Tag Archives: communications

Don't Come to the Buy Side without Sell Side Experience

The title of the post is a bit of an exaggeration, but after reading below, you’ll see why.  Note, this mostly pertains to technology/digital opportunities.

I had a conversation with an industry colleague the other day and we both came from the sell side (publisher/content distributor) before we ended up on the buy side (agency/client).  We ended up chatting about agency talent and how beneficial it is to spend time on the sell side.

These are some points that we discussed:

  • If you are coming from an ad network, exchange, or other media technology capability, you generally have a better working knowledge of technologies and understand the constraints and opportunities they provide.  It’s also a lot easier to call “BS” on vendors when you’ve participated on their side of the fence.
  • Interfacing with many different types of buyers.  Similar to how the buy side gets to interface with many different sellers, by working on the sell side, you get to understand all of the needs of the marketplace and get privy to all of the questions being asked by different clients.  This is important as you can begin to understand which buy side agencies are stronger than others and what the industry wants in terms of execution.

I really think the first point above is the mega-important one.  As more and more technology penetrates advertising agencies, having a background that can discern the technologies and performance is going to become increasingly important.   I highly suggest that people round out their careers by being on both sides of the fence, then of course, pick the side they like best.

Early Stage Areas/Companies I'm Watching

I have really enjoyed watching all of the innovation over the past few years and wanted to highlight a few areas that I think are really interesting for 2010/2011.  In some cases, I may use company names as examples;  unless otherwise noted, I am not an investor in any of these companies and this is not a sponsored post (cmp.ly disclosure).

I think 2010-2020 is going to be the decade of digital video.  Analog video will become digital and it will become indexable, optimizable, and interactive.  For many reasons outlined in this previous post, I don’t think it’s going to happen overnight, but I do think that video is going to grow significantly.  Many of my clients in the agency are asking for video (either to complement their digital plan or to substitute for their traditional TV efforts) for 2011.

One of the companies that I’m watching today is Milabra (Crunchbase Profile).  The reason why Milabra is interesting to me is because they help us index what is in the actual video content.  This is extremely important when we want to target, customize and index content.

Social Networking
CollegeOnlyIt’s 2004 all over again.  I wrote back in the day that social networks are like hot clubs – while they are all the rage now, there will be another hot one in the next year or two.  Facebook has obviously dominated but there becomes a point where Fb will not have 100% marketshare.

One of the companies I’m watching is CollegeOnly (Crunchbase Profile). What I like about them is that their value proposition is easily understood and their media kit does a great job describing who and what they do… and I believe it.

Automated Advice
If we all had access to a lot of data, we can have it tell us things based on certain criteria we tell it to look for.   In an age of large amounts of data, companies are going to emerge that weed out the middleman of giving advice/consultations for the opportunity to automate actionable decisions.

PlantlyI’m specifically tracking two companies in this area:  Plant.ly (Crunchbase Profile) and Profitably (Crunchbase Profile).  There is no coincidence that they both start with “P” and end in “ly.”  Plant.ly has access to a huge database of investment risk and returns over a few decades.  Based on your risk tolerance and expected return, they can recommend the right fund/etf/etc for you.  No need to pay a middleman to set that up for you.

Profitably is another startup that is innovating in the automated advice area.  You give it access to your Quickbooks business information and it helps you decide where you can either trim costs or grow profits for our business.  For someone who isn’t numbers adept, this could be very valuable.

Because both of these companies use technology to disintermediate humans, the can significantly reduce the transaction cost and still make boku dollars based off of scale.

Content Consumption
This is an area that I’m currently very active in.  I’m a formal advisor to Fast Society which is launching in a couple of weeks, and I’m about to launch a project called Tomzy (currently the sole investor) that helps the world visualize vast amounts of information.  I’m on a content consumption kick because in it’s current form, it’s broken.  I have a whole post coming out on this upon the launch of Tomzy but essentially we cannot manage our current content stream and we’ve not even digitized the majority of our content yet… so how can we expect to keep up with it in the future?

While Tomzy is all about processing and filtering content based on its relevance to YOU, Fast Society creates a bbm (blackberry messenger) like service across any platform for a small group of people for a defined period of time.  I can’t give too much away about Fast Society but it’s different than GroupMe (Crunchbase Profile).

Based on what you have read here, if there are companies who you think should be on my radar screen, I’m certainly willing to engage.  Please contact me thru this form, comment below, or tweet me @dherman76.

The Closed Trend: Email Newsletters

closed-signOne of my friends, Sam Lessin, created a service called letter.ly, which allows anyone to sign up for a email newsletter account and charge users whatever they want to join.  An example of this is Michael Galpert’s newsletter of which he charges $4.00/mo.

Recently, Jason Calcannis and Sam Lessin declared their blogs dead and are moving to email communications because it’s more intimate.  I receive Jason’s email newsletter and find nothing in there that couldn’t/shouldn’t be on his blog.

I find it funny how everything old is new again.  Note, these 2 people are not a statistically significant sample but being that these two men are at the center of the tech scene, it may be a directional indicator of where things are headed.

Nate’s post entitled Going Premium talks about how he’ll write in-detail about things not fit for mass public consumption (his blog).  Sam also talks about how an email newsletter allows him to talk about things more interesting things.

I don’t know if I subscribe to the whole notion of “stop blogging, start a premium newsletter.”

I think each of them have their place as a communications vehicle but I would guess, right now, without much experience writing email newsletters that being open rather than closed would deliver a lot more value which is the antithesis of what Sam talks about in his blog post.

An interesting thing did happen though.  Since I’m paying for this content now, I do hold a higher standard for it.  In an email exchange I had with one of the guys mentioned above, I told him that he better deliver “significant value” since my wallet is open.  Being that I’m now paying for this content, I may be more likely to cancel my subscription than to take his previous [free] content out of my RSS Reader or my alpha version of Tomzy.

I’ve been wrong many more times than being right, so take this all with a grain of salt.

Would love to hear your feedback.

This post was written by Darren Herman (@dherman76) who is the Chief Digital Media Officer ofkbs+p/The Media Kitchen and the founder of Varick Media Management.  This post represents personal opinions and views, not necessarily reflected of his employer.

My Communications Preference & Schematic

I decided to do an audit of how I use different communications “devices” and their responsiveness/effectiveness for me.  This is a focus group of one and is purely subjective.

Below is the outline.  Net/net, short and rapid communications are what work for me as evidence by Text Message and Twitter DM’s.  What I also like about them is there is a “wall” around them – i.e. not everyone knows my cell and I can’t receive DM’s from everyone.

Email still ranks #1 for my preference because of the passive nature of it; I don’t respond to everything immediately so the buildup gets significant but with the addition of Sanebox, it should make my life easier.  I do claim “inbox zero” on a weekly basis however.

After reading below, are your preferences similar?  Leave a comment.

**Update** – after reading this over again, I noticed I didn’t include LinkedIn “In Mail” or Facebook messages.  I dislike both :)

Communications Schematic

Great Presentation: Evolution of Digital Communications

Saw this presentation on my friend Fred’s blog this morning and thought it was perfect for here.  Of all of the parts of the presentation (which I believe can be done in 120 slides rather than 200+), the slide that talks about data+insights hits really close to home during this part of my career and passion.  Check it out.
View more documents from David Gillespie.