Archive for May, 2007

The Game Changer: Good Call

While the NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse playoffs occurred over the past Memorial Day weekend, there was one story bigger than the game at hand: the lacrosse team scandal that rocked the Duke campus last year. ESPN, among other news outlets, featured countless interviews with former Duke Lacrosse head coach Mike Pressler about the incident, his forthcoming book, and his new job, at my alma mater, Bryant University.

A colleague of mine and I were talking today about how great of a PR move this was for Bryant. The amount of national exposure the school has received since bringing Pressler on has been astounding. There have been numerous press conferences and interviews since the hire, all featuring Bryant, a back drop, a polo shirt, a hat, a brief mention, something. I couldn’t count how many times on Monday I heard Pressler say “a beautiful school in Smithfield, RI gave me a chance”, and the best part is, you can tell he means it.

Think about the risk the school took by hiring a guy like this, someone involved in a scandal that had the attention of an entire nation. And what if those kids were convicted? What then? I guess, as they say there is no such thing as bad publicity, but Bryant will never know. The school took a huge chance and won big by hiring Pressler as a coach. Now not only will they have a great team, but the Bryant “brand” has and will continue to receive more attention than ever, giving me, and many other graduates, a great return on our $100k + investment.

Good call Bryant U, Good call.

Mass Media Advertising

 Accenture recently issued a report called “Mass Advertising: Consumer Attitudes and Creative Opportunities.” The study had many interesting findings, including the following:

  • 43% of consumers feel they have been exposed to the same amount of advertising this year compared to prior years, while 15% much more often and 9% said less often
  • TV still leads the pack in places where consumers view ads (97%), but the internet comes in second at 79%, followed by radio (73%), print (68%), and outdoor (62%)
  • Women are more likely than men to be influenced by advertising – they also have a more favorable view of ads
  • Adult consumers aged 18-44 are more likely to notice and be influenced by ads than those over 45
  • Consumers with a higher income are more likely to see ads, but are less influenced by them
  • Consumers with children are more influenced by advertising than those without

The Game Changer: The (Digital) Departed

There has been an interesting trend emerging in the past few months, as the digital ad agency space has seen their largest, publicly traded players dropping quicker than Boston’s finest and Jack Nicholson’s crew in the closing scenes of The Departed (one of the best films ever made). These web-specialized ad agencies have become a hot commodity, as many large companies and traditional agencies are finding it easier to put up a few benjamins to acquire a digital marketing division than to develop one from scratch.

The latest “casualty” was aQuantive, acquired by Microsoft to the tune of $6 billion….cash, that’s right, cash.  Through ownership of their digital ad creators, aQuantive and their subsidiary, Avenue A/Razorfish, Microsoft hopes to boost the quality and volume of banner and display advertising. The main objective of the move was to compete with both Yahoo and Google, who acquired their own ad agencies, Right Media and Double Click, respecitively, in an attempt to own their digital marketing efforts. The deal will help boost Microsoft’s banner and other display advertising’s quality and volume though aQuantive and their subsidiary, Avenue A/ Razorfish. The move was ultimately made to stay competitive with Google and Yahoo, who acquired DoubleClick and Right Media, respectively, in an attempt to build-out their own digital efforts.

<!–[endif]–>The bigger story here is the price tag. The $6 billion Microsoft paid was 85% over the company’s value. And they are not the only ones who are over paying. Just days earlier, London based WWP Group, the world’s second-largest agency conglomerate, purchased 24/7 Real Media Inc. for $649 million, paying 30% over value.

The digital agency is changing the game by commanding exorbitant premiums for their takeovers; thus validating their existence. Though Al Gore’s greatest creation has been around for a while, marketers are finally figuring out how to effectively use the space, promoting consumer-brand interaction like never before, and with companies and agencies scooping up web specialty firms left and right, naming “CDO”s, and continuing to expand their operations, this is a trend that may not slow down anytime soon.

Now, if someone could just figure out what was in the package at the end of the movie…


List Renters Beware!

According to Epsilon’s recent report “E-mail and Spam 2007: Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors,” 14% of all consumers either recently have changed email providers or plan to within the next 6 months. Why do they switch? Nearly 25% cited costs, and 20% are upgrading their service. Read more in the latest issue of Direct.

The Game Changer: A Message to the Class of 2007

Having graduated from college a year ago this week, (that pretty much makes me an adult now right??) I think it’s important for me to share some helpful knowledge with the newly graduated class of 2007. This is by no means a “wear sunscreen” speech, which, now that I think about it – why was that thing on the radio? Then again, I don’t understand how a lot of new music makes it to radio.


But I digress…

Having a year under my belt, here are the few things I have learned, that you, the class of 2007, should know:

Don’t Settle:

Do not, and I mean, DO NOT take a job for the sake of taking a job. You are going to be miserable and you know it. Ride it out, looking for a job is tough, but when you find the right fit for you, it makes all the difference.

Patience is a virtue.

Set Salary Expectations:

For you marketing majors, you have more than likely become pretty sick and tired of all of your finance and accounting friends landing jobs as early as October, and then comparing astronomical entry-level salaries. While you may never see $50-$70k right out of school, there is hope. For starters, you will work far fewer hours than they will, so technically you are making more than them – just on an hourly basis. And second, there is a chance you might actually like what you’re doing. See how happy they are when they have to work Sundays, or eat dinner at the office, for the third night in a row.

Leave the number crunching to those guys, you’ll need them to manage your funds after Omnicom buys your agency.

Say Thank You:

There is possibly no quicker way to burn bridges than forgetting this cardinal rule. It is as important for you to make others feel appreciated and it is for you to feel appreciated. Say thank you ALL THE TIME – to a prospective employer after an interview, to a colleague after they help you on the job, to your parents, after they just dropped $100k on your education and to the hippie at Starbucks, who just made your tall-nonfat-caramel-macchiato-double-shot-nonsense. As a student, as an employee, as a manager, as a CEO, as a human being, letting people know their value to you, personally and professionally, is one of the most powerful abilities you have.

Two words go a long way.

Find A Mentor:

Trust me on this; you’re going to need one. Find someone older and wiser, that you don’t directly report to. Navigating the seas of your first “real” job is difficult, and it really does help to have someone to bring your issues to.

Believe it or not, you don’t know everything.

The 6 Month Wall:

This might be the most important thing I will tell you, so pay attention. There is this thing, this funk, this strange feeling that will seep in after a while. I have seen it happen to nearly every single person I know from college, it doesn’t discriminate. It is a hard beast to explain really…you will wake up one day and realize that there isn’t another semester coming, the bubble you have lived in for the past four years is gone and, as one of my favorite movies simply put it, “This is it. This is life.”

Some I know have changed jobs over it, or are at least entertaining the thought. Others have moved out, moved back home, went abroad, to the west coast, or wherever. My advice? Stay right where you are. It is a phase, don’t run from it. This is your real first step into adulthood, and its only natural to “freak out” a bit, but don’t let it get you down. If you have followed at least a few of the first four pieces of advice I’ve given, something tells me you’ll do just fine.

So there you have it, five things you need to know once you graduate college. Now, throw your cap, say goodbye, go home, hug your relatives, have a cold one with that crazy uncle and wake up tomorrow ready for the rest of your life.

Be a Game Changer.

Marketers’ Goals for 2007

 According to the CMO Council’s Marketing Outlook 2007 report, quantifying the value of marketing programs and investments is the #1 goal for marketers this year (44%). Other priorities include improving marketing organization’s efficiency (39%), increasing customer knowledge (34%), and improving ROI (28%). Interestingly, 23% said they want to boost credibility and perceived value with senior management.

When asked what top 5 analytics tools they like to implement to help them do their jobs better, performance measurement dashboard won out by 42%, followed by e-mail campaign management, lead-generation qualification, CRM, and customer intelligence/analytics.

And what were the top accomplishments from 2006? Restructuring marketing to better support sales led the pack (46%), followed by overhauling brand image (29%), new messaging (28%), implementing new campaigns (27%), and adding internal resources (24%).

The Game Changer: Boston – Land of the Red Sun, Sox

There has been an issue on my mind for the past few months now, but have only now been compelled to blog about – the $150 million man himself, Daisuke Matsuzaka.


What was the straw that broke the camels back you ask?

I recently received an email from one of my favorite area watering holes, Boston Beer Works, (As our managing director Tim Hurley says, “Now there’s something to put on the resume…”) promoting a new beer called Sanshin Ale:


Sanshin, the Japanese word for “Strikeout”, is an East-meets-West beer. Brewed with a blend of malt and rice, plus American and Japanese Sorachi Ace hops, then fermented with Sake yeast and American Ale yeast, make this medium bodied golden beer unique.”


A tasty sounding brew no doubt (how do you say “wicked good” in Japanese?), but it really got me thinking about how much things have changed around here since the arrival of the Gyro ball throwing righty.

Fenway Park has undergone an amazing transition this season to accommodate the Dice man. Dunkin Donuts, Avaya, even Lumber Liquidators are all changing their ads to include Japanese greetings. The Dunkin sign would be unrecognizable if it weren’t for the trademark pink and orange letters.

And something tells me we are going to see a lot more Japanese-themed product extensions in the near future as well. With the identity crisis that is Dunkin Donuts food (come on people, pizza and panini sandwiches?), I can see Rachel Ray pushing sushi for them soon, “Stop in now, because nothing goes better with a hot cup of hot Dunkin Donuts coffee like a fresh California Roll” ….it’s like peas and carrots right?

Then there was this article in the Boston Globe last month. If you didn’t happen to catch it, Japanese marketers are capitalizing on Dice K’s starts OUTSIDE of Boston. With Fenway commanding some of the highest advertising dollars in baseball, many Japanese companies are buying ad space in smaller market stadiums where he is pitching. Just two nights ago in Toronto, the usual “pizza pizza” ads on the backstop were replaced with a myriad of Japanese advertisements.  

Daisuke Matsuzaka is changing the game in sports sponsorship by creating a wealth of opportunity not only here in Boston, but nationally and internationally as well. It seems that everyone is reaping the returns from Theo Epstein’s bold move to put another quality arm in the rotation. While Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui (boo) were the first big name Japanese exports to play in the MLB, neither have matched Dice K’s impact on the game, as the first to really make baseball an international affair, for fans and marketers alike.


I think I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so.

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