Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Optimisation at ad:tech

I was lucky enough to have been invited on a panel with some really bright people from companies as diverse as Google, CBS and GM Planworks - the whole moderated by an equally bright Laurel Touby from MediaBistro.

We had some lively discussion around innovation in the online world, about optimisation in all of its forms (see below) and about the limits of optimisation (are there any?). We discussed listening as a core form of optimisation and why having the customer at the center of your planning will always lead to the right result.

We briefly discussed the changing role of the ad agency, and the question was asked - is Google becoming an agency - Frankly I believe that with the acquisition of DoubleClick and the creative assets of that company, then they really could. One area we didn't get to was the future role of Ebay in media buying.... For another day....

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

The 'O' Word

I am at ad:tech this week and will be part of a panel discussion on "Strategic Media Planning: Optimizing Performance in a Rapidly Expanding Ecosystem" on Wednesday of this week. In preparing for the panel, I started considering what optimization (the most overused word of 2007 so far) actually means. I found 8 different activities referred to as optimisation:
  • Contact optimisation
  • Site optimisation
  • Search engine optimisation
  • Bid management
  • Behavioural targeting
  • Ad serving
  • Interaction management
  • Web interaction optimisation...

Quite a number of variations on a theme, and in my experience, using just one has limited effectiveness...

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Don't Tell Me, I Know...

The New Scientist reports that Xerox has submitted a patent application for a analytic tool which it says it can determine demographic information such as your age, sex and perhaps even your income by analysing the pattern of pages you choose to access on the web and comparing them to a database of surfing patterns from other users with a known background. Perfect for presenting relevant content to "anonymous" browsers...

Obviously, this form of predictive demographics will work only if different people don't use the same browser profile. More here.

Monday, 16 April 2007


I have just spent 2 days at the Forrester Marketing Forum on Customer Centricity. The common theme throughout 90% of the presentations and exhibitors was optimisation of one form or another. Unsurprising when you consider that in the latest iteration of Forrester's “Marketing Technology Adoption Survey.” The number one area of marketing investment in 2007 from this Forrester survey was for “Web interaction optimization”. The concept is both simple and powerful - use any information, you have, can predict or can elicit from a visitor to determine the most relevant and engaging content to display to that visitor.

My company has been a key player in this field for some time now (yes, optimization is an established direct/relationship marketing tactic) and we have developed a full program around it for our clients - After The Click...

Thursday, 12 April 2007

The Database Of Attentions

In the attention economy, Twitter enables the capture and memorisation of those things which retain (however briefly) the attention of our community members... A powerful and simple way of sharing information - a kind of instant blogging mechanism or a shared scribble pad has immense power in the context of a community based on affinity or usage (i.e. Land Rover owners or Labrador enthusiasts). The potential for community building and dialogs with and between customers is amazing. Much reward lies in mining this database of attentions.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Did You Say Conversation?

The term 'conversation age' used to refer to the 'Salon' period of the 17th and 18th Century France, it has now become the new age of marketing communications (helped along by Jim Stengel). As companies (including mine) continue to strive to participate in in the conversations that our clients customers are having all around them. A bright idea from Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan brings together 100 of the top thinkers in social media to create an e-book on this new 'Conversation Age'. The book will be an introduction to the tools that enable these conversations and how they are being used to change the the interactions between companies and their customers. They are looking for additional contributors here...

Tuesday, 10 April 2007


This is clearly a little off-topic, but I thought it was smart and amusing. Now with a little bluetooth emitter....

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Social Networking Gets Professional

In April 2004 the Economist wrote an article about LinkedIn which was at that time three years old and at that time had about 40,000 members. This week they have published another missive broadly relating the coming of age of social networking for business, LinkedIn now has 10 Million members and 350 corporate sponsors paying up to 250, 000 USD to advertise jobs to the network. From a personal point of view, I have had several recent professional meetings where my my LinkedIn profile and common contacts with my guests have been very useful in establishing a frame of reference... Definitely a space to watch for many reasons.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Don't Like The Ads? Roll Your Own.

There are an increasing number of players in the consumer generated advertising (CGA) field. A recent entrant is XLNTads (yes excellent). The basic idea is; you select from one of their participating brands, you make an ad using the building blocks provided (logos, jingles, brand guidelines etc) and, if it runs you get 20,000 USD...

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

MS DoubleClick?

Having been on the block in 2005 and picked up for a trifling 1.1bn USD, it appears that DoubleClick once again for sale. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the company is in 'active talks' with Microsoft and other potential suitors one of which may be Google.

The digital marketing group has reportedly appointed investment bank Morgan Stanley to review its options, including a sale or stock market listing.

Earlier this year DoubleClick acquired UK based rich media specialist TangoZebra in a continued effort to re-centre their model introducing more creative and strategic elements.

Interesting times...

Monday, 2 April 2007

Joost On YouTube

I just saw this ad on YouTube for Joost. If you missed my last post on this or any of the media storm surrounding the launch, then this ad will show you exactly what it is all about.