Monday, October 22, 2012

Mobile Video Viewers Watch 7 Minutes Daily; 3.5 Hours a  Month 
But B2B marketers who take the cheap route to meeting demand will ultimately get burned

If you think mobile video and advertising is growing fast, you’re not alone. The Interactive Advertising Bureau said last week that mobile advertising had nearly doubled in the first half of the year to $1.2 billion, while eMarketer has said that half of smartphone users watch video at least once a month on their phones. Plus, research from Cisco, the networking giant, said that two-thirds of the world's mobile data traffic will be video by 2016. In other words, the average device owner is watching about seven minutes per day according to NPD Group  or about 10 minutes per watching videos on their phone, according to Nielsen’s findings.

Quality vs. Quantity

Unfortunately for most B2B marketers, you can’t get by with the cheap, homemade variety of video that still dominates YouTube and America’s Funniest Home Videos.

Online video has become critical to corporate Web pages, helping with search indexing and giving you type of visual impact that customers and prospects demand. Beyond having a respectable corporate web presence, virtually every brand needs a Facebook page--and video helps with page ranking there as well. You also need an official presence on YouTube.

Broadcast-quality video used to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce. Now thanks to technological advances in capturing, editing and streaming video, you can produce ALMOST the same quality for a lot less. But it’s still not dirt cheap. See our web site home page if you’d like high quality without high prices. Do we offer it dirt cheap? No. But, you’ll be surprised what you can get if you can commit some time and resources to our vision of B2B video.

As Neil Perry noted last week in Online Video Insider, “Marketers are simply not interested or able to spend $300,000+ on a single commercial spot and still meet their video needs when considering the required quantity and quality. Whatever the case, marketers who can find or devise the most creative solutions will be the ones who will win for their brands in the coming years.”

Macro View

The median price for a home resale rose 11.3 percent from a year earlier. Experts say the rise in prices appears to be a result of tight inventories and a downward trend in foreclosure sales. More importantly, the nation’s stock of existing homes sale fell 3.3 percent last month to 2.3 million units. At this rate, housing experts say inventories would be exhausted in 5.9 months, the lowest rates since March 2006 accord to National Association of Realtors.

You might also be surprised to learn that U.S. Stocks are outperforming all other major asset classes. According to Bloomberg data, for the first time since 1995 U.S. equities are a better investment than
Treasuries, corporate bonds, commodities, the dollar and equities in Asia and Europe.

“For all the concern about unemployment and manufacturing growth, the best assets this year remain American companies after unprecedented steps by the Federal Reserve to support growth. Forecasts for a rebound in the U.S. economy and the central bank’s pledge to keep interest rates near zero for years convinced bulls the S&P 500 will extend gains. Bears say political gridlock will drag down prices after monetary stimulus wears off.”  


Whether your producing high quality video for your organization, entering the online advertising fray or deciding which asset class to invest in for your company or your personal retirement account, be smart,  but don’t be cheap. In the long-term, you always get what you pay for.

TAGS: Online and mobile video advertising growing, Bloomberg data, US stocks outpaces other asset classes, housing prices gain, Neil Perry, Online Video Advertiser, NPD Group, Cicso, Interactive Advertising Bureau, National Association of Realtors


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

At Tonight’s Debate, Will Anyone Get Gas?

Stocks closed in on their biggest one-day gain since the Fed announced new stimulus measures in mid-September. Experts said the rally was driven by better-than-expected earnings from blue chip stocks and very optimistic numbers from the retail and housing sectors. That said, we’ll have to see what happens in the financial sector after the surprise resignation of CitiGroup head Vikram Pandit. His departure came one day after the bank reported an 88 drop in third-quarter profits. Also keep your eye on the tech sector—another big area for our clients and both IBM and Intel reported disappointing Q3 earnings. Intel blamed a decline in demand for PCs and IBM blamed lackluster tech spending globally and currency fluctuations. What you need to ask yourself as both an investor and as a B2B marketer, is this: In the case of all three of these aforementioned Blue Chips, are we looking a lackluster global demand, unpopular products, ineffective marketing or inability to innovate fast enough. We think it’s the last two.

The Debate, Round 2

So we’re going to try the town-hall thing again tonight. Remember 2008, when Mr. Obama squared went at it against
John McCain in a town hall brawl. Gasoline prices were about $3.80 a gallon; Wall Street was in the middle of its worst week ever; President Bush had just created TARP and the economy—rather how the heck to fix it—dominate the verbal sparring.
In some circles, cynics would say not much has changed. Gasoline prices average $3.78 today—much higher in California and the northeast; unemployment remains historically very high; and each side will blame the other for not being specific enough about who has the better plan to jumpstart the economy.

Both sides will be trying to sell you on their vision, but that’s all it is—a vision of the future. By a healthy skeptic about anything you hear tonight.As was the case four years ago, energy independence is likely to come up as gas prices are up 16 percent in the past two months alone. Four years ago, Mr. Obama said prices at the pump were high enough to make energy policy “priority number one” for his administration; health care was explicitly meant to be “priority number two.” Gas prices are about the same, but priorities sound a little different. Hmm.


As a wise man once said, it’s a recession when your neighbor loses their job; it’s a depression when you lose your own job. Are we better off than we were four years ago? Most Americans would say yes—but how much better after four years of anguish and a whole lot of effort?
As was the case in 2008, both parties will probably trumpet energy as the magic cure for the slow growth economy—even if their prescriptions have very different side effects and very mixed results. If people don’t have jobs to drive to or need more fuel to keep their fleets running, then it doesn’t matter how low gas prices go when there’s no demand for the stuff.

We’re not going to tell you how to vote in November. But, we’re urging you to take the process seriously and remember this: the Election is just the first step…you need to stay on your elected officials throughout their terms to honor their promises and be accountable to their constituents. Otherwise it’s just a lot of hot air.

TAGS: Obama, Romney, gas prices, presidential debates, CitiGroup, IBM, Intel, economy, Vikram Pandit


Monday, October 08, 2012


Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Not Federal Spending, Will Get Us Out of First Gear
Startups are what create net new jobs

Friday’s jobs report – most likely the last one we’ll see before the November elections – showed employers added only 114,000 jobs last month. Not a great result in an economy of our size, but better than many economists expected. Somehow the mediocre gain dropped the official unemployment rate to 7.8 percent from 8.1 percent. We’re not going to waste your valuable time questioning the veracity of the numbers, but politicians who try to take advantage of this perceived job surge in their campaigns should be honest about the rest of the report—the share of jobless workers who’ve been out of work for at least six months is still extremely high at about 4.8 million. That’s about 4 in 10 total unemployed workers. Very depressing when we’re supposedly three years into the “recovery.” 

Long term joblessness, which tends to be a more accurate picture of what’s going on with mid-level and senior level job-seekers, has a debilitating effect on the economy. While some say it justifies the need for more federal spending to maintain and create jobs, we say long term joblessness highlights the need for more pure entrepreneurship and innovation. If there aren’t enough higher level jobs in the corporate and government sector for these talented folks, then make it easier for them to start their own companies, hire/mentor others and built productive assets.

As Thomas Friedman noted in his op-ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times, “If there has been one consistent weakness to this president’s public messaging, it is that it is often lacking in any excitement about innovation and entrepreneurship—the real drivers of our economy. In recent years, all the net new jobs in America have come from startups.”

Free agent economy

In many “idea” businesses, including software, media and marketing that are heavily dependent on out of the box thinking, you can get most of your work done by tapping into the “free agent economy” and using outsourced expertise. Here’s a
great example of how companies are growing and moving the economy along by doing everything except hiring permanent full-time W-2 workers with benefits.

It’s like we’ve been saying throughout the economic downturn, there’s lots of work to be done, just not a lot of jobs in the traditional sense of the word “job.” Whether you’re a job seeker, an employer, a recruiter or an investor in companies, get used to the free agent economy. It’s here to stay.

Macro view
Despite the plague of high gas prices, long-term joblessness and a depressed housing market, Americans are still going to drive. And when they can’t squeeze another couple months out of their worn out vehicles they’re going to bite the bullet and get a new one. Driving (i.e. independent transportation) is part of our DNA and always will be. Case in point: Auto sales hit their highest level in four years in September, as nearly 1.2 million vehicles left the showroom—a 13 percent increase from a year ago. The cheap financing isn’t hurting either.

OUT TAKE: As auto makers and suppliers start to feel more flush, expect a significant surge in Super Bowl advertising this winter and stronger than expected ad spending across the board for a post-election year. Whether you’re in consumer or B2B, we advise getting your 2013 media buys in early this year as they’ll be more competition for desirable inventory than you’ve been used to fighting for since the recession began a half decade ago.

While the looming fiscal cliff on January 1 has been grabbing all the headlines, another large, but generally ignored cliff is about to wreak havoc with both individual and institutional investors—the amount of time that swollen private equity funds have to start making some deals or else return money to their investors. As this
report related, “The private equity world is sitting on that 13-figure sum. It’s what the industry calls dry powder. If they don’t spend their cash pile snapping up acquisitions soon, they may have to return it to their investors.”
To make sure, we checked in with our friend Paul Brian Gibson, Portfolio Manager for Norwalk, CT-based Harborview Capital Management and he agreed.  “I’d say that’s just about right, and it’s been going on for quite some time, to the point where these private equity funds will have to start returning money to investors. Post-crash buyers finally came bidding, but sellers did not want to sell in the "hole", so like our residential real estate there was a strike.  Since then the amount of money private equity managers have had has grown, but the good deals have been done. You’ve seen M&A volumes down sharply as well (my investment banking friends are trying to hang on, but we should see more cuts into year-end by the JP Morgans and Bank of Americas of the world.


Let’s get these elections over with so we can start making long-term decisions, investing in great businesses, producing great products, services and marketing campaigns and keeping our customers and clients thrilled with what we do.

TAGS: auto sales, Paul Brian Gibson, Harborview Capital Management, jobs report, November election, free agent economy Thomas Friedman, startup companies


Monday, October 01, 2012


Research Shows Ad-Supported Web Businesses a Major Source of Job Creation
U.S. housing  firming up

By now it’s hard to find a lot of B2B marketers who are still skeptical about the power of web-based advertising and marketing. But, whether you’re all in or still sticking your toes in the water, it’s clear this business is growing robustly and will be here for a while.

Consider this. New data from Harvard Business School claims that employment in the ad-supported Web ecosystem doubled over the past four years to 5.1 million. What’s more, those jobs contributed $530 billion to the U.S. economy last year -- close to double the 2007 figures. The HBS research, commissioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, found that, “Jobs grew fastest in digital advertising agencies, ad networks, ad exchanges, customer analytics firms and listening platforms,” report authors said. “The engine of growth was not just consumer-facing companies like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but also firms that used the data spun off by them.”

OUR TAKE: What encouraged us the most was the fact that overall job creation was highly dispersed. Instead of being dominated by Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, the majority of new jobs were being offered at smaller entrepreneurial ventures across every state and county. Sole proprietors and small firms were cited as the big winners, this year. They contributed 375,000 full-time equivalent jobs to the 2 million in the Internet ecosystem. App development alone accounted for 35,000 full-time equivalent jobs, and the number of moonlighters was an order of magnitude larger.
Click here to download the study

Macro view

According to the Case Schiller index, single family home prices went up for the third straight month in July in all 20 major cities measured. Meanwhile, consumer confidence rose to the highest level in seven month, the Conference Board said
last week. Economists say consumer confidence accounts for as much as two-thirds of economic activity in the U.S., which analysts suggest is a sign that consumers and businesses are finally readers to spend more aggressively.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday that new home sales in August were up
a whopping 27.7 percent from the pace a year ago. The median price of a new home jumped 11.2 percent in August to $256,900, the biggest one-month gain on record. The median sales price was up 17 percent compared with August 2011. According to housing experts the $256,900 median price in August was the highest sales price since new homes sold for $262,600 in March 2007, a period when prices were coming down from the peaks reached during the housing boom.


Fiscal cliff worries aside. Regardless of how you think next month’s election will turn out, the economy is slowly but surely on the upswing even if we it takes years more to get back to the level of PERCEIVED prosperity in the middle of the last decade. As the HBS research shows, it’s a new world out there and we’re likely never going back to a media environment or business climate that we had before. Move fast. Move smart. Do your best to stay on top of every new tool you can for doing your job better. They’re not all going to work, but you’ll forever rue the day that you didn’t make the effort to explore the one killer app that could have revolutionized your business—and instead revolutionized the competition’s.

TAGS: Harvard Business School. Web advertising ecosystem. Case Schiller index. Home prices. Job growth, Interactive Advertising Bureau