Archive for category Personal Development

#BeBetter: A book about productivity and life systems

After 4 years in the making, I have finally decided to publish my new productivity book.
I decided, after all, to publish it on Kindle to ensure most people can access it.

Whilst there is a price tag associated with it, you can download it for FREE until this Friday.

I won’t further promote the item. With the publication I finalise my studies in productivity and focus on other areas for personal growth. I will continue to monitor the space and work on new theories and systems mainly for myself.

For any questions or ideas, please feel free to reach out to me at any time.

Best wishes and I hope you find the book useful.

Volker

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Customer Service 2014

Ok ok ok. I know I am having high standards for some measures, am picky with builders and customer service. That is because I believe in doing a good job and servicing clients exceptionally well. That is important for me. If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing it well.

Now what are the things that piss me off most? Probably wasting my time, letting me wait without an update. That happened at a branch of Metro Bank recently. Once escalated, the branch manager called me, totally got it, said how annoyed he gets at these situations, and that he will do better. On the back of it, I got a present to make up for their mistake. No hard feelings left.

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My builders, even if my wife said things are fine, I got quite picky with sometimes. Their patience and resilience in fixing things, moving things and helping was amazing. Not your average builders, and they didn’t do anything wrong, it was just me trying to perfect things 🙂 I love them, they doing an amazing job. Others we had doing some work were not so good, others were pickier than me 😉

Then there was TM Lewin. They needed some pushing, a VERY long email from me, and then they responded. They asked me for the receipt to identify and blame the staff that served me, yet the issues I addressed were not only the way I was treated, but really about the way they handle their staff, shop and business as well as clients in general. Maybe they didn’t appreciate my feedback, despite they said they did. Yet I decided to walk away from a further dispute, some companies just don’t care or don’t want to care. My next lot of shirts will be bought elsewhere.

If you think this is all in the last four weeks, think again. Apple of all companies sold me a faulty computer. Can you imagine? But the way they dealt with it was amazing. Based on the in-shop Genius team’s feedback, the online shop, where I bought my refurbished MacBook Air, replaced this one outside their normal time frame. And when waiting at the shop they kept me informed every step of the way, were friendly and helpful. Now that is what I call superb customer experience.

complaining

As I sit on the train writing this, I remember endless conversations with Southerntrain, or being stuck without communication. It is the same as being on a plane, when you circle for hours and the captain doesn’t tell you why, you get worried and annoyed. Happened before!

And before I post this post, just waiting for the official email from Apple when they dispatch my new machine, I opened a birthday present from my wife. A new Christopher Ward watch. It ain’t working though. Wow. Of course they will return it, send out a new one and all, they apologised and all, but WTF is going on?

Bad karma? Things happening in 3 (that is product not customer service) or just bad luck?

So key about any good customer service is:

– Clear communication: good listening, good understanding and keeping you informed every step of the way.
– Resolution: acceptable solution that makes client happy. This doesn’t always have to be money.
– Follow up: Are you still happy? Did we keep you informed every step of the way?
– Be friendly.

And if you tick all those boxes, you are on a winning street.

Good luck. I seem to need it!

Volker

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Will Smith on Success and Life and Life Success – Enjoy!

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Memory Loss – Memory Gain

Another fantastic TED talk on memory and how we make it up….crazy to think, isn’t it?

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AdMonsters European Publisher Forum Berlin 2013

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Over the past few months I have had the privilege to put the programme together for a part of the industry that was new to me. A steep learning curve for someone working mainly on the demand side, I chaired the programme of the European Publisher Forum in Berlin.

So what is the supply side like? Is it more traditional, slower to adopt and generally speaking behind the curve as most industry folk would suggest? I don’t think so. Publishers are increasingly innovating.

Actually, their innovation is at a speed not seen in many areas of the industry. Yet they don’t necessary talk about it. The demand side, particular the agencies, brag about ‘how great they are’. Publishers don’t, however that doesn’t mean they aren’t. There is a lot going on behind closes doors that agencies could only dream about.

Today’s challenges, mainly around monetization, RTB vs. direct, premium vs. long-tail, big data and omni screen multi channel – they all were addressed at this year’s forum. I attended and moderated Monday’s sessions with the exception of a few tracks in the afternoon. Unfortunately, I had to leave for another conference and didn’t stay for Tuesday.

This is my own account of the event, my thoughts and impressions of the burning issues publishers are facing, but also about the innovations happening on the publisher side. I don’t want to give a summary of each session yet reflect the main points. I hope you find it useful and engaging, realising how much publishers are innovating and progressing.

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At the beginning of any ecosystem is the question how demand and supply come together. In the old days this was via networks or direct, now via exchanges, technology providers or direct. Interesting however is that the publisher doesn’t get a higher pay for his inventory yet the 50% ‘network margin’ has been transformed into five 10% margins for technologies. This somewhat cannot be classed as progress, can it?

The ad operation guys need to become more commercially minded, trying to understand how they make the most margin for their business. Similar to the sales person needing to understand the data and technology spiel to survive. The job functions are changing, with increasing demand for ‘commercially minded ad operational data analysts with 10 years experience’. And, the argument comes from the premium publishers, that the best net revenue margins are still coming from the direct sales. Yet there are businesses where a complete automatisation of inventory sales makes a lot more sense. Different means for different publishers.

The picture of a football pitch from the BBC’s presentation stuck in my mind. We are running into corners of the pitch: search one year, social the next, then participation and now RTB. What we should do instead is going back onto the pitch and consider the whole game and get on with it….Instead of thinking of different devices and channels, we are essentially just looking “at glass”, with the end user not being bothered where, when and how big it is. We need to wake up to a new game, different layers and middle field action.

The majority of engagement, over 40%, is still on TV. Data and context are helping the targeting. Some screens fit one purpose more than another. However, the rules of engagement are changing. With services having logins across screens, the user can be targeted cross device. And one suggestion came up over and over again: why don’t the publishers and the advertisers work much closer together?

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Transparency issues are still there with programmatic buying. This is not only true for the price and the value (?) chain above, but publishers holding back on URL disclosures as they don’t want to disclose all their inventory to everyone. This on return stops brand campaigns to be run and it brings back the argument for closer collaboration between publisher and advertiser. On that note, the question came up whether the ATD (ad trading desks) are just a profit extension of agencies, allowing to keep the “network margin” in house?

Incisive Media shed some light on the possibilities of using data, in house and external, to increase their premium inventory. Firstly they streamlined the cookies that were dropped on their site, and with the help of private marketplace, minimum CPMs, login-qualified 1st and 3rd party data overlays paired with floor prices allowed them to keep the premium prices for their inventory. A great approach!

What other key learning did I take away? Publishers started taking their optimisation in house. As an in house SSP or trade desk. The margins that once were taken by networks are now being taken by technology vendors (see above) so the publisher per se doesn’t end up with more money, nor does the CPM change much for the advertiser over the years. However, publishers are getting more clever with their data, using internal data across portfolio sites to sell audiences to advertisers. Whilst some might still be low volume, the impact and quality is high. On external sites via audience extension they can grow their reach and some do so already.

As a summary I can suggest that there is a need for ad operations to consider the P&L and being part of the bigger picture. They need to think outside the technical box yet getting the recognition and responsibility to drive innovation forward. According to some there is no remnant inventory just different tiers, similar to airline seats. A right thought highlighting the misleading perception of inventory when it is called ‘remnant’.

Agencies seem to take more of the revenue in house, building their demand stack, so it seems advantageous to have a tech, eg SSP, in house for publishers. High floor prices keep low profile adverts at bay whilst still monetizing premium inventory via programmatic. The combination of data and content helps segmentation and profit, leading back to the P&L consideration mentioned earlier.

A fascinating forum, lots to learn for a demand side person, yet it shows how much the publishers are pushing innovation in order to stay competitive and fight the attack to sell their inventory below value.

I hope I got the challenges across and looking forwards receiving any comments.

Best wishes,
Volker

Upcoming AdMonsters Events
– Ops Munich, 17th October
– Screens London, 22nd November

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Dream

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TED on Shortcuts and Time Saving

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First Video Post – Advertising Myself

Hello,

Below is my first ever video blog. You can probably tell I am a bit apprehensive but thought I try it out and share my thoughts on what cb consulting does and of course what I can do for you 🙂

Enjoy.
Volker

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4 rules to change

I have been busy putting different content together lately but this is another presentation on change management and personal development. Enjoy.

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The Secret – Are you making the most of your life?

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