I was looking at my blog’s statement of purpose yesterday–to see if I was still relevant–and noticed that Marketonomy has just hit the one-year mark. Since no one else will stand up and cheer: yippee.
Quite a lot has happened in the past year. I left the marketing agency I helped to found, Cymbic; I joined the CMO Council and it’s corporate parent, GlobalFluency to help drive global expansion; I quit BusinessWeek Online and joined Executive Decision Magazine as a columnist and commentator on marketing; and I had a blast participating in various marketing events and conferences. All the activity has made it hard to keep posting regularly, but it’s been a fascinating exercise in finding the right voice. A lot harder than writing a column or feature story. I’ll have to put some thoughts together on that topic–the advent of blogging puts an interesting twist on the concept of the public sphere…
I’ve got my first article out in a new gig writing for Executive Decision Magazine. Check it out and let me know what you think.
This story has been rattling around in my head ever since it was reported a couple of weeks back, but I haven’t seen a lot of commentary on it. AdAge reported that Ford has hired Accenture to audit its marketing plans for major car model launches. Without getting into a discussion on the merits or failings of Accenture, or the particuluar challenges faced by Ford, it’s a significant sign of the fault lines emerging in the marketing industry.
Businesses have been griping for years about the failings of the agency model–largely to no avail. But when a major U.S. corporation hires a business consulting firm to audit it’s marketing plans, you can no longer ignore the obvious fact that marketing agencies have let a tremendous void grow between themselves and their clients. I would lable that void: Boardroom Credibility. And business consulting firms like Accenture have obviously determined it’s a void they can drive a Brinks truck through.
Ford takes pains to say that this isn’t a creative issue–that Accenture won’t be replacing their other agencies–but that only rubs salt into the wound. It’s like saying, "you creative types, don’t worry your little heads about this, just go on making pretty pictures, or whatever it is you do, while the grownups talk business." Clearly Ford has major concerns about its marketing investment which their agencies have failed to mitigate. Now Ford is looking beyond the agency for strategy validation.
Talk about dropping the ball…
I’m producing a pilot program for a startup company in the online advertising space called Hyperbidder, that will be launched at the Ad:Tech show in San Francisco in April. It’s an interesting model for advertising. Instead of buying ad space for a set CPM or CPC, you place a bid for ad space at whatever price you want to pay. At the end of the auction, the space doesn’t go to the highest bidder, it gets divided up and spread among all bidders in proportion to their final bid. That means any advertiser can buy space without getting squeezed out of the market, and the pricing is set by market demand.
What’s nice about the model is that it has significant potential to open up surplus ad space currently unsold by major advertisers, since the pricing model will put it within reach for smaller buyers. For the publisher, no potential revenue is lost because all bids win. And unlike the typical banner ad networks, where you buy ad space across a series of sites–usually without knowing exactly where the ad will land–there are metrics and mechansisms to not only see where your ad is going, but to control where it goes.
I never stump for products, but I’m giving the background as an explanation for why an ad is now appearing on this site, down along the right hand margin. I’ll be lucky to earn a cup of coffee each month with that space, but it’s an interesting exercise on the front lines of the battle being waged in the online advertising market this year. Let me know what you think.