An ‘audience’ is an organisational convenience from a broadcast age

Activities not audiences. Russell Davies wrote an interesting post about how organizations are thriving upon ‘marketing thinking’ and how digital breaks most of that traditional thinking for good. It’s not about technology, it’s about a change of mind.

“An ‘audience’ is an organisational convenience from a broadcast age. It’s a reasonable way of segmenting the world so you can buy media but as a way of actually talking to people it doesn’t work. Most good advertising gets round it the same way good art does – by using the specific to illuminate the general, but most advertising isn’t good. So you end up with crude panderings like appealing to women by making all men seem like feckless idiots. Or by saying everyone born in a particular decade has a particular way of looking at the world.

The whole point of ‘digital’, the very opportunity of it, is that you don’t have to segment people like this. They segment themselves by looking for the thing they want to do.”

The Agile Agency. An ad agency’s culture hack

Some 2-3 years ago we decided at Duval Guillaume that we had to re-invent ourselves, that we had to take a more fundamental step in the way we organized ourselves and of course in how we thought about digital as a key element in the communication or advertising that we make. A lot has happened since then but if the 25 Cannes Lions or the Agency of the Year wins of the last 2 years mean anything then it’s probably that we’re doing something right.

The decisions that were taken seemed like the right thing to do but weren’t always that obvious. We decided to get rid of all internal developer resources so we could focus more on our core strenghts – strategy & creativity. At the same time we stopped using online account managers to support the ‘regular’ account managers and we’d stop working with project managers. Instead we organized tech/dev resources to support the creative teams in their creative process and we hired digital producers to play the crucial role between our own teams and the 3rd party developer’s team. All of this in a way that would allow us to keep finetuning & tweaking the idea even while in development to maximize the outcome.

AgileBoard

We were always sure this was the right way to go and we understood the core philosophy behind agile thinking that supported the idea that what we were aiming for wasn’t that crazy. Just like with every good idea though there’s a difference between the idea and the execution and it was/is with guys like Bart, our head of digital production, that we managed to implement agile in the agency. And this in such a way that it’s constantly evolving and that we keep adapting, the essence of agile. And now Bart has written a book about what agile means in an agency environment, most likely the first book on the topic of agile in advertising agencies since he only found books on agile in software/web development when researching the topic.

To stay true to the topic the book was written in an agile way. Of course :-) A must read when you’re in advertising, download the book right here: The Agile Agency, how lean and agile will transform your advertising agency. Another key element in agile thinking that I learned from Bart is that you benefit more when you’re transparant about your own progress, so read the book and add your thoughts.

The promise of interactive television (part 2)

There are 3 reasons I once decided to get a digital television at home:

  1. Better quality. Especially with one of those fancy new full HD screens that’s a much better experience.
  2. Comfort features. Think about the EPG, easier recording, movie rental, …
  3. Interactivity. Push the red/blue/whatever-color button and you will get a richer experience

The end score, 2 out of 3. I don’t know how it is in the rest of the world, but in Belgium interactive part is pretty nonexistent. I’ve used the red button less than 5 times in the 3 years I’ve got digital tv at home. It was always a disappointment. Useless information, bad experience, ugly, … Content makers nor advertisers seem to show any interest in it. Too bad because I had really high hopes for this. It’s pretty easy to imagine how this could be used in many really cool ways. Didn’t happen.

When I read about the My Generation iPad app from abc it sounded like they built an app to do what interactive tv couldn’t. The same promise all over again, but you’ll need another device to experience it. And only with My Generation on abc.

Don’t get me wrong, I think these are cool evolutions. I’m just wondering why none of the richer tv experiences have ever really succeeded without the help of peripheral devices. Sounds like a missed opportunity to me for television makers.

Anyway, good stuff from abc. Curious to see how this will evolve further. What do you think?

Celebrating the future of advertising. Are you in?

Only just a couple of days ago I posted some questions around the category setting in award shows such as the Cannes Lions. If you read that, you will understand I’m delighted to read about the Tomorrow Awards:

“The Tomorrow Awards is the first international award show dedicated to discovering, showcasing and awarding advertising creativity that pushes new technological boundaries. Since the very best examples of such work are those that defy standard award show categories, the Tomorrow Awards is category-neutral; all entries are judged together, and only the very best ideas shine brightest.”

tomorrowawards

Will it be as exclusive as Cannes? Certainly not, but I do hope it’ll be a great awards. Looking forward to the shortlist already. For one, I have given myself up to help judging. What about you?

[Via AdLand]

The end of advertising as we know it

Or why everything old is new again. Read this great post by Guillaume Van der Stighelen (co-founder of the agency I work for) about advertising and bean counters. About how this new crisis gives yet again a reason to be average. Things will never be the same. Enjoy.

And while you’re at it, subscribe to the man’s Posterours. If you’re any bit interested in advertising you won’t regret.

A survey about love

My wife and I we don’t ‘do Valentine’. We don’t seem to be very representative for the country we live in though, as data shows that celebrating Valentine’s Day is more popular in Belgium than anywhere else in Europe. We’ve done a survey on that topic (together with Cross Tabs) on MSN/Windows Live in 16 EMEA countries which had over 78.000 respondents (Updated with link). We thought that with Valentine’s Day coming up it would be interesting to find out how flirting & dating has evolved in the digital age that is the 21st Century. And given the current crisis we were also curious how much that would impact your Valentine’s celebration. All of that resulted in some interesting data and I decided to put the key highlights in a presentation for your viewing pleasure:

People clearly find it easier to say ‘I love you’ over email, IM or txt messages than face to face as also this research points out (from the press release):

“The majority of people across Europe (66%) admit that they find it easier to flirt over IM than face-to-face, with shy South Africans much preferring this method of flirting (78%) closely followed by Arabia (77%), Turkey (76%) and Ireland (72%). Saying ‘I Love You’ for the first time is never easy, so it comes as no surprise that 1 in 3 have actively declared their love for someone over instant messenger rather than face-to-face. Cupids in the Netherlands (61%), Denmark (42%), Portugal (41%) and Spain (40%) top the league table for saying ‘I love you’ in cyberspace.”

Like I said earlier we also looked at how much impact the recession would have on the spending for Valentine’s Day and although that day is traditionally a time to ‘splash some cash’, spendings in most countries will fall by almost 10% on average (see table below). I couldn’t help noticing though that European men spend on average 33% more on Valentine’s Day than European women ;)

lovesurvey

There was a lot more data about this per country and everything which I obviously can’t all post here, but I should be able to point you to the right direction in case you’re wondering about more details (participating countries in the table above btw.). Once I get a link to the press release (which has also more data) I’ll add it right here as well.

Update: Here’s the press release with some additional data

Online advertising in 2009

We’re only a few weeks short from the annual predictions that will pop up in the blogosphere. Which will be the key trends for 2009 in technology, advertising, … etc. One prediction that will stand out in many of these overviews relates to online advertising trends for 2009, at least that’s what I believe. It’s not so hard to foresee this happening though as much discussion around the topic is already going on right now.

dontjump

Gotta love this Careerbuilder ad they used on Silicon Alley Insider btw ;) In another post on Alley Insider they foresee a 10% decline in online advertising next year and slightly more in 2010, comparing today’s situation to the dotcom crash when the market fell up to 25% (see graphs below).

QuarterlyOnlineAdSpend

This year is not over yet though and predictions for 2008 are that yet with the slowing economy, the online advertising market is expected to grow 23%. So even if you believe that advertising will take a hit in 2009 (which I think most agree it will), it’ll be interesting to see if it’s just going to slow down growth (like only 14,5% as eMarketer predicts) or whether it will indeed declines as the Alley Insider and others predict. Also interesting to see is which parts of the advertising industry will be most affected by the slowing economy. Television advertising only grew by 8% in 2008 and a lot of people think that mainly traditional advertising will get a hit (where the biggest budgets are still today) and that some of that money will be diverted to online ad spend.

I believe that is what’s going to happen anyway. Online advertising will still grow in 2009, although it will slow down versus the 2008 or 2007, and the slower economy and lowered budgets will force people to rethink their plans in which digital might finally be looked at as good alternatives. There’s something about bad times that make people more open to embraces changes, so online advertising might suffer less than traditional advertising. Last but not least it’s also worth noting that the online advertising industry is much more mature than it was in 2001-2002. Curious to see what predictions will be once they start coming in December.

Bonus – 10 Ways Digital can help you thrive in a recession (David Armano)

Moving on…

… to a new role at Microsoft. During my 4 years at Microsoft, first as the Belgian Consumer Marketing Manager for MSN and later as the Marcom Lead for MSN and Windows Live in EMEA, I’ve been experimenting with social media. Remember the Windows Live Sessions we did all over Europe (e.g. Brussels, London, …), inviting bloggers to events such as MIX, sponsoring and attending Barcamps or Girl Geek Dinners and bigger events such as Le Web for instance, the adventures with Steve and Hugh around the Blue Monster, speaking at events, getting the word out on ‘Bring The Love Back‘, engaging on blogs and twitter, etc… Although it was only a small part of my job (the main part was setting up online marketing campaigns), I’ve always been very passionate about it.

Since October 1st that has all changed. Since then I’ve started working in a new role as Digital Media Communications Manager for all Windows Consumer brands – PC, mobile and online – as well as MSN and Live Search in EMEA. I got to say, it’s like getting paid to do your hobby just like Steve seems to think about his job as well. And it’s also the reason why this blog has gone silent for a bit, as I’m still transitioning stuff from my old job to other people. Also our fiscal year started on July 1st so I got to get my new plans ready asap, expect more about that here soon.

Anyway, I’ve been waiting for the moment I could tell you all this, wish me luck and if ever you have ideas on how you think I should run this… let me know in the comments.