Flip your media plan to understand what the hell you're doing

There was this guy who taught us tennis once and he was really good at hitting backhands. Will Starling is his name and he’s all about backhands. 

His theory is that a backhand is a more natural stroke than a forehand, (that’s if you hit the big bottom to top Roger Federer single hander and not the Agassi lycra bike pants in my shorts double hander)  it’s just habit that everyone walks on to a tennis court and hits forehands. Over time, you will get better at forehands just because you’ve hit more of them. My backhand is way better than my forehand because Will Starling used to make us hit backhands first and hit lots of them. 

When you think about or sketch up a media plan you probably do the same thing: TV, print, radio, outdoor….oh and then some digital. Over the years, you’ve probably got used to thinking and working this way so it’s not surprising that you feel more comfortable and proficient working with this type of plan. 

Trad media is the forehand of the media plan and digital is the backhand that everyone walks around and thinks they aren’t good at. 

The way to get better is to start with ‘digital’ and get more experience and practice. Split the generic ‘digital’ out a bit more and it will make more sense to you. For example if you look at the research below you can see they have split out online, search, directories and general advertising (online display, email marketing, integrated site content and online video). 

Of the main segments of the online advertising sector - online classifieds, search, directories, and general advertising (online display, email marketing, integrated site content and online video), search advertising grew 23% in 2013, online general advertising 12%, online classifieds 11% and online directories just 4%. Harpur adds, "From 2013 to 2018, the search market is expected to continue to outperform the other three major segments (online classifieds, online general and online directories), growing at a CAGR of 16%, its proportion of the total online search and directories market increasing from 83% in 2013 to 91% in 2018."

The fastest growing segments in the Australian online advertising market are mobile and online video and both segments are expected to outperform the market significantly over the next five years. Mobile advertising grew very strongly in 2013, driven by high consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets, as well as growing media agency acceptance of mobile channels. It is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 39% between 2013 and 2018 and video advertising is forecast to grow at 31%. By that time advertising served on tablets is predicted to account for 70% of overall mobile advertising expenditure, whilst adverts served on smartphones are predicted to account for 30%.Frost & Sullivan's report, The Australian Online Advertising Market: Year End Review and Market Outlook,

Marketers often have different agencies (or a combination of in-house and agency) working on different parts so you get four or five schedules and never see the complete picture with everything integrated. For your own understanding, pull the numbers out and put them into one spreadsheet so you can see the total activity and spend at a media mix level. Yes- media mix is still important. 

Christmas activity stops on 3 Dec uh oh

Just chunky big numbers, you don’t need all the placements and everything. If you think you don't have time for that just think about how much time you spent making sure the Christmas Creative was 'Christmassy' enough. Exactly. 

You’ll also notice you have overlap. The social media agency is serving display ads on Facebook that isn’t in your online display budget. The Creative you are using on taste.com.au can also be used on Twitter and Facebook. Why are you getting two versions developed? The more you fiddle around with your numbers you’ll start to find better ways of doing things and get more confident to ask questions and not just say yes to all the agency recommendations. Ban yourself from Creative fluffing around and editing and focus on the media and what it’s doing. 

More backhands and less forehands and you'll find digital a lot easier and more natural for you. 

The real reason I love screenshots

alt title: screenshots are amazing and I love them
how to screenshot on a mac
why did they make it so hard to screenshot on a mac?
just get over yourselves and get a print screen button give Bill some credit he’s doing good with AIDS and Ebola

I’m a big screenshotter which is mainly because there are lots of things on the social web that are really hard to explain in words and wouldn’t make sense even if you were super amazing at describing them. It’s like reverse Pictionary or something. 

I know designers HATE screenshots because they are low res and pixelated and then sometimes I run a screenshot through a filter just to to really make them cry but to me, it’s just pointing you to something on the web and if you want to go and see the real one then go online and look at it. What makes social media different is the peer to peer, two way communication thing so you need to show comment reactions and how users are interacting with your content. That's the super important thing that matters. So for your pizza delivery presentation which is the best image? 

A: Pretty Getty images proper image with nice lighting and happy people and high res and big file

I am Dan your fake model pizza guy, here is your fake pizza


knock knock

B: Crappy mobile screenshot run through a filter and mashed together on some collage tool with another mobile photo so it's all blurry

Of course A is the better photo but B actually shows you the customer interacting with the pizza company. Which image gives you more insight? B. B tells you that your delivery person might be a woman and might be going to probably harmless but slightly TMI customers in their undies watching Bond films. B tells you the person ordered on mobile. B is real. 

Screenshots are the best way of showing what's really happening so don’t waste you time (like I used to) trying to recreate pretty graphics and diagrams, for internal documents especially. It’s a massive time soak and today, I am officially done with the anti-screenshot people. 

We are done

Marketing software to self-educating customers

Users are getting a bit more clever and they want to research and try things for themselves before they commit to the full assault of your sales team. 

"Cisco’s customers were beginning to purchase and use technology in new ways. Increasingly, tech-savvy business managers, instead of just IT professionals, were making buying decisions; user-generated applications were being added on top of the basic technology; cloud computing was becoming prominent; and digital media was becoming a key influence in deciding which technologies to purchase. Customers were self-educating and researching buying decisions in new ways – not just with a sales person." http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/10/help-your-team-spend-time-on-the-right-things/

Self-educating customers, the horror. I'm always moaning that enterprise software companies make you sit through half day demos and then you get to the end and you can't have a play around. Two things I came across today that are good. Splunk. See these guys are smart enough to create a sandpit for you to have go with. Very good, everyone do this please

grab your dataz and have a go
product info and play area

Number two is this launch campaign from Adobe for Premier Clip. It’s a free mobile movie making app that aims to make video more accessible and useable for those that don't want to go hard out with Final Cut Pro. 

#madewithclip Purrrmiere -get it hahaa 

I really like the video with the marketing team explaining their products and the simple walk throughs that encourage users to download straight away and try for themselves.  

Content is all tagged up and optimised nicely. Personal and useful and makes everything look easy and fun while still maintaining the product quality of Adobe Creative Cloud. Most excellent blog links through to themed user content 

Think about products and tools that you use regularly and how you originally came across them. Self education is getting more crucial for marketers so always think how you can get your products into the hands of your users ASAP before their little minds wander off to the land of cat gifs --ooo look it's Maru (=^‥^=)

no1 best cat on the internet Maru

Twitter Digits designed for people like Steve Wozniak

Twitter Digits pleases me greatly. 

I started using Twitter on a dumb phone via the SMS thing where you text your tweets. It seems like an age ago but that to me has always been the power of Twitter- the ability to communicate openly and efficiently via SMS. When all sorts of display ads started appearing about the desktop and mobile versions I thought this could be the end of the great era of low-juice social media that Twitter is so good at and ultimately, their demise. Enabling third party developers to use their SMS technology sort of corrects two weird tacks that twitter took- booting out all the third party developers (like one of my favourite products Twitcleaner -tears) and getting so rich media heavy that it wasn’t the nimble messaging beast that it used to be. 

One of the drivers here is that people in emerging smartphone markets might not have an email address so by allowing app developers to use their Digits protocol for free, they can get online which is pretty ace. 

Are people going to hand out their mobile phone numbers willy nilly to lots of app companies?

We were a bit cagey about email addresses there for a while and it’s become so standard that you have to have an email to sign in that people have just sort of given up and give it out for everything. By ‘people’ I mean me. I usually give the old 555 5555555 in web mobile forms because I don’t want to give it out and I regularly change sim cards which is a pain for two factor authentication and why I don’t use that so much but I think the new era of internet users might have a different idea about their mobile number as a primary contact? 

Let’s look at the use case for this random interwebber mister steve wozniak -whoever he is. [am i just pointing out that steve wozniak commented on my G+ post? - yes I am]. We can see in the footer of this-obviously novice-computer person that the email is hashed out but the phone numbers are visible. What a n00b. 

This reckless user clearly has no concern for privacy and doesn't get how the internet works because he also checked in to his hotel room using the exact room number on Twitter/Swarm app. Wow I think those technology companies need to take some responsibility to educate users about their data. This old guy is just pushing rando buttons all over the place. His kids probably bought him an iPhone for Christmas to take on his big holiday to Australia and now he wants to stay on a 'distinguished talent' visa. Dude better learn how to work his iPhone first. 

Poor guy might get targeted for burglars or something. The weird people on Tinder or the terrorists might get him. Terrorists in burqas on Tinder- I'm sure that's a thing. Either way, I blame the technology companies and Miley Cyrus. 

So yes, I think people will give out their mobile numbers more just like late-adopter Steve Wozniak and Digits is a very good thing and Twitter will live long and prosper and that will be great. 

[Also- Tony Abbott, please give Steve Wozniak a visa thank you]. 

Australia Online Landscape Review - September 2014

Who loves a good landscape review? I certainly do and now that there is a mobile and tablet index you can impress your friends and colleagues with exciting phrases such as:

-do you know what the top three streaming brands by audience are because I do -YouTube, Facebook, and Vevo

-if you had read the top 10 mass merchandisers by audience data you would know that -Amazon, Woolworths, Coles head that list

-11.5 millions Australians 14 yrs + access the internet everyday via smartphone, up 1 million YOY - it's important to regularly review the online landscape I find. 

Be the smart annoying one in your meeting today. View the full report:

Mo people, mo problems-five ways to keep trolls out

five double 0, that's my phone number

Blowing away your community because all your members are idiots who say dumb stuff is very tempting but there a few reasons why you shouldn’t. Mainly because it could be a sign that you are doing a great job:

“for human groups, a few hundred seems to be an upper limit for a group size compatible with everyone’s knowing everybody. In our state society for instance, school principals are likely to know all their students by name if the school contains a few hundred children, but not if it contains a few thousand children. One reason why the organisation of human government tends to change from that of a tribe to that of a chiefdom in societies with more than a few hundred members is that the difficult issue of conflict resolution between strangers becomes increasingly acute in larger groups” Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Jared Diamond 1997

It’s the same thing that happens in fast growing workplaces and popular cities- mo people, mo problems. 

1. Law and order. Smaller tribes self regulate more easily due to social pressure and you don’t need to do much to calm down a little blog spat or tacky image post. As groups become larger and more anonymous (think big city versus small town), you may need more law and order and I hate to say it, rules in the form of community guidelines. A secondary login might help to keep anon posters down and put some real faces in the mix to humanise the community. 

2. In the words of the great Tony Robbins, if there are weeds in your garden, pull them out. Don’t pretend there are no weeds and let the trolls take over but also, don’t freak out after a bad hit and blow away the branded Facebook page you spent three years cultivating.  It might just be time to reassess your strategy, gear up some more people to help and think about how you can run your page for a larger audience. Identify and pull out the weeds, you may not need to nuke the whole rainforest. 

Run from the thread

3. Party in the comments. Jonah Peretti from Buzzfeed/ HuffPo discovered that people loved the crazy-sauce comments that appeared at the bottom of their stories. Depending on your community, you may want to leave some weird stuff in their for seasoning. 

4. Talk to some other community managers at other workplaces and find out what they do. Sometimes, lobbing some feel-good content like iPad giveaways and free t-shirts can reset an angry mob. Just sharing your ideas and venting frustrations can make a big difference and you won't feel like you're doing a bad job all the time. I took a beaten down team to another company for a morning and they just sat and watched another online community team working. It made a huge difference to their confidence and showed them some new ways of managing prickly customers. 

5. Reward the good behaviour. Welcome new members so the same people don’t get attention for stirring. Much like the small town/ big city thing, sometimes the founding members of a community can be demanding and expect special treatment. Look after them but don’t let them drag the community down by bringing up old stuff and family feuds from 1967 all the time. It’s important to keep growing and pruning is a part of that. 

Research: Online video growing but Millenials still watching trad TV

I’ve just been flicking through the latest comScore US TV report and a couple of things jumped out

1. The idea that Millenials (18-34 yrs) don’t watch traditional TV is not entirely right. Yes the trad TV numbers are decreasing and viewing is shifting to mobile devices but it’s about a 1/3 of users and there is still a significant audience on the big blue bar. 

2. The main driver for watching TV content on the internet is schedule flexibility and convenience. Skipping ads and cost were are lesser factors in this study

The recommendation from Omnicom to move 10-25% of TV ads dollars to online video sounds ballparkish sort of right (depending on your audience and product type yada yada of course) and remember that customers are following the high quality content so they might be watching full episodes online and on traditional TV.  

full report if you want to have a look: US total video report October 2014


A conversation with Sir John Kirwan on mental wellness

On Saturday I went along to ‘a conversation with Sir John Kirwan' which combined his book launch with World Mental Health Day and Mental Health Awareness Week #MHAW14 

"doing those TV ads was the scariest thing I've ever done", Sir John Kirwan in stylish tan boots w pink/purple sock combo

If you don’t know who John Kirwan is, he is always high on the most trusted person in New Zealand list and that’s a little bit because he was an All Black and a lot because he is the front man for a series of mental health TV ads that are amazing and basically changed the whole conversation around mental health in this country. He’s also the current coach of the Auckland Blues rugby team.

Draft FCB- Mental Health Foundation TV ads smashed the mental health services

Thankfully, the MC person cut off all the yawn-fest rugby chatter and went straight into the topics he normally speaks on: depression as an illness not a weakness and how to care for self and others.  John told his story of ‘having it all’ and being a shaking, anxiety-ridden mess unable to communicate his fears and the very real physical symptoms that made his life hell. 

I think that was the main thing that made me stop and think. We spend a lot of time looking at the causes and trigger events for anxiety, depression, panic attacks and the like, yet if someone has heart disease or cancer we get them straight into specialist care for diagnosis and treatment.  Truth is, we probably don’t have a lot of the services that we should have for mental health and it’s going to take a while before our services catch up as we have only just started talking about it and acknowledging depression as a real thing.  I know some people are a little critical in the ‘it’s alright for him because he’s an All Black and he has money and can pay for private treatment and therapy'  sense and he openly talked about that. People in the audience shared their stories both positive and negative of their experiences of trying to get help for themselves and others. I think the fact that 150 people could sit in a room and freely talk about their personal challenges with empathy and a desire to see things improved is a huge step forward in one generation.  Thanks for the TV ads John. 

"Put the oxygen mask on yourself first, you’re of no use to anyone else if your mental health isn’t right"

me + JK

I was especially happy to hear him talk about ‘everyday wellness’ and slowing down to appreciate the little things as I think, in business especially, we associate rest with holidays and taking time off which has never made any sense to me. I don’t necessarily want time off or annual leave, but I do want to be able to contribute in a way that’s sustainable so I don’t lose my mind and get unhealthy and frustrated and have to keep working against myself all the time. We focus on the two weeks off and not doing the other 50 weeks in a more human way which hopefully will start to change as people start to realise that you can enjoy your work and not have to hold out for holidays your whole life. 

John went over the importance of getting fear out in the open and talked about it in the context of getting his current, dream job as the coach of the Auckland Blues. 

 “You’re either the coach that’s just been sacked or the one waiting to get sacked”

"can you Photoshop the side on one- I'm a fat b*stard at the moment" -I tried a tasteful crop John...

Leadership and coaching is serving and giving unconditionally to your team and not expecting anything in return. The grind can be draining and the anxiety of ‘what if it doesn’t work out’ can screw with your chances of getting on with the job and making good decisions. Admitting that you’re not bulletproof and that you need to prioritise, small everyday things like cooking a meal, going for a walk or reading a book can keep you anchored as the inevitable waves of challenges like media criticism, team blow outs and losing/failure occur. 

His book focuses on raising teen boys and the need to educate young people about stress, fear and symptoms of depression so that people won’t have to go through “the six or seven years of medication and therapy” like he had to. John also wants to drive change for adding mental wellness and stress management as part of the high school curriculum which I think is a winner. I think perhaps the other JK (Prime Minister John Key) might be getting a phone call. 

“Put it on your knee. Don’t put it in the cupboard”

Talk to your fear and anxiety. Get it out in the open and become self aware about what you’re experiencing.  It was a long walk out for John and he still works on it everyday and I think that’s an important message too. 

More information Mental Health Foundation

Will it bend? Rachel Allen buttermilk scones

If your previous scone efforts have been of the Nokia 5 series indestructible brick varietal then this recipe is for  you. 

I’m a big fan of Rachel Allen and her buttermilk scones recipe is pretty internet-famous so I decided to give it a go, because it said ‘difficulty=easy’ on the page and making 'hard' scones that would turn out hard all sounded a bit hard. The secret is to RTFM on this one: do exactly what the recipe says and your scones will be a winner. 

Winning scone of champions and following instructions

Tips: 

Scone science is very complicated and controversial

There is much debate on the best raising agent to use for scones and the cream of tartar/buttermilk/bicarb soda science is what makes them non-Nokia so get all the things ready before you start and get the measurements exact

The buttermilk came fresh in a carton in the chilled section of the supermarket where you get milk

I had a conversion fail at the start going from grams to cups -US standard cup and AU standard cup are not the same so remember it’s fourish cups not 2ish cups of flour 125gms =cup, cup dependent of course

I used normal, plain flour and not 00 Italian pasta flour so that gets them even lighter if you can get that

I cut the dough out with a normal water glass because I didn’t have a scone cutter and it worked ok

Rachel Allen likes crispy golden brown bottoms

Don’t panic if they take a few minutes longer in the oven to go dark golden because I just about pulled them out too soon and then I went ‘no, I must trust Rachel at this critical time’ and they look good I think. Rachel Allen goes on about the crispy outside and bottoms and the soft middle which I didn’t really get before but I do now, it’s amazing and what makes them so different from the atrocities you get at Starbucks et al.

Squishy and soft hooray :)
Jam and cream for the full Queen experience

Will they bend? Nope these ones are not doughy nor brick-like in any way and I was pretty impressed with the colour and height on them, especially for a first attempt. Rubbing the butter into the flour takes ages but if you get organised, it's fast and the recipe makes a lot and you will feel talented and successful in your renewed scone making abilities. Seriously, stick to the recipe and (I even sifted the dry ingredients which I normally could never be bothered with) and you will be tapping crispy bottoms, just like Rachel. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g light Italian or plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 heaped tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 heaped tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 125 g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
  • 25 g caster sugar
  • egg, beaten
  • 275 ml buttermilk or milk, plus extra for the egg wash
  • 50 g caster or granulated sugar, (optional)

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7. 

2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and salt into a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and mix well. 

3. Set aside about a third of the beaten egg and combine the rest with the buttermilk, then add to the flour mixture and mix briefly to combine into a moist dough. Place on a lightly floured work surface and knead ever so slightly to bring together, then press or roll out to a thickness of 2cm. 

4. Using a 6cm round cutter, cut out approximately 12 scones and place on a floured baking tray. 

5. Add about a teaspoon or so of buttermilk to the remainder of the beaten egg to make an egg wash. Brush the scones with the egg wash (and dip the tops in sugar if you wish) and bake in the oven for 10–12 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve while hot. 

Adapted from Rachel Allen, Bake (Collins)

Oracle's Larry Ellison air guitars his way into marketing but do we get it?

There are many things I like about Oracle:

1. The Larry Ellison / Russell Coutts bromance is one of them. 

I once heard Larry describe Russell as the only person he takes orders from and as the only New Zealander in the world today who supported Russell’s move to Team Oracle for the America's Cup  I was pleased to see him at the Oracle's Openworld event today. Haters to the left. 

2. The hilarious rock music driving a Hummer up a mountain in a Rocky action movie vibe for their keynotes

Dun dun dunnnnn — we have a database—YEAHHHH —air guitarrrrrr. 

3. Oracle have a massive client list. 

Laugh all you want but when I got a marketing email the other day from Twitter, it was sent from Eloqua. Twitter Cards puts customer details into Eloqua because lots of big organisations use it. 

Ever applied for a job at a bank or something? You’ve probably filled out an online form in Taleo

Pepsi Frito-lay is doing FMCG promotions on Oracle Demantra? What the hell is a Demantra? You can watch a video and I’m interested in this sort of thing and i can’t be bothered so I can’t really imagine that any of the regular, less geeky and interested in database apps marketers that I’ve worked with would but that's what they use if you care. 

I went to an Oracle  event in Sydney and after being asked by several salespeople whether or not I was in the Oracle events team or the hotel events team or ‘waiting for my husband’, I was invited in to a technical presentation where speakers wizzed through slides of logos for the many builds and acquisitions that Oracle had made, many in the marketing and social space.  

The speaker was the by-product of such an acquisition and he did something to do with retail and databases and e-commerce and then he talked about cloud development gap and how they needed people to build lots of stuff to run on the EXA META GRRR 4000 CLOUDERATION SUPERCLUSTER BLADE platform or something. In the scheme of end-user understanding of how this sort of thing works I would usually rank myself about a 7 and I had no idea what he was talking about. So I figured the preso must be targeted for developers but then most of the people in the room where from client-side big IT departments I don't know?

I couldn’t help but think there must be so many opportunities for developers to build really great products and businesses if someone could just, you know, actually explain the tech behind the Oracle products in a simple way. It’s tricky because a lot great developers are spending their time building Instagram copies and time tracking software when they could be building some awesome plugin for the Oracle Demantra if people like me who actually pay attention could figure out what it was and tell everyone else about the awesome tech at work on —umm Oracle Demantra?

It might not sound as exciting as Snapchat but in terms of impact, building something for a massive open government healthcare project or retail bank or media network would really change things and that’s what we need. IT people are buying marketing and media software because they are already running Oracle gear which may or may not be a bad thing. I don’t know because it’s so confusing to figure out if the stuff is any good or not and nobody would give me a demo account or any way of playing with it to make an assessment because I couldn’t possibly know how to do my job better than an Oracle salesperson who thought I must be part of the events team because why else would I be there?

When you get past all the air guitar-ing and motion sickness from the spinning logos and M7 chipset FUSION ERP HCM you can look around the room and see that there are many, many companies who use this stuff and a handful of nerds who get what their little piece of the puzzle means but probably not how it works across different functions, let alone to their customers. It’s an industry-wide thing and I’m sure Oracle are aware of it but I fear many marketers are going to get stuck with nasty, unusable software that their IT person has gone ahead and purchased because it talks to the Oracle thing and all their other things are Oracle. I’m sure Larry knows this and that’s why he can afford to pay Russell lots of money and buy a nice island in Hawaii with pineapples on it and good for him. What would be really great is if product marketers or evangelists or whoever does the customer stuff would sit and look at successful consumer products like Twitter and Evernote and Mailchimp and communicate it like that so that more people can get it and run with it and make enterprise technology not so complicated and unattainable for regular folk because if you can understand Mailchimp you should be able to understand Eloqua and marketing teams have large, successful teams of loyalty database marketers who get databases so they should be able to get Demantra, whatever that is.