April, 2008

April 30, 2008 | Eric Ista: Technology and the Speed of Mouth

So, I’m working on my laptop with the TV on in the background. Suddenly, I’m pulled from my work by a song on a new Dockers commercial. Before the commercial is even finished, I head over to iTunes and search for what I think the song might be named: “California Soul.” BINGO! I click Buy Song. Within 30 seconds of hearing a sample of the song, I own the song. I then post a tweet in twitter about my new found musical joy. Later that evening, I talk to a friend of mine that had seen my tweet and checked out the song as well.

Hmmmmm…makes me think that marketers could use all this technology in some way…

April 30, 2008 | Jon Gilbertson: Consumers Leveraging Social Media to Guide Buying Decisions

A study released last week from the Society for New Communications Research shows consumers use social media to share customer care experiences and research companies’ service reputation when making purchase decisions. The study shows the increasing power social media has on driving purchasing behaviors and ultimately maintaining one’s brand. It’s becoming virtually impossible to hide behind poor products or services as the average consume now has several outlets through which they can share their experiences.

April 30, 2008 | Dean Froslie: Teens: Electronic Messages Aren’t Considered Writing

When using a mobile device, e-mail, instant messaging and other electronic means, we all tend to write with abbreviations and grammar that would make our high school English teachers cringe.

But are those activities truly considered writing? Our teenagers don’t think so, according to the latest study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

April 29, 2008 | Ron Lee: Social lender Zopa voted “most threatening non-bank competitor”

While social or peer-to-peer lending isn’t new (in Internet time), what is new is the recognition Zopa received this month as the world’s “most threatening non-bank competitor.” image

Amidst the steady stream of stories about the worsening credit crunch and tightening lending standards, Zopa’s style of social or peer-to-peer (P2P) lending stands as a virtual beacon for beleaguered borrowers and serves as a potential investment alternative for would-be P2P consumers-turned- lenders. Traditional banks beware!

April 29, 2008 | Greg Ness: News About The Shift In News

There are continuing troubles ahead for traditional TV news programs as the most productive large, demographic segment for many marketers (adults, ages 18 - 49) shifts elsewhere. The first paragraph of this Ad Age article sums up the situation:

“The big three TV network newscasts lost about 1.2 million viewers last year, and advertising on their three big morning news shows fell to an estimated $1.03 billion. The average viewer is 60 years old, and the demographic marketers most want to reach is more likely to be facing a computer screen than a TV screen when the evening news comes on.”

April 28, 2008 | Greg Ness: Amy Tan’s TED Talk On Creativity

Author Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife) gives a wonderful talk about creativity and how it intertwines with her/our lives. You’ll have to wait until the end to see what’s in the bag at her feet.

April 23, 2008 | Greg Ness: Sometimes The Best Art Direction Is “Invisible”

On the way back from Ad:Tech in San Francisco, I saw this Navy SEALs’ ad in the May issue of National Geographic Adventure magazine. I think it is an outstanding example of strategy, concept and art direction. I spent several minutes (to no avail) looking for the SEALs the ad introduces, which, of course, is part of the point. Here is another ad in the series.

April 19, 2008 | Darin Livdahl: CSS Gradients in WebKit

Recently on Surfin’ Safari, WebKit—the engine used for Apple’s Safari browser—introduced CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) gradients in their latest nightly builds. The ability to create gradients with code and without the need for Photoshop or other image editing applications is a great enhancement in giving developers more flexibility when it comes to adding depth found in modern web design.

April 18, 2008 | Paul Bourdeaux: Unmaintable Code - It doesn’t have to be this hard…

Two of my all time favorite authors, Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates, coined the phrase, “Code [your project] as if the next guy to maintain it is a homicidal maniac who knows where you live.”  I truly wish more people would take that to heart.  All too often I am working on a maintenance task, and I find that I spend more time trying to figure out what the hell the code is doing than I spend actually fixing the bug.

Take, for instance, the following real code snippet that a colleague of mine recently sent me…

April 17, 2008 | Greg Ness: AdTech and A New Way To Listen

I’ve been at Ad:Tech in San Francisco this week, which labels itself as The Event for Digital Marketing. However, as many of the speakers pointed out: What isn’t digital in media these days or rapidly heading that way?” In light of that, Ad:Tech is really about what is happening in marketing—period.

As fast as the spending in digital marketing is growing, what amazed most people here — from both the client side and marketing industry side of the business — is why it isn’t even happening faster. Most people here felt the recession or near-recession we are currently experiencing will actually accelerate the shift to digital media. Many companies, faced with a slowdown in sales, will need to find a way to sell more products or services with less resources. The general consensus is that this will push more companies to opt for the greater and immediate return on investment that webcentric marketing programs can deliver.

April 14, 2008 | Mark Sjurseth: Last Day for Android Developer Challenge

If you’ve followed the mobile scene in the last 6 months, you probably heard about Android—the first complete, open, and free mobile platform. Android offers a free software development kit (SDK) for Java developers with key built-in features such as an integrated browser (Webkit), SQLite datastore, GPS, and a full stack of platform essentials missing from many mobile systems.

April 14, 2008 | Mark Sjurseth: In the Cloud with and Google Apps

Salesforce and Google Apps…its here! and Google unveiled the next significant step in SaaS with the unity of CRM and office productivity.  They call it Salesforce for Google Apps. Google’s on-demand Gmail, Calendar, Talk, Docs, spreadsheet, and presentation applications is already a best of breed suite that is threatening the dominance of Microsoft Office.  The addition of an award winning CRM solution further legitimizes Google Apps as an enterprise productivity solution.

April 14, 2008 | Jason Gibb: Java Applets Making a Comeback?

What do you think of when you hear the words “Java applet?” For most, this brings to mind slow, buggy, useless little applications that run in the Web browser. They are the quintessential Web 1.0 way to add interactive features to a Web page, and they largely failed to catch on. Newer, faster technologies such as Flash and Ajax—and better browser support for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript standards—relegated Java applets to the dust bin of Internet history. Or did they?

April 12, 2008 | Erik Uetz: When Web Sites Are Stolen

Imagine surfing the web and finding a site that looks and behaves exactly like yours…the one you spent a lot of time and a lot of money designing and building. Your web site has been stolen! How did this happen and what can you do?

April 11, 2008 | Greg Ness: Microsoft Makes Bid To Buy U.K.

I thought this was extremely funny, but, then again, I have a strange sense of humor. George should write for The Onion.

April 10, 2008 | Greg Ness: The Future Structure of Corporate Marketing Communications

Consumers are rapidly shifting their media consumption to emerging channels. As this transformation continues, the challenge for corporate marketing will be to ensure their department structure adapts to this seismic media reorientation.

In the previous era of one-way, corporate-controlled communications, marketing was most often structured in vertical stacks around product groups, usage groups or channel groups. Those channels could include sales, brand advertising, promotion, PR, direct marketing, event marketing, etc. The Web as a channel has changed the equation, because the Web can function well as a super channel for brand, sales promotion, direct sales, events, etc.

Today, even when traditional channels are used, the Web is often a major complementary component. The sales function uses the Web for leads and sales support. Direct marketing uses the Web for fulfillment. The brand-building function of marketing now often sees the Web as the most vital first brand touchpoint.

Emerging digital channels have shifted control of marketing to the consumer, and it is no longer possible to manage the “boundaries” of communication that fit so conveniently into the vertical corporate marketing stacks of yesterday. Consumer perceptions and preferences are now fed by wide and deep brand experience interactions that are more in the customers’ hands than with marketers.

April 09, 2008 | Greg Ness: The Changing Emphasis of Design

The emphasis of design has undergone a major change since I first entered the communications business several decades ago. In the 70s, 80s and throughout much of the 90s, when you talked design in marketing, most people were referring to graphic design. At that time, the emphasis for designers that were well respected and admired by their industry peers was doing something that was distinctive, eye-catching, and helped define a brand look and feel.

One of the main goals of advertising, and designers that were associated with the marketing function, was to create relevant attention for their clients’ companies, products and services. The tools of the marketing trade at that time — including design — only allowed one way communication, and marketing practitioners were often left to interpret the results of their efforts through the complicated and time-consuming sieve of research and extensive account planning activities.

April 08, 2008 | Greg Ness: CMO 2.0

The fact that the average tenure of a big-company CMO continues to hover around a measly two years is well documented in repeated Spencer Stuart studies. It has been suggested that part of the reason for this rapid turnover is the tremendous pressure now exerted on CMOs to quickly demonstrate tangible, high-return results for their marketing expenditures and efforts. While I think that pressure is real and causative to the CMO revolving door, I think there is a deeper reason behind the volatility of this position. Namely, there are a lot of CMO 1.0 executives in what has rapidly become a CMO 2.0 world.

April 04, 2008 | Greg Ness: Planning: The Condensed Version

imageSeveral years ago, I recall reading some good advice about advertising concepts: Try making the point first with a billboard idea. A billboard forces you to economize your thought process and to really focus on the essence of the idea. A recent Fast Company article highlights a book with the same type of advice for planning and problem-solving: Put it on a napkin first.

April 03, 2008 | Greg Ness: 10 Trends In Social Media Via Aki Spicer

Aki Spicer, a planner at Fallon gave a live presentation last week on 10 social media trends that marketers need to watch. The livecast is gone, but you can still pick up the Slideshare deck above—you’ll want to go to a full screen view of this one. You can also pick up the pdf version here.

April 03, 2008 | Sarah VanNevel: Social Media Campaign Works Wonders for Disney Flick

While Disney’s tween movie series High School Musical (HSM) has been wildly popular among 12 to 14 year-olds, older siblings of HSM fans have probably been more excited about the company’s dance-themed flick Step Up and its sequel Step Up 2 the Streets. Released on Valentine’s Day, the sequel was a surprise hit at the box office, thanks in-part to Disney’s use of social media. A post last month on discussed the success of Step Up’s MySpace campaign.

April 03, 2008 | Lon Keller: Podcasters:  Don’t quit your day job—just yet.

Those of us in the podcasting game, both subscribers and producers alike, have listened for the past 4 years on how podcasting could allow a content producer to quit their day job and reap the rewards of financial freedom.

Recently, Michael W. Geoghegan posted some very insightful thoughts on the topic, going as far to say that podcasting is a community rather than an industry.

April 01, 2008 | Mark Sjurseth: Sprint Bets Big in Vegas

Today was a big day for Sprint at Las Vegas trade show CTIA Wireless 2008. CEO Dan Hesse announced several new devices.  The most significant of these reveals is the Samsung Instinct.

Look Familiar?

April 01, 2008 | Greg Ness: A Fresh, Getting-Your-Career-Started Point of View

For the last several years, I taught an advertising class as an adjunct professor at Concordia College. It was a rewarding experience. As part of my class requirements last year, students were to start and maintain a blog. One of those students was a promising and bright designer by the name of Christopher Nuernberger. His blog was entitled “Shades of Gray” and he is still blogging today under the same title about a year after his graduation.

In fact, if you are just starting out in design, marketing, or communications, Christopher’s thoughts and insights might be especially helpful for you. Many of his posts deal with the challenges of getting started in the business, and he is writing this from the relevant viewpoint of his own personal perspective. I heard from Chris recently, and he now has a great job and many regular blog readers. Good job, Christopher.