Friday, October 24, 2008

"In art as in love, instinct is enough." Anatole France

"A really great talent finds its happiness in execution." Goethe

"The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice." R.D. Laing

Today's image: Positano - Country - Italy by RayDS. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Execution, not excuses
Second in a series

Thoughts on next steps for media CEOs. Ten things you must do now to prevail in 2009. Here are the second three of ten [first three here]

4. Reinvent sales. Stop waiting for business to come back. The revenue problem is not the problem, the response to the revenue problem is the problem. We don't need to simply reboot sales, we need a new OS. Stop wasting valuable resources trying to get better and start getting different. Embrace transparency and accountability. Adopt and enforce a zero tolerance for internecine silo warfare. Until broadcasters stop trying to kill the broadcasters across the street things will not get better for anyone except the buyers. Focus on your clients, not on your competition.

It is vital that all associates understand and agree, they are either in sales or sales support. A good read on what's happening in sales is What the Customer Wants You to Know by Ram Charan. [Amazon info]

What we are witness to today is nothing less than a sales crisis. It didn't happen overnight and has been years in the making. We've been writing about it here since 2004. It's easy to dismiss the problem, to ignore the fact that our sales departments have not changed very much in the last ten or, as some would argue, thirty years. Some wise guys will read this and say "Sure hope we have more than a week to get this baby checked off the list, reinventing sales might take two weeks." Clearly what we have here is a major challenge that requires our best thinking and best efforts. Reinventing sales will be an ongoing process not an event. It must be an urgent priority. We must get started.

Until and unless sales gets the attention it needs the entire company is at risk. The old saw seems apt, if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten. Step one is stop blaming the market. It is we who have the perception problem, it is the delusion that we are doing something productive to fix the serious issues related to our dated revenue engine.

5. Get serious about R&D. Encourage, enable and protect innovation. Learn to win in the new ambiguous world of perpetual beta. Prize creative collaboration. Instill a bias for action understanding that to succeed sooner one must fail faster. Experiment. Forget about cap ex next year, put dollars into research and development. [Hint: If you missed the slide show in the first post of this series, here it is again - please watch here]

6. People first. As a practical matter, making HR important beyond compliance issues will be a new concept for many media firms. We have to start treating our employees like our best customers. Every person on the payroll is talent. Employees help the company achieve its goals by becoming the best at what they do. Leadership must create the context in which people can do their best work. An important part of the D in R&D is HR-D. The key to growing profits is growing people. Employees deserve and need an advocate, that's a critical mission for HR.

Diversity continues to be a challenge. As the joke goes our business is being killed by old white guys. Not enough women and minorities are being hired or promoted. Start with fixing outreach, it's broken.
On promotion, one example. Recently Clear Channel Radio announced the promotion or contract extension of senior programming staff, it should be noted that not one named was a woman or an African American.

Part three in this series may be found here.

Have a great weekend. See you next week in a brand new show.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Romance is everything." Gertrude Stein

"The future is purchased by the present." Samuel Johnson

"Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative." H.G. Wells

Today's image: Bound to Ignite by Thomas Hawk. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

Execution, not excuses
First in a series

Thoughts on next steps for media CEOs. Ten things you must do now to prevail in 2009. Here are the first three of ten.

1. Revisit your business model. Change the game. Do not tweak the numerator, change the denominator. Focus less on market share and become obsessed with market creation. Begin serious end days of revenue dependence on the import business and ramp up the business of export. [Hint: gather team to watch and discuss this slide show]

2. Embrace zero-based budgeting.
Employ brutal honesty. Cut all expenses that are not absolutely mission critical, no exceptions. Spend every dollar as if it were your last.

3. Labor, likely your single biggest investment, is the game changer. Thin the herd of the mediocre, release the sad dogs and 86 those retired on the job. Cut corp staff to lowest head count possible. Staff keepers should be assigned to line jobs as additional duty replacing marginal performers. Field the best possible team locking in your key players and stars, the ones that consistently make a difference. Identify and recruit more tie-breakers. Reassign associates as needed to ensure that everyone is working in an area that brings out their strengths and produces optimum results. Put an end to all "missionary work" (i.e., attempting to save people more than once, double secret probation, repeated altar calls, et al) [Hint: If they are not helping you they are hurting you. Cut the weakling performers. Clean house in one big bang]

Part two, second three of ten here.

The price of free speech. Say it ain't so dept:
Obama campaign charging media for prime election night coverage, from the campaign site...

The following coverage resource packages are available for purchase:

  • Main Riser Position - $935 (Includes 4 Main Riser Credentials, 5’x8’ Slot on Covered Main Riser and one 20 amp circuit)
  • Main Riser Position with Telecommunications - $1870 (Includes Main Riser Position services, PLUS two unlimited long distance/local phone lines and one wired high speed internet connection)
  • Cut Riser Position - $880 (Includes 4 Cut Riser Credentials, 5’x8’ Slot on Covered Cut Riser, one 20 amp circuit)
  • Cut Riser Position with Telecommunications - $1815 (Includes Cut Riser Position services, PLUS two unlimited long distance/local phone lines and one wired high speed internet connection)
  • Press File Seat - $935 (includes 1 Press File Credential, seat in heated Press File Tent, Power, Cable Television, High Speed Wired Internet Service, Catering)
  • Satellite Truck Position - $900 (includes 35’x20’ parking position and 100 amp electrical service)
  • Radio Position - $715 (includes table space and chair behind the riser, power and an ISDN BRI line for radio -- comes with two credentials)

Billing information must be submitted at as part of the request. Your credit card will not be charged until the campaign confirms your coverage resource package request. Coverage resource packages must be requested at:

Additional services may be purchased a la carte:

  • Unlimited Long Distance Phone Line - $300
  • High Speed Wired Internet - $275
  • One 20 amp circuit - $165
LATER: More coverage from Chicago Sun-Times here. My hope is this issue will be resolved favorably for the working press.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Life is a school of probability." Walter Bagehot

"Nothing succeeds like address." Fran Lebowitz

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain." Maya Angelou

Today's image: As Autumn turns to Winter by Southernpixel. Great pic. Thanks for sharing.


Doris Kearns Goodwin talks about balance in life. She's a gifted storyteller and shares stories in today's video about leadership with lessons from presidents Lincoln and Johnson. Invest 18:48 of your day. Highly recommended. My thanks, as always, to TED for sharing.

Congrats & cheers: Rock programming ace Fred Jacobs joins the conversation on Twitter (hint: Fred come and join the big kids on FriendFeed). My beautiful, incredible wife on the celebration of the fourth anniversary of her exceptionally successful adventures in retail.

Next: My thoughts on what media CEOs must do now to prevail in 2009 and more on cognitive process as it relates to advertising.

Friday, October 10, 2008

"Genius is the ability to put into effect what is on your mind." F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Silence remains, inescapably, a form of speech." Susan Sontag

"The ordinary man is involved in action, the hero acts. An immense difference." Henry Miller

Today's image: splash by nikond300. Very cool. Thank you for sharing.

Takes one to know one dept: Robert Feder calls radio legend Dick Biondi sui generis

Interesting conversations this week about the road ahead. Several client CEOs and COOs called to discuss revisiting their 2009 planning and budgets. Each year at this time we are involved in assisting clients with their planning. Concurrently we are deep into the process of developing our annual ad spend forecast. Because our firm also provides representation to talent we enjoy the advantages of a unique "both sides of the table" perspective.
Recent events in the financial markets have caused us to rethink even our most conservative assumptions.

This morning, thanks to Fred Wilson, we viewed a slide show created by the folks at Sequoia Capital. On balance, we agree with many of the points made in the presentation and have emailed the slide show to our clients along with our suggestions with regard to next steps. This morning I would like to share selected content from four of the slides in the Sequoia presentation.

Our Take

  • Manage what you can control. Spending. Growth assumptions. Earning assumptions.
  • Focus on quality
  • Lower risk
  • Reduce debt

New Realities
  1. Cuts are a must
  2. Need to become cash flow positive
Increased Challenges
  1. M&As will decrease
  2. Prices will decrease
  3. Acquiring entities will favor profitable companies
  4. IPOs will continue to decrease and will take longer
The Solution
  1. Perform situation analysis
  2. Adapt quickly
  3. Use a zero-based budgeting approach
  4. Make cuts
  5. Review salaries
  6. Employ a heavily commissioned sales structure
  7. Bolster balance sheets
  8. Become cash flow positive as soon as possible
  9. Spend every dollar as if it were your last
View the entire slide show via Fred Wilson's blog post here. My thanks to Fred and Sequoia for sharing.

Everything here is my personal pov and does not reflect the views nor the opinions of my employer. This has always been the case. Please use comments when you have a different opinion to share.

RIP: Financial engineering

The days of the financial engineer are, as a practical matter, over and that is a good thing. We are in this mess today no thanks to the leger de main practiced by too many self proclaimed financial engineers.

In my next post I'll share my thoughts on what must be done by media CEOs to prevail in 2009.

Have a great weekend. See you next week in a brand new show.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

"Children enjoy the present because they have neither a past nor a future." Jean de la Bruyere

"Humility is attentive patience." Simone Weil

"Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before." Joseph Campbell

Today's image: Pull me out from inside by mbrinamen. Great shot. Thank you for sharing.

The following video contains language that may not be appropriate in your workplace or around children. Fair warning.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." Albert Camus

"The most certain sign of wisdom is cheerfulness." Michel de Montaigne

"The best work is not what is most difficult for you; it is what you do best." Jean-Paul Sartre

Today's image: Canopy of Color Revisited by Darren White Photography. Great shot. Thank you for sharing.

You remember last time, we were talking about that vogue advertising and marketing term of the moment - engagement. Today, we continue on that topic with some help from marketing maven Tom Asacker. In our last post we suggested the first goal of advertising was getting noticed. For the purposes of today's post we'll ask you to agree that getting noticed is an early stage or condition of awareness. How does awareness work? To get into the mind of the customer we turn to Tom's new book - A Little Less Conversation, Connecting with Customers in a Noisy World...

"It's all psychology and sociology. What I'm saying is that you'll improve your odds of connecting with your audience if you influence at both the subconscious and conscious levels. Again, think of awareness as a way to attract customers and deliver value, and delivering value as a means to creating belief. And belief - creating an expectation with customers - is key, since belief leads to experience and experience leads to adoption.

If customers believe you can help them achieve their goals, look good, improve their relationships, feel good about themselves, and so forth, they'll take your call, stop by your place of business, click on your link, join your organization, or grab your product off the shelf. If they don't, they won't....people are simply too busy today to act on faith and take chances.

But most organizations are so focused on spreading awareness - of their mere existence or of some kind of static 'information' - they've deluded themselves into believing that customers are easily manipulated, or that they follow some kind of linear, cognitive decision-making path. You know, awareness, information, desire and action.


Well, it really doesn't work that way...People rapidly screen stimuli and connect with what intrigues and appeals to them. Their attention may flitter from one shiny object to the next, but they'll only spend time investigating something if their guts, and especially their desire for value, have been aroused. Reverse the positions of the letters. It really works like this: Awareness, Desire, Information, Action.


That's what great marketers and salespeople do best. They make you aware of, and stimulate your desire for their offerings and subsequent information about those offerings...they immediately connect their offerings with your gut, with your emotions, desires, and beliefs. Now, most purchases of low-involvement products move from awareness to desire, then straight to action. Consumers never even pause to consider their decisions. Their subconscious desires are stimulated by a feeling of liking, probably created by some form of advertising.

Look, most people believe in A.I.D.A., because it feels right. We feel that it works like this: We sense something in the environment - be it some form of marketing communication, retail outlet, product, or salesperson - which then causes us to think about that something. Then, after thinking about it for a bit, we develop a feeling about it. And that subsequent feeling is what drives some type of action...That's how the brain works. You sense something and automatically have a feeling about it. Thus gut feeling is fast, effortless, and associative. It's also typically below your own level of conscious awareness. You then decide, based on said feeling and in many cases subconsciously, whether or not to invest more of your time in it and attention to it. Whether to raise it to a conscious, deductive reasoning process...Your customers and potential customers judge you based upon the very little bit of you that they perceive, whether it's the facts or not. So everything that they perceive matters - and I mean every little thing - because they speed read you (pattern recognition) and prejudge you with their resultant feelings (categorization)"

This excerpt [from Five: Different and Desirable] while certainly interesting is not the full text of Tom's well-reasoned thesis regarding A.I.D.A/A.D.I.A which must be read in its entirety to be appreciated. You'll benefit from reading Tom's book which I highly recommend. Get more information via Amazon here.

Ways to get the most out of Tom's book:

  1. General managers. Have each team leader (department manager) read the book. Meet once each week for a group discussion. Six chapters = six weeks of discussion.
  2. Sales managers. Have each seller read the book. During your weekly sales meeting set aside time for discussion. Six chapters = subject matter for six sales meetings.
  3. Customers & prospects. Once your sellers are conversant with the subject matter have them provide a copy to the customers they believe would most appreciate getting the book. My sense is Tom's book would also make a nice thank you or welcoming gift for a new customer. [Hint: use the book as a door opener for getting that first appointment with a high potential prospect]
Let me also encourage you to visit and start reading Tom's blog by clicking here. My thanks to Tom for allowing me to share some of his thinking with you.

Thanks for stopping by. Taking tomorrow off, back here on Friday with more on the cognitive process and advertising.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety." Isaac Asimov

"If you look deep enough you will see music; the heart of nature being everywhere music." Thomas Carlyle

"We only consult the ear because the heart is wanting." Blaise Pascal

Today's image: Mount Rainier by rasone. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

On the day job we sent this TED video to our media clients last month. Want a killer local promotion - an initiative where media can make a real difference where it counts, here it is. Also great enterprise story potential. What's being served in your local schools? Kudos to Ann Cooper. Love her passion. Reinventing the school lunch

Congrats & cheers: New media maven Tom Webster did a fine job moderating the Edison Media Research webcast Music Royalties and the Future of Online Webcasting. Kudos to Tom's panel Tim Westergren, Kurt Hanson, Alan Levy and David Oxenford. If you missed it yesterday, the archive is posted here. [Related: Used Twitter to do a real-time blogging of the webcast. The microblogging format seems perfect for such things.] Tina Brown bows The Daily Beast. Like the site, lovin her email alert The Morning Scoop.

Ran out of Tuesday. Back tomorrow with more on engagement, advertising and some insights on those issues taken from the new Tom Asacker book, A Little Less Conversation, Connecting with Customers in a Noisy World

Monday, October 06, 2008

"To let oneself be bound by a duty from the moment you see it approaching is part of the integrity that alone justifies responsibility." Dag Hammarskjold

"The test of extraordinary merit is to see those who envy it the most, yet obliged to praise it." Francois La Rochefoucauld

"A dissenting minority feels free only when it can impose its will on the majority; what it abominates most is the dissent of the majority." Eric Hoffer

Today's image: myself by Davaun. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

[Chart via RWW]

Lots of conversation recently about measuring media. The Madison Avenue preoccupation is with so-called engagement. We are still in the process of establishing exactly what engagement means and how to properly measure it. There may not be agreement on how we define it but, that pesky detail aside, engagement is becoming one of the terms of art used most by buyers and sellers.

My sense is we are heading in the direction of getting a better (or in the least more serious) understanding of cognitive process and advertising.

Radio measurement is moving from the literacy driven diary to the passive Portable People Meter. From respondent recall to device exposure. The interesting development here is we are moving from engaging the attention required to complete the diary to a less demanding and different engagement of the respondent. From writing down listening and mailing to caring for a device that needs to be carried on our person.

No matter the method of capture we use the data to buy and sell advertising, the data also has serious business implications from what we program to how we program. But what does the data tell us about engagement? My sense is we don't yet know. We remain in the early days of learning.

Let's take a moment and deal with the bigger issues at play, the matters of cognitive process.

Advertising is communication that seeks to influence our thinking and behavior. For advertising to be effective it must first be noticed, before doing anything else advertising needs to get our attention.

For decades we have measured this notice in the study of recall. Did they see or hear the ad?

Here's a practical example. What billboard or other outdoor advertising can you remember seeing in the last seven days?

Years ago I put this question to my colleagues during an all hands meeting. The interstate highway we all used getting to and from work was filled with outdoor advertising. The majority of staff immediately recalled the exact same billboard. White letters on a black background. Two words of copy. Jesus Saves.

What can be learned from this? Standing out is the first important step. It's getting noticed. The billboard certainly did stand out from all others but is standing out enough?

As the story goes, the great advertising genius David Ogilvy once said "When I want a high recall score, all I have to do is show a gorilla in a jock strap." Speaking of gorillas, I invite you to watch a TV commercial starring a gorilla. Not even kidding. Via YouTube here. What did the ad say to you? Here's another to check out. Again, via YouTube here. What did that ad say to you?

I applaud those involved in creating those two excellent ads. My thought is if they moved the needle for the clients they were successful. The ads were certainly entertaining but is being entertaining enough? How many times have you been a part of conversation about a really cool ad where recalling the client was a challenge?

Next time we'll be back to more matters of cognitive process. Here's something to think about until we meet again. We pay attention with our time but time alone does not pay attention.

Thank you very much: To the readers from Australia, the EU, the USA and from all over the world who have been kind enough to use the chat feature on this blog to get in touch. It's always great making contact with readers. You'll find chat on the upper left of this page. Should it indicate I'm available please do give it a go.

Have an amazing week. Make something happen.

Friday, October 03, 2008

"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary." Cecil Beaton

"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens." Carl Jung

"Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others." Jonathan Swift

Today's image: White and Blue by Alex Verweij. Amazing. Thank you for sharing.

Take three minutes out of your day and click on this link. My thanks to Chris Anderson for the tip.

Bonus: Kevin Kelly Where ever attention flows, money will follow

Good reads: Top 5 Best marketing books of 2008 (in no particular order); each highly recommended. Li & Bernoff, Shiffman, Shirky, Walker and Asacker.

Have a great weekend. See you next week in a brand new show.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

"Originality is the one thing which unoriginal minds cannot feel the use of." John Stuart Mill

"The greatest genius will never be worth much if he pretends to draw exclusively from his own resources. What is genius but the faculty of seizing and turning into account everything that strikes us?" Goethe

"All men's miseries come from their inability to sit quiet and alone." Blaise Pascal

Today's image: The Old Bog Road, Kilkenny Ireland by Edward Dullard. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Pig on the runway - pay radio update: Mel uses a Jedi mind trick when talking with an Ad Age writer. My guess is he probably said something like "These aren't the ratings you're looking for." Andrew Hampp writes "...the biggest hurdle between his company and advertisers is trying to agree on the measurement system that most accurately meets their needs." The dirty little secret here is the ratings for pay radio are already available and they don't look good. In his writing Andrew makes a couple of errors. First, he reports radio billing as "...$6 billion terrestrial radio collectively banks annually" when the actual number is $21+ billion [Source: RAB 2007]. Second, he falls into the trap of thinking subscribers are listeners "One thing Mr. Karmazin can offer advertisers these days is a bigger audience, having more than doubled Sirius' subscriber base to 19.5 million" While it is true that the audience now on sale is certainly bigger we still are not able to get a sense of scale here without the actual numbers.

Let me get back to the subscriber sleight of hand. Perhaps the best way to understand this is to use cable tv as an example. You probably have VH1 on your cable system channel lineup, this means - strictly speaking - you are a VH1 subscriber. You do not count as a member of the VH1 audience until you actually watch the channel. During my days as a cable MSO it was common for networks to pitch us using their hh numbers. Not hh ratings but subs. The truly sly approach was "homes passed" a totally meaningless number. For the purposes of discussing advertising subs don't mean diddly it's the audience that matters.

Mel does manage to again make good copy. He wants to be the Walmart of audio, "...the low-rate provider." He also goes on to say his " response has been phenomenal." Adding that " of my goals has been to dramatically cut back on our direct response." I imagine Mel went shoe shopping after the interview with Andrew. He had to, the shoes worn during the interview surely must have caught fire. Please join me in my personal mission to get Mel on the next round of Dancing with the Stars. Read the entire article Karmazin: Damned if He Does -- and if He Doesn't, here. Closed circuit to Andrew: Next time you're writing an article on audio advertising you'll improve your writing by talking to more than just one exceptionally gifted salesperson.

Tom Webster, new media maven at Edison Media Research will moderate a discussion - Music Royalties and the Future of Webcasting. Monday, Oct 6, 12 noon, Eastern. Get more info here. Very cool, kudos, Tom.

Bonus: Live Web rock star Marc Canter shares his slides. How to build the Open Mesh, here. Very cool, thanks Marc!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"Talent does you no good unless it's recognized by someone else." Robert Half

"A friend is a person before whom I may think aloud." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A part of kindness consists of loving people more than they deserve." Joseph Joubert

Today's image: Dis, quand reviendras-tu? by bleuet Anne-Marie. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

F5: Bob Struble offers up a new post on HD Radio...

"I know there are no ratings and only hundreds of thousands of radios, but that was the case with the early days of FM too, and creative account reps sold that. Bundle with other digital or analog assets, lease spectrum, create sponsorships, ask us for ideas. Set a budget number for multicast sales. The industry needs the top line help, and here’s something new to sell.

As I have said, there is no one silver bullet that will pull the industry out of its doldrums, but multicasting is most definitely a piece of the solution, maybe a big one. The technology is out there. The first industry pioneers are showing the way on great programming, effective promotion and generating revenue."

Read Bob's entire post here. Bravos, Bob. Well said.

Found on the way to finding other things: Nick Carr "The browser may be the medium, but the applications are the message." Spot-on. [via] My thanks to Doc for an outstanding piece! boxee, the open, connected social media center for mac and linux [info]

Kudos: The new book by marketing maven Tom Asacker uses the narrative technique of conversation to proffer a fresh approach to running your business. This is a book you and your team should be reading. A Little Less Conversation, Connecting with Consumers in a Noisy World is a gem. [Amazon info]

Congrats & cheers: Should you like Twitter, you'll love FriendFeed. Happy birthday to those FriendFeed folks, you rock.

: Thanks to Jessica Hagy for sharing the following image - Think it through. [via]