December, 2007

December 31, 2007 | Ron Lee: 2008: Year of the virtual world for kids?

Move over Second Life. Kid-focused virtual worlds such as Club Penguin, Webkinz, and a string of site start-ups loom as the new and hot Web playgrounds for 2008. image

December 31, 2007 | Greg Ness: User-Generated Online Content Is Way Up—Teens Lead The Way

According to a State of the Media Democracy 2007 study recently complete by Deloitte, user-generated content is in big demand on the Web. Over 50 percent of adults now report watching or reading online content created by other Web users including blogs and streaming video. Among Millennials (those ages 13 - 24), that figure rises to 71 percent.

In addition, the study states over 40 percent of all consumers are now creating online content (videos, photos, blogs, etc) for themselves or others. The study also said the traditional media such as TV, magazines and books remain “deeply engaging” to most consumers with 72 percent of respondents reporting they still read print magazines even if those magazines are available online.

December 30, 2007 | Greg Ness: Technology & Internet Trends

imageAt least once a year, its helpful to look at Mary Meeker’s excellent PowerPoint presentation on Technology and Internet Trends. Meeker is a managing director at Morgan Stanley and a leader of the investment bank’s global technology research team. The link above is her slide deck from the Future of Media conference presented last month in New York.

Meeker’s in-depth analysis is viewed from a global perspective, and it provides a great deal of insight into where technology and the Internet are headed. The presentation is filled with salient facts for business executives and marketing professionals, but a few I found particularly illuminating included:

December 29, 2007 | Greg Ness: More Troubling Shifts For Newspapers and The Television Networks

Here’s more evidence of the continuing shift from analog to digital media. On the heels of this article last month about sharp declines in newspaper circulation in the U.S., comes this story at Crain Communications about the vanishing 18- to 49-year-old age group on network television. NBC was down 11 percent over last year’s figures, CBS declined by 10 percent, and ABC was down by 5 percent.

December 28, 2007 | Greg Ness: 80 Things To Watch In 2008

JWT, one of the larger U.S. and world advertising agencies, released its list of 80 Things To Watch In 2008. It’s quite comprehensive. One of the funnier items was (#23) Facebook Suicides: dropping out of a social network. One of the saddest was (#51) Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated a day after the list was released.

December 28, 2007 | Greg Ness: ANA’s Marketing Predictions for 2008

imageThe Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has put together a list of 2008 Trends To Watch. Incidentally, the way they released this information is on one of several blogs they maintain, which in itself sends a signal about the growing use of new media tools. The membership of the ANA is comprised of executives from over 400 companies that represent 9000 brands and are responsible for over $100 billion in marketing and advertising expenditure each year. Here are some key take-aways from the ANA list:

• Creativity and innovation still rule, but 2008’s creativity will be focused on devising better way to leverage technology and reach audiences online. There is “no turning back” to the traditional advertising model. In fact, the ANA said a digital marketing platform “offers richness in information management, communication delivery, metrics—and portability.”

• Marketing and advertising accountability remain top-of-mind with many marketers.There are still 42 percent of companies dissatisfied with their marketing ROI measurement methodology. The ANA predicts this will lead to companies developing a Chief Accountability Officer.

December 27, 2007 | Greg Ness: Operation Christmas

imageNow that Christmas is over, here’s an interesting illustration that shows you how Santa pulls the whole thing off. It’s from Wired Magazine’s Top Ten Illustrations of 2007.

December 26, 2007 | Greg Ness: It’s The Week of Lists

imageIt is that time of year again when many pundits seem to be putting a list together. Either it’s a list about what was tops in 2007, or a list of predictions about 2008. If you are into lists, there is no better place to start than with Time Magazine’s 50 Top 10 Lists of 2007. Topic categories include: news; arts & entertainment; science; business, tech & sports; and pop culture.

Be sure to check out the Top 10 Viral Videos, the Top 10 Websites, and the Top 10 TV Ads.

December 24, 2007 | Greg Ness: A Short History of The Brand Called Christmas

...from Paul Williams at MarketingProfs (link). Merry Christmas.

December 24, 2007 | Greg Ness: Blogging: Bigger Than Ever

Blogging is still growing at a rapid rate. Technorati is now tracking over 112 million blogs. That number is up over 40 million since this report was released last April. Every day there are 175,000 new blogs being created.

December 21, 2007 | Dean Froslie: Is Your Content Truly Customer-Focused?

So many web sites have a couple of fundamental flaws: they aren’t written from the customer’s perspective, and the content doesn’t help users complete common site tasks.

December 21, 2007 | Greg Ness: DIY Recording Fame

Who needs the record label companies to become famous? Not Ingrid Michaelson, a singer-songwriter whose self-produced Girls and Boys recently hit #2 on the iTunes charts. Her road to fame was via a MySpace page.

Earlier this month Sarah VanNevel’s post related the story of Tay Zonday, a singer who rose out of obscurity via YouTube. Ingrid Michaelson’s path using the Internet is a similar story with some even bigger implications. In literally six months, Michaelson went from being an unknown to performing at sold out concerts and having her songs featured on the hit TV series “Grey’s Anatomy” (see her “Keep Breathing” on YouTube).

December 21, 2007 | Greg Ness: A New Tool To Visualize The Political Process

The 2008 presidential election year is almost upon us. It’s two weeks until the Iowa Primary (Jan 3), and followed quickly in five days by the New Hampshire primary (Jan 8). You can easily see the odds on who will win these and other primaries with a new dashboard tool at Yahoo. You’ll find tabs on the dashboard for both national and state polls.

What’s interesting is that much of information on the Yahoo political dashboard is fed from data at RealClearPolitics. While the RealClearPolitics site is useful and traditionally presents much of the same information as the Yahoo page, the dashboard is much easier to use and to see at a glance what is transpiring.

December 18, 2007 | Greg Ness: Take The Naughty or Nice Test

The Inquiz-i-tron from Sundog Laboratories measures whether you are naughty or nice. Take the short test and see how you score.

December 17, 2007 | Sarah VanNevel: Does Prime Rib Predict the Polls?

As 2007 comes to a close and the 2008 presidential election rapidly approaches, Americans are beginning to gear up for another crazy campaign season. For those who find CNN sponsored Gallup polls and media reports dry and sometimes hard to follow, imagerestaurant blog Urbanspoon has developed a creative new method for predicting election results, one that taps into the power of consumer tastes and Google Trends.

The inventive new prediction system, called the “Steak/Sushi Index,” measures voting trends in cities based on the number of sushi restaurants found in the area compared to the number of steak restaurants in the same radius.

December 17, 2007 | Greg Ness: Art Is A Gift

imageThe character at right is a Qee. It is part of a great project and website called Art Is A Gift. You can have fun making your own Qee by visiting the site. Art Is A Gift is part of Free Arts Minnesota, a non-profit organization that uses the healing powers of art to help neglected, abused and at-risk children.

Check it out and pass it along to family and friends. It’s a unique concept. I’d like to thank a friend, Andrew Charon, for the point. Andrew was part of the team that developed this wonderful site.

December 16, 2007 | Greg Ness: The Webcentric World Of B2B Marketing

There has been a sizable shift to an online marketing emphasis in many company budgets in the last several years, and according to results of a new study from B-to-B Magazine (2008 Marketing Priorities and Plans), that shift is continuing unabated. The B-to-B world is rapidly reorganizing around a webcentric nucleus because that model still has all the advantages of the old analog world of marketing, along with a host of advantages that can only be realized in a “digitally-remastered” new marketing universe.

December 12, 2007 | Dean Froslie: Merriam-Webster Announces Word of the Year: w00t!

“w00t” – the joy-filled expression popularized by online gamers – was named Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year for 2007 based on votes from web site visitors.

December 10, 2007 | Jason Gibb: Free Web Charting? What’s the Catch?

Joining the seemingly never-ending stream of free Google tools for Web developers, allow me to present the Google Chart API...

December 09, 2007 | Greg Ness: 5 Big Changes In Marketing

• Monopolies no longer have a monopoly and they don’t like it (Seth Godin).
• Political campaigns can no longer be orchestrated (at least on the Web) and that’s scary for some strategists (New York Times).
• The fastest growing new media network isn’t owned by any company (CNET).
• Work is becoming the new prime time and prime place for many advertisers (Burst Media).
• Explosive social networking growth will rewrite many marketing strategies (MarketingCharts).

December 08, 2007 | Greg Ness: 2008 A Pivotal Year For HDTV

imageThere is getting to be more digital HDTV content all the time, and 2008 should usher in a host of additional channels and shows that will be available in the HDTV format. There are a number of reasons 2008 will be a breakout year for HDTV:

1) February 17, 2009 is the deadline date for all television programming to switch to digital. After this date, older, analog television sets will need to run through a special digital-to-analog converter to work. There are still a lot of people unaware of this switchover. According to the Leichman Research Group, only 43 percent of adults know of the analog to digital TV transition that is now only about 14 months away.

December 07, 2007 | Greg Ness: How To Double The Price Someone Will Pay For Your Product

A new study conducted by comScore and the Kelsey Group shows consumers are willing to pay up to 99 percent more for a product that has received an excellent online review. Respondents in the study also said online reviews had a significant impact on offline purchases. The highest category was hotels, with 87 percent of people indicating that the online rating was a major factor determining where they ultimately stayed. In addition, 97 percent indicated the reviews were accurate.

December 05, 2007 | Sarah VanNevel: Now Playing: Cherry Chocolate Rain

If you frequent video sharing website YouTube, chances are you may have seen “Chocolate Rain,” a viral music video recorded by University of Minnesota Ph.D. candidate Tay Zonday. Zonday wrote and recorded the hilarious song himself in his Minneapolis apartment, and posted the video on YouTube last April. Since then, over 11.5 million people have viewed the spot, and it was ranked the hottest viral video of the summer by

Good news for viewers: Zonday is back with a second installment titled “Cherry Chocolate Rain.” This time though, the video isn’t just for kicks—Pepsi owned-Dr. Pepper hired Zonday to produce the sequel as an ad to accompany the campaign for its new “Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr. Pepper. The video hit YouTube last week, and boasts over a million views already.

December 04, 2007 | Greg Ness: Another Bubble?

This is funny (via John Battelle and Kara).

December 04, 2007 | Greg Ness: Advertising Spending Up 6.7% In 2008; Internet Leads The Way

Zenith Optimedia projects worldwide advertising growth at 6.7 percent next year, but the only category on a long-term growth trajectory is the Internet. In fact, they predict that Internet advertising will overtake radio advertising in 2008 and magazine advertising in 2010. On a national level, most other media categories will remain relatively flat over this time period. The exception is newspapers, which are expected to continue losing appreciable advertising market share during the next three years. Television advertising in the U.S. should be helped next year by the Olympics and the presidential election.

December 03, 2007 | Greg Ness: Tough Questions for CMOs

MarketingProfs asks, Are you ready for 2013? BusinessWeek asks, Will you have your job in 2013?

The two links above are strongly related. According to the MarketingProfs post by Paul Barsch, two factors loom large over the next five years for chief marketers: 1) the accelerating growth of information technology, and 2) the proliferation of data (it doubles every three years). Unless CMOs learn to partner with the IT department, and harness all that data into usable insight and cost-effective, revenue-producing marketing campaigns, their tenure will be short lived. That is the subject of the Business Week article. It reports the average longevity of the CMO position is now only 26 months. Lofty management expectations for quick results from the CMO position are partially to blame. Another major factor is the learning curve challenges faced by CMOs when it comes to understanding and utilizing the new media choices. As the Business Week article states: