Friday, December 24, 2010

More tipping points have tipped as we tip a glass to 2010

Online advertising to eclipse newspapers ads with video a key driver. Display closing in on paid search. Sneaky contextual ads not fooling DVR owners and liberal arts still matter for fostering entrepreneurship.

When the year-end ad spending totals come in early next month, many forecasters expect to see more dollars under the online advertising column than the newspaper advertising column in 2010 -- including advertising in newspaper online editions. Assuming these projections hold true, it would mark another major milestone for online advertising.

"It's something we've seen coming for a long time, but this is a tipping point," said eMarketer CEO Geoff Ramsey, in a statement. "Marketers are devoting bigger shares of their budgets to digital media as they see more customers shifting time toward the Web."

Ramsey’s widely cited research expects online ad spending to grow 13.9 percent to $25.8 billion, while advertisers are expected to spend just $22.8 billion on print newspaper ads -- down 8.2 percent year-over-year. Ramsey told Online Media Daily Tuesday that increased consumer use of the Web isn't the only reason marketers are putting more dollars online. "The bad economy has actually accelerated the shift to digital advertising," Ramsey said. "Online ads -- especially search ads -- are increasingly seen by many marketers as a more reliable bet than print ads, which are often difficult to tie to a measurable financial result."

By 2014, eMarketer predicts that growth in spending on online display ads will outstrip that for paid search -- although search will continue to take a greater share of dollars. This year, both search and display are on track to outpace overall U.S. online ad spending, estimated by eMarketer at just under 14 percent. The increase in display advertising will be driven partly by the dramatic rise predicted in online video advertising, set to grow by at least 34 percent every year through 2014. Banner ads will experience more moderate gains of between 7 percent and 16 percent annually, while rich media spending will stagnate.

Do Timeshifting Viewers Pay Attention to commercials in playback?

If you missed our post last week, we shared our take on the new research showing internet viewership has caught up TV. On Tuesday Nielsen trumpteted new findings trying to debunk the myth that time-shifting DVR viewers are NOT skipping through the ads. The DVR is now in nearly 40 percent of U.S. homes. As Nielsen noted, it’s a double-edged sword for advertisers. On one hand, DVRs enable TV networks to hold on to viewers who use time-shifting to watch their favorite shows when it is convenient for them and who might otherwise seek alternate ways to watch programming – or not watch at all. On the other hand, DVRs allow viewers to skip content that doesn’t interest them, including commercials, potentially undermining TV’s longtime ad-supported business model. In its latest report on DVR usage, The Nielsen Company highlighted a number of key findings, including:
• Viewers do watch commercials on their DVRs. Among DVR homes, playback lifts commercial ratings by 44 percent among 18-49s after three days. Among all 18-49 year-old viewers DVR playback adds 16% to commercial ratings after three days
• More than 38% of DVR users are over age 45.
• When DVR playback is included, DVR households watch more primetime programming than non-DVR households.
• Overall, 49% of time-shifted primetime broadcast programming is played back the same day it was recorded, and 88% is played back within 3 days.
• DVR playback peaks at 9pm and 10pm.
Download the full report DVR Use in the U.S.

Here’s our take: While it’s true about 40 percent of US homes have DVRs, and we agree with Nielsen that DVR owners watch more TV and commercials overall than they would otherwise, and the contextual ads within popular shows are getting better and more seamless. However, Nielsen found the most popular time for playback mode is 8-9pm prime time. And as Don Seaman, director of communications analysis for the media agency MPG [] told the New York Times earlier this week, even if DVR users are theoretically watching commercials in playback mode, they’re not doing so with their undivided attention – they’re the ones most likely to be milti-taksing he said, -- texting, Facbooking etc during the commercials, using that as “down time” to do other things until the commercial is over.”

Why liberal arts still matter….entrepreneurship

If you think innovation is the province of those trained in engineering, computer science and high finance, we’d like to remind you that great ideas can come from anyone, anywhere any time, and we suggest your organization makes a full on effort in 2011 to expand its horizons beyond the Product Development Group. Peter Katopes, Interim President, of LaGuardia Community College in Queens, NY had a great Letter to the Editor in Tuesday’s New York Times that caught our attention.

Here’s the gist of it: “If it is true that the ‘jobs of the future’ will be different from those of the present and that we need the ‘best and the brightest minds’ to confront future challenges, then what could we better offer our young people than to train their minds through the liberal arts? To confront problems that have not been encountered before requires both a grounding in the past and the skills and understanding to make sense of today’s world.

As for the question of jobs, we hear much about the need for entrepreneurs in business and technology, but what we also need for future prosperity will be an entrepreneurship of the imagination, encouraged by a rigorous immersion in the liberal arts, which might lead to currently unthought-of solutions to currently unimagined problems.“
Amen Peter.

Have a safe, happy Holiday and let’s hit the ground running together in 2011.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Internet Viewership Catches Up to TV

Income still a factor in digital divide. Twitter use overstated?

While many have predicted that the Internet would inevitably become the most-watched communications medium some day, a new Forrester Research study confirms that day may be already here. The average U.S. household watches 13 hours weekly of traditional broadcast TV, equaling the same amount of hours spent online, according to Forrester. The report, released Monday, bases the findings on Forrester's survey of more than 30,000 consumers.

As you might expect, Gen Yers, ages 18 to 30, spent equal or more time with the Internet, and for the first time, Gen Xers ages 31 to 44 followed suit. Younger Boomers, ages 45 to 54, also now spend an equal amount of time with both media. Researchers said the amount of time spent watching TV has remained constant in the past five years, but Internet use has risen 121 percent since 2005.

Our take? It’s not so much the device, it’s the convenience factor of the web and the feeling of control. Consumers (and business decision makers) aren’t going to be told what to watch and when. They’ll consume it on their own terms--if you're relevant.

Look at mobile for instance. The percentage of mobile users who report texting on a monthly basis jumped from 61 percent from 54 percent, with an increasing amount of older users communicating beyond phone calls. In fact, one in four online mobile owners now log on to the mobile Internet. More than one-third of Gen Yers online mobile consumers connect at least monthly. About 200 million consumers now access their Facebook pages through a mobile device globally, according to Forrester.

The Forrester study found nearly one-quarter of U.S. interactive marketers plan to pilot mobile search programs in the next 12 months. Meanwhile, as Online Media Daily reported yesterday, the convenience of “search anywhere, anytime” has become a major attraction for mobile users. About 16 percent of online mobile users now use their mobile phone to check news, sports, or weather, and 13 percent look up directions or maps. When Forrester analyzed individuals who access the mobile Internet at least weekly, the numbers skyrocketed to 60 percent and 52 percent, respectively. Researchers indicate news, stocks and sports scores are what they’re seeking most although we suggest they’re not looking at music, event tickets and adult entertainment. Most telling for us is that the heaviest mobile users are most likely male and college-educated, and their average household income is more than $92,000.

So the web, for all its open access, democratization of the world’s information remains tilted toward the more affluent and better educated members of the populace. Internet usage still tilts toward the affluent and the well-educated.

Household income remains the greatest predictor of Internet use for Americans, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center. In both their access to and use of the Internet and a suite of other technological devices and applications, households earning more than $75,000 a year significantly outpace lower-earning households, particularly those making less than $30,000 a year.

While 95 percent of high-income households use the Internet at home in some fashion, just 57 percent of the poorest do. The well-off are also more likely to own cellphones, computers, e-readers and other entertainment devices.

Unsurprisingly, the wealthy engage in online commerce and search for health information more often. However, while there is relatively little disparity across income brackets for consumption of television and print news sources, the richest households are more than twice as likely as the poorest to read online news.

“The correlation between income and participation in many Internet activities might be expected,” said Jim Jansen, a senior fellow at Pew. “What is surprising is the scale. It really shows the impact that income has on leveraging the advantages of the Internet.”

OMG! Who uses twitter?

A new study released this week by the Pew Research Center found that only 8 percent of Americans who were active on the Internet are enthusiastic users of twitter and only about 2 percent were extremely active/daily users. This compares to 74 percent of adult Americans who actively use the Internet. Among the highly active, they check in several times a day to see primarily what new content has been posted. As expected, the heaviest users were techies, marketers and young urbanites, but surprisingly, Latinos and African Americans were twice as likely as whites to use it – Pew did not have an explanation for that and that would sure balance the research pointing to the affluent hogging their share of the world’s bandwidth.

So, what’s all this mean for B2B marketers? It means your customers (and their bosses) need a compelling story about what makes your product/service so great. You need a story that works as well in words and pictures as it does in video form and on a mobile device. You need a story that’s stays fresh and relevant, but at the same time, can be told as well next Thursday or three weeks from today as it can right now.

Next time we’ll talk about thought leadership content that’s dynamic and real-time yet has sustainable shelf life. It ain’t easy, but what really is these days?


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Ad spending to end 2010 on uptick. Modest growth projected for 2011

More ways to reach consumers. Harder to connect with them.

Up, down and sideways. How’s that for clarity? Forecasters speaking at yesterday’s UBS global media and communications conference in NYC predicted that 2010 would end with an increase ranging from 5 to 7 percent in worldwide ad spending over last year. For example, ad revenue for Time Warner's publishing unit was up 5 percent through September after declines of 10 percent and 22 percent in 2008 and 2009, respectively. The total number of ad pages industry-wide declined 1.6 percent through September after declines of 11.7 percent in 2008 and 25.6 percent in 2009, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

Time Warner announced Monday a reorganization of its sales and marketing units to make it easier for marketers to buy across media properties and platforms. Industry wide U.S. media companies and ad companies have been benefiting from an uptick in spending on TV and Internet ads. Spending on TV ads in the U.S. is expected to climb 7.7 percent to $56.5 billion in 2010, while outlays on Internet ads are expected to grow 13.8 percent to $23.1 billion, according to Zenith Optimedia.

Spending on digital ads remains one of the bright spots in the business, ad executives say. GroupM said it expects global ad spending on Internet ads to overtake spending on newspaper ads at some point in 2012.

As for 2011, most forecasters at yesterday’s UBS media conference expected muted growth in 2011—something in the 4 to 5 percent range as there will not be a plethora of biannual or quadrennial sports/political events to give the ad economy a boost.

As Danielle Sacks noted in Fast Company recently, the explosion of search, geotargeting, the iPad, mobile apps and other platforms give marketers an unprecedented number of tools to work with to pinpoint messaging to target customers. But all those options—which we feel are still in the “experimental phase” for many media decision makers—mean more fragmented media budgets and fragmented consumer attention. Ironically, there have never been more ways to reach consumers, but it’s never been harder to connect with them.

Whether you’re a media owner, B2B marketer or analyst, here’s our take for 2011. The opportunities and dollars are out there—and so are your customers--but we’re in a very opportunistic short-term buying cycle. Customers are armed with more ammunition than ever before. They’re going to be extremely choosy before committing to “sweaty palms” purchasing decisions. As a result, we expect media buyers will be constantly tweaking and revising their budgets.

The days of the 12-month or 24-month “schedule” are fading fast in the rearview mirror. You can still get that business over the same time horizon, but you’re going to have to keep winning that business every couple of months.

If you’re in B2B then we advise you to follow the 4 Bs: Be fast. Be smart. Be agile. Be adaptable.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Food for Thought

Stop your bellyaching. Reduce restrictions on education, science and entrepreneurship and let high potential startups get big fast.

If you’re going to a Thanksgiving gathering of more than three or four people this week, chances are the dinner table conversation will eventually veer toward politics and the economy. Trust us on this. The football games. All your nieces and nephews are way above average in everything they do, and Aunt Mildred’s gall bladder operation will get tiresome after an hour or so.

While your relatives are moaning about their bloated tummies and underfed 401(k)s, try this for fun. Remind them that (a) we have a lot to be thankful for and (b) economists have predicted 27 of the last three recessions and the Great Economic Disruption we’re still struggling to emerge from wasn’t technically a recession--much less a depression.

Say what?

That’s right. It’s just been a period of extremely “slow growth” according to Forbes Publisher, Rich Karlgaard’s latest blog post

Now you might get a fork in the eye from a family member who’s recently lost a job, a home, been transferred far away or been forced into early retirement. But Kaarlgard argues we’ve been so accustomed to economic growth rates of four percent or more, that when it gets down to one or two percent, it actually feels like a contraction.

Since 2008 the U.S. economy has performed slightly better than flat. In 2008, 2009 and (projected) 2010, the U.S. GDP was (and is), $14.3 trillion, $14.2 trillion and $14.6 trillion.

Experts say the American economy has averaged 3.3 percent growth annually since World War II. But even small changes in GDP cause big swings in stock market values, investor animal spirits, and consumer sentiment, says Karlgaard. That’s why 4 percent growth feels like a boom, 2 percent growth feels like a recession, and flat feels like the 1930s. Karlgaard argues that America is in a “growth recession” which is anemic growth of less than three percent, but still growth statistically speaking.

The Kauffman Foundation, says the key to getting the economy booming again is directly correlated to startups that get big.
Kauffman’s Carl Schramm has said on several occasions that “the single most important contributor to a nation’s economic growth is the number of startups that grow to a billion dollars in revenue within 20 years.” Schramm says the U.S. economy, given its large size, needs to incubate 75 to 125 billion-dollar startups per year to feed the country’s post World War II rate of growth. Faster growth requires even more successful startups.

While the strength of the Forune 1000 certainly helps the overall economy, entrepreneurship has always been the key. But, even though small business is credited with creating the bulk of new jobs, Schramm says that’s not enough either.
He says we need an “X-factor” –a hundred or so companies, per year, that launch, find a market, execute, scale, learn, adjust and sail over the billion-dollar mark within two decades. They don’t have to be Googlesque. But they’ve got to be bigger than Mom, Pop and Uncle Joe.

If we’re going to get those 100 stars to the launching pad, Schramm says we better get serious about removing the tax and regulatory barriers for these kinds of startups with the potential to scale.

For example: how about any immigrant who graduates from a U.S. university should get a green card along with his/her diploma? So should any immigrant who starts a business that grows to more than 5 people on the payroll. Ambitious immigrants, disproportionately, create growth companies.

Chances are there’s a family elder around your Thanksgiving table that fits this description. They may not know an app from a nap, but they probably had super-size helpings of courage (and cajones) and didn't stop looking for new customers and serving their existing customers just because times got tough. We guarantee you’ll learn something.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quantitative Easing Not Relieving Qualitative Pain

But, stocks, housing, private sector jobs and Wall Street bonuses are on the rise. Financial, tech and airline sectors are rebounding with marketing dollars in tow. Why B2B marketers need to act now.

Maybe it took what the President called a good old fashioned “shellacking” of his party in last week’s midterm elections to get the Administration to see how far out of favor they have fallen from the business community, not to mention conservative and independent voters. When we say business community, we’re talking everyone from your local small businesses to the Fortune 500. Mr. Obama said he needed to "make clear to the business community, as well as to the country, that the most important thing we can do is to boost and encourage our business sector and make sure that they're hiring.”

Business runway getting longer

“The legislative uncertainty that’s kept businesses on their heels the past several years is starting to lift,” said Jeffrey Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial [], whom several of us met yesterday at a financial advisor conference in New York. “The Fed’s been a little clearer about what it wants to do and that’s giving businesses a longer runway.”

As just about everyone on the planet knows by now, the Federal Reserve said it would buy $600 billion of U.S. government bonds over the next eight months to drive down interest rates and encourage more borrowing and growth. The strategy, officially known as “quantitative easing” (QE2) has had a positive effect on the financial markets, but could backfire in the long run.

If not managed carefully, the Fed’s spending spree on government bonds could be highly inflationary, since it would flood the economy with money and raise worries about too much government spending. Also, it could continue driving down the value of the U.S. dollar which gets other countries pretty pissed. Why? Because a weaker dollars hurts their exports and can spike inflation in their own countries as outside capital surges in from investors seeking better returns than they’re finding in U.S. markets. The Prez may want to wear a helmet and mouth guard to the G-20 Summit starting in South Korea tomorrow.

That said, we like E2’s chances of succeeding at this stage of the business cycle if it’s deployed gradually and intelligently – two big IFs. In addition to the impact of cheaper borrowing, higher stock prices (see below) could encourage households to spend more and businesses to invest more, and a weak dollar could make U.S. exports cheaper and thus easier to sell in normal times.

Why B2B marketers need to act now

Instead of waiting around for the all-clear signal for the government: here are some of our own leading indicators that the worst is over and now is the time to invest for the surge in consumer and B2B demand that’s likely to pass you by if you’re not ready:

Finance and tech ad rebound continues in business magazines

According to MediaWeek data released last week, ad pages in Forbes are up a whopping 353 percent from this time a year ago, Fortune is up 88 percent, Fast Company is up nearly 58 percent, Entrepreneur is more than 52 percent ahead of last year’s pace and Wired is up 11.4 percent. The leading brands depend overwhelmingly on the technology and financial services sector and generally run longer and more complex media schedules as they have to reach buyers in a long-term sales cycle with multiple purchase decision influencers to win over.

Airlines rebounding

After collectively losing $26 billion during the previous two years, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the majority of national and international carriers are reporting one of their most profitable quarters in years (for the 3 months ended 9/30) and they’re on track to be in the black again by nearly $9 billion. IATA says average fares for first-class and business travel within North America are up a whopping 140 percent from this time a year ago and up about 20 percent for travel to Europe. Air travel is one of the first things to go when consumers and businesses are pessimistic about their bottom lines. We’re very bullish on this trend and travel-related advertising dollars should start flowing back to leading brands in all media categories serving consumer and B2B.

Wall Street bonuses up

Investment banks and financial firms are planning to dole out larger paychecks and bonuses this year than in 2009. Top Wall Street pay consultant Alan Johnson says he expects compensation by Wall Street firms to rise 5 percent in 2010. The Wall Street Journal projected a similar rise. A recent survey of financial firms by our friends at eFinancial Careers said they expect higher pay in 2010 than they received a year ago. While the number of people working in high finance is tiny compared to the number of people working on Main Street, they account for a disproportionate share of wealth (and consumer spending) and that usually trickles down into main street as well as ad spending by Main Street-supported businesses.

Stock markets up

As of this posting, the Dow and S&P 500 are both up about 8.8 percent for the year and the broader based Wilshire 5000 is up nearly 11 percent. Investors are showing more confidence in the equity markets and have reduced their cash holdings to 17 percent from 21 percent according to a recent Capgemini survey of high net worth individuals. Add to this microscopic interest rates and the likelihood that the Bush tax cuts are likely to be extended by at least one or two more years according to LPL’s Kleintop – “it’s the legislative path of least resistance” – and you’ve got a pretty favorable equities climate.

Private sector job gain

Sure unemployment’s stuck at 9.6 percent, but while the government is shedding jobs at a disturbing clip, more private sector jobs have been created this year than during the entire Bush administration. That’s right. 2010 has had more private job creation than during the entire 8 year tenure of George W. Bush.
According to The Department of Labor, this is the ninth straight month of private sector job growth in the midst of a devastating recession that has put a serious strain mostly on the poor and middle class. There have been a total of 863,000 private sector jobs created in 2010, exceeding the total created under the Bush/Cheney regime. We don’t make this stuff up, the DOL does.


Existing-home sales rose again in September, affirming that a sales recovery has begun, according to the National Association of Realtors. Existing-home sales, jumped 10 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of over 4.5 million in September from a 4.1 million in August. In a late October news release, Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said the housing market is in the early stages of recovery. “A housing recovery is taking place but will be choppy at times depending on the duration and impact of a foreclosure moratorium. But the overall direction should be a gradual rising trend in home sales with buyers responding to historically low mortgage interest rates and very favorable affordability conditions,” he said.


Whether or not we ever return to a 95 to 96 percent rate of “full employment,” the steady-paycheck lifestyle of a loyal employee dedicating one’s career to a single large manufacturing or corporate service entity is pretty much over.

If you’ve ever thought about starting your own business, read Seth Godin’s recent post How can you do it?!

The timing may never be better.

Remember, things were never quite as good as they seemed in the frenzied years leading up to the Great Disruption, and now they’re not as bad as the media, economists and out-of-favor politicians would lead you to believe. The time strike is while the iron’s getting hot; not when it looks, smells and feels like it really is hot. By that time it’s too late as someone else has already taken the iron and formed it into their own shape and vision.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Device Owners More Comfortable With Mobile Advertising

The corporate and affluent set use social media, but rules change when time is a more precious commodity than money. Embedded links make case studies, white papers come to life.

Late last week, the research firm Nielsen Company, released a summary version of its survey of more than 5,000 consumers who already own a tablet computer, eReader, netbook, media player or smartphone.

When it comes to advertising, 57 percent of iPad owners -- and 59 percents of connected devices users generally -- show a willingness to accept advertising in return for free access. That said, acceptance of ads should not be mistaken for engagement with ads. Almost half of iPad owners (48%) and 44 percent of connected device owners expressed a neutral attitude toward seeing ads on their gadgets. Neutral meaning that like broadcast television users, they “don’t particularly enjoy” seeing the ads, but will still tolerate them to get the content free of charge.

Neilsen researchers said iPad owners indicated a greater likelihood to engage with ads they find interesting than iPhone users or connected device owners as a whole. And it's not necessarily because of splashier ads on the tablet. For example, 40 percent of iPad users said they are more likely to click on ads that are simple text ads compared to 25 percent of iPhone and all connected device users. At the same time, 46 percent of iPad owners said they enjoy ads with interactive features versus 26 percent of iPhone users and 27 percent of overall connected device owners.
We tend to agree with Online Media Daily who weighed in: “Perhaps in part because of the novelty, iPad users just appear to be more into ads now. That translates into higher conversions. After viewing an ad, iPad users are also more likely to make a purchase either via a PC or in a physical store.”

The Affluent Like Social Media, Too

A new survey from SEI Networks found that seven out of ten people with net worth of $5 million or more are on Facebook or a similar social media site. That proportion is significantly higher than the population at large, with 61 percent of U.S. adults using social networks according to Pew Research Center.

Among the 70 percent who reported using social networks, half said they use Facebook, 37 percent said they visit YouTube, and 35 percent use LinkedIn. Researchers said the high proportion of wealth people using social media is especially noteworthy because these individuals tend to skew older than the general population, defying the conventional wisdom that older adults don't use social media as much as younger people.

Should high-end and B2B advertisers plunge into social media?

Yes and no. First of all, we think the usage of social networking may be directionally accurate, but among affluent decision makers (both at home and at their jobs) our experience is that LinkedIn (professional networking site) is probably getting much higher regular usage than Facebook and Youtube for important information exchange instead of entertainment. As SEI points out, the high penetration of social networks among the pretty rich doesn't necessarily translate into frequent use, simply because these affluent individuals often don't have the time, according to SEI. Less than one in five (17.4%) of respondents said they use social media on a daily basis, compared to 38% of the population at large. Separately, new research from Spectrem Group showed that the most popular careers among individuals heading households worth $5 million or more are senior corporate executives, business owners and physicians or dentists -- occupations which don't leave much time for idle Facebook surfing.

Digital agency Whitehorse says in a recent report that 42 percent of B2B marketers now have people working at least part time on social media activities. But, executive buy in is still lagging behind (36 percent of B2B marketers in the Whitehorse survey says there’s still “low executive interest.”

3 emerging trends in corporate use of social media

Jesse Stenchek’s Smart Blog on Social Media had a nice piece today on three emerging trends in corporate social media: reaching out to customers, remembering who’s in charge and no single department controls social media.

Embedded links make case studies, white papers come to life. Just keep em short.

Surprise findings from an Eccola Media survey of 500 B2B decision makers and influencers found that white papers and a case studies are still attracting their attention. The decrease in consumption of written content in digital form was replaced by an increase in downloading and printing of written content. By including links to media files in your thought leadership content, there’s a 93 percent chance that buyers click through and 80 percent of the time, influencers will say the media files favorably increased the value of that content.

What’s the optimal length for a white paper these days? You guessed it, six pages, not 20 and always include an executive summary. We also recommend including “key take-ways” at the begging of each chapter or section. What’s the biggest impediment to white paper adoption. “Poor writing,” according to Eccola who advises marketers to leave the technical writing to the writers, not the techies. Amen to that.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blackberry Enters the Tablet Fracas

Battle over corporate mindshare of mobile heats up. Battle over disgruntled talent should drive corporate knowledge capture arena. Hottest areas for talent are hybrid roles that previously didn’t exist.

In case you missed it, Research in Motion, best known for its best-selling Blackberry corporate texting and PDA devices announced Monday that is has entered the tablet computer arena. The Blackberry Playbook will target corporate users (no surprise) and will get a leg up on the Apple iPad in at least one important area for business marketers – it can display Web pages that are created via Adobe Flash oftware, something that iPad currently cannot. Our prediction is this: B2B marketers will look first to reach target customers on whatever device they’re using, regardless of who makes it or how snazzy the features. The battle for the corporate share of the mobile marketplace should be a great one to watch as that will likely determine the flow of ad dollars in the B2B arena. We’re hoping for a long-hard fought battle that will raise the bar for innovation and make mobile advertising and sponsorship, a must-have on everyone’s budget by 2011.

“Take this job and shove it”…OR…”Shove that job, I’ll take it”?

Speaking of the corporate marketplace, as we mentioned last month, there’s lots of work to be done, but most organization lack the confidence to hire full-time, salaried, highly-benefitted workers to do it. Thanks, Rick Telberg, of Bay Street Group Research, who shared his take on a recent Hewitt Associates study that showed workplace tensions are at a 15-year high. Seems even those lucky enough to be employed, are running out of motivation and energy as they do two or three people’s former jobs for the same old compensation (or less).

If you’re in the career advertising or executive recruiting game, you’ll have a perfect storm of opportunity on the horizon as disgruntled workers will be jumping ship in droves as the slow recovery continues and companies will be scrambling like crazy to replace them with the long-term unemployed and underemployed. And guess who else has a great window of opportunity right now? That’s right. Those of you in the CRM, ERP, and knowledge management sector. Why? Because when long-term talented employees leave, they take an awful lot of institutional knowledge with them. It doesn’t matter how tight your confidentiality agreements are (see our Sept. 7 piece "Shot Hurd Round the Tech World").

2010 has clearly reflected a rebound for executive search in the media and marketing business, according to Ed Koller, managing partner of New York-based search firm, Howard Sloan Koller Group who shares his firm's client newsletter with us regularly. While the folks at HSK told us their data was anecdotal more than scientific, they found their clients “continue to report positive movement within their businesses, and candidates are truly excited about the energy and buzz they feel in the market and the possibilities they see ahead.” More than ever, digital roles seem focused on building innovative products, said HSK.

Here are some highlights of HSK’s latest report from the media and marketing recruiting trenches:

Companies continue to reorganize with great frequency to seek efficiencies.
• Much of the hiring is for entirely new roles -- positions which didn't exist previously, and often haven't even been thought of or planned for.
• Hybrid roles -- combinations of multiple disciplines -- are cropping up everywhere.
• Broad-based marketers are in greater demand than ever before.
• Many companies are showing increased emphasis on mobile, social media and apps, requiring a mix of specialized skills.
• Bonuses, perks and raises are still hibernating, and are likely to stay this way for the foreseeable future.
• Many candidates are (shockingly) receiving multiple offers simultaneously. "Buyers" must act quickly.
• Internal promotions and newly created roles are being used by companies as a means for retaining talent.

Our take? With digital apps improving almost daily and highly versatile “corporate decathletes” getting more responsibility instead of the politically correct org-chart-climbers, this slow painful recovery we’re supposedly in may go down as the golden age of Web 2.0 ideas, execution and positive paradigm shifts for B2B marketers.


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Shot Hurd Round the Tech World

Let’s get back to selling and making things, not rules. Online video consumption surging. Adults texting too.

While the ranks of America’s long-term jobless climbs, at least one terminated white collar worker found a new home in a hurry – on Labor Day no less.

Late yesterday, Oracle announced that former HP CEO, Mark Hurd has joined the company as co-president. Despite engineering a remarkable turnaround of the company in the wake of its ill-fated Carly Fiorona experiment, Hurd was forced to resign last month after the HP board flagged him for fudging expense reports related to an extramarital affair he was having with an independent company marketing consultant/ex-adult-film actress. Nice.

While we don’t condone Hurd’s alleged actions at the helm of HP, it’s refreshing to see leading global brands recognizing leadership talent as a way to drive companies forward, not their cowardly boards or HR and legal policymakers. We think this trend will continue (albeit more quietly) throughout the ranks of corporate America.

And so naturally HP sued, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

If we’re going to get out economy out of first gear, entrepreneurs and small businesses can’t do it alone. We need the Fortune 1000 to step up too and that means bringing back people on the revenue side who actually make things (engineers, developers, content creators) and sell things (sales, marketing, business development) and start trimming back on cost-center departments that make nothing but rules (HR, legal, accounting). As perhaps a sign of the times, investors and discussion forum posters seemed overwhelmingly supportive of Oracle and anti-HP, Hurd's alleged confidentiality breach notwithstanding.

“Mark did a brilliant job at HP and I expect he’ll do even better at Oracle as there is no executive in the I.T. world with more relevant experience,” said Oracle CEO, Larry Ellison in a statement. While many in the tech world say both leaders can be difficult to work with, it’s hard to argue with their overall results. Ellison, a friend and long time business partner of HP’s, call Hurd’s dismissal in an e-mail to The New York Times “the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago.”

While Hurd’s hiring can’t be credited for a better than expected job(less) report on Friday --stocks rose as nonfarm payrolls shed 54,000 jobs last month, roughly half the 110,000 drop economists had expected and matching the level of revised losses recorded the previous month. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indices climbed over three percent for the week. Friday's employment numbers followed recent reports on manufacturing and housing that also came in above expectations, extending a notable reversal from a long string of disappointing data that had driven the Dow's biggest August drop since 2001.

Online video consumption surging

The amount of time American audiences spent watching video for the major live video publishers has grown nearly seven fold over the past year to more than 1.4 billion minutes, according to comScore. By comparison, the amount of time that American audiences spent watching YouTube and Hulu increased 68 percent and 75 percent, respectively, over the same time period. Along with, other top live video publishers include USTREAM, Livestream, LiveVideo, and Stickam

According to Comscore, Live online video sites have been successful in building audience and keeping that audience tuned in. The average live streamed video view is seven percent longer than the average online video view. As expected, live video sites are 72 percent more likely to deliver the elusive demographic -- males age 18-34 -- than the average online video site, says Comscore.

Experts say live streaming video’s success is due in no small part to sites' willingness to build out their technology infrastructure to provide a better user experience. For instance, recently announced mobile applications for Android and iOS, the former allowing users to live stream from their mobile device. The growth of broadband (both through regular and cellular networks) has made features that were unthinkable two years ago a reality today.

Adults texting too. Are you LOL? OMG!

Adults aren't as text-crazed as their teen and tween offspring, but the proportion of U.S. adults who send and receive text messages has grown from to 72 percent from 65% a year ago, according to a new Pew Research Center study on mobile use. But adults still have a long way to go to match the under-20 crowd who typically exchange 50 text messages a day compared to 10 for adults. The study found that heavy adult texters tend to be heavy users of voice calling, while light texters -- those who exchange one to 10 messages a day -- don't make up for less texting with more calling.

Voice service remains the primary cell phone function for most adults, who exchange five calls a day. Looking at how use varies by gender, the Pew report found that women make slightly fewer calls per day. More than a quarter (26%) otf men send and receive 6 to 10 calls a day, while 20 percent of women exchange that many calls.
A recent Nielsen study found that women on average spend 22 percent more time talking on cell phones (856.3 minutes a month compared to men's 666.7). In terms of behavior, women are slightly more likely to place frequent calls to just say hello and chat and report on where they are or find out where someone else is. Men are more likely to make calls about coordinating where to meet others, and to exchange calls about work. Both men and women were likely to have long conversations to discuss important personal matters on the cell phone.

If you’re still wondering whether mobile should be part of your 2011 marketing mix, we suggest you check out these and other reports from reliable independent sources. Now get back to work and reach out and touch your customers.


Monday, August 23, 2010

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough (and Smart) Get Going

Disappointing news on jobs, manufacturing and financial markets are no reason to throw in the towel or cut spending plans. Bankers got us into this mess. Tech will get us out.

Stocks sank late in the week on discouraging news about jobless claims and manufacturing data. Housing prices aren’t going anywhere and warnings of a “double dip” recession are as numerous in the media as references to the “slow economic recovery.”

From a macro and consumer-centric view things look pretty lousy. Unfortunately, that’s overshadowing some optimistic signs in the big business world that we think will eventually spill over into hiring and consumer confidence.

Bottom line. Now’s not the time to duck and cover on your hiring, marketing and infrastructure improvement plans. It may be the best opportunity you’ll have in a long while to get affordable talent, media exposure and the tech foundation you’ll need to hit the ground running when government officially calls this prolonged economic downturn over.

Just as you have to hit your Refresh button on your Web browser from time to time, we think the economy, led by big business, its hitting its collective Refresh button and the smart ones are positioning themselves to ride the inevitable wave of pent up demand that’s coming.

General Motors is planning and IPO. Yes the same GM that accepted a humiliating $50 billion government bailout during the depths of the financial crisis is about to become a public company again and no doubt leaner and more globally competitive. Intel announced plans to acquire McAfee and Dell agreed to acquire 3Par. These moves – and an overall uptick in deal activity last week – dovetailed with our point made last time in this column that the surge in tech spending by companies and gadget spending by consumers will get the cash registers ringing again.

The latest surge in M&A has spurred hopes that companies will use the $2 trillion of cash sitting in their coffers to make deals and grow their businesses. "This is a logical thing to have happen," Dick Del Bello, senior partner at Conifer Group, told The Wall Street Journal late last week. "Companies are sitting on piles of cash and they're trying to find ways to take advantage of that without increasing their risk profile dramatically."

We also found two more bright spots in the tech sector – Dell’s and HP’s ability to shake off highly publicized CEO scandals (accounting fraud and sexual harassment, respectively) without noticeable damage to earnings and brand equity. HP reported Thursday that its Q3 revenue rose 11 percent to $30.7 billion from a comparable period a year ago. Dell’s Q2 revenue came in at $15.5 billion, a 22 percent jump over its Q2/09 period.

If you’re like most businesses, you’re experiencing what the PC market is going through. You’re in the throes of great change. Pent up demand from new and existing customers is starting to emerge -- Dell said its notebook sales were up 21 percent and desktop sales up 17 percent, while HP reported a 17 percent overall increase in computer sales – but both companies know that growth trend isn’t guaranteed for long.
Chances are your business isn’t that much different from Dell’s and HP’s. You’re facing new competition on at least two fronts -- global competitors who weren’t sniffing around your market as much before the downturn, as well folks who weren’t in your competitive space before the meltdown, who now smell opportunity on your home turf.

As the tech guys know, overall demand for their stuff is higher than it’s been for a while, but now Acer, Asustek and other Asian competitors are breathing down their necks for control of the U.S. desktop and notebook market while mobile phone makers and carriers aggressively moving into the tablet market. They’ve got to hold onto their longstanding turf while innovate faster in their new turfs. Sound at all like your business?

That’s where smart advertising and marketing comes in. Reinforcing your brand superiority in longstanding markets and bolstering your brand position in your newer markets. Maybe it’s no surprise that technology companies accounted for nearly a third of the top 50 most valuable brands, according to a recent Forbes/Mindshare study. The rankings looked into each company’s brand earnings over the past three years, subtracted capital employed and then took a percentage of earnings based on the role brands play in each industry. The study authors also factored in the parent company’s P/E multiple to the net brand earnings number.

Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Intel and Nokia made the top 10. They may have cut way back on their ad pages, direct mail and network TV buys, but they’re finding new and innovative ways to catch the pent-up demand wave as B2B and consumers collectively gain the courage to hit their “Refresh buttons.” We’ll talk more about their credibility marketing next week.

In the mean time, maybe it’s time you re-familiarized yourself with the Refresh button at the top of your psychological Nav bar. And clear out your cache and junk folder while you’re at it. As we mentioned last time in this blog, August is the new September, and 2011 is the start of the New Normal era.


Monday, August 09, 2010

Accelerating in a stalled economy?

HP likely to be Hurd-ing for a while, but business spending on equipment and software among few bright spots in sluggish new economic report. Companies investing for the future, but spending more on infrastructure than on people. Are you seizing the day or still hunkering down?

I ran into a neighbor of mine on the beach yesterday who thought I still toiled for a high brow financial publication. “So are we out of this thing or not?” he asked me, after mentioning his plans to subdivide his property and start building on both lots – both “scaled down” versions of his current abode. He’s a teacher at an upscale private school and his wife works in a stable healthcare organization. So while neither occupation is as “recession-proof” as they’ve led themselves to believe, they’re feeling pretty good about life right now.

“How the heck should I know if we’re out of this economic S--storm?!” I thought to myself, since nothing I could say was going to dissuade him from his renovation plans. But, then thought I better respond with something a little more scholarly in case anyone else was listening in. I took a deep breath, admired the sailboats and kayaks frolicking on the water and came up with this pearl of wisdom: ”It all depends,” I said. “Depends on what?” he replied, with some impatience.

I said it depends on whether you think things are getting better or whether you think things are getting worse. Overall personal incomes dropped nearly two percent last year, according to US Department of Commerce stats and my neighbor and I live in one of the five wealthiest -- but hardest hit metro areas in the country (see stats)

My neighbor's obviously pretty optimistic about the future and that’s my point. He may not be earning a king's ransom, but his kids go to an elite private school for free. He's got summer's free, doesn't commute far and his wife's doing well, too.

People and companies who think things are getting better are hitting the ground running with expansion plans, they’re hiring, they’re pulling the trigger on delayed purchases, refinancing their mortgages etc. with the thought that “things may never be this cheap again for a long, long time.”

At my neighbor’s elite school, he said they haven’t lost a single family during the recession, “but they’re sure re-thinking that country club membership.” At the other end of the spectrum, we know have close to 2 million people going on 99 weeks of unemployment benefits and that’s not counting the discouraged, early retired, independent contractors, etc. which is probably three to four times that number.

Switch gears to Middle America. WalMart’s still doing well (Net sales for the first quarter of fiscal year 2011 were $99.1 billion, up six percent from a comparable quarter last year), but Nascar events that continually sold out in the middle of the decade drone on in front of acres and acres of empty seats. Nielsen says Nascar’s TV ratings are down 25 percent 2005 Nascar merchandise sales are down 23 percent from its 2006 peak according to The Licensing Letter. Consumers saved a whopping 6.4 percent of the after-tax income in June, according to a new report. It was one to two percent before the recession, and for most of the Baby Boom generation’s adult lives.

They don’t see any improvement from September 2008, when most folks think we officially went into the tank, and they’re hoarding cash like there’s no tomorrow. Millions of homeowners would unload their homes tomorrow if anyone would actually buy em. Millions of employees still lucky enough to have their jobs are fed up with being paid the same as they were five years ago, despite handling double the workload and three times the stress. They’d leave in a heartbeat if there was anywhere else to go.

So it all depends on whether you think things are get better at a better rate, or things are getting worse at a worse rate.

On Friday, HP’s remarkable turnaround was derailed temporarily by sexual harassment allegations against CEO, Mark Hurd. The company’s stock price took a 10 percent hit on the news, but the company will find a way to shake it off, stay focused and get back on track in the same matter of fact way it issued Friday’s press release about Hurd’s termination.

Outside the corner office, the U.S. economy lost 131,000 jobs in July, but that number was distorted as the government let go 143,000 temporary Census workers during the month. The more closely watched private payrolls numbers were also disappointing, showing just a 71,000 increase, less than the 100,000 that economists expected. To make matters worse, the June data were revised lower to a loss of 221,000 jobs from a previously reported 125,000. But the official unemployment rate improved to 9.5 percent, which is a few ticks less pathetic than 9.7 percent last month.

Great. So, things really are improving you say? Not so fast.

Ben “the Bummer” Bernanke, said last Monday that while the U.S. economy continues to grow at a moderate pace – 2.4 percent in Q2, down from 3.7 percent in Q1 -- significant restraints remain on the recovery. In prepared remarks, The Fed Chairman said the U.S. had a "considerable way to go to achieve a full recovery in our economy, and many Americans are still grappling with unemployment, foreclosure and lost savings."

Companies spending on equipment, processes – not people

But, the government report showed a bright spot continuing in the economy: the growth of business spending on equipment and software. This spending continued to surge, increasing by 21.9 percent in the second quarter, compared with a 20.4 percent rise in the first three months. The figures highlight the contrast in the economy between high company profits and a persistently feeble jobs market keeping consumers at bay.

Many management and turnaround consultants I’ve talked to said business has never been better. And if you’re selling productivity tools and processes, things are looking pretty rosy too. So if you’re in the business of helping organizations do more with less – you’re liking this long-term state of flux and uncertainty. But, if you’re trying to get in, stay in or sell to an organization who’s trying to do more with less, than it’s kind of a sucky time.

So if you’re trying to reach B2B decision-makers then we recommend you hit it as hard as possible right now as we’re about to enter the Q4 selling season. There could be several years of pent up demand unleashing itself between now and year-end and you don’t want to be kicking yourself this time next year wishing you had made one more phone call to that VP or Purchasing, or sent one more e-mail blast to that Sr. Manager of Technology or tried one more time to get that white paper over to the Web marketing manager who asked for it two months ago, even though they said budgets were frozen? And what about that Webinar you scrapped mid-summer, because you thought too many thought influencers would be out of the office? Could you have just blown a chance to make the sale of the year in order to save a few bucks in your marketing budget?

When it comes to long-term purchase decisions, you never know if it's six time you touch a prospect, the ninth time or the 12th time that will do the trick.

If things are so bad, then how come business magazine ad pages are up 40 percent at Forbes from this time a year ago (Source; Mediaweek or 36 percent at Wired or 33 percent at Inc?

As we’ve been trumpeting all summer, we’re fast approaching the tipping point in which the “Opportunity Seizers” will be zipping past the “Hunker Downers” and the “Shoulda-Woulda-Coulda’s.”

Which train will you be on?


Thursday, July 22, 2010

‘Unusually Uncertain’

Investors think F-word after Bernanke’s U-word(s). Have changing demographics of U.S. workforce accelerated importance of social networking and communication skills?

A minute in to his semi-annual testimony before Congress yesterday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke sent the stock market into an afternoon slide (down 1.3 percent) with two simple words that underscored the fragility of investor and business community confidence…. “Unusually uncertain.”

“Of course, even as the Federal Reserve continues prudent planning for the ultimate withdrawal of extraordinary monetary policy accommodation, we also recognize that the economic outlook remains unusually uncertain,” said the Fed Chief. Bernanke’s comments followed discouraging data on housing, unemployment, consumer sentiment and bank lending, not to mention uncertainty over the effect of the sweeping financial legislation signed by President Obama yesterday.

Marketing for decision-makers in the post-industrial economy

As NY Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof, points out today for the first time in American history, men no longer dominate the labor force. Not only do men account for about three-quarters of Americans who lost their jobs, during this prolonged recession, but women are now the majority of payroll employees for the five months that ended in March, according to one measure from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Citing, Atlantic Monthly’s Hanna Rosin, Kristof raises the question: “What if the modern, postindustrial economy is simply more congenial to women than to men?” As both columnists observe: Our postindustrial economy is indifferent to men’s size and strength. The attributes that are most valuable today — social intelligence, open communication, the ability to sit still and focus — are, at a minimum, not predominately male. In fact, the opposite may be true.

Read for yourself to see if you agree whether the female gender’s superior social/communication skills are socialized or a result of different genetic wiring between the sexes. But for marketers intent on reaching corporate decision-makers and influencers, the importance of listening, social networking and open communication should not be underestimated.

It’s not necessarily a gender issue, but it’s hard to argue that more and more of us are selling to a group of decision-makers instead of a single buyer, and that group of buyers is soliciting feedback from a wider range of influencers than ever before. You simply cannot take that many influencers out to the golf course or a nice dinner if you want the business. Social media is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a need to have form of air coverage if you want to stay on the radar of your current and prospective clients with an ongoing, meaningful two-way dialogue that can be shared, linked and vetted.


Thursday, July 01, 2010

Business Marketers at Mid-Year Crossroads

Fast your seatbelt. No matter how the second half ends up, it won’t be boring. Banners battle video and search for control of digital ad budgets.

The July 4th Holiday weekend is typically when we take time out for a breather from the frenetic pace of daily life to hit the beach, the mountains or just the backyard hammock for a little R&R and some good old fashioned pyrotechnics. It’s also a typical juncture in the business world as we try to decide whether we’re going to have a good year or not and start fretting about the 2011 budget.

I spoke the other day with John Graham, President & CEO of the American Society of Association Executives who said we live in an instant gratification “experience economy.” Consumers don’t want to have marketing messages pushed at them so much as they want to control the dialogue with your organization. It’s all about “I want what I want when I want it and how I want to get it,” related Graham.

So what do they really want? “Truth in advertising,” said Graham. “You need to earn their trust,” and thanks to social media, they have more tools than ever for punishing you for not delivering.

Second half forecast?

All signs point to “not clear.”

The financial markets have recently given back all their gains for the year – end then some. A stream of reports released this week pointed to slowing growth throughout the economy, from slower manufacturing growth to higher claims for jobless benefits and declines in home construction and pending sales. U.S. factory activity slowed in June amid a moderation in inflationary pressures. Private research group the Institute for Supply Management reported Thursday that its manufacturing index for the most recent month moved to 56.2, from 59.7 and 60.4. Readings above 50 signal expansion, so June's reading represented continued growth at a slower pace. Economists had expected to see slight moderation at a reading of 59.0.

Persistently high unemployment, modest gains in overall output, when added to weakness in housing and the threat posed by weak growth and financial problems in Europe, have driven up fears about what lies ahead for the U.S. recovery. Also, in the U.S. labor market, the four-week moving average of jobless claims -- which aims to give a better idea of the trend by smoothing volatility in the data -- went up by 3,250 to 466,500 in the week ended June 26. That represents the highest level since March 6, 2010.

Experts say compared to past recoveries from deep recessions, the current one is moving slowly. The economy expanded by less than an annualized 3.0 percent in the first quarter and there are increasing concerns that growth may slow down in the second half of the year. U.S. consumer confidence fell sharply in June, wiping out the gains posted in the previous two months as Americans worried about their job prospects. Some economist fear consumer spending won't be strong enough to replace a fading government stimulus in lifting the economy.

The June Consumer Reports Trouble Tracker Index measuring financial difficulties faced by consumers in the past 30 days, worsened, rising to 63.5 from 53.0 in May. The most troubling increase is in missed mortgage payments, which reached 3.9 percent, its highest level since tracking began in April 2009. The latest numbers show consumers have taken a step back facing increases in financial difficulties and a soured employment picture, says the report.

In June, more consumers reported difficulty in affording medical bills or medications versus the prior month, and faced lost or reduced healthcare coverage
• The Employment Index has dropped, pointing to an increase in the ranks of the unemployed, at least temporarily. The decline was led by the proportion of Americans that lost their jobs in the past 30 days
• Despite the high job losses posted in June, 7.4 percent of Americans reported starting a job in the past 30 days, well above May, and achieved its highest level recorded since April 2009.
• Consumers have scaled back their interest in shopping as well. The past 30-Day Retail Index for June, reflective of May activity, is 10.8, unchanged from the prior month
• May's next 30-Day Retail Index, reflective of planned purchases for June, is down slightly from the prior month. Per capita spending for the index categories in the past 30 days was $234, down slightly from May ($248)
Consumer Sentiment is unchanged from the prior month. The most optimistic consumers are between the ages of 18-34 (52.3), and with a household income of $100,000+ (54.9). The most pessimistic are households with an income less than $50,000 (39.2) and Americans 65 or older (41.7).

The Sentiment Index captures respondents' attitudes regarding their financial situation, asking them if they are feeling better or worse off than a year ago. When the index is greater than 50, more consumers are feeling positive about their situation. When it is below 50, more consumers are feeling worse.
The Trouble Tracker Index addresses the proportion of consumers that have faced difficulties and the number of hurdles they have encountered. This index has shown a significant increase this month, pointing to more troubles for consumers, rising to 63.5 in June from 53.0 in May.

Banner Ads Still Relevant?

In surveys, consumers will tell you they ignore static banner ads, and don't click on them. But eMarketer Senior Analyst David Hallerman cites stats from a Microsoft Atlas study that animated .gif display ads running across the tops of Web pages still influence purchase decisions.
Hallerman, who has been researching a report about online brand marketing, calls banner ads "somewhat subliminal" because banner ads appear to affect consumers whether they realize it or not. "The positive, yet not always easy-to-measure effects and the increasingly lower cost and availability of banners give campaigns a steady foundation," reports Hallerman. "Banners help to fill in the campaign."
As marketers look to engage consumers -- and to gain better measurement and targeting tactics than what's available with most other media -- they will continue to increase budgets for Internet ads of all kinds, most likely at the expense of newspapers, magazines and other traditional media. Forecasters we typically cite in this blog expect the Internet's share of total media ad spending to rise from about 15 percent in 2010 to more than 20 percent in 2014.

The power of video

A large part of the growth will come from video, even in banner ads. Spending for online video advertising will make the format the second-biggest recipient of new ad dollars from 2010 to 2014, according to the eMarketer report "U.S. Ad Spending: How Big Is the Bounceback?" Of the more than $13.6 billion incremental dollars that will flow into online advertising during the next five years, one third (33%) will come from video ads, compared with 44.5 percent from search.

As search attracts more dollars and video gets more growth, experts say banner ads will increasingly become filler for those two ad formats, as well as for other elements of advertising campaigns. And as the market share for banner ads continues to decline -- even in 2014, when spending on banners will make up just one-fifth of all the ads on the Internet -- the format will remain strong.

I wish I had more direction for you. Just stay smart. Keep holding your breath. We’re either going to have a sparkling second half or a wet fuse dud. The winners will be those who are most able to adapt to adapt to the changes the new world order throws at them.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Survey Indicates Business World More Complex Than Ever

Creativity and innovation the keys to business survival. Heed economic indicators, not schizophrenic stock market. Five keys to a real-world business plan.

U.S. financial markets continued their slide, hampered by uncertainty over how tough U.S. regulators will get with Wall Street speculators and how many blue-chip financial institutions may get sucked into the mounting European debt crisis. The key word here is “uncertainty” not actuality.

In the real world, consumer confidence is rising as the job market and housing front continue to improve. On Tuesday, The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 63.3 points, up from 57.7 points in April. The index got a boost from the six-month consumer outlook which jumped to 85.3 from 77.4, the highest since August 2007. A reading of 90 indicates economy on solid footing, 100 means growth. Index hit a record low of 25.3 back in Feb 2009. Home sales were better than expected in April. Existing home sales were the highest in five months according to National Association of Realtors (NAR) and median home prices rose for the second straight month, 2.1 percent in April despite an 8-month inventory on the market. And ad spending continues to rebound as researcher IDC projected U.S. online ad spending to shoot up 12.6 percent by end of 2010, it has now raised that number to 19 percent to $31.5 billion. The change follows a string of surprisingly strong numbers for all segments of online advertising, even display, which had been in decline for the past two years. Last week, the Interactive Advertising Bureau said internet ad spending rose 7.5 percent in Q1 to $5.9 billion.

Creativity key to corporate survival

A newly released IBM study of 1,500 CEOs found that 79 percent expect increased global complexity and only 49 percent feel prepared to deal with it. The IBM study was based on face-to-face interviews with leaders of all size companies in 33 industries and 60 companies.

Surveyed execs identified “creativity” as the single most important leadership competency for enterprises seeking a path through this complexity. How so? Creative leaders expect to make deeper business model changes to realize their strategies. To succeed, they take more calculated risks, find new ideas, and keep innovating in how they lead and communicate.

CEOs now realize that creativity trumps other leadership characteristics. Creative leaders are comfortable with ambiguity and experimentation. To connect with and inspire a new generation, they lead and interact in entirely new ways. CEOs saw the need to seed creativity across their organizations rather than set apart “creative types” in siloed departments like product design. To benefit from the diversity of ideas each employee can contribute. Standouts encourage a new mindset of questioning. They invite employees at all levels to challenge assumptions based on past experiences and scrutinize “the way we’ve always done things.”

Our take? Great ideas, but a commitment to creativity and agility is more easily said than done when you factor in quarterly analysts and shareholder pressure and a hyper-paranoid workforce that’s scared to death of having a mistake pinned on them.

5 keys to a real world business plan

According to blogger, Seth Godin, the traditional corporate or venture capital-seeking business plan is a croc.

“If I want the real truth about a business and where it's going, I'd divide the modern business plan into five sections,” quips Godin:

1. Truth
2. Assertions
3. Alternatives
4. People
5. Money

The truth section describes the world as it is. Tell me about the market you are entering, the needs that already exist, the competitors in your space, technology standards, the way others have succeeded and failed in the past. The assertions section is your chance to describe how you're going to change things. We will do X, and then Y will happen. We will build Z with this much money in this much time. The alternatives section tells me what you'll do if that happens. How much flexibility does your product or team have? If your assertions don't pan out, is it over? The people section rightly highlights the key element... who is on your team, who is going to join your team. 'Who' doesn't mean their resume, who means their attitudes and abilities and track record in shipping. And the last section is all about money. How much do you need, how will you spend it, what does cash flow look like, P&Ls, balance sheets, margins and exit strategies.

Cell phones use more for data than calls

CITA, the wireless industry association reported last week that the amount of data in text, music, e-mail and other activities surprassed voice calls on mobile devices in 2009.

According to comScore, total cell phone subscribers from 2009 to 2010 is about the same, but the number of users going online is up across almost all Web categories. Visitors to social networking sites like Facebook and Twiter increased 78 percent. Many more users are going to reference site like or wiki, up 46 percent and banking sites up 45 percent.

Top categories for browsing on mobile devices

1. Search 32.1M users +36%
2. Social networking 27.3M users +78%
3. Weather 26.1M users _+ 21%
4. News 24M users +29%
5. Sports info 19.7M users +25%

Don’t be fooled by the schizophrenic stock market. This recovery – no matter how fragile – is the real deal. Today’s market leaders are the ones who’ve had the pedal to the metal since the depths of the recession, not the “duck and cover” crowd. Agility, creativity and the willingness to make mistakes (and learn from them) will guide you through all types of water, no matter how turbulent.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Markets and Economy Slog Through Fortnight of Tests

New research points to impact of social media and ‘digital natives’ on your brand.
Despite last Thursday’s stomach churning “flash crash” in the financial markets, most U.S. stock indices are clawing their way back to positive territory for the year. This resiliency, in the face of the European debt crisis, the Time Square Bombing, the Staten Island Ferry crash, the BP/Gulf of Mexico oil spill, flooding in the South and tornados in the Midwest, is encouraging.

U.S. payrolls rose by nearly 300,000 in April, the largest monthly jobs gain in over four years. Most experts are ignoring the fact that the squishy “official” unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent from 9.7 percent. Experts say it’s a sign that once-discouraged Americans have returned to the job market – not a deluge of layoffs from corporate America.

The construction and manufacturing sectors also showed signs of life in the latest economic report, raising hopes of an improving job market. The Institute for Supply Management Monday said the manufacturing barometer had improved 60.4 percent in April, the highest level June 2004. A Commerce Department report said consumer spending rose 0.6 percent in March – the largest increase in five months and households saved less, socking away 2.7 percent of their income in March down from 3.0 percent in Feb. Again, we see the gradual reduction in consumer savings as a confidence indicator, not a return of the conspicuous consumption that marked the latter part of the previous decade.

Is the worst over?

“The worst of the economic impact on Internet advertising is over and the seeds of growth have been planted,” said PricewaterhouseCoopers’ David Silverman in a statement following the release of a new study his firm did in conjunction with the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Forrester Research, Zenith Optimedia and other media forecasting groups have generally revised their 2010 and 2011 ad spending projections favorably in recent months, with most of the upside going to growing sectors (Web, online video, social media, television, outdoor) with a modest slump to continue in out of favor sectors (newspapers, magazines and radio).

Social media and your brand

Though slightly more than 50 percent of regular users never post status updates on Twitter; 70 percent do so on social networking sites like Facebook. Experts say Twitter acts more like a broadcast medium than Facebook does, but users are more than three times as likely to follow brands and companies on Twitter as others users of social networks do, with over 40 percent using Twitter to learn about and provide opinions on brands, according to a recent Edison Research study.

So will social media deliver measurable results for marketers? Well, more than half of marketers surveyed by Datran Media in its fourth annual Marketing & Media Survey say they’re confident it will, and only one in eight (12%) say they’re confident it won’t deliver results. Researchers said social media continues to be a wildcard, but it’s getting easier to measure the impact of a tweet or an update on LinkedIn on the final conversation.

Social media is not as effective at building search engine rankings as it is for building brand awareness and reputation, says a recent Marketing Sherpa study of over 2,000 marketers.

Social media IS effective for:
• Increasing brand or product awareness 49% agree
• Increasing brand or product reputation 45%
• Increasing public relations 43%
• Increasing Web site traffic 41%
• Improving search engine rankings 35%

The future?
Anti social networking of teens, i.e. your future consumers

Last week, the Pew Research Center found that half of American teenagers — defined in the study as ages 12 through 17 — send 50 or more text messages a day and that one third send more than 100 a day. Two thirds of the texters surveyed by the center’s Internet and American Life Project said they were more likely to use their cell phones to text friends than to call them. Fifty-four percent said they text their friends once a day, but only 33 percent said they talk to their friends face-to-face on a daily basis. The findings came just a few months after the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that Americans between the ages of 8 and 18 spend on average 7.5 hours a day using some sort of electronic device, from smart phones to MP3 players to computers — a startling number,

The question on researchers’ minds is whether all that texting, instant messaging and online social networking allows children to become more connected and supportive of their friends — or whether the quality of their interactions is being diminished without the intimacy and emotional give and take of regular, extended face-to-face time.

Gary Small, a neuroscientist and professor of psychiatry at U.C.L.A. and an author of "iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind," said in a New York Times interview that so-called “digital natives,” a term for the generation that has grown up using computers, are already having a harder time reading social cues. “Even though young digital natives are very good with the tech skills, they are weak with the face-to-face human contact skills,” he said.

While many parents and educators fret that the ease of electronic communication may be making teens less interested in face-to-face communication with their friends, we think marketers and employers need to adjust their communications strategies for the crowdsourcing nature of today’s digital natives.

Will young people still be able to sell and communicate?

“Teaching new sales people how to ask good questions and how to listen and keep the intelligence gathering dialogue going in a face to face setting is an absolute ssential,” said Eric Wynne, President of Wynne Media Company in a recent panel discussion I moderated. “It doesn’t come naturally to many of them as they’ve been attuned to communicating by screen in a very truncated fashion.”

Molly Sargent, Principal of Professional Impressions Consulting concurred. “Younger sales people just haven’t been trained the right way. You can’t just do your due diligence on the Web. There’s more to researching a company than Google and Hoovers. They’re not trained in how to pick up the phone, how to ask those critical questions, how to find the internal champion, how to sleuth ahead of time before the call.

At the end of the day, people want to do business with people they like and trust. With all the new technology tools available for reaching, tracking and micro-targeting our prospects, let’s not forget the most important part of selling and marketing successfully -- human interaction.


Monday, April 26, 2010

It’s Official. Internet Ad Revenue Surpasses Print

Keep your eye on digital video and rich media.

The tipping point has finally tipped. Marketers spent more on Web advertising in 2009 than they spent in magazines according to a new ZenithOptimedia report. Zenith researchers predict that online ad spending – now the third largest advertising medium – is rapidly closing ground on newspapers, too. Cynics will point out that online advertising revenue actually declined 3.4 percent in 2009, the first year-over-year falloff since 2002 and it would have been worse, had it not been for a record-setting $6.3 billion fourth quarter. But, the loss in ad spending across all media sectors was quite a bit worse -- 12.3 percent for the year and two percent for Q4.

For some perspective, consider that 2009 ad revenue at major magazines plunged to $19.5 billion (minus 17.5%), according to Publishers Information Bureau (PIB) data and PIB reports ad pages are down another 9.4 percent for the first quarter of 2010. Fortunately for publishers, a share of those missing ad dollars are “migrating” to publishers’ Web sites and other digital properties, but the media landscape has now changed to the point that the heady days of “buy or audience, let’s go have lunch” are barely visible in the rear-view mirror.

Keep your eye on digital video

The Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers recently reported that search ads posted a slight uptick from 2008, accounting for nearly half (47%) of all Internet ad spending. Display ad spending rose a similar amount. Revenues for online classifieds and e-mail advertising plummeted, but digital video ads climbed an astonishing 38 percent. Thanks mainly to search, display and video, eMarketer predicts that online ad spending will grow a healthy 5.5 percent this year, to $23.6 billion and will increase its share of the overall ad pie to 17.1 percent in 2012 from 12.6 percent today.

When it comes to online ads, it pays to get moving
Rich media ads outperform standard banner ads

If you use banner ads for marketing (or sell them to your clients), consider adding rich media to get more bang for your online buck. Here’s why. According to new findings from research firm eMarketer Web users were more than 2.6 times as likely to click on a rich media ad than they were on a static banner, and conversion rates were also up, by 198 percent, eMarketer said.

As we’ve mentioned numerous times in this blog, video is growing by leaps and bounds on the Web because consumers want to view a story rather than read it. It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling hammers, airline tickets or multi-million dollar enterprise resource planning software. You’ve got to show it to sell it.

Organic search results still generate 7 out of 8 clicks online

A recent Marketing Sherpa study shows conversions for organic (i.e. natural, unpaid) search results still outperform others. Why? Because researchers say prospects trust organic search results more than they trust paid, or guided-pay, search results. You can buy the space to reach target customers, but you can’t buy their trust. Like all entrĂ©e’s on the savvy marketer’s menu, paid search deserves a seat at the table. But if feel your diet is heavy on search just because it’s cheap, then you need to re-think your marketing strategy and overall value proposition.

Conversion Rates
Organic search*************7.2%
Shopping engine********6.6%
Pay per click*******5.0%
Source: 2010

B2B sales pros increasingly turn to LinkedIn

Companies are relying more and more on their corporate Websites and social networking to bring in customers, according to new research from eMarketer. Social networking, while still gaining adoption at many organizations, recently passed direct mail and Webinars in terms of generating qualified leads for business and professional organizations. As of late March, social networking was closing in on live events and trade shows for lead generation.

The most effective social network for prospecting, says eMarketer, was LinkedIn, by a wide margin. The business-oriented site was rated 3.1 out of a possible 5, compared with ratings of 2.0 for blogs, 1.9 for Facebook and 1.8 for Twitter.

Research firm, Outsell sees it a little differently. A recent Outsell poll found that B2B marketers in the U.S. considered Facebook the most effective social media site, at 51 percent, followed by LinkedIn (45%) and Twitter (35%). That poll focused on effectiveness in general, not necessarily lead generation.

LinkedIn’s effectiveness in this area has translated into significant increases in usage. Nearly half of respondents (47.8%) told eMarketer they were using the site more for prospecting and research than they were a year ago. Around one-fifth of those polled were also upping their prospecting efforts on blogs (21.8%), Facebook (20.8%) and Twitter (17.3%) and one in 12 (8.4%) on YouTube.

January 2010 data from HubSpot showed nearly half (45%) of North American B2B companies using LinkedIn for marketing had acquired a customer through the site. Company blogs were effective for 43% of respondents, while 38% and 33%, respectively, got customers from Twitter and Facebook.

Macro-economy: cautious optimism becoming more optimistic than cautious

We’re not commenting on the overheated stock market today. More on that next week. Meanwhile, government data released Friday showed a nice increase in big ticket manufacturing items. Sales of new homes surged 27 percent in March. Despite persistent long-term (26+ weeks) unemployment, households are replacing cars, upgrading home furnishings and stocking up on gadgets. Many economists estimate that consumer spending — which makes up some 70 percent of American economic activity — jumped by four percent during the first three months of 2010, which was about twice as fast as the experts anticipated.

Our view is that month and months of pent up consumer and business demand will finally be unleashed sometime after mid-year. Technology companies are reporting strong sales and earnings. Intel (, reported its highest first-quarter revenue in history. Google ( added about 800 jobs this year, and Amazon ( has added 1,800. Manufacturing is slowly adding jobs. Retail sales surged 9.1 percent in March according to Thomson Reuters, marking the seventh consecutive month of growth. And U.S. exports are running about 15 percent ahead of last year, according to the Commerce Department.

OK. The wet blankets who compile The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index said their benchmark plunged to a preliminary level of 69.5 in April compared with 73.6 in March. But that’s better the record low of 55.3 back in November 2008. And the American “savings rate” (long considered an oxymoron) climbed during the recession but has recently fallen, according to an analysis of Federal Reserve data by We view that as a sign of confidence, not recklessness.

Victor Ghassemi, sales manager for a Los Angeles Porsche dealership may have summed it up best in a New York Times interview today. “People get tired of holding on to their money, or just sitting at home and not doing anything,” he said. “People love to shop. And you take that privilege away from somebody, it lasts about a year. Eventually, people want to come back. They want to buy new merchandise, a new product, to make them feel really good about themselves.”

Victor, let’s hope you’re right and the economy keeps it in gear.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Tipping Points: Digital Ad Spending to Top Print in 2010. Facebook Overtakes Google.

In digital economy, everything’s a commodity except ideas.

In today’s wired world, the most important economic competition is actually between you and your own imagination, wrote New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman on Sunday. More on that in a minute.

Facebook Overtakes Google as most popular US Web site

Whether or not Facebook fits into your marketing plans, it’s important to note that the ubiquitous social network destination overtook Google as the nation’s most popular Web site according to a recent report by Hitwise. Checking Facebook accounted for more than seven percent of all Web visits, the report found. Studies show that the average American spends seven hours a month on the site and that 44 percent of all social sharing takes place on the platform. But as Online Metrics Insider pundit, Pat Lapointe recently noted, research from Keller Fay Group clearly shows that only about 10 percent of total word-of-mouth activity occurs online. Further, it establishes that in MOST categories (not all, but most), the online chatter is NOT representative of what is happening offline, at kitchen tables and office water coolers.

Digital advertising to eclipse print in 2010

While print advertising is expected to rebound slightly into positive territory, more and more signs are pointing to 2010 as the year that digital advertising officially surpasses print. Legacy media is one area that could certainly benefit from fresh ideas, or more to the point, executing on those fresh ideas. A new study from Outsell, a consulting and research group serving the information industry, recently released findings of its annual survey of over 1,000 U.S. advertisers and marketers. Altogether, U.S. advertisers and marketers plan to spend $368 billion in 2010, Outsell found -- up 1.2 percent from 2009. Within the 2010 figure, 32.5 percent ($119.6 billion) will go to digital, versus 30.3 percent ($111.5 billion) earmarked for print.

In another new study, Kantar Media found that print media in 2009 underperformed the entire industry as a whole, off 17.5% versus 12.3 percent, for the year and down 11.5% for the fourth quarter. B2B magazines particularly took it on the chin, down 26.2 percent for the year, versus a 16.6 percent for consumer magazines (which are down only three percent so far in 2010according to Media Industry Newsletter). As in previous years, print ad revenue declines will fall heaviest on newspapers -- with Outsell forecasting total ad revenues of $27 billion in 2010, down about eight percent from 2009. Outsell also sees revenue for print directories falling about eight percent to $11.6 billion. But it's not all bad news for print, as Outsell predicts a two percent increase in ad spending for magazines -- rising to $9.4 billion – reversing a several year long slump.

"The advertising recession began to ease in the final two months of 2009 and preliminary figures from the first quarter of 2010, when compared against the abyss of a year ago, indicate many sectors are experiencing growth," noted Jon Swallen, senior vice president of Research at Kantar Media in a company news release. As with other forecasters, Kantar says the best performing media category in 2009 was cable television -- losing just 1.4 percent for the entire year and up 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter. Network TV was down 7.6 percent for the year although it exceeded cable TV in the fourth quarter, up 4.1 percent.

Why ideas can’t be commoditized in the digital era

Today, just about everything is becoming a commodity, except imagination, except the ability to spark new ideas, New York Times pundit, Thomas Friedman notes: “If I get an idea, I can get a designer in Taiwan to design it. I can get a factory in China to product a prototype. I can get a factory in Viet Nam to mass manufacture it. I can use to handle fulfillment. I can use to find someone to my logo and manage my backroom. And I can do all of this at incredibly low prices.

The one thing that is not a commodity, and will never be is that spark of an idea. Thanks Thomas. That’s as true in 2010 as it was in 1910.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Mixed Signals on Economy, Media Consumption Patterns

All mixed up with somewhere to go. The question for marketers is where and when to place their bets.

Internet, Web TV gain. Plus straight talk on tablets.
For those of you fond of marking “tipping points” in the American media psyche, consider adding this one: More Americans now get their news from the Internet than they do from newspapers or radio according to a survey of 2,200 adults nationwide by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. More on this in a minute.

Mixed economic indicators

Consumer spending increased for the fourth consecutive month, the government announced yesterday, and while the 0.5 percent increase was modest at best, it set the table for cautious optimism about Friday’s monthly jobs report. In January, employment reached its highest level in five years, with the measured unemployment rate falling below 10 percent for the first time since August. While myriad factors come into play in our complex economy, economists are ultimately waiting for improvement in the job market to boost both consumer and B2B spending.

That may be a challenge. The Conference Board’s widely watched Consumer Confidence Index®, which had increased in January, declined sharply in February. The CB Index now stands at 46.0 down from 56.5 in January (the Index is pegged to a 1985 benchmark of 100). Not only is a separate CB measure – the “Present Situation” Index at its lowest level in 27 years, but the Board found that almost half (43%) of gainfully employed workers are dissatisfied with their jobs. Further, they don’t see much relief from excessive workloads, reduced perks and paychecks and the pessimism that pervades many workplaces as a trap rather than a road to opportunity. And that’s never good for spending.

Survey: More Americans get news from the Internet than newspapers or radio

Not only are more American’s tuning into the Web as their go-to source of news, but three-fourths say they hear of news via e-mail or updates on social media sites and 61 percent say they get at least some of their news online. Compare that to 54 percent who told Pew Institute researchers they listen to a radio news program and 50 percent who say they read a national or local print newspaper. The Pew survey suggests social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have made news a more participatory experience than ever before as 37 percent of online users said they've reported news, commented on a story or shared it on sites like Facebook and Twitter, the survey said.

And with all due respect to branding experts, most Americans say they use between two and five online news sources, and 65 percent said they don't have a single favorite Web site for news. That’s pretty telling when you consider that about one-third of the study respondents were OLDER than age 50. Can any medium still compete with the immediacy of the Web? Yep. Good ol’ TV. Television news still outpaces the Internet, with 78 percent of respondents saying they watch local news and 73 percent saying they view a national network or cable news channel like CNN, Fox News or MSNBC.

However, when you compare real-time, undistracted appointment viewing to the rising share of time shifted viewing and multi-tasking viewing, the gap really narrows (see study below):

Online TV viewing climbs

According to Nielsen Company’s online panel data of U.S. visitors to online TV sites in the last 30 days, Americans are consuming more and more video on TV, Web and Mobile according to the recent Nielsen A2/M2 Three Screen Report, but the broader usage patterns suggest that online video is a replacement of DVR use, or used by those who do not have immediate access to TV. TV network content online is used to catch up with programming, and not typically as a replacement for TV viewing, as results from the email survey showed.

Top reasons for watching TV shows on the Web
(ranked by percent of respondents who agree)
• 54% forgot to watch a specific episode when it aired on TV
• 47% are catching up on the current season of programming and missed past episodes
• 33% are catching up on a past season of a program before the next season
• 32% forgot to record a specific episode with their recording device when it aired

Source: The Nielsen Company

US ad spend down nearly 10 percent in 2009

Those were the few bright spots from a Nielsen Co. report on U.S. ad spending, in which overall revenues tanked more than nine percent or $11.6 billion to $117 billion last year. Nielsen says this continues the trend of six straight quarters of declining ad revenue. Bleak to be sure, but at least Q4 2009 ad spending was down just two percent year-over-year, “and that helped soften the full-year decline,” said Terrie Brennan, senior VP for new business development at The Nielsen Company in a company news release. “In fact, most of the top advertisers showed increased spending late in the year. These are encouraging signs for an ad market that’s still trying to stop the bleeding.” Before the fourth quarter rally, many forecasters had expected 2009 to come in closer to 15 percent lower than 2008, and ’08 wasn’t exactly a banner year, either.

A few sectors did show positive year-over-year growth: Cable television grew 14.8 percent and free-standing-insert coupons climbed nearly 12 percent in 2009 versus 2008. Internet advertising remained flat (+0.1%), but Nielsen’s Internet ad expenditures are pulled from the AdRelevance database and account for CPM-based, image-based advertising only. Nielsen data overlooks some pretty big revenue pots such as paid search advertising, text only, paid fee services, performance-based campaigns, sponsorships, barters, in-stream ("pre-rolls") players, messenger applications, partnership advertising, promotions and email campaigns, or house advertising activity.

As expected, most traditional media took big hits:
• Network TV - 9.9%
• Local Newspapers -10.4%
• National Newspapers – 13.7%
• National Magazines - 19.3%
• B2B - 32.7%
• Local Sunday Supplements -44.9%

Digital Shift in Marketing Budgets

According to a recent Econsultancy survey, conducted in association with ExactTarget of more than 1,000 marketers, the shift of marketing budgets from traditional channels to digital channels will continue to rise in 2010. Nearly half (46%) of companies plan to increase their marketing budgets in 2010, says the study, and two thirds (66%) will increase their investments in digital marketing channels. Only 13 percent of companies expect to decrease their budgets overall and only one in 25 (4%) plan to decrease their digital budgets.

Additional budgeting highlights:
• 70 percent of responding companies plan to increase their budgets for off-site social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter)
• Only 17 percent of respondents are increasing their print media budgets, compared to 41 percent who are decreasing spending.
• More than half of companies plan to increase their budgets for mobile marketing(56%), email marketing (54%), and paid search (51%)

Summary findings can be found here

What Apple and other tablet need to learn about consumers

Finally, kudos to Senior Editor, Lee Gomes, for a poignant piece this week about the Apple iPad’s strengths and shortcomings. If you’re in the business of making – or marketing – technology solutions to consumers and business people, I recommend you read Lee’s piece on any device you choose. Click here

Whether or not you’re an Apple devotee, Gomes points to three key criteria for evaluating any new gadget you’re contemplating: (1) How much mental and physical energy is required to lug it around? (2) What’s the turn-on time? And (3) How do you talk to it?

The devices that continue to get the most usage (and consumer eyeballs) are compact and so light you don’t know you’ve got them on your person; they’re always on and they’re easy to type on or communicate with. In iPad’s case, Gomes says’ Apple’s batting one-for-three.