Featured in the NY Times Today

NY Times PicToday is a big day – myself and my company, Varick Media Management, has been featured in the NY Times business section both online and in print (the nations top selling Sunday paper).  The story even made page #1 of TechMeme this morning.

The article focuses on the new breed of companies emerging that put significant rigor towards optimization and strategy to media [and while not talked about in-depth in the article], creative, and audience.  I believe audience is a 3rd dimension of optimization and strategy that goes missing in most planning and buying.

The NY Times calls this “Wall Street” style analysis.  When VMM first launched, we called ourselves the first “advertising hedge fund,” so I guess the tag-line works.

The story is extremely high level and may seem basic to some people.  While that may be the case, if you want to talk more in-depth, I’d certainly welcome the conversation.  You can contact me here.  Or better yet, leave a comment on this blog and lets start a conversation.

This blog has been a playground for new ideas that we’re experimenting with for VMM and about the industry overall, so if you like what you read in the NY Times, here are a few posts that may be of interest:

Needless to say, I’m super excited today and want to thank Barry, John, Stephen, Chris, and Brandon, and the rest of the team back in the office to make all of this happen.

  • Michael Senno

    Congrats Darren. I read the piece online last night. I’m really interesting with your take on media optimization and feel strongly about leveraging the data that online gives us access too. In fact, I think many of these same optimization principles should be applied to television, since so much data lives in the set-top box – yet goes unused.

    I know most of your work is on the buyer side, but I have some ideas about the publishers. I feel they need to create a competitive market to push marketers to be more creative, develop an incentive system that puts users in more control of the ads they see and forces advertisers to develop better creative and useful ads – way above and beyond banners.

    Further, I’m not sure how much study you do on the drivers of traffic patterns and timing of ad placement. Most online inventory is sold on a simple rotational basis, however traffic patterns don’t follow that. Publishers get traffic spikes from events or time of day or for another external reason. This lends itself somewhat to the traditional model of buying time at different prices depending on the value of the content and time – i.e. prime time television. I think it would be an interesting adventure to look into an application of this nature – either from the publisher or ad buyer perspective. I know its off topic a bit, but reading about your company got my mind going this morning. What do you think?

    • http://www.darrenherman.com dherman76

      Michael, you raise some good points – and some of which we are already doing. My vision is well beyond web display ads- but you need to start where the market is and when it expands, move with it. There is no real addressable television market today other than what SimulMedia, Canoe, Time Warner, and others are doing in a very small way (today). The market will be huge in the future.

      As for traffic patterns – VMM tries to understand these best as possible and create strategies which includes time of day.

      Great thoughts – lets chat offline?

  • Michael Senno

    Congrats Darren. I read the piece online last night. I'm really interesting with your take on media optimization and feel strongly about leveraging the data that online gives us access too. In fact, I think many of these same optimization principles should be applied to television, since so much data lives in the set-top box – yet goes unused.

    I know most of your work is on the buyer side, but I have some ideas about the publishers. I feel they need to create a competitive market to push marketers to be more creative, develop an incentive system that puts users in more control of the ads they see and forces advertisers to develop better creative and useful ads – way above and beyond banners.

    Further, I'm not sure how much study you do on the drivers of traffic patterns and timing of ad placement. Most online inventory is sold on a simple rotational basis, however traffic patterns don't follow that. Publishers get traffic spikes from events or time of day or for another external reason. This lends itself somewhat to the traditional model of buying time at different prices depending on the value of the content and time – i.e. prime time television. I think it would be an interesting adventure to look into an application of this nature – either from the publisher or ad buyer perspective. I know its off topic a bit, but reading about your company got my mind going this morning. What do you think?

  • http://www.darrenherman.com dherman76

    Michael, you raise some good points – and some of which we are already doing. My vision is well beyond web display ads- but you need to start where the market is and when it expands, move with it. There is no real addressable television market today other than what SimulMedia, Canoe, Time Warner, and others are doing in a very small way (today). The market will be huge in the future.

    As for traffic patterns – VMM tries to understand these best as possible and create strategies which includes time of day.

    Great thoughts – lets chat offline?

  • ke

    Hi,

    I just finished reading the piece in the NYT and found it to be quite interesting. I run a few small websites and trying to increase my traffic through online advertising has always been a dilemma for me.

    I wonder what advise you’d give to the small entrepreneur who doesn’t have a large online budget to work with. What would be the most cost efficient way for them to let people know about their sites and it’s products? This is often a story that journalists tend not to focus on, but one where I believe the majority of growth will come from i.e. from small entrepreneurs who are trying to use the efficiency and lower costs of the internet to earn a living.

    I look forward to reading your views on the small points I’ve raised.

  • ke

    Hi,

    I just finished reading the piece in the NYT and found it to be quite interesting. I run a few small websites and trying to increase my traffic through online advertising has always been a dilemma for me.

    I wonder what advise you'd give to the small entrepreneur who doesn't have a large online budget to work with. What would be the most cost efficient way for them to let people know about their sites and it's products? This is often a story that journalists tend not to focus on, but one where I believe the majority of growth will come from i.e. from small entrepreneurs who are trying to use the efficiency and lower costs of the internet to earn a living.

    I look forward to reading your views on the small points I've raised.

  • http://www.seeingbothsides.com bussgang

    Darren – congrats on the piece. Nice profile and publicity. I have a portfolio company, DataXu, in stealth mode right now but will want to connect you with them at some point soon. Keep up the great work!

    • http://www.darrenherman.com dherman76

      Thanks Jeff – know Dataxu well and have been speaking with them for the past 6 months

      looking forward to catching up.

  • http://www.seeingbothsides.com bussgang

    Darren – congrats on the piece. Nice profile and publicity. I have a portfolio company, DataXu, in stealth mode right now but will want to connect you with them at some point soon. Keep up the great work!

  • http://www.darrenherman.com dherman76

    Thanks Jeff – know Dataxu well and have been speaking with them for the past 6 months

    looking forward to catching up.

  • http://www.sjfventures.com/ Alan Kelley

    Darren, great to see you and all of your talents in the middle of these important trends.

  • http://www.sjfventures.com/ Alan Kelley

    Darren, great to see you and all of your talents in the middle of these important trends.

  • http://jburg.typepad.com/future jon burg

    That’s so cool! Congrats!

  • http://jburg.typepad.com/future jon burg

    That's so cool! Congrats!

  • http://robtsai.com/post/120835767/how-much-will-online-media-look-like-wall-street Robert Tsai

    The Wall Street analogy is certainly evocative, and begs the question whether online media will some day be bought and sold in the same manner that stocks, options, commodities, currencies and futures today are traded today.

    Of course, some fundamental differences exist between online ad impressions and financial assets, and this suggests that the online ad markets could and should evolve differently.

    Ad impressions aren’t similar to commodities like oil. There’s no way to park and store ad impressions the way you can warehouse barrels of oil, something that oil traders have been doing by buying tankers to warehouse oil bought at the cheaper spot market rate and sold forward at higher rates for future delivery (the contango trade).

    Congratulations Darren and John on the great coverage – and I look forward to seeing how you guys will continue to evolve this market.

  • http://robtsai.com/post/120835767/how-much-will-online-media-look-like-wall-street Robert Tsai

    The Wall Street analogy is certainly evocative, and begs the question whether online media will some day be bought and sold in the same manner that stocks, options, commodities, currencies and futures today are traded today.

    Of course, some fundamental differences exist between online ad impressions and financial assets, and this suggests that the online ad markets could and should evolve differently.

    Ad impressions aren’t similar to commodities like oil. There’s no way to park and store ad impressions the way you can warehouse barrels of oil, something that oil traders have been doing by buying tankers to warehouse oil bought at the cheaper spot market rate and sold forward at higher rates for future delivery (the contango trade).

    Congratulations Darren and John on the great coverage – and I look forward to seeing how you guys will continue to evolve this market.

  • http://www.thezlotnickgroup.com janzlotnick

    I get some seriously crunched eyebrow stares from creative associates, but I like the dive into the thick of it — the analytic rigor that the better the metrics the better the creative (and the better For creatives). It can be the key, not the lock, to greater creative involvement in ROI conversations. Seems to me there’s a 24/7 role that ROI — and “Media Optimization”– at play in our every decision — not just in what to buy, but what to “buy into” — who to love, when to commit, when to revolt, where and how to leap and risk….Bring it on Darren; the more enlightened the conversation — especially in the 3rd dimension of audience — the more likely creative lightening will strike in the right place at the right time, sparking, not killing, the ideas that move people.

  • http://www.janzlotnick.com/ Jan Zlotnick

    I get some seriously crunched eyebrow stares from creative associates, but I like the dive into the thick of it — the analytic rigor that the better the metrics the better the creative (and the better For creatives). It can be the key, not the lock, to greater creative involvement in ROI conversations. Seems to me there's a 24/7 role that ROI — and “Media Optimization”– at play in our every decision — not just in what to buy, but what to “buy into” — who to love, when to commit, when to revolt, where and how to leap and risk….Bring it on Darren; the more enlightened the conversation — especially in the 3rd dimension of audience — the more likely creative lightening will strike in the right place at the right time, sparking, not killing, the ideas that move people.