Category Archives: marketing

Guest Speakers for Integrated Media Planning!

Loyola University of Chicago’ GSB is pleased to announce the following guest speakers this quarter:
  • 3/25 – Rich Behrens, Internet advertising/media executive (Nielsen, RealMedia, Microsoft, most recently Pheedo) and LUC GSB alumnus

  • 4/15 – Mike Sands, Former Leo Burnett, GM, Orbitz marketing exec, currently CEO and co-founder of BrightTag a Chicago-based tech company
Space is limited in the class room and LUC students and faculty are welcome to stop by Maguire Hall 324; the guest talk will start at 6:15 and continue on until about 7:15 or 7:30.

Loyola MBA Class – Spring 2011

In business, professional managers that do not teach (not just train) are either in denial or are missing a huge opportunity. Trite sayings aside, management is an experiential skill where learning by observation can be reinforced with shared experiences, discussion and writing. For this reason, formal business education is kind of a big deal to me.

That’s why, I’m pleased to announce that I will be joining the Loyola University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business as a member of their adjunct faculty for the Spring 2011 Quarter. I will be teaching a 500-level course: Integrated Media Planning (MARK 566). The course is offered on Friday evenings for 10 weeks to to matriculating MBA students.

After almost 20 years in the field and some teaching (Columbia College), university guest lectures (Loyola, DePaul and UIC) plus Loyola’s Continuum – it is quite an honor. Teaching alongside some of my own professors Mary Ann McGrath, Stanley Stasch, Dawn Harris and the very active in the local digital industry via CIMA Linda Tuncay is going to be a great experience.

Here is the current course description for  Integrated Media Planning (MARK 566):

The course provides an overall understanding of media planning: basic media concepts, buying and selling of media, development and evaluating effective media strategies and plans, and the role that media plays in an integrated marketing and communications plan.  The course is recommended for students with little or no media planning experience.

I’m currently enhancing the syllabus and if I haven’t already approached you, feel free to reach out if you have thoughts on the media/advertising business today, recommend good books/articles or want to be a guest speaker. The textbook used will be Marian Azzaro’s Strategic Media Decisions 2nd Edition.

As a nice plus, I’ll also have access to the Loyola GSB’s vast academic research library to further add to the course and also provide a better understanding of the latest business research across leading business research journals.

Consider this post, I’m extending an open call to colleagues in the Chicago advertising and media business: buy-side and sell-side planners, media buyers and planners and folks on the measurement side. It is an opportunity to help mold the next crop of high-potential business leaders – professionals that you might like to work with one day!

On the flipside, the second run of the Web Analytics course offered through Continuum for the Spring is on hold.

Web Analytics: Online Marketing Measurement

Good news: I’ll be returning to the classroom for the first time this Spring since “Marketing with Digital Media” at Columbia College way back in the mid-90s; teaching a new course that I’ve developed this time at my alma mater .

Here are the main areas that I’m planning to cover in Web Analytics: Online Marketing Measurement:

  • Develop a plan to measure online marketing based on solid best-practices
  • Know the essential technology of Web analytics and industry terminology
  • Learn how to use industry-standard tools like Google Analytics and Quantcast
  • Prepare meaningful actionable reports that communicate essential findings
  • Make fact-based recommendations and identify opportunities for optimization

Analytics has so many definitions – depends who you ask. What do people want to see?

Newspapers…Tragedy, Irony and Reinvention Opportunity

A follow-up to the previous post, Sam Zell Pops Bubbles, The Deal’s Chris Nolter pens “Black and White and Red All Over“, an overview of the tragedy in which the newspaper business finds itself in these days.

Nolter offers a high-level look at the financial problems and opportunities facing the newspaper industry today. A couple of interesting themes emerge in the article that beg for a closer look, namely the FCC’s curious 180-degree turnaround and the concept of ephemeral media brands as valuable assets; there are even a few pithy quotes from the venerable Dave Morgan of RealMedia and Tacoda.

FCC’s Change of Heart?
Nolter raises the very interesting notion that the previous FCC policy to regulate local media is becoming passe.

“…the government might be more willing to consider deals that would consolidate media ownership but preserve jobs. “Given the economic climate today some of the nostrums and antitrust views voiced as recently as six to 12 months ago may have to be tweaked, in order to focus on job preservation in the short term rather than some larger antitrust theories,” he says.”

Recall the days when media company consolidation was running rampant and unchecked. Conveniently oblivious to the online media tsunami and under the nobler-than-thou auspices of “diversity of ownership” (think subprime mortgage crisis) interventionists-of-convenience red-flagged the motivations of big media only looking to get bigger. They successfully got legislators and federal bureaucrats in a tizzy enabling bizarre local ownership regulations that forced newspapers, radio and television stations within a market to stay artificially separate. The FCC cracked down and was encouraged to scrutinize and block all suspect Mergers & Acquisitions…especially those creating any potential local monopolies on…get this: news information. Yes, the government was going to protect us from suspect news.

Like all government rules, this did have the perverse and predictably unintended effect of encouraging media companies to attempt to game the system. Tactics include fattening-up DC lobbyists to get exceptions, incurring vast legal charges to file paperwork and argue the point, issuing feel good press releases and exorbitant investment banking fees to load-up on new debt (this cost management time as well as money) – all the while thinking they had a sunny new media future. Meanwhile, the then nascent global online marketplace for advertisers and audiences grew fast and fairly lean (thanks to an overreaching Sarbanes-Oxley growth capital has been slim). Not surprisingly and at the same time, the legacy newspaper business model has shriveled up with the sacred cash cow that is classified taking the biggest disintermediation hit. Fast forward to today.

“Hearst Corp. put the Seattle Post-Intelligencer up for sale Jan. 9, and said if it did not find a buyer within 60 days it would consider going digital only or halting publication. The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News now only deliver papers on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, though it will still sell papers on newsstands seven days a week. “

The cost of doing business is the same if not higher for newspapers (labor + newsprint) yet the revenues are long gone. Saddled with debt from propping up their businesses, they are now dropping like flies and clearly getting very desperate. Many newspaper companies will be forced to offer online-only products, limited print runs and some may shut down altogether.

Ironically, these same high-minded voices that prompted the FCC’s inane rules to begin with are now actually suggesting that local TV/radio stations buy the newspapers to keep them in business! Apparently, it is now OK to consolidate operations within a local market because of journalism’s higher-purpose not to mention saving jobs. Considering the political bent of the soon-to-be-unemployed highly-unionized newspaper manufacturing workers and journalists, one can guess what the the new do-gooder administration will do next. Prepare for the sappy journalism paeans and the FCC’s rules to lighten up, if not more creative government-bailout schemes for the well-connected.

Trusted Brands

The other really interesting aspect brought up by Nolter is the actual value of newspaper’s brands.

“Journalists hate the word, but newspapers have great brand…It’s not fake. It’s not a lie. Newspapers have an incredible relationship and substantial amount of trust with readers.”

Specifically, it’s the credibility and trust borrowed from their traditional offline business. All those years of news reporting did have an impact – inuring or accruing to the the newspaper’s brand equity. From a financial analysis standpoint, such branding is often associated with that balance sheet intangible – goodwill. While it is true that technically, goodwill is just the difference between book value and market value these media brands haven’t disappeared either nor has their connection to their locales either. It is true that their prospects have both worsened and capital has become scarcer at the same time. Clearly, not a good place to be.
However, there is an arbitrage upside. Many have already gone negative in terms of goodwill, yet this has made them into financial targets. In the online media business, a newspaper’s brand name is probably their biggest asset and very bankable to both advertising agencies, local marketers and local audiences. Yet, to tap that online brand equity without being dragged down by an business model – the old management culture, legacy infrastructure needs to go…fast. The sclerotic thinking and corporate culture’s that allowed such obsolescence to exist are going to feel it. Expect more unusual bedfellows in creative destruction type deals, like Sam Zell and Tribune as well as Carlos Slim’s debt/warrant financing of The New York Times.

Final Thoughts

With newspaper jobs and all the associated votes now at stake, the diversity of media ownership pabulum is going to go out the door. It seems that minimal FCC regulation 10-15 years ago would have allowed the consumer and the marketplace to sort out this mess – not Congress, the FCC and ultimately the taxpayer.

All told, this situation brings to mind the classic Ted Levit business school case-study, Marketing Myopia. Levit’s article on the railroad industry of the 50s was spot-on; it spawned the thought-provoking question for managers and owners – what business are they really in? For railroads, it wasn’t the physical trains or railroads. Instead, it was providing transportation for their industrial customers. That was the problem that the railroad companies solved for their customers and therefore the “solution” they essentially sold.

Turns out for newspapers, their business is really the news and not the paper part.

Reinvention is better than extinction – just ask NPR & PBS’s sponsorship sales team!

Long Tail Meme Challanged by Harvard Prof…

Harvard Business School Associate Professor of Marketing, Anita Elberse (HBS – Bio) takes down Wired Editor-in-Chief, Chris Anderson (finally) on the latest online business fad: The Long Tail concept. This is basically, “make it up in volume” notion.

While it may be true that distribution of certain goods is less expensive in an online setting (sometimes), human behavior is pretty solidly on hits, fads and top sellers. Sure, there will always be a small market for random Oldies and nostalgia but that business simply does not scale and is often referred to as “niche”. Here is Elberse’s work:

  1. The Shape of Consumption
  2. A Taste for Obscurity?
  3. Implications for Strategy
  4. Advice to Producers
  5. Advice to Retailers
  6. Who Will Prosper?

So what is the “The Long Tail” premise? Nothing original, just a “Business 2.0” rip of the Pareto Principle (aka 80-20 rule) developed by Economist Vilfredo Pareto over 100 years ago. When I worked for mass drugstore chain Walgreen’s and got to observe consumer behavior up-close-and-personal, common sense business contradicts the Long-Tail concept.

The longish defense from Chris Anderson in response to Elberse:

  • “My point is not to suggest that Elberse is wrong and that I’m right, it’s only to point out that different definitions of what the Long Tail is, from “head” to “tail”, will generate wildly different results.”

Crossing the Chasm 2.0…

For fans of the legendary treatise on enterprise technology marketing.

Geoffrey is a partner at Mohr Davidow these days and gave an interesting SVASE presentation at Microsoft’s campus on February 28, 2008 – very well-attended. He is working on a new book…guess what the names is?


In a Web 2.0-crowdsourcing-kind-of-genuflection, Geoffrey asked for feedback from attendees. Here are some thoughts albeit late that I’m repurposing from an email sent to Geoffrey.

  • There is less of a difference in the Web 1.0 vs. 2.0 split than it appears. Having been on both B-C and B-B sides of the world – both are subject to essentially viral/memetic considerations at the chasm point.
  • In Geoffrey Moore’s 1.0 model he called it, “Bowling Pins/Tornado”…Isn’t this really the same social phenomenon of the so-called “tipping point” of Malcom Gladwell?
  • True enough that market participant motivation is not exactly the same, but there is a finite set of human behaviors that still motivate purchase decisions: greed, fear, ego, etc…

Presentation Powerpoint.

An edited MP3 of the talk for online media/technology folks.