Thursday, July 21, 2011

Media Bites-July 21 2011

Be an asset, not an ass.

I often find writing to be very liberating, especially when I'm filled with frustration over small issues that occur over and over again. In our line of work, we spend a large amount of our day interacting with media account executives for radio, TV, cable, broadcast, digital, and print. If there can be a message put anywhere and sold, someone will sell it and it’s up to us to work with these folks so that our clients get the most bang for their buck. This arrangement should be and has been a win-win for everyone except that what we’re finding lately is a complete lack of enthusiasm for the business. With only a few exceptions, the only time we’re hearing from account reps is when they know there is money on the table. What used to be a beautiful symbiotic relationship has turned into what feels like a bunch of raccoons digging and scrounging for whatever scraps they can get. In response, we thought we would put up a list of do's and don’ts when working with a media firm:

Do introduce yourself with a phone call when you've either taken over an account or been assigned an account. It makes the transition all around much easier.

Do return an email or phone call when we let you know that we followed up on the card/media kit/sponsorship you left with a client. Not doing so leaves the impression of not really giving a damn.

Don't give us the cattle prod. We gave you our reasons for not using the media property. We are never going to tell you share, or budget, even if your management says you must get it. Have your manager call us. We'll tell them the same story.

Do make yourself known to an out of town client of ours. If we aren't there, the connection seems immediately stronger if the client knows we’re dealing with someone local. There is one caveat to remember…let’s us know ahead of time that you’re going in to introduce yourself. Otherwise, it seems like a go around.

Don't ever go around us to get to a client. No matter how you spin it, it’s wrong and you know it. Respect the relationship and we'll include you.

Do reach out more than once a quarter. An email, a text, or a quick call goes a long way. There are many account executives that we only hear from at the end of every quarter. Unfortunately we’ve found that those individuals are the least creative individuals we know. They seem to be the ones that are just there for the order and have no real interest in the company we are trying to serve.

Do resolve billing and make good issues promptly.

Don't bash the competition while we are speaking. Figure out a way to state your case on its own without bashing another media outlet.

Do learn a little bit about other media. If you are selling radio, learn about TV. If you sell TV, research mobile. There is no need to become an expert but it will be helpful to you and your clients to know a little. The internet has a vast amount of resources. Use them. If you want to find it all in one place, take a look at our book, “Your Ad Here: De-mystifying the Business of Media and Advertising”. It’s a short, conversational, easy to understand breakdown of each type of media and how it works.

Do find it within yourself to help us with no guarantee of return. Often times we need a quick piece of research or some insight for a project. There may not be a buy associated with it. Help us out and we won't forget who are friends are.

Don't start the conversation with the question: 'What is their budget'? We won't give you an answer. If you take the time to understand what the client’s challenge is, that builds trust. With trust comes a willingness to share.

Don't take it personally if we don't want to meet for lunch or coffee. And don’t hound us with a call followed by a text followed by an email. We have our reasons for not wanting or needing to meet and usually it’s because we’re busy serving our clients.

People like to do business with people they trust. Make yourself an invaluable asset, not an ass.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Media Bites-April 25 2011

Congratulations! You’re a small business owner. Welcome to the world of making things happen FOR you not TO you. As an owner, one of the very first things you’ll need to do is jump right into is advertising your goods and/or services. It can be a little scary if you don’t know where to start so we’ve compiled a list of ten low cost ways to connect to your customers. You’ll find five of them within this article and the next five we’re saving for our next installment in the Journal.

Tip number one is that you set up a profile on Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook and let prospective clients and customers get to know you. Go ahead and post interesting facts and stories about your industry. Talk about what you do and offer information that people might enjoy reading. Many of these sites include sub-groups where you can drill down and find a more finite group that might be interested in your product or service. For instance, if you sell chocolate, find a group that talks about specialty chocolate. Offer your expertise to the group but don’t try to sell anything. The sales will come when the group starts to see you as a resource.

One of the most important things you will need to do is to create a brand image so tip number two is to create a logo and a brand statement. We know that this can be costly. With revision after revision, a logo can run into the thousands of dollars. But we’ve found that creating these necessary items are no longer costing an arm and a leg. There are many websites available that are built specifically to help you through the process. Most are free for the development but of course when it’s time to buy, you’ll need to pay. Two of the sites we’ve used are www.freelogoservice.com and www.logosnap.com. They’re both full of ideas that will get your creative juices flowing. Both of these sites are broken down by industry. It comes in handy because if you’re an accountant, you likely don’t want to spend your time looking through all the dance and yoga images.

Tip number three is to determine your target audience. You’ll need to think about who your customers might be. Are they male, female, middle aged women, teenagers who skateboard, anyone who loves chocolate? What do they like to do? Where do they congregate? How will they find you? Will they be looking on the web or are they more inclined to read the daily newspaper. This is key when trying to figure out how you will reach them. You can find tips on targeting your audience in our book Your Ad Here: De-Mystifying the Business of Media and Advertising that will help you figure out creative ways of determining your audience.

You’ll need a website so tip number four is to create a Wordpress website. It’s easy to set up your initial site but you’ll definitely need some help customizing once it’s set up. We recommend that you contact Chic Business Support Services for help with this. They’re prices are reasonable and they’re very easy work with.

Tip number five is to go to www.youtube.com and set up your own channel. This service is completely free and your target audience is out there. Make creative videos, offer your goods, services and most especially offer yourself as a resource. Let people see who you are and what you like. It won’t take long before they feel that they know you. And we know that the average person does business with they people they know and trust.

There you have it; the first five tips to low cost advertising for small businesses. The next five tips will be available here soon so keep checking the journal. And be sure to check out our book Your Ad Here: De-Mystifying the Business of Media and Advertising on Amazon.com.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Media Bites January 2011


Adneedle.com Makes Digital Media Planning a Breeze

Chrissie Van Wormer

Michael J Massey

One of the biggest challenges for any business these days is to figure out what is the best method to advertise your goods or services and more importantly where. Certainly the newest and most exciting advertising avenue is digital media. As proponents of all things digital, we have not been surprised that digital placement has grown like wildfire and is currently on track, according to Forrester Research, to reach nearly $55 billion by 2014. This will represent 21% of all marketing money spent as marketers shift dollars away from traditional media toward search marketing, display advertising, email marketing, social media and mobile marketing. For business owners and entrepreneurs, we know from personal experience and from the experience of our buying clients that digital placement is by far the easiest form of media to create, to launch and most importantly to track with real time statistics.

During Forrester Research’s study on how technology can help interactive marketers better integrate search and display media (December 2010), one of the key findings was that respondents to the survey feel that if they could find an online ad management platform that would facilitate measurement and streamline ad campaign processes, the online experience would be less cumbersome and easier to quantify. Well, we’re excited to have one up on the marketers that Forrester’s surveyed. We know there is just such a product and even more exciting than that, it is locally developed and operated.

Adneedle.com is a start-up that, in our opinion as experienced media planners and buyers, is about to change the way online advertising is purchased and reported. Adneedle has been developed over the past year by two young and very talented programmers both of who areGoogle certified along with two very experienced and uniquely qualified marketers. We were thrilled to find out that this forward thinking team has figured out how to blend Facebook and Twitter with google analytics. The really great thing about this product is that the online advertiser is able to view the effectiveness of an entire blended campaign right in Adneedle’s dashboard rather than having to move from google to check a report, to yahoo to check a report, to bing to check a report, to facebook to check a report, and then over to twitter to check yet another report. The analytics from each one of these platforms shows right up in Adneedle in your campaign analysis report. With the capability to view the effectiveness of an entire blended campaign in one single place, the advertiser has the opportunity to make better decisions and ultimately increase response. The system is even designed to deliver media suggestions and offers keywords and strategies for better advertiser results. There is a cool digital meter on the report page that displays how effective your campaign might be as you make your media choices. Adneedle’s unique targeting technology delivers ads to potential customers using a combination of behavioral and geo-targeting. And yes, Adneedle does handle mobile media placement. Beyond everything else we’ve mentioned, it also handles placement across multiple channels which include search, banners, and video ads. You can check Adneedle out for yourself at www.adneedle.com. Sign up and register. There is no fee and there are contracts. An added plus is that since the product caters to small and medium sized businesses, there is technical support available 24 hours a day for anyone who may need additional help in setting up an online campaign. Or maybe you’re not ready to set up a campaign. That’s great, too. Just go in and check it out. Ask questions. Request a demo. And keep in mind that this is a local company who has done something that so far the big boys haven’t figured out.

We’re excited when we come across products like Adneedle and will continue to share these opportunities as we find them. Please check out Your Ad Here: De-Mystifying the Business of Media and Advertising for additional media resources.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Media Bites - January 18 2011

Tweets for a Cause
Michael J Massey
Chrissie Van Wormer

I’m a pop culture and TV fanatic. I’ve even been called the king of useless information. In any conversation about a television show or film I'll feed you an obscure fact about one of the actors, directors or producers that I know you will never have heard before. My standard reads are The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and Ad Age. But my fascination with Hollywood and the entertainment business doesn’t mean I have any respect for it. I’ve never gotten Lady Gaga and no matter how many times I've watched Keeping Up With the Kardashians, I still haven't figured out exactly what it is they do with their lives.


Well, on December 1st, 2010, that all changed when Lady Gaga, the Kardashians, Justin Timberlake, Katie Holmes and Usher launched Digital Life Sacrifice and blanked out their social media profiles vowing not to return until they raised one million dollars for AIDS charities. As part of the campaign, some celebrities were photographed in coffins simulating their own deaths in order to draw awareness and donations to the cause. Leigh Blake, president of Keep a Child Alive was ecstatic with the results. She notes in a recent interview, "We're sort of trying to make the statement that why should we care so much about the death of one celebrity when millions and millions are dying all around us.” “In fact,'” she continues “Lady Gaga has made an enormous contribution already, attracting seven million Twitter followers and twenty four million Facebook fans.” And fans equal charitable donations. The current total to help fight HIV/AIDS in Africa and India currently stands at $1,111,885.


According to the buylife.org, these funds will go a very long way. In Durban, South Africa, $20 buys one hot nutritious meal. In Uganda, $50 buys food for an entire month and in India, $250 buys educational supplies for 50 children for a month.


So let’s think about this. There is most definitely a way to monetize all those Facebook fans and Twitter followers. If we add the Twitter followers for Selena Gomez, Ashton Kutcher, Kim Kardashian, Ryan Seacrest, Demi Moore, Jimmy Fallon and Khloe Kardashian and ask each one to contribute just $1 dollar, there would be a fund totaling $21,606,150. Imagine how impactful and meaningful that would be.


Here's a challenge for you. Look to your own Twitter followers and Facebook fans. What if you asked each one of them to contribute $1 to the charity that is near and dear to your heart? Make it easy for them to do so by setting up a Twitpay account for donations.


As for me, the next time I find myself resenting The Kardashians or wondering what the heck Lady Gaga is trying to stand for, I'll look back on the Digital Life Sacrifice Campaign humbly and hand over some money to Autism Speaks.

Related articles:

Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, and Usher will quit Twitter for AIDS charity

About the Death of Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Media Bites-December 23 2010

Why you need to care about net neutrality and the never ending discussion about content

The FCC recently passed the net neutrality rules that basically dictates how phone and cable companies treat the ever increasing amount of web traffic. This prevents cable providers from restricting broadband access to competitors. Sounds like it would be beneficial for everyone involved, right. Consumers can get the content they would like from where ever they'd like and producers can distribute on multiple platforms.

Not so fast.

What this is really about is charging more for usage and downloads. Comcast, Time Warner, Cox and any other carriers that have a bundled plan charge everyone roughly the same to watch the content on TV and to download music and videos via broadband access.

Now the service providers will have the opportunity to charge more for heavier usage. Want to watch the YouTube video from Aunt Sally-that will be $5,00. Need to access some videos from the New York Public Library for your daughter's social studies project-$10.00. And that's not all. This will impact writers, producers and other creative development professionals that make a living through the power of TV and on line entertainment. The Writers Guild of America East was recently quoted as saying, " our members write most of what people watch on TV and increasingly, on line. This ruling diminishes their ability to create and distribute innovative content." And the opponents extend to both private and public sectors.

Commissioner Robert McDowell commented in a Wall Street Journal article that, " this is an unprecedented step to expand government reach into the internet by attempting to regulate its inner workings." Many watch dog groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation have cause for concern.

No one knows for sure exactly where this is going. But you can bet that at some point it will affect your wallet.

Have an opinion about net neutrality? Post a comment or send a tweet to @mediaman64




Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Media Bites-November 23 2010

Digital Media 101

Michael J Massey and Chrissie Van Wormer

Digital media is new, exciting and changing so rapidly that can be confusing even for the most seasoned advertiser. If you decide to look up the Wikipedia definition of digital media, your eyes will likely glaze over after the first sentence. Suffice it to say that digital media includes electronic mediums such as website placement, mobile marketing and all wireless technologies.

The most sensible place to start, when trying to understand digital media, is with web placement. Web placements are the headers, footers and dancers who seem to be gyrating across our screens each time we log in. There are standard sizes that all media properties will adhere to based on standards set by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB). Those sizes in the digital world are known as skyscrapers, leaderboards, and peel backs. Let’s take a look at each one for a better understanding of what each will do for you as an advertiser.

As you can imagine, a skyscraper is a tall and narrow banner ad usually placed to the right of content on a Web page. Standard dimensions for a skyscraper ad are 160 X 600 pixels. Like another popular type of Internet ad, the leaderboard which is defined below, the skyscraper offers an advertiser a large space for a message. The nice thing about the skyscraper ad is that it remains at least partly visible as the viewer scrolls down the page. One of the other things that make it nice is it can be either static, meaning there is no movement or animated. When the user clicks on the ad, it will take them to your site.

Leaderboards are a popular type of banner placement and can also be static or animated. They have a standard dimension of 728 x 90 pixels. A leaderboard is the width of the page and typically lies between the masthead (the title area at the top of a Web page) and content. Leaderboards are thought to offer advertisers a great deal of space in a prominent position without intruding on content. Internet advertising borrows leaderboard from sports, where it refers to a sign board displaying the rankings of participants.

Peel backs are the placements that break away from the corner of the page when your mouse is scrolled over them. Peel back ads invite users to “peel” the publisher’s homepage to reveal the advertisement underneath. Initially, when the page is loaded, the user sees only a small “teaser” triangle on the upper corner of the page. Using their mouse, the user will “peel” the publisher’s page to uncover the content. The nice thing about peel backs is that they give advertisers high visibility. When the ad expands fully, the content lays over the page content and really focuses more attention on the marketing message. Advertisers can then deepen their message with rich messaging with includes things like video and animation. Peel back ads are a rarity and therefore manage to engage users a little more easily. Plus they appeal to the user’s natural curiosity to uncover what is hidden beneath them.

Drop down ads are those ads that when you scroll over them with your mouse, will drop down to reveal the ad. And then of course there are the fixed footers and headers that are approximately 960 x 30. These are not as prevalent but are great because they keep your ad message front and center while the user is scrolling down the page.

The last one that everyone is aware of is the “pop up” ads. These can be annoying and many computers are set to block them so you’ll want to consider that before you decide to go in that direction.

Pricing for web ad placements are normally done on a Cost Per Thousand (CPM) impressions. A cost per thousand impressions is simply the amount it will cost the advertiser to reach 1,000 viewers. To explain further, let’s say you’re looking to place an ad on your local CBS affiliate website. A skyscraper ad on the site offers a guaranteed delivery of 100,000 impressions. What that means is that your ad will be seen 100,000 times during a specified period of time. Be sure to communicate your goals and needs to your account executive to ensure you’re getting exactly what you need.

The best way to know if you’re getting the 100,000 impressions is if your web platform will charge you on a Cost Per Click (CPC) basis. A cost per click means you’ll be charged each time someone clicks their mouse on your ad bringing them to your site or page. Unfortunately, there are very few sites that will price their inventory that way. Cost Per Click ads will give you a much better indication of the success of your web campaign. So to insure that you’re getting what you paid for, be sure to ask for the click through rate for every ad position you buy. The click through rate is obtained by dividing the number of users who clicked on an ad on a web page by the number of times the ad was delivered (impressions). For example, your ad is “delivered” each time a user enters the publisher’s website. Let’s say that on Sunday afternoon, 100 users saw your ad and of those 100 viewers, 2 of them clicked on it. In that case the click through rate would be 2%. The site you are considering advertising on will have the data you need and from there you can determine whether or not you want to continue advertising in that spot or with the web entity at all.

An article about digital media cannot be complete without talking about rich media. Rich media are the added opportunities web advertising offers. For instance, maybe you have a television spot or a radio ad that you would like to add to your web ad. Or it’s possible that you’d like to lure potential buyers in with a game they can play that offers a coupon or a higher percentage off merchandise. Each one of these opportunities will enrich the experience you are offering your target audience and in turn pique their interest in your product more than a static (stationary) ad.

If you are considering placing web advertising, there are three things you really need to do. First and foremost is to do your homework. Know what the pricing structure will be. No one likes surprises and they can be costly. Second, know how many impressions will be delivered. It’s important to know how many people are looking at the website you’re considering using. And third, understand the reporting. Be sure to find out when you will be receiving the analytics. You may need to ask for it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Media Bites November 15 2010

Love, Advertising Style

Michael Massey & Chrissie Van Wormer

The character Don Draper on Mad Men finally gives up on his futile attempt to hide and be someone he isn’t. In an unexpected twist, early on in the life of the series, it is revealed that Don Draper is really Dick Whitman, a name discarded when he took on the identity of a Korean War buddy who was killed in action.

In a brash move during a trip to Disneyland with his kids, Don (or is it Dick?) asks his secretary to marry him before he has even broken up with Faye, his current significant other. Once he finally mans up and tells Faye about his upcoming nuptials, she retorts, “I hope you let her know that you only like the beginning.” And ever since Ms. Blankenship keeled over at her desk, Megan has made herself indispensable to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Yes, indispensable in ways you’ll love to imagine.

This season served up less of the psychotic ice princess ex-wife Betty Draper. Divorcing Don and marrying Henry may have been Betty’s way of finding happiness; but instead, she seems to paddle along a never ending stream of hatred for Don in a quest to find herself.

Peggy Olsen has gone from the meek, mousy secretary of Don Draper to the no holds barred, marijuana smoking, hard drinking copy writer who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. In the episode, “Suitcase”, she and Don spend a long evening together drinking, eating, smoking, sharing intimate and as yet unknown details of their lives while working on a campaign for Samsonite. While Peggy is busy sleeping off the buzz on the office couch, Don conceives a campaign and shares the executions with Peggy when she wakes in the morning. His surprise and, can that be respect?, register on his face when she points at each one in turn and states, “This one won’t render in print.” “How can we shoot a TV spot with this copy?” “If we say this, don’t we really mean that?” His response? “Why do you have to shit all over this?” Peggy knows at that moment that the tables have turned. He knows Peggy has his back and Peggy knows she has Don’s respect.

This juicy, saucy, sexy series continues to seduce young and old alike to the ad business. Mad Men makes being ad men (and women) realize that what gets done at the office, stays at the office.