Friday, August 27, 2010

Awareness Fallacy

I've been making a bit of a return recently to some of the basics of advertising and research theory. In particular I wanted to address the resilient popularity of recall measures as an assessment of effectiveness in the US market.

Here's a consolidation of the main arguments against its use:

If you like this presentation you can check out my blog at its regular spot:

~ Mark

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Location, Location, Location

So, with the dawn of Facebook Places on us, there's been a lot of chatter and buzz about the impact it will have on location-based marketing. I figured I would jump on the bandwagon and share a few things I've been thinking about.

I've heard the upstarts saying this will be the end of Foursquare. How can you compete against a 500 lb. gorilla (or a social network with 500 million users)? They occupy two very different spaces. Sure, both are location check-ins, but the way that Facebook is approaching this isn't in direct competition with Foursquare. There are philosophical differences in the user experience.

Facebook is creating a product extension that is in line with their brand. Facebook is about connecting people to friends, family, acquaintances, people you already know. It's about sharing your thoughts, pictures, favorite movies, religious beliefs, and if you are looking for friendship or anything you can get. Facebook gets very personal, as personal as you want to be, so that's why you don't just go around "friending" people you don't know (unlike Twitter, which is all about following people you want to know better). But the whole interaction is person to person. Sure, brands are on Facebook and some have an established presence, but no one logs onto Facebook every day to check status updates from a business.

Foursquare is a game. It's a mobile social game, just like Farmville is for Facebook. The difference between the two is instead of gaming in a virtual world (Farmville), Foursquare turns everyday places into a gamer's landscape. It has incentives for continued use, rewards (have you seen my new badge?), and a scoring leaderboard to fuel competition (who's the mayor now?). Foursquare is much more comprehensive than Facebook Places in that sense. Furthermore, Foursquare is much more of a B2C product with restaurants and stores creating promotions for the application. Because it's a game and it has that addictive competitive aspect, it caters to businesses in a very efficient and easy-to-understand way(fueling return visits to get that precious badge or become a powerful mayor).

So, I think there's space for both, it's just a matter of what people are looking for. If they want to remember the night and who was there just use Places. If they want to get a promotion or feel like they've gained something, use Foursquare.

And you know, Facebook Places is kind of creepy. It's the ultimate big brother. Your friends can check you into places, post pictures for you. No more blowing off your creepy cousin to hang out with your friends tomorrow night. That creepy cousin will know. Marketers will know. I'm in advertising, so I'll know too. Having 500 million users is the applications greatest asset and weakness at the same time. Obviously, having 500 million people be able to plug in like that is a huge asset. But I have over 600 friends on Facebook, I don't want them to know that I went to IHOP at 4 AM or get a picture posted of me on a date or something. Having that many people know where you are at all times is not something I find appealing.

Twitter can get away with it because it's so basic. All Twitter wants to know is what I'm doing. Facebook wants to know where I am, what my religious beliefs are, what my status is, who I should reconnect with, where I work, where I went to school, if I'm sexually attracted to men or get the idea.

I'd like to wrap this post up by disregarding everything I just said, I think...I'm pretty sure I said Facebook was Big Brother in 2005 and that didn't stop me or anyone else from using it. I said that Twitter was pointless and a little intrusive in 2007. And when Foursquare came out, I'm pretty sure I wasn't sold on it immediately. Maybe I'm just a curmudgeon.

Who knows? Maybe I'll come around to Facebook Places. All I know is that, for now, I am checking my privacy settings so I know that if I ever go to a strip club, the stripper won't "Place" me. I'm not sure I could ever explain that to my mother, who I am friends with on Facebook of course.

Any thoughts?

~ Justin

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Trials & Tribulations of a Planning newbie

So this is my first post on JPIA and it's a long time coming. I've had access to write here for over a month, but have been caught in the whirlwind of a new city and new job. I myself am a new Planner straight out of Austin, Texas. I just started my first full-time gig at a good agency in Chicago six weeks ago. Coming out of Miami Ad School's Account Planning Boot Camp last September, I didn't know where I'd end up or how long it would take. It certainly was a long and arduous process that took almost a full year to land a job. And here's the thing, that's not uncommon. Planners I have met, at all career levels, say that it took six months to one year to land a full-time gig in Planning.

When I left MAS, it was the final quarter of 2009. Needless to say, agencies and their clients had shut it down for the year, financially and in new hires. In January, I managed to land a freelance Planning gig for three months, working at TracyLocke 20 hrs/week. That ended in March and the great hunt (for a job) picked up steam. Finally, in May, I got the offer I wanted and accepted. I interviewed seriously (beyond 1st interview) for three global agencies, two mid-sized agency, and one very small agency. I got two offers at the same time and one more a week a too late (from their perspective). I say this just to give an idea of just how difficult it can be. The places that didn't offer me a job just needed a different fit for what they were looking for, whether it was experience level or digital chops. And judging from the stories of my classmates at MAS, their experiences weren't far from that. Everyone in the class has been hired though, so that should tell you something. We all found jobs, but in different ways. Four of us work for big agencies (big = owned by holding company), one works for a strategic consulting group, one person got laid off, another got in the door with media planning, another worked client-side first before moving over.

I believe there's a lot of reasons why it can be difficult. Planning as a career field is very small. There just aren't a lot of Planners in the agency because there doesn't need to be. Planners can do a lot of heavy lifting (in terms of branding/thinking/problem solving) and just isn't the same kind of work one sees in Account Management, Production, or Media.

Being a strong Planner requires a certain set of skills and characteristics that are hard to define. It's hard to tell with 1-2 interviews if someone has the skill set to be a good Planner. New Planners or those that want to break in should have some kind of work to show. Seeing how a Planner thinks can help interviewers understand that person's potential.

Getting hired as a Planner, like a lot of other job openings, is a mixture of timing and connections. The great thing about the Planning community being so small is that everyone is open to meeting others. Plus, Planners are very transparent online (or are we just vain?), keeping blogs (like this!) and using social networks (you better be on Twitter) to share content, hold conversations, and keep in touch. It's very easy to start the conversation online and if location isn't an issue, planning a get together with others over coffee or a beer.

This may have sounded like some kind of warning or begrudging commentary, but that wasn't the intention. This is a part of the reality of the situation. I came out of school believing I would find something in a month or two. That may not have been the case, but here's the other side of the situation. Now that I'm in the "club" full-time, I couldn't be happier. All that stress and hard work paid off. So, while it may take a while or be hard to get in the door, it's totally worth it once you're there. I say that wholeheartedly. So all of you aspiring Planners, all of you who are just starting to dive in to books like "Truth, Lies, and Advertising," get excited about the career you are starting because it's awesome.

~ Justin D.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

We Love to Share

Mashable posted an article on Monday that has been resonating in my head for the past 2 days.

What is the best part about watching television? Personally, it's going straight to my Facebook or Twitter afterwards (or even during), posting a status about it, and then checking it constantly for replies so I can start a conversation about whatever I just watched. There is nothing we human beings love more than sharing, so an app dedicated to this experience just seems... right.

So instead of checking-in at a location with a smartphone, new apps like Philo and GetGlue allow users to check-in when they're watching a television show (or in GetGlue's case, while watching a movie, reading a book, thinking about a topic, or drinking wine). While the idea of an entertainment check-in was completely foreign to me before I read the article, now I'm concerned as to why it didn't occur to me before. It not only is another way of connecting, but it's waaay less creepy than FourSquare (which I love t00).

~ alicia