MIMA – David Armano, The future of Advertising

pic-13The event exceeded my expectations… David Armano was able to articulate ideas that I thought were “hanging in the air” for some time, but were still difficult to see. Marketing world is changing and we have no other choice as adapt… or extinct.

Ideas from the presentation:

The most important now is to provide value through function.

Why agencies have challenges:

  • advertising is the creation of the campaign for the mass, while social media is niche
  • agencies have silos – collaboration does not happen
  • many companies are built on large-scale production of banners…

pic-22However, there are changes. Flash microsite is going away… at least from the point of view of the most progressive agencies. The Barbarian Group simplified its web site recently to make it more functional (quite interesting – the portfolio is very functional – it is showing the projects rather than the company’s pic-32

ability in “creativity” of the showing process). The idea is that regular people use the web differently. The site is not going to win a award for the agency, but it is useful and functional for its target audience.

 Agencies are competing with passionate individuals deeply knowledgeable in topics of their interest. Typos do not matter – the passion and expertise attract the niche…

pic-41Example: Ford created a rather simple site, but gave free Fiesta (plus free gas) to several highly influential bloggers. 100 of people who wanted to participate in the Fiesta movement were selected and now THEY produce original content in the introduction of the new model to the public.

 Me-conomy – life around the “me” in social networking; the user is surrounded by his blog, Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, etc.

pic-5Why shouldn’t agencies create products that they can sell?  Not necessarily creating campaigns for clients – but creating apps that will bring money in the future?  Example – IDEO labs. 

Agencies used heavy Flash applications hoping for “engagement…”  But what is engagement?  Leaving a comment on a blog is significantly more “engaging” than waiting for unnecessary animation to load…

The difference: OLD – everything is “thought-through” to the minute detail before launch…  NEW – apps are lunching in beta and modified as needed later – co-created with the users… Product development is mixing with marketing…

Viral video is a gamble – it can not be a part of business strategy.

How the NEW can be approached?  The organizations will need to adapt – and start adapting from the inside.

MDMA Conference 2009

pic-31 MDMA 2009 conference was attempting to connect direct marketing with green concepts, internet, and particularly social media marketing. Though I was preoccupied with social media, some green concepts were quite interesting – it is always helpful to explore area a little beyond interactive marketing as a concentration.

 Green Marketing (based on Aveda’s approach)

  • Cause marketing isn’t about philosophy, it is about “enlightened self-interest”
  • Aveda – cause related marketing and brand marketing came together (and everybody agrees on metrics…)
  • Globally, 68% of consumers would remain loyal to brands that support a good cause
  • Environmentalism is also a passion of the employees
  • “Purpose brand” even if it is a premium brand
  • It is wise to pay attention to the generation G (from giving, generosity, anti-greed); generosity is becoming a new status symbol
  • Thinking about the future – the next generation is much more environmentally oriented (Disney created a DisneyNature brand  )


Aveda’s approach is a designated department, combining:

  • tracking the company’s environmental footprint and trying to reduce it
  • employee education (how to reduce personal footprint)
  • philanthropy (related to environmentalism)
  • employee health and safety

Mission synergy: business mission and earth and community mission. (It is interestingly close to the concept of Brand Theme)

Social Mediapic-3-kwingo

Social media campaigns are infinite – whatever works should be indefinitely maintained (while it works)

Momentgraphic – similar to demographic and psychographic approach – determining the moment when the particular service or product could be most effectively offered

1% of all web sites has mobile-friendly look at this point

Data is valuable; but not for the sake of having data, but for the sake of improving relationships with customers – including mobile

The difference between an employee and a person is disappearing

Employees can show up higher in Organic listing than the company – it can be absolutely anybody, but this person would represent the company… Maybe we should encourage employees list the name of the company on Facebook, etc.?

Different audiences use devises in differently (mobile – 58% males; who likes to follow sports teams)

Rule of thumb (1/5 or 20%), but growing rapidly

  • 20% of social media messages are consumed on mobile devices
  • 20% of e-mail messages consumed on mobile devices

Employee social media – just an effort of being human…

“badvocate” – opposite of advocate (in contest of social media and beyond)

Best practices of mobile marketing:

  • integrate with other channels
  • test
  • experiment (and test)

Try it!  Play with it!  Fail!  Try again! 

Example: a coupon was posted on Flikr, and the information about it was Twitted through Twitter. It was a test, but it worked very well…  An implementation was almost free…

20% of marketing budget should be devoted to trying new opportunities

pic-3-extendrUseful resource: http://extendr.com/   Of course, I had to try it – http://vanessabright.extendr.com/  – with one week of free premium service 😉

MN AMA – Six Rules to build Internal Buy-in

pic-11The event not only introduced a group of us to Medtronic, but also allowed to learn from successes of great marketing team. The most important revelation for me was the long time and efforts needed to assure buy-in in a large organization, and also the fact that this process worth the struggle.

Tammy Johnson, Senior Global Brand Director, started from recommendation that we need to know our organization and how decisions are made. The speed and acceptance of different decisions may be very different.

Six rules:

1. Know your stakeholders

What are your stakeholders’ issues?  What motivates them?

2. You are a salesperson

  • Selling marketing idea:
  • define roles (who has power?)
  • don’t do it yourself – build champions
  • don’t blame others if they “don’t get it”
  • find words that resonate
  • define your “toll gates” – can not proceed
  • make sure your presentations can be understood without presenting (this is a very useful advice, and hard to do…)

Find more “acceptable” and less “frightening” words:
rebrand > refresh
standards > guidelines
mandate > governance
brand > reputation
corporate > global

3. Spot the similarities

Ask worrying parties to highlight similarities

4. De-risk your boldest innovation

Illustrate your ideas; use stories and prototypes

5. Don’t major in minors (pick your battles)

Would you be fighting for the same thing one year from now?

6. Articulate what the success will look like

No level of communication is enough

MIMA – Bob Thacker

Bob Thacker, the legendary person who commissioned ElfYourself.com seem to like to say “yes” to unusual ideas and believes that “it can’t be done” simply means “it has not been done yet.”


Ideas that I found especially interesting:

  • “Elf Yourself” was one of 20 innovative web sites created for the season; only one of the sites was so wildly successful
  • “If you don’t have big bucks, you need big ideas”
  • “Look before you leap, but then leap… do something”
  • After “Elf Yourself” campaign Office Max was more associated with holiday season and considered fun
  • “Don’t make ads – make news!”
  • Fear kills creativity
  • “No true pessimist was a true marketer”

Most of the examples – wonderful, spectacular examples – were still an “advertisement on the next level” – an ingenious methods of attaching a brand to something that inherently has no relation to it.

However, one example seemed different – it was an example of including of marketing into the product development process (what is spectacularly illustrated in Meatball Sundae). The product was specifically created for a certain audience – women – and connection of the product to the promotion was more natural. 

A great quote for our times:

If you can not decide if the glass half empty or half full – order a double.

MN AMA – How The Right Strategy Can Beat The Un-Economy

pic-1Another fascinating presentation by Bruce Tait from Tait Sabler.  In the difficult economic times, is it all about the price? No! 

Short-term decisions can destroy value.  “Emotional” benefits is not that important… “Utility” is important… but – what if you have value, but it is not perceived as value?

Decisions are made emotionally and then justified rationally. Value is often perceived as: value = functional benefit / price. But is it all? Leadership brands pay attention to value part of the equation.


It is important to “find an enemy of your brand” (not a competitor – an issue (not enough time, etc.)

Wal-Mart “out positioned” Target:
Wal-Mart: pay less > live better (more time/money for what you love)
Target: pay less > expect more (inexpensive upscale products)

People pay more for high-status item when they feel powerless…


Badge Model starts with functional benefits (what the product does), moves up to the external badge (how to appear to others), move up to the internal badge (reinforce positive self-image), and culminates with the transformational benefit (what the consumer hopes to become through the badge).


The most important – relevance and differentiation. Comparing on price leads to commodity. #1 reason why brands fail is lack of differentiation. This is the area where creativity is important.

HYUNDAI – now has 18% of the market. It was the first company that was able to connect its strategy with the most obvious fear of the times: if you loose your job, you can return the new car you purchased.

Why Obama won the competition with Hillary?  Branding!
Hillary – functional. Obama – movement.

Human brain does not change during “un economy.”

MIMA – User Experience Utopia

A few notes from another MIMA event – a conversation about user experience presented by Nick Finck.

Facets of the User Experience  (Peter Morville)

The article explains facets in quite a few details.

We looked at the example where animation was used heavily on non-essential elements of the site – the animation did not help the user experience, but hindered it. The example was quite typical – the animation was used for its own sake – rather than to help the user achieve the goal.

User Experience Treasure Map (Peter Morville)


I guess it is one more variation on the web site creation process – the discipline that is changing daily. It is interesting to watch the changes in the industry and marketers’ attempts to understand them…

… what leads to WaSP Interact – a living training course that tries not to capture a constant change, but to adapt to it…


Technology is changing

We are no longer building for the specific device, we don’t know what we are building for…

What is important?  Coming together – it is about the user.

Virtual Conference – Digital Marketing World – MarketingProfs

Today I had a luxury of attending most of a virtual conference first time. MarketingProfs’   Virtual Conference – Digital Marketing World.  Last year I would log in for a few minutes, or just review something in recording… “walk” through an empty lounge… or download a white paper or two from an unattended booth… (the booth’s owner follow up would still find me…)


Virtual conference is more useful and engaging while it is live. Particularly interesting:

  • Communicating with the other attendees before the conference, while everybody is trying to find their local or specialty counterparts.
  • Twitter name exchange… interesting – people are eager to post their twitter name everywhere (it is not as guarded as an e-mail address)… but I think I gained a follower too 🙂
  • Ability to follow not only chats on the conference web site, but also reviews of the conference on Twitter.  Though sometimes overwhelming… it is quite exciting to see in real time what points of the presentation the rest of the audience found important…  And not as rude as during the live event.
  • Ability to see opinions of the attendees of the parallel track about the presentation that I missed…  Based on these comments, I quickly made the decision if I needed to review the recording
  • Oh!  I just realized!  I forgot my briefcase at the conference… Oops… I will need to go back and pick it up…  it is not too far – just a couple of clicks 🙂


I think we, the attendees, were quite confused about some of the virtual trade show rules, that one entrepreneurial and helpful marketer quickly posted “user advice” for a virtual trade show attendees on her blog – thank you!!  Of course, I retwitted it during the event 🙂

Virtual conferences are just starting to become a part of the business environment… and I see a few advantages and a couple of changes that will probably come in the future…



  • Everybody has a profile and no company would need to manually “enter” business cards left in the booth into the database.  Marketer’s dreams come true!
  • The “evaluations” of the conference sessions are not necessary – if may be impolite to leave the auditorium during a live presentation of a disappointing speaker, but clicking “lounge” button after a few boring minutes of online presentation is quite OK
  • All the materials are in the “briefcase,” that can be picked up any time… or forgotten at the event… 😉

Future changes: vc-booth

  • I think virtual conferences are at the period of the development where web sites were about 10 years ago (I still remember infamous “guest books” 🙂  ). At that period of time, true potential of interactive marketing was not discovered yet, and the sites resembled print brochures. But in a few years everything changed. Something similar will probably happen with virtual convergences. Right now too much effort (graphics, space, etc.) is expanded to “recreate” the atmosphere of the real live conference. It might be necessary for the “transition” period, but the use of the space will change. Soon.
    • The picture of the realistically looking booth with a city background would probably morph into the company’s logo, pictures of the company’s representatives, and… useful facts and materials for the “booth’s visitor.”  The intricate booth design (thought quite interesting for the first time) does not contribute to the satisfaction of the need of the conference attendee – it is not necessary.
    • Lounge will probably “learn” to devote more space to the images of currently talking people… Maybe – just maybe – Twitter-type threads?  Maybe some “official” method of finding attendees from the same locations or marketing verticals? Thread categories? At the current virtual conference, generic images of the lounge dominated the prime real estate, and the people (who I came to meet 🙂  ) were hidden on the bottom.  Ha!  The arrangement worked quite effectively anyway – seeing images of others I hurried up to place my picture into my profile 🙂  
    • Would it be interesting to see fellow attendees during the sessions?  Bottom of the screen would be quite nice…  Maybe…  it depends on privacy and other goals, but we will see…  Virtual conferences are here to stay, and it is absolutely wonderful!
  • I believe the categories of the virtual conferences will also change soon to a user-centric navigation…  It won’t be “auditorium, show floor, lounge” but something closer to “presentations, vendors (or prizes? 🙂  ), networking.” Right now they reflect the “building,” but they will soon reflect “the benefit” that this type of building used to provide for the conference attendee. 

Great event!  Yes, I had to “bring my own snack” but it was a wonderful opportunity to expand my knowledge in the field of interactive marketing that I love and connect with other enthusiasts.  All from my own home computer…. Free. Thank you, MarketingProfs,  and, just like everybody else who filled out the survey, I was happy to propose the new tagline for your organization 🙂