Posts Tagged media

Sunday Column (481)

Spring is in the air. If you listen carefully as you board the early morning train, you can hear the birds singing. Our cats got a lovely mouse I rescued from them, and there is a ‘new beginning’ in the air. I signed another advisory role for a blockchain and ICO/ITO (Initial Coin/Token Offering). This is exciting for many reasons. On the one hand I get to work with some very smart people and on the other hand, I am able to learn a lot from them and the product/offering itself. There is no doubt this part of technology is going to be big, so getting involved early is never a bad thing. Exciting times ahead, and more info will be shared on LinkedIn when appropriate.

So as you can see I keep myself busy. That is essential. It is interesting how weeks evolve and things happening out of nothing and your week just gets a different spin. For example I spoke to a company one day which after only 30 minutes thought I wouldn’t be commercial enough, despite my experience definitely being able to do that. Then just a few hours later I was in knee deep discussions how to help a business to structure their sales and account management team across EMEA. Wowsers. Let’s see. I am hopeful.

I won’t, for obvious reasons, discuss any details here, and I am deliberately vague. However, the point I am trying to make is that with every interview you learn. I even discussed my education and went back throughout my whole career. I enjoyed the thoroughness and the chat, being very reflective, it helped me to focus on what I enjoyed in each job, which is what my interview partner wanted to know. It is somewhat fun this journey, to explore opportunities, technologies, and meeting very interesting people. Yet is can also be tiring adhering to time lines, chasing etc. I am hoping that at the end of this journey, besides a job, I will come out with a position that will last me for a few years. And as of the paragraph above, people see and spot different things in different people. The reason that’s the case is because everyone has their own filter of the world, I am going back into NLP here now, but if you are someone that is keen on finding X in someone, then that’s all that matters. Chin up.

On top of that I recorded 2 of 4 scheduled podcasts this weekand, and I scheduled another 2 to be recorded next week. Amazing conversations, each of their own kind. Maybe I need to increase the frequency and the best thing is, I so love doing them. The thought crosses my mind to build my own media company in years to come. Producing podcasts, events and venturing out into new areas. There is no limit to what you can achieve in life, is there? And I am still trying to identify the perfect way, but to be honest, is there ever going to be something that is perfect? Is there something ever going to be the life you dreamed of? As my wife pointed out, life isn’t a straight line, and once you accept it being up and down, ride the wave. F* it. Easier said than done when you are the breadwinner. Who knows what life holds. One interview this week might have lead to some media deal – oh I love those days in media really LOL – Don’t I?

I am trying to figure out bigger questions in my head, and to be honest, my question supporting those thoughts are around ‘why did we dream of the perfect life in the way we did’. Maybe I should have studied philosophy and psychology, but if we imagine for a moment, and I discuss that in my podcasts, that our dreams are influenced solely by upbringing and parents. So success, and however you want to define that, is based on what ‘seed’ was planted for your dreams. Did your parents suggest you dreaming big or small? In colour or black and white? Were they taking risks or not? One of my podcast guests coined the phrase of ‘entrepreneurial GM’ which I like to adopt for myself. Fits the bill, dont’ you think? He made me a great compliment too 🙂 . And he made me think whether I am already at the right place at the right time, but I haven’t noticed it yet. You ever thought that sometimes you step out of the future you dreamed of, to be sidelined into what you should do (or what seems right to do), but not realise it?

My other theory which goes in line with that is that life is constantly changing. So if I discuss what my career looks like in 5 years time, there is no point. I believe that in 5-10 years our lives would have changed so much, that we essentially work and live completely different to the now. I shared Elon Musk’s theory this week which suggests we all live in a simulation. Maybe we do. Stephen Hawking died this week, one of the greatest philosophers based on physics/science of our time. How is the universe and the universal conscious putting things together to move you forward as an individual? How do we know what is right or wrong, and can our intellect really rely on our gut feeling at all times?

I am drifting again. And people keep telling me that my blog is getting too long. So apologies. Feel free to reach out – with jobs, contract work or for a chat or feedback re the blog 🙂 – as someone said the other morning when we both met on the train ‘Volker, feel free to reach out anytime for a chat, things will be fine, but happy to listen’. Thanks, and you know who you are. And for anyone out there going through the ups and downs as well, ping me, I am always happy to help if I can. Life is about giving back and rising with the tide.

Have a great week,
Volker

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Round up of #iabengage 2012

I attended the IAB Engage event this week at the Barbican conference centre. I had a hard time finding it but arrived just in time for the first key note. A great venue, although coffee has run out by the time I got there 🙁

Guy Phillipson, CEO of the IAB, summarised the mood of the industry. Discussing the economic downturn, talking about the growth of digital marketing and that it is making up 8.3% of the GDP with 121 billion GBP. The biggest growth is surprisingly mobile marketing. Or not surprisingly to be honest. More brands move budgets to mobile rather than video just because the reach and volume is available. I am certain this will change, but instead of more budget being moved from display to mobile my prediction is that video will be fed from the TV budget. Additional more TVs are being connected too.

People would give up chocolate, booze or even sex for a year to get Internet back if it was disconnected – a fact based on a study carried out by the IAB. That is because people are constantly online: on their mobile, tablets, smartphones. This is what we do. Like outdoor back in the days. Location based targeting will be a huge factor moving forward.

20121025-170416.jpg Of course social media will be big too. Search will produce more clicks from mobile devices than “online”. Real time technology will play a huge role: digital by design.

The CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo, was interviewed. As a true veteran of the valley, he confirmed that most tweets are sent from mobile devices. Twitter provides real time feedback about brands, and the best example is the US election and the debates which are discussed live on twitter. You cannot run or hide from real time social media, unless you decide to not sign up to it …

Both first discussions highlighted the fact that brands need to be personal, approachable and ultimately likeable on social media, in order to engage properly with their clients.

Simon Rogers from the Guardian discussed another great industry buzz: data journalism. The big data. Simon had some great data visualisation charts from the UK budget to the average income. He pointed out the difference between the 1981 riots and last year’s. Social media allowed for populating feeds across London. The data and information flow was immense and a lot more than 1981 when there was no twitter, not even SMS.

It was fascinating to see how data from twitter collected during the riots can visualise where the rioters came from, what their movements were, and what events, e.g. the rumour that the London Eye was on fire, peaked in terms of re-tweets.

Next on stage was Mark Howe from Google about “ignite your thinking”. He spoke about the fibre optic project, the driverless car and the Google glasses. No new revelations and a talk that didn’t inspire me at all. Whilst the innovations themselves are amazing, there were no new insights. Similar to the last Google presentation I saw at ATS London: a self promoting sales pitch.

Google wants to perform an SMB between now and this afternoon. Via a live hangout they connected to a Google team at the business. Nice idea…

After a short break and exciting catch ups with an old industry friend, who of course I met for drinks later on, Microsoft spoke about the Digitisation of Society. Dave Coplin suggests that search is about doing, e.g. the gateway to the web. I suppose most things you want to look up online, you enter those sites via search.

He made a few great points about the connectivity of people, about the location of service searches, and the connections between the people and those searches – it is about trust and recommendations. The web becomes a place where you meet, recommend and share. And, the phone becomes so personal. Your wallet, your window to the digital world, anywhere: foursquare, twitter, email, Facebook, price comparison, taking pictures of things you like. Amazing stuff.

I always prefer Microsoft’s presentations over Google’s. Dave also picks up on the flaw of the “big data” phrase and data protection. But of course it is all down to the “algorithm”.

Seriously, there is more out there than the black box sales. A close friend who has been in the industry for many years pointed out that after all those years sales people still rely on selling their company as having the best algorithm. There are things beyond black boxes, like data, user interfaces, insights etc. to differentiate offerings. But I am side stepping here, so back to the event 😉

Doug Conely, ex Tribal Fusion now Exponential (holding group owning TF), spoke about data. So data and mobile seem to be the big trends this year. 2012 is the year of mobile and big data. Remember, you heard it here first.

Main take-away from that session was that data is worth nothing without actions. This has been true for years, if I looks back to my search days. When Google Analytics first came out, when we did the first A/B testing, collected data from conversions etc. We are so much more advanced today to be able to manage data and use it, and of course collecting it. Data protection as mentioned above is still a red flag.

Next up: ITV, Fru Hazlitt, talking about KISS – keep it simple stupid. With TV being traditional media, her insight and view of digital was very interesting. The rules haven’t changed as we look at context, audiences and content. From 2012 the digital switch over for free view has been completed, so this makes 2012 the year of digital TV too 🙂

20121025-213153.jpgITV made their player available across devices despite research suggesting that consumers still watch 4 hours of TV a day on average, 90% of which is watched live. That is almost a working week of TV consumption a week. What else are we doing in Britain?!

It seems as broadcasters reinventing the advertising they deliver to connect it to social media, e.g. Mercedes allowing twitter hash tags to determine how an ad ends. It is difficult to link up traditional and modern media, but with the reinvention and connection of traditional and digital media, embedding traditional in digital channels, there is a way to not lose out against digital 🙂 and we need to stop predicting each other’s deaths, Fru pledges, and embrace the challenge to deliver value to our customers – because the basic business principles are still the same!

Steve Henry, founder of decoded, spoke about his business model to teach CXO levels how to code in a day.

Lunch was great. More networking, good food, conversations. I also got myself a bag to put the collateral in. Whenever I think that I could not leave the house without a bag…..

As always after lunch things can be slow. However, Jon Mew from the IAB Mobile made a good start after lunch, speaking about brand engagement via mobile. His first example was AR (Augmented Reality) use by Brandaid. Very clever!

Also we got a live demo (or supported via YouTube) of the “deacon” app. A nice touch to use sound effects to change mobile screen colours. Simple yet effective for crowd pleasing….

Next was Nick Lansley from Tesco. It was an insight, yet not very interesting, about Tesco’s innovation team and strategy. Again, after Google, another sales pitch. I know some people are critical of the IAB event featuring sales pitches. The presentations are great, good speakers. However, I am not confident that the content actually justifies the price tag the event is asking for.

They also demonstrated a shopping experience in front of a TV – see my comments on twitter, I think this is the most useless app I have seen. Who on earth would stand in front of a TV at home to grab stuff out of a virtual shelf? What a useless session.

20121025-213146.jpgI don’t want to be funny. I enjoy the sales pitches too, good business insights, but why pay for Google or Tesco pitching to you?

Next up Matthew Turner from Sky. I have seen him presenting before, he is a good speaker. I liked how he entered the stage saying “I leave the sales pitch to the end” 😉 he was speaking about failure which is part of every process. In real time. Every day.

He spoke about the “age of the jerks”. The adoption of technology is rapidly accelerating. I loved his case studies about the digital spend and adoption from P&G, Old Spice and others. Some brands just get it. I love those creative heads in agencies who come up with this awesome ideas that help brands engage clever through digital.

I love how over the next 12 months every person on this planet will use the picture of Baumgartner in the space capsule if it somehow fits. Challenge, risk, branding, … You make it work in your context 🙂

The last session before the next break was Ajaz Ahmed, founder of AKQA. A buzzy, video driven presentation about how agencies can bring together several digital channels, including mobile, to drive brand awareness and sales. Cross functional. Loved it!

It was literally quotes and examples from his book “velocity”. He donates all the income from the book to charity. Wow. Full circle, he said. I really enjoyed him speaking about innovation. You could feel his passion for the industry and attention to detail. A wrong font in his presentation threw him off. I couldn’t help but thinking of Steve Jobs, that was before he mentioned it 😉

20121025-213158.jpgThen he mentioned Baumgartner…told you 😉 the following interview was very interesting. He gave away how he constantly innovated: looking and being obsessed with people matching his and his company’s attitude and vision. Very simple, often yet not followed through. I will get his book! A very impressive industry head with a great vision. It is not about technology but about imagination. Wow. Wow. Wow.

After the coffee break we came back to the last few sessions. The rows got emptier but we kick started the afternoon with an interview with Rory Sutherland. Always nice to hear him talking about the industry. A true agency man… a great self presentation with some good views about advertising, market research, innovation and him smoking on stage.

There is not much to summarise, particular as I am getting a bit tired now towards the end of the day 😉 For whatever reasons I could only connect my iPad to the wifi cloud, so in my breaks I tried to stay on top of my work inbox.

Easyjet came next: Peter Duffy spoke about my most favourite travel brand 🙂 It is UK’s largest airline, the 4th largest in Europe with digital at its heart. He admitted that what they do is not rocket science, e.g. increasing the spend per customer through up-selling and clever use of data. Also they are looking into utilising mobile more effectively, including apps and tablet usage.

I definitely like the idea of mobile ticketing. Also making information available such as a flight tracker and more insights that are available inside the organisation in order to inform the customer but also to reduce costs of customer service contacts.

Dave Gorman should have been next but no, Google had to show off via hangout how they helped a SMB to improve their business. Sorry guys, we know you are great but I am not interested in the sales pitch, nor a patronising speech about how to use digital. This is 2012.

Dave Gorman, who I personally don’t know (sorry, I don’t know many celebrities, I grew up in Germany), was great. He was cheering up the crowds so close to the end. Happy days. It was fantastic how he slagged off the SEO guys. And, “don’t pretend to click on banners”, excuse me? A great laugh.

The show was closed by Tim Elkington from the IAB.

In summary I loved the event. Some great insights, conversations and opinions. Not a must-attend event in my opinion but an event to attend every other year to get up to speed of what is happening in the industry. Tesco and Google clearly pitched and encoded was sales presentation too. But the majority of the sessions were great. A good get together, but maybe one should re-think the price.

Sorry, was that too honest?

See you all soon, back in 2014.

Volker

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