Thursday, February 2, 2012

Keep it simple stupid

There has been a steady stream of tweets and blog posts from the intelligentsia attending this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.  One of the better ones comes from Chris Zook (head of strategy at the Bain & Company consultancy) about the importance of simplicity in business.

For those working in a professional services industry this advice is timeless.  Don't assume your clients know what you're talking about when you come in to present a strategy deck, a research readout, an analytics report or what have you.  Give them context, extract key insights, make it simple and actionable, clarify and elucidate and put the data and detail in the appendix.  Ask yourself, if I had to explain this to a 10 year old how would I do it?  Whether your clients agree with your conclusions and recommendations is another matter, but at least they will understand what you are saying.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

YouTube's niche content play

I like the direction that YouTube is taking as it becomes a platform for delivering niche content to users.  This approach aligns with user needs and expectations when they come to the digital medium to fill their informational or entertainment needs.  And, it promises to deliver a better and more value-add experience than broadcast TV's hackneyed one-to-many/uni-directional content delivery model.

While this is just another thread in the paradigm shift away from traditional to non-traditional media platforms, this development will really begin to gain traction as more sponsors realize that :30 TV spots should be treated as just the starting point of the experience that consumers have with their brands.  That requires a change in thinking from brand communications and experiences as reductive/disruptive devices to persuade or sell, to brand comms being narrative-based and on-demand based the needs and wants of the user/viewer.  That change will take some time.  Ultimately, part of the responsibility to drive that change lies with ad agencies - the problem is that too many of the big ad shops make too much money under the traditional TV/advertising model but that will change, slowly, but surely. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

P&G layoff - harbinger of the decline of traditional media?

P&G (the world’s largest marketer) plans to reduce marketing budgets after it was becoming increasingly clear that rising ad costs were adversely effecting margins and that they can deliver more effective and efficient marketing programs through lower cost mediums such as digital.  

To quote P&G CEO Robert McDonald:

There are just so many different media available today and we're quickly moving more and more of our businesses into digital…[i]n the digital space, with things like Facebook and Google and others, we find that the return on investment of the advertising, when properly designed, when the big idea is there, can be much more efficient.

Could this be the event that finally breaks the 50+ year hegemony of the TV and traditional media advertising model?  We’ll see.  As I have posted previously the budgets of most marketers are significantly out of alignment with the media consumption habits of consumers.  

That said, paradigm shifts can take time but once they occur the rules of the game can change pretty swiftly.  A move by a market leader like P&G might be the finally push needed to reach the tipping point.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The march of digitally driven creative destruction continues

No new news here but a good article on on how Barnes and Noble and the publishing industry are still struggling to adapt to the incredible disruption brought about by and the e-reader revolution.

Personally, I am rooting for B&N - I like retail bookstores and I enjoy reading print books. Hopefully the book industry can crack the code but based on what we have seen with other industries it may just be a matter of time before retail bookstores are a thing of the past. While the notion of creative destruction comes with the promise of economic innovation (at least according to Schumpeter), sometimes the upside of that innovation is in the eye of the beholder.