a number of great conferences spanning both digital and offline advertising. Thousands of media and advertising professionals descend on the city from around the world. And, of course, there are tons of parties and social events.
For a little fun today, and since I didn't take the time this week to write a more thoughtful column, I thought that I would write about some of the things that, by the end of Advertising Week, we'll be sure we have heard way too much about. Here they are:
- Widgets. Yes. The digital media world is shifting to a portable digital object format - widgets. I am a big believer. However, I can guarantee you that two-thirds of the people in our business who talk about widgets have no idea what they are. Let's fix that. Let's make everyone who uses the word "widget" in a conversation relating to advertising next week explain what it is before they continue.
- Google. Yes. Everyone thinks that they are taking over the world. Yes, Google is the company that is not only offering everyone around the world a chance to look into your backyard - and sometimes into your windows - but has also offered up a plan for managing global personal privacy, where your privacy is violated only if you are able to prove actual harm (the global lawyer full employment act). But it isn't the be-all end-all of the advertising world. At this point, it is still just running the world's greatest yellow pages business. Let's not cede the trillion dollar global advertising and marketing industry to them just yet.
- The talent drain. I know. I know. Many advertising companies have tons of open "recs" and find themselves like revolving doors when it comes to their people. Clearly, attracting, training and retaining talent is the most important thing that we do in our businesses. However, we are all tired of hearing folks complain about losing people when the real problem is that their companies are failing to provide their people with a clear market vision, an exciting role, paths for advancement, feedback and coaching, and, of course, appropriate compensation. If you are losing too many people, ask yourself how you are treating them. Are you giving them a compelling reason to come into the office every day? Are they treated with respect? Complaining about the drain isn't the answer; changing the way you treat your people may be.
- Sub-Prime Mortgage Problem. Yes. Bear Stearns just announced today how much the company's last quarters' profits are down from this problem. However, that doesn't mean that every issue under the sun can be blamed on it. That doesn't mean that you can blame an ad revenue shortfall on it. Let's not hear that the secular declines in newspaper advertising were a result of the sub-prime mortgage problem, or that it caused branded digital display advertising to grow more slowly than last year. As our industry transitions into a more mature advertising platform, let's be careful not to blame any of our challenges on the problem-de-jour.
While some of this might seem a bit cynical -- it is :) -- the point is only to make sure that we use next week to talk about and dig into the issues that really matter, and not just get caught up talking about issues-of-the-day that aren't really the core issues-of-the-future.