Posts Tagged ‘advertising age’

I’m not sure how much longer people can keep continuing to write the same articles, about the same topics, saying the same things, predicting the same “changes”, and expect anything to fundamentally change. I’m referring to an article published in Advertising Age called “The New Normal for CMOs” ironically under the column called CMO Strategy.

Simply regurgitating the same information that has prevailed the past several years is not strategic, and surely won’t help CMOs. Listing what the prevailing market conditions are, rather than offering new ideas for CMOs on how to deal with prevailing market conditions, is not strategic – it is informational. Plus, the information provided most of the time, or at least in this piece, is not new.

If a particular mindset has been in place for years or even decades, it should already be normal.

To paraphrase the main points in the article referenced above, each of which the author points out as “changes” or shifts for 2011:

* Your media mix is probably changing.

* LTV and customer loyalty is crucial, rather than a churn and burn strategy.

* Marketing and customer engagement is better when rooted in analytics.

* Marketing is no longer siloed and close partnerships with Finance is necessary.

* Performance-based procurement partnerships will become prevalent.

* Niche, creative expertise replaces one-size-fits-all agencies.

* Production and creative will decouple for efficiency’s sake.

* Consumers are tough to reach; agency compensation models will change accordingly.

* Minorities, and minority buying power, are significant, too.

* CMOs need to have a diverse skill set.

Summary: CMOs will be asked to do more with less.

Really? Which one of those have you not heard of before? Some of this is so basic and fundamental to what a CMO should have been thinking about for year that if you’re not thinking about them now, you shouldn’t be a CMO.

Everyone knows about the allure of social media. Everyone knows a 30-second spot won’t blanket your target audience anymore. So what can CMOs do, what should their new reality be? CMOs and top marketing executives need some new thinking or alternate points of view. I will give you two:

1) CMOs need to stop talking about shrinking budgets; everyone’s budget is tight and everything is fundamentally related to the recessionary times we live in. At some point, the more CMOs talk about their budgets shrinking, the more it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sure, it is tougher to reach consumers than ever before, and CMOs have to “do more with less”, but when has that not been the case?

If your partnership with the CFO is as strong as the author in the Ad Age piece says it should be, and your marketing is rooted in analytics and ROI as the Ad Age piece says it should be, then why is your budget shrinking? Why not work to get your budget larger at the expense of another non-revenue producing, unproven, less impactful area? You can fix your shrinking budget, trust me.

2) Why do you think audiences are so fragmented nowadays versus, say, 10 years ago? Because they have thousands of places to get and receive content, and communicate. Content includes communication, but also includes websites, forums, social networks, and blogs. Why aren’t CMOs focusing on creating content for themselves or their brand and build their own communities that way? It is great to rely on Facebook and Twitter as communication mechanisms and platforms, but why not own your own real estate rather than renting? Have the conversation on your own (branded) terms. Then it becomes a lot easier to engage your target audience.

I think this should be *the* trend for 2011. By “creating content”, I’m not solely talking about having a Facebook page. I’m talking about creating your own forums, blogs, mini-sites and the like. Let your target audience and potential consumers talk about your brand and your product on your platform or your site where you can be a lot more creative and interactive. It is cheap, free, easy and efficient.


No matter what industry you work in, or company you work for, your day to day efficiency can be dramatically affected by the environment you’re in. If you’re in a positive, happy, upbeat environment surrounded by colleagues you respect, it is likely you will be efficient and you will also have a better chance to succeed. If you’re in a negative, destructive environment, you will have much lower chances of success and ultimately happiness.

Most of us are products of our environment.

This is why my company’s latest honor is so important and why I, along with my executive team, take such pride in these things. I found out that our company was named to the Crain’s New York “Best Places to Work” list. The list, as well as our exact ranking, will be unveiled in December. Last year, in 2009, we also made the list and most recently we made a similar list of best places to work in marketing and media conducted by Advertising Age.

Why are these lists so important? Well, for one, they’re not rigged. A majority of the criteria for these lists come from confidential employee surveys never shown to an employer. Is it possible for employers to brainwash an entire company into grading them positively in the surveys? Probably not, unless you’re a very small business (we’re obviously not).

I’ve long believed that the environment you create in the workplace for your associates and coworkers is directly correlated to performance. It made me think about an entire issue in Winning the Web magazine devoted to corporate culture including a feature interview we did with Zappos, a company long believed to be a pioneer in corporate culture. It harkened me back to a blog post I did for iMedia Connection on the very same topic. Some employers or small businesses brush this theme to the side in favor of maniacal focus on growing bottom line profits; if they would only understand that there is evidence out there that the culture you create and bottom line profits are indeed at a minimum loosely tied, perhaps there would be more success stories in the world.

The environment you put employees in, as well as the environment you choose to put yourself in, is not just critical for one’s happiness, it is critical in efficiency and a helpful barometer of success. Give some thought about your own surroundings each day and perhaps a few of the links above will help shed some light on what some entities are getting right.

Epic Media Group Named by Ad Age

Posted: September 20, 2010 in Awards

Some great news from Advertising Age this morning for my company, Epic Media Group. We were named one of the 30 “Best Places to Work in Marketing & Media” in the United States.

We have racked up some really nice accolades the last 2 years or so, which is a great tribute to our employees and overall success.

You can read more about it here.

A recent article in Advertising Age brings to light the qualities of a new breed of CMO. Gone are the days of more style than substance, more flair than foundation, more flamboyance than “meat”. In other words, we’re in the post-rock-star CMO era.

There is something to this, trust me. A CMO has two major constituencies: internal stakeholders and external stakeholders. Internally, with more and more CMO’s having a stronger voice around Board tables, the onus is on them to show actual results rather than be a cheerleader. Externally, in trying economic times, people don’t really want to hear a lot of talk and promises. They want to be impressed, and it is a CMO’s job to have their business stand out, but it is increasingly important to achieve this through tangible action.

One quality mentioned in the Ad Age piece is humility and a “team first” mentality. Nowadays if you’re a CMO, I don’t know how you survive without these two things. Hopefully you’re on an executive team, like I am fortunate enough to be, that if anyone gets too much of an ego or “me first” mentality, they get brought back down to earth immediately.


A few quick words of thanks to John Chow, Shoemoney, DK and Bevo Media for their shout-outs and compliments relating to our company’s party at the Playboy Mansion. As a lot of you know, it was our 2nd year doing the Epic Publisher Challenge, which was a 6 month competition for our web publishers culminating in an expenses paid weekend in LA and a party at the Playboy Mansion for the 50 or so top performers. Beyond the great time had by all, the competition itself and the formula we used throughout the 6-month competition could really be a business school case study in how to do event marketing and have what is seemingly a large expense become a major revenue producer and brand tent pole. I’ll be doing an entire series of posts in the future in which I will detail the thinking and rationale behind how I view incentives and event marketing and why they go together. I feel this is an important topic that a lot of companies or businesses can use if they know their target audience(s).


My colleagues at Advantage Media launched a new series called “Author Advantage TV”. My friend Adam Witty, CEO of Advantage Media, is the host of this weekly show. Keep an eye on them in the coming months and you might see a familiar face or two.


Finally, a piece I wrote early in 2010 for iMedia Connection about the importance of corporate culture, which tied in at the time with a theme I covered in depth in Winning the Web magazine, has gotten a lot of positive reaction and significant pass-around as of late. More and more, in these trying economic times, corporate culture is potentially THE most important element in a company’s success. People usually perform better when they are interested, passionate and having fun. As I pointed out, part of a strong culture is about communication. Whether from the top down, or across departments, making sure employees feel not only in the loop but as having a say-so in things is a huge factor to a company’s short and long-term success. Also be sure to check out Advertising Age on Monday, September 20th for a list of the best company’s to work for in Media and Marketing.