Bold Prediction Time: When Will This Huge Technological Shift Happen?

I don’t just mean mainstream adoption. I’m talking about the point there’s a total switch-over. It’s a Shift when…

There are no more search engines to search for anything.
We have mobile apps and Siri-like functionality that pinpoints exactly what we want, when we want it.

There are no more desktops or laptops.
We have tablets for that.

Everybody stores their important documents, photos, video in the Cloud.

Nobody has separation of devices from “computer” to TV.
The TV is our computer and the computer is our TV. We do work and enjoy ourselves from the same screen.

We don’t have e-mail.
We text, we chat, we Skype/Hangout, we post publicly and privately on social media channels (oh yes, those are still very much around).

Speaking of which…
1 out of every 2 people in the world is on at least one social media channel.

Content is still important because we want to be entertained and educated. But here’s the kicker – the content is personalized on a 1-to-1 level while still allowing the company to scale upward. This is freakin’ tricky, I know. I didn’t say it was easy. I’m giving this major thought on the implications of this, time and resource-wise as we speak. I mean a step beyond people selecting or companies delivering whole eNewsletters but types of articles, videos based on what the reader wants and needs.

Our subscriptions aren’t just e-newsletters but material things.
We get new kinds of things mailed to us that we used to go shopping for in a traditional brick-and-mortar store. And if we don’t like it, we can send back. Like razor blades and gadgets and books and underwear. Because we trust that the brand “gets us” that much. It’s a new level of loyalty and gaining entry to it is awesome for marketers.

Trade shows become greater virtual experiences.
That way, we can attend a lot more of them vs. the traditional option.

Sure, I know many of us are doing these things. But of course, there are still search engines, traditional computers, separation of devices and folks scared of throwing their stuff in a Cloud. So even though there’s definitely a shift, obviously it’s not a complete and total one. And that’s what I’m talking about. I’d be curious on your take/bold prediction. As well as anything else you see happening during this great transition.

But make no mistake. The Shift will happen. All of it. It’s just a matter of when.

So what year does all this happen?

And as a bonus question, what are you doing about it now?

Let’s Truck In Some Sanity, Shall We, Restauranteurs?

The strangest thing about the food truck debate in Chicago is why it’s taken so long to resolve, considering every other town is doing it.

The second strangest thing is why brick-and-mortar restaurants are this upset about the prospect of a food truck parking nearby. Why? If they looked a little deeper into who their audience was and developing their own brands, they probably wouldn’t have the burning desire to turn over a truck. Here’s why.

If I run a moderately priced restaurant that’s built a loyal following, I have a certain clientele who is willing to pay far more than the average meal wrapped in aluminum. This is not true competition for me. I know my guests are going to keep coming because my food is quality and consistent.

If I truly run a restaurant that competes with a food truck, I have to realize that it could’ve just as easily been another type of brick-and-mortar restaurant that opened next to me or across the street offering cuisine within the same category and pricing. It’s the nature of the ultra-competitive business I’ve chosen in hospitality. And it wasn’t going to get any easier, food trucks or not. Does this call for changing up the menu, enhancing the environment, creating a better loyalty program (I don’t necessarily mean a Groupon), hosting events for greater publicity, etc.? What can you do within your establishment that a food truck couldn’t hope to offer? Some of these restaurants are competing on a plane that they don’t have to be and frankly, missing their brand’s vision and target completely.

Let’s also play Devil’s Advocate here – it’s entirely within the realm of possibility that a food truck that brings traffic near your restaurant could spill into your restaurant, driving customers in through the door that otherwise might not have been aware of your presence.

Rather than seeing a food truck as the enemy, better to focus on making the entire dining experience of your restaurant as sensationally memorable as possible. Creative food offerings. Ordering on iPads at the table. Online ordering that remembers the person’s favorite meal from last time. Special appetizers that arrive at the table unexpectedly for long-time customers.

Your biggest competitor may be the one within your own mind that exudes more of the same and traditional. Take your eye off the truck and focus on your own brand. The positive implications of doing so are far more delicious.

Where’s Your Buyer on This Graph?

It’s not easy to put social media users into nice and neat demographic profiles, but we’re getting smarter about it by the day.

Personally, I like to err more on the side of how people behave online and level of interaction with social media when classifying them anyway over too much of the traditional “age/race/income” classifications. I’m not sure that all 65-year-olds shy away from social media, for example. They may have a Facebook page and/or LinkedIn profile while displaying a comfort level with e-mail and using search engines.

Nonetheless, I thought this infographic from Aimia, a loyalty management company from Canada, was an interesting breakdown that offers some compelling ways to categorize people when planning social media strategy. I wouldn’t take it word for word as every brand’s audience is different, but it still may begin to paint a better picture when planning your brand’s buyer persona. Enjoy.

How Much Do Clients Care About Advertising Awards Shows?

If you’re in a position to influence agency decisions, I have a simple enough question for today.

I just want to know, once and for all, if you ever chose an advertising agency primarily because of the fact that they won creative awards.

There’s no right or wrong answer to this. Was it a:

A) Determining factor in your decision
B) Nice support point to help justify your decision
C) A total afterthought that had no bearing on your decision

I know that generally speaking, agency people value them for a variety of reasons. There’s absolutely no doubt how good it feels to win and to accept an award with your team. I know and I get it. But I’m wondering whether or not there’s a disconnect if the outside world views these shows with as much weight. Frankly, with the changing economic and media landscape (we’re awarding for TV spots above all in a world that’s shifting more to digital by the day?), I’m just not as sure as I once was. I think they like getting a plaque of the award on their wall. But how much does that really mean? I think they like telling the people above of the agency’s success, but how much do those people above really care?

Does it help indirectly with reputation building? Sure. I can see that. But I’m talking about direct impact if that’s possible.

Agency folks are welcome to answer this question similarly –

What’s the ROI of entering?
Can you measure it and draw a direct line from statues to new business or more pitch invites?

Or was that even your goal? Was internal morale building as a result of victories the primary goal instead and new business was a nice “extra”? And if you didn’t enter, why?

Ponder that and let me know your thoughts if you would. Again, there’s no wrong answer and I realize the answer can depend on different types of client personalities and values. But I’d like to hear the shared stories and views regardless. Many thanks in advance.



Do Super Bowl commercials represent what we want anymore?

The question before the Super Bowl every year seems to be “Are you watching more for the game or the commercials?” Being a person who practices the dark arts of advertising and marketing, I’ve usually been glued for the game and the commercials. Certainly not for the halftime shows.

In the agency world, being a person behind a Super Bowl spot has always been the pinnacle. The Everest. The bragging rights. The kick-butt answer to “Have I ever seen any of your work?”

But there’s something that’s been nagging at me about Super Bowl commercials: I’m feeling more nostalgic about them in the context of the world we live in today and every day. I know it’s the one moment that’s more different for the advertising world than any other moment of the year, but it feels more removed than it ever did. Here we gather around a big screen to thirst for seeing something on TV that will wow us, thrill us and get us talking the next day.

How often do we do that on other days of the year? Are we even doing it that much after the big game like we used to? In our world of smartphones, blogging, Tweeting, YouTubing, Facebooking, Linking In and so much more, how often are we feeling this passionate about TV commercials versus having conversations with others in cyberspace?

You and I both know the answer to this. The passion we feel for social media makes a Super Bowl ad look like an old man sitting on a park bench saying, “Sit down and I’ll tell you a story about the day I aired in 1993. It was during the 2nd quarter and if I remember, the Cowboys and Bills were playing that day…”

If push comes to shove, you can take away Super Bowl ads but if you take away Facebook you’ll have people marching in the streets.

Believe it or not, I’m actually not going off on a “TV is Dead” rant here. What I’m saying is there is great irony in that, on the day in which TV commercials are the star that on so many other days of the year, they’re not the star. They’re changing. Not dead, but changing. That is, for those advertisers smart enough to recognize that and do something about it in the delivery so their Super Bowl ads have greater relevance.

How can they stay relevant? To me, a Super Bowl ad in today’s era provides its money’s worth to the advertiser in how it drives the conversation online after the show. If it’s a great ad, it doesn’t just entertain and go nowhere. That’s fine and good if we’re living in 1984 and Apple is introducing the Macintosh. But we’re not. We’re watching the game with a smartphone in our hands and it’s a golden opportunity for each and every advertiser to do something about it. We’re live blogging and live texting and live posting. And live SHARING.

It’s time for Super Bowl ads to grow up.
The best of them have got to take us to a place where we’re inspired to do more than watch and have an emotional response. That’s right. Water cooler chatter is great, but it’s time to up the ante. We have to log on no later than the next day to interact with the brand as a result of the Super Bowl ad – heck, maybe we’ll even do that right after the ad appears if it’s just that awesome.

Think about it. As much as you ever did, you’re commanding the attention of a nation. You can leverage that incredible moment to direct your audience you’ve just inspired to a place online where you want them to do something. Whether it’s posting a video of their own or posting on your Facebook page or watching the other half of your Super Bowl commercial on your YouTube channel to see what happens next, it’s an action.

That’s Super Bowl Ad 2.0. Leveraging a huge opportunity to excite people beyond the 30 seconds you’re spending with them to build momentum and new relationships online, on a large scale.

That feels like a new tradition and something brands, agencies and the people at home watching can get excited about. All over again.