Vacation Contemplations

August is now upon us. Families are leaving for their final vacations, as the kids are soon to head back to school. People who've spent their Junes and Julys working, this month is their last chance to get a week or two away from the grind, away from the City, and away from matters concerning advertising.

I would suggest that those of you who are getting out of town some time this month do everything in your power to forget the drudgery of telling clients where they can find their banners, leave behind the quiet desperation of keeping up with newsletters and industry goings-on, and lock away the BlackBerry where it cannot be used while you are away.

If you find yourself lying on a big towel at the beach or kicking back on a chaise lounge with a cool, refreshing cocktail in one hand and a paper-back of the Nicomachean Ethics in the other and are wholly engrossed, I suggest you keep right on chillin'. If, however, you find your thoughts rolling towards industry-related matters, I would like to offer you this list of things to not think about over the next month as the industry hibernates a few weeks before kicking back into gear in September.



Rich Media

Enough all ready. There isn't anything that exiting to talk about here any more. Display ad units have gotten as big as they can (unless there are plans for objects to reach out of the screen and grab the user by the lapels and pull them towards the screen). There don't seem to be any more stories here. Any stories that one does come across are essentially variations on a theme. Kind of like romance novels. Boy meets attractive creative unit. Boy wants creative unit. Boy fantasizes about better looking creative unit. Boy meets and goes out with better looking creative unit. Better looking creative unit is attractive, and works sometimes, but most of the time is kind of a bitch. Boy returns to original attractive creative unit because it is the best of all possible worlds (which is different than saying it is universally the best in any one world).

And can we find something else to call it other than "rich?" It is fast becoming like the prefix "electro-" or the moniker "solid state."


Everything there is to know about email is known. Sometimes it works, sometimes it don't. Best marketing uses of email are re-marketing efforts and communications with existing customers (I always check out the Best Buy New Movie Tuesday mailing). SPAM sucks, everyone hates it, yes it works just enough to make it cost effective, and yes, the government will likely have to do something about it because it is obvious the industry cannot govern itself. See "Do Not Call Registry" for example.

We don't need any more articles, press releases, newsletters, or research about email. If you want to use email as a marketing tool, by all means, go nuts. Just realize that A) unsolicited email is SPAM, B) even email sent to people who have opted-in to a larger list based on an interest category looks and feels like SPAM, even if it is not and C) it shouldn't be used without support media.


Yup, it's a hot topic right now. Yup, it works like a charm. Yup, advertisers love it. Nope, it is not the end-all, be-all of online advertising opportunities. Nope, we don't need a zillion different newsletters and articles telling us about search every single day. Weekly or even monthly updates will suffice, now that the big research is out there (see releases from the Search Road Show put on by the IAB; there's some really good stuff there).

There are plenty of things to consider when using search as part of the media/marketing mix. Relevance of search term to product, service, or brand being promoted; referral to the appropriate location within the marketer's web presence; sublime usage of search terms not obviously related to product, service, or brand; and relationships between terms that are searched and more general media usage. But the fundamentals of search marketing are pretty fixed and don't need to be reported on nor kept up with 24/7.

There are plenty of things that you COULD think about if you so desire. Behavioral marketing, implications of reach and frequency, audience-based media currency rather than impression-based, cross-media usage... The list is long. Perhaps we'll get to those things when the vacations are over, the kids are back at school, and the clients are calling looking for their post-buy analyses.

But for now, I just want everyone to have a nice time, relax, and enjoy their time away from the office, the computer, the trades, or whatever else it is that might serve as distraction from the thought that one should work to live, not live to work.

Bon voyage.

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