• Flying Towards Quality When the Economy Is Grounded
    A slowing economy has, to state the obvious, put enormous pressure on businesses to scale back -- and advertising is often one of the first line-items to feel the heat. But the decision to cut marketing spends isn't -- or at least shouldn't be -- a simple one. In a report entitled "Learning to Love Recessions," global consulting firm McKinsey & Co. studied 1000 business from 1982 to 1999 with the goal of understanding the tactics employed by those that grew stronger during an economic downturn. While much of their report focused on M&A activity, there was one key finding ...
  • Every Word Matters
    Every single word matters. Words are never neutral. Every word that does not help sell or market your product, hurts. A media executive I know spent 45 exasperating minutes trying to explain his product to me. Rarely did he pause to see if the idea made any sense (it didn't). I finally figured out that his entire concept could be described in two very simple sentences.
  • Salesperson Of The Year
    It is you -- the media salesperson -- I feel most aligned with when sharing my experiences inside this column. I understand the pressures and disappointments you endure. You are not perfect and yet you have perfected how to get this job done well for years, but well isn't good enough anymore. We are in the midst of the most challenging times of our careers. This fact is not going to change anytime soon -- so you have to. I doubt anyone at your company will share this with you as directly as I am now: Your job is as ...
  • Ch-Ch-Changes
    As 2008 mercifully draws to a close, we begin to look forward to a new beginning in 2009 -- or at least we can fool ourselves into thinking things will be different as a result of flipping the page on the calendar. Whether you're inspired by New Year's resolutions, the "change" mantra of our incoming president, or just simply like to mix things up regardless of the month of the year or who resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I thought that it might be a good time to explore some new ideas related the online advertising and marketing in 2009.
  • Beware Of The Demigods
    Did you hear about Rupert Murdoch's calling out of editors who have long acted as "demigods" when it comes to content strategy? He sees the audience migration from print to online as tied in large part to, well, a print mentality. Essentially he is talking about the arrogance of not paying close attention to the needs of newspaper and magazine readers. By extension, this kind of "complacency," as Murdoch calls it, can become a disease that encroaches upon the online version of the publication too.
  • Display Advertising Needs To Die
    Online display advertising has become the bucket for all forms of terrible advertising. Pop-ups, interstitials, banner ads, Flash ads, and countless others litter our Web sites in lame attempts to generate revenue. We continue to develop new ad formats without any thought as to who is buying them or why. It is time for publishers to stop sitting on the sidelines while the needs of our customers evolve beyond us. We have allowed a lack of clarity to exist for far too long.
  • And the Next Contestant Is...
    As we enter an age of government bailouts and buyouts for investment banks, mortgage companies and auto manufacturers, one begins to wonder who the next contestant will be in the Uncle Sam Handout Sweepstakes. While the Internet juggernaut is showing signs of slowed growth, it is hard to imagine the kind of meltdown the financial industry has experienced in recent months taking a similar path in our industry -- or is it?
  • Is User Path Analysis The Right Path?
    How many times have you heard the term "User Path Analysis" being mentioned as something you should conduct for your site? If you have anything to do with managing a Web site or Web analytics, chances are, you have considered it... or maybe gone down that path! It does, thus, seem intuitive to want to analyze this user path -- to determine the most common path users take before a desired outcome (a purchase, a request for information, etc.). This information can then be used to modify site navigation or copy to push visitors down that trusted, successful path. This ...
  • Our Core Value Problem
    I don't mean to sound like a pessimist or set off alarms for the sake of hearing a bell ring, but we have a core value problem that will only get worse, not better, based on the tracks the online sales train is running. Two weeks ago in this OPI offering, David Koretz pointed to the dramatic disparity between the spending allocated to online advertising versus the time consumers spend on Web sites. Why does this disparity exist? One simple answer: Online inventory is cheaper, so advertisers don't have to spend as much as they do with other media. And ...
  • A Meaningful Engagement Story
    In previous articles I created a hypothetical example to illustrate how to make a compelling engagement story work in an advertising discussion. I have also done the same with CondeNet. To cite an actual case study, I will turn to a company I worked for several years ago, CNET Networks. Now part of CBS Interactive, the company has a rich history of telling powerful engagement stories that lead to actionable insight for advertisers. I spoke recently with Dave Morris, CBS Interactive Chief Client Officer (now there's a great title!), who outlined how the company is using site data to provide ...
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