• Minimize Strategy & Maximize Purpose
    Notwithstanding Black Friday, where Americans showcase their ugly consumerist tendencies, the long Thanksgiving weekend is an important time for me to disconnect from the grid and assess the future. Putting aside personal concerns about the economy, I believe we're entering an important period of business cleansing and rebalancing. There's too much clutter, waste and distrust. Now, more than ever, it's important to focus on fundamentals, especially deeper purpose. What is your business existence really all about? Value and meaning are not only longed for -- they're now necessary to compete and win in the marketplace.
  • Turkey Day Thanks!
    Ahhh, Thanksgiving: the time of the year to reflect inwardly upon all the wonderful people, places and experiences of the last 12 months and why we appreciate each and every one of them. It marks the official beginning to the holidays, the official countdown to a new year and the chance to wrap up this year's efforts in anticipation of the future that lies ahead. Why not take this moment on the day before Turkey Day to give thanks for all the fantastic things in my life this past year (and see if you share in my joy)!
  • In A Social World, If It Doesn't Spread, It's Dead
    This past week I spoke at MIT's Future of Entertainment conference on the topic of social media. The dialogue generated by the two-hour panel (longest I have ever been a part of) was incredibly insightful. Being up on stage for that long a time pretty much ensures people can't just rest on canned responses. Most of the conversation was focused on what the impact of a social-media-dominated world would be on the production and distribution of entertainment content. Of course, you can't have that conversation without getting into how marketers would be involved. Henry Jenkins, Head of MIT's Comparative Media ...
  • I Should Be Marketing -- But, Just Call Me 'Agency'
    How we identify ourselves is fundamental in life. As we move about the world, the way we name, associate, describe and align ourselves gives shape and point of connection within the social fabric. While it's always more powerful to show than to tell -- to let your actions convey your essence -- the telling does have value. The same is oh-so-true in business. And certainly in our business, right here, right now, when, as brands, marketers and models strive to meaningfully evolve during complicated times, one must get clear on identity.
  • Blogging And Community IS 'Real' Work
    Fred Wilson, managing partner at Union Square Ventures, says blogging is the "realest" work he does.

    He says: "Do You Ever Do Any Real Work? That's a question I used to get all of the time in the early days of this blog. I don't get it so much anymore. Because slowly but surely people are wising up to the fact that blogging is work and it's a very valuable use of my time.

  • Whither The Banner?
    I'm very fond of the online ad banner, having worked with it for its entire 13-year life. It's been great to watch it grow -- and to play a part in its growth -- as billions and billions of dollars a year were spent on it. By 1998, the banner ad had become our industry's mainstay, and until search finally emerged as a significant force five or six years ago, the banner was certainly the primary driver of online advertising. Now, as I consider the future, I think that the banner's role, and its relative importance in the industry, is ...
  • Advertisers Will Not Lead Online Video Advertising -- They Follow
    While engaging in a discussion this week on the "Truth in Online Video Advertising," I came to the quick realization that many of the people and companies involved in online video share a distinctive similarity: impatience. If you know me well, then you know I'm an impatient man. This character trait makes me extremely well-qualified to take note of the same trait in other people. Everyone involved in online video asks the same question; "When will advertisers, specifically brand marketers, begin to support online video as a viable advertising vehicle?"
  • Yang Steps Down At Yahoo -- Now What?
    I might be the only person on the planet who isn't sure that Jerry Yang stepping down is really the best thing. The defining drama during Yang's stint as CEO this time around was the on-again/off-again talks with Microsoft. OK, so the stock price today would suggest that deal should have been taken, if it was ever really on the table, but that's over now. Move on. What Yahoo needs to do now is asses all of its incredibly valuable pieces and figure out how the whole of Yahoo can add up to more than the sum of its parts ...
  • The Lens On Measurement: Fish-eyed Or Wide?
    The current economic climate has heightened the tension within any conversation on media, advertising and marketing -- no matter the stakes or the spend. We are asking ourselves rightful and tough questions on media mix, allocation, and budgets, as we dial in our resources to conquer branding and direct response initiatives. Through a few conversations, I was reminded this week of the wisdom of keeping calm and maintaining an expansive point of view in order to keep smart, keep it covered and make your efforts hum.
  • The Death Of Command-And-Control Marketing
    Consider this idea: Marketing leadership is shifting from command-and-control to cultivate-and-coach. My early business-to-business marketing experiences included heavy-handed dictation of superlative messaging that the organization was expected to follow. It was the norm for many years, and is still very much alive today. But things are changing. I now find marketing leadership to be more an art of humility, affinity and open confrontation of weakness. Instead of instilling forceful brand and messaging objectives, I find that the most effective marketing leadership comes from instilling strong values and good intentions -- up, down and across the organization. Better products and experiences ...
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