Ad Blocking and True Things.

31
Shares
Share with your friends










Submit

Ad blocking and True ThingsI’m not in Cannes this week, but I’m following the news and views from here on the rocky coast of Maine.  Like this recap of the ad blocking panel led by IAB President and CEO Randall Rothenberg.  I paid particular attention to this one because in the recent past I’ve admired Randy’s full-throated call-out of ad blocking companies as pirates, parasites, extortionists and worse.  In defense of publisher revenues and security, he goes full Heisenberg, and that’s as it should be.

The Cannes panel — “Block You: Why World Class Creativity Will Obliterate Ad Blocking” – focused not so much on the miscreants of ad blocking, but on how the Don Drapers of the world will begin rendering ads that are so targeted and creative and desirable that ad blocking will be rendered moot.   The tipping point – highlighted in the article’s headline – is the abomination that is the current state of mobile advertising.  Whatever problems we had on the desktop will only get much worse as attention and time shift to the smallest screen.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by Krux. Krux helps more than 180 of the world’s leading media companies and marketers grow revenue and deepen consumer engagement through more relevant, more valuable content, commerce, and media experiences. Industry analysts have repeatedly named Krux a leader and visionary in the data management space, citing its agility, innovation, and independence. Download the reports today to learn more.

Two things can be true at the same time:  yes, ad blockers are opportunistic d-bags and yes, we also need to do a better and more imaginative job of helping marketers engage consumers regardless of what screen they’re glued to.  But since we’re doing all this truth-telling, let’s add a couple more.

True thing number three is that ad blocking is just one of the many symptoms of a digital ad business built on the flawed premise of unlimited supply – the idea that more ads in more places is always part of the answer. As I posted in this space last October, we’ve had 20 years of infinite growth in page views, ad calls and impressions, and today none of it’s all that impressive.  Today’s business is plagued by non-viewable impressions, fraud, ad blocking and the perception of agency sleight of hand that drove the recent ANA/K2 Transparency report.  It might just be time for us to consider a business that leverages scarcity instead.

The final true thing is that the answer to too much advertising isn’t just better advertising. I’ve argued that we’re entering a fundamentally new era in which ‘advertising’ has become a low-value cost center – a commodity whose expense is to be managed by unsentimental procurement people.  It’s not time to fix advertising; it’s time to reinvent our approach to creating value for marketers and consumers…to work with the entire palette of marketing disciplines and tools.

The day we all embrace post-advertising strategy and creativity is the day ad blocking becomes completely irrelevant.

31
Shares
Share with your friends










Submit

End of Days.

102
Shares
Share with your friends










Submit

End of DaysThe leading advertiser organization in the world – the ANA — just issued a 58-page report accusing its ad agency “partners” of everything from shady buying practices to kickbacks to conflict of interest.  The ad agencies’ own trade group – the 4As – has naturally cried foul, arguing that they should have been fully involved in the investigation all along (not unlike having the defense team sit on a grand jury).  But the whole food fight about whether the report was fair or accurate or should have named names just distracts us from the big truth at its core:  The entire premise of the media agency has timed out.

It’s being argued by agency defenders that the ANA’s motive is money and control;  that advertisers are trying to squeeze even more blood from the empty stone of agency margins, and that advertiser procurement practices and policies have been destructive to the advertiser/agency ‘partnership.’  That may well be true, but think about this:  would the ANA have even considered such a drastic and destructive step if advertisers hadn’t already pretty much given up on the media agency?  The media agency problem isn’t the K2 report.  The problem is relevance and time.  The problem is rust.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by Krux. Krux helps more than 180 of the world’s leading media companies and marketers grow revenue and deepen consumer engagement through more relevant, more valuable content, commerce, and media experiences. Industry analysts have repeatedly named Krux a leader and visionary in the data management space, citing its agility, innovation, and independence. Download the reports today to learn more.

The simple truth is that the media agency is a transactional intermediary in an age where transactions have already been digitized and power and control have shifted from the intermediary to the transacting parties.  Travel booking once exclusively belonged to the travel agent; now it’s almost exclusively a direct transaction between the traveler and the carrier or hotel.  There are a hundred more examples of intermediaries being marginalized.  And the media agency position today has the unmistakable feel of a late stage disintegration.

Marketers, publishers, media companies and technologists are all innovating; often for the better, sometimes for the worse, but always with remarkable speed.  The media agency is increasingly seen as a high-priced toll collector who’s adding time and cost but not value to the trip.  A good friend of mine who’s been on the inside of the agency/client relationship argues that the media agency will now and forever more be in a state of perpetual review… yet another sign that the jig is up.

Group M’s Rob Norman writes persuasively about how his company is in a state of massive reinvention; that its investments and partnerships make it a fundamentally different kind of company and change the value equation.  Rob may well be right:  the ultimate spawn of WPP/GroupM/Xaxis may well be successful.  It just won’t be a media agency.  All that’s left for that model are more reviews, continued assault on margins and less relevance.

And rust.

102
Shares
Share with your friends










Submit

Why They Stay… Why They Go.

50
Shares
Share with your friends










Submit

Why They Stay Why They GoThe good news: statistically only 13% of your digital sales workforce is actively looking for another job.  The bad news? Over 50% of your people are open to something new.  And the reasons they’d give for taking that offer or staying put may not really reflect the reality of the decision.

These are just a couple of the top-line findings of “Why They Stay, Why They Go: The Upstream/SellerCrowd Mobility Study.”  Clay Gran of SellerCrowd and I presented some of the data and conclusions at this week’s Seller Forum in New York, and they challenge some of the conventional wisdom around employee retention.  We’ll release the data formally soon, but this post will give you a sneak peek.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by Krux. Krux helps more than 180 of the world’s leading media companies and marketers grow revenue and deepen consumer engagement through more relevant, more valuable content, commerce, and media experiences. Industry analysts have repeatedly named Krux a leader and visionary in the data management space, citing its agility, innovation, and independence. Download the reports today to learn more.

When we asked front-line sellers which three factors would most likely affect their decision to stay with or leave a company, the most cited reasons were “compensation and goals” “culture/work environment” and “product quality,” in that order.  OK, that seems predictable enough.  But when we asked those actively looking for new jobs (13%) about their current companies, they rated them “poor” on upward mobility (43%) and management quality (41%).  And there was daylight between these and the next set of concerns.

So what were those who called themselves ‘secure and happy’ (32%) most happy about at their current companies?  Across most categories of sellers, “product quality” shot to the top of the list, along with management quality and transparency/honesty.

What does it mean?  The short answer is that people stay because they perceive that your product (and by extension, your company and processes) works.  But if they’re looking, they’re dissatisfied with how they (or the company at large) are being managed and don’t see themselves getting to a level where they can make a difference.  They stay with products and quit managers.

There were a lot more interesting data points and directions, but one jumps out:  The Danger Zone.  You might anticipate that during a seller’s first year on the job, there’s a honeymoon period.  Indeed there is:  46% of sellers describe themselves as secure and happy during year one, and only 9% are having buyer’s remorse and are actively looking. What you might not suspect is just how radically things change in year two:  happiness/security drops off by half (23%) while active job seeking more than doubles (20%).  So at the exact time when you’d be counting on a seller to hit their true productivity window – for your investment to start paying dividends — you are in the most danger of losing them.   Maybe you’re paying too much attention to onboarding and not enough to keeping your best people from going overboard during the choppy seas of year two.

To learn more about the study, contact me or Clay Gran at SellerCrowd.

50
Shares
Share with your friends










Submit

Please. Give.

67
Shares
Share with your friends










Submit

Please GiveThere’s a paradox about what makes great sellers truly great.  Stereotypically, they are portrayed as those who always want more – more material wealth, more victories and more awards.  But the truly great seller is something few really expect:   Generous.

It may be a little jarring to consider, but generosity is the key that unlocks a tremendous array of human achievement, including great sales accomplishment.  The great ones don’t want to be the very best sellers in their industry; they want to be the best sellers for their company, for their customers and for their craft.  Every day they give.  And it makes them rich.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by Krux. Krux helps more than 180 of the world’s leading media companies and marketers grow revenue and deepen consumer engagement through more relevant, more valuable content, commerce, and media experiences. Industry analysts have repeatedly named Krux a leader and visionary in the data management space, citing its agility, innovation, and independence. Download the reports today to learn more.

Average and even moderately successful sellers may end up talking about their customers as grifters talk about their marks:  they are targets to be reached, budgets to be emptied, sheep to be sheared.  But the truly elite – whether because of innate character, maturation or positive influence – never even go there.  They quickly get to a place where they ask themselves what they can do for this customer.  What can they help create?  What can they give?

Generosity is a quality that roots you in the present.  It’s pretty much impossible to do or create something for someone and not stay connected with them in the moment.  The generous are better listeners, better analysts, and better resources. People are naturally attracted to them and want to do business with them.

If you’ve gotten this far and think this post sounds like so much new age hugging, I understand your position.  But let me give you a little gift – a strategy – that you’ll find very useful very soon.

The next time you are looking at an impossible client situation or a towering sales goal and feel paralyzed by the tasks in front of you, put down your work and take ten minutes to give something away.  Write a LinkedIn recommendation for someone; call back that college student who’s looking for advice; introduce two business friends who you think can help each other.  Don’t stop to calculate what you’re going to get back…just give.

Now turn back to the tasks at hand and you will find fresh energy and a clear head.  You’ll now frame the issues around what you’ll build, solve, grow and empower – all generous verbs.  You’ll let go of the outcome, release the pressure and start doing for your customer.

You’ll give.  And you’ll succeed.

67
Shares
Share with your friends










Submit

Getting to the Client.

69
Shares
Share with your friends










Submit

Gettign to the ClientThe headline for this week’s post is one of those sneaky little bits of irony.  A lot of us spend a lot of time and effort “getting to the client.”  But when we do, we don’t end up “getting to the client.”  Let me explain.

Many digital media and tech sellers work diligently to close transactional deals with buyers.  We respond to their RFPs, try to decipher conflicting signals and contradictory requests, and – to the best of our ability – bring them proactive ideas and opportunities.  But when these efforts predictably collapse in despair and recrimination, our boss inevitably says “we’ve got to get to the client!” And he’s right.  Well…half right.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by Krux. Krux helps more than 180 of the world’s leading media companies and marketers grow revenue and deepen consumer engagement through more relevant, more valuable content, commerce, and media experiences. Industry analysts have repeatedly named Krux a leader and visionary in the data management space, citing its agility, innovation, and independence. Download the reports today to learn more.

We take the cue and pursue the client meeting.  But, fatally, we don’t bother to upscale the agenda.  We bring the client the exact same buying decision that got turned down or ignored at the agency.  The client either ignores our outreach, sends us back to the agency or politely listens to our pitch and then does…nothing.  Without realizing it, we brought this customer an issue or opportunity that was below their pay-grade.  We’ve treated them like the appeals court…asking them to overturn the verdict that we lost in the lower court.  To the client, this is no opportunity:  if they change the outcome and put you on the plan, they’ve created a whole new set of problems – an alienated agency, political risk and potentially a shit-storm of POVs and meetings that they really don’t need.

Don’t just get to the client:  get to the client.  Make sure that your client-side agenda is squarely focused on business issues and marketing opportunities.  Don’t help them spend an existing budget; help them justify a new one.  Don’t show them how you’ll reach their current customer; introduce them to the one they haven’t yet met.   Work with the media planning team to fill existing orders: help the client decide what to order next.

I’ve always believed that big decision makers only want to make big decisions.  If you’re going to knock on the client’s door, don’t show up with an agenda that’s two sizes too small.  If you do, she’ll send you packing.

And she’ll be right to do so.  Totally right.

69
Shares
Share with your friends










Submit