Tuesday, February 24, 2009

If Startup Thinking is Wrong, I Don't Want To ...

I've never really been sold on the ideas coming from AdAge. That said, much of the information is nice to know. Yesterday, they ran a piece aimed to help Marketing Chiefs think more like startups. There is enough wrong with this post that I don't want to cover the details.

First, what was right.

Marketing Chiefs think like Marketing Chiefs. Always have and probably always will. When we get some new thought, we'll create a new title and let the Chiefs die off thinking the success was their credit. Kudos to the author for speaking to these heavyweights in terms they understand - you do good work but something can be learned from startups.

So what kind of advice do we have for these Marketing Chiefs? I mean, so long as we're going to debase ourselves and look to startups for success tips, what kind of insight can we gleen?
  • Tell people why you're important
  • Worry about the detail
  • Always think about leverage
  • Be bold
  • Prepare for the unexpected
Is this a joke? If not, what the hell have Marketing Chiefs been doing these past years that these points have escaped them? Sometimes I take the advantages of marketing in a digital world for granted. Then again, sometimes I take the intelligence of Marketing Chiefs for granted.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Agencies have the Talent but do they have the Mindset?

The troubling thing about digital marketing is the ease it can be implemented. Thousands of companies every day start their journeys online. It can be done by one person sitting alone under the glow of a desk lamp. In fact, just last night, I witnessed someone not at all familiar with technology create their own site. The only problem was the file naming conventions being used. Rather than explain, I just changed and off they went.

So why do agencies have such a difficult time adopting technology. Before you argue that they already have - email and viral videos do not equate to technology adoption. There's a giant blue ocean stretching far and wide with few recognizable names bobbing around.

Recently, Ford has been lauded for its incorporation of social media. But what's really going on behind the scenes? Jalopnik has an interesting take on this. Notice that Scott Monty has even been banned from the message boards. To a lesser extent, James Andrews arrival in Memphis to present to FedEx shows the gap we have yet to overcome.

In one case, we have a company representative that is not representing a brand. On the other, we have an influencer still believing that the circle of influence is restricted to in person meetings.

Agencies have to get away from ego.

Ok. Let's get a bit more realistic. Ego is fine and has driven many great campaigns. We need to move beyond the mindset that is about ownership. I'm still confounded by the idea of an AOR. Unless we're going the way of Enfatico, there's little reason to single out one effort. All efforts working in concert generate the results we're looking for. Sometimes it takes Tweets. Sometimes it takes emails. Regardless of the delivery system, we have to be ready to hand over the messaging.

Agencies do not own messaging. Brands do not own messaging. Only customers can own. All we can do is respond.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Digital Marketing is Not The Dark Arts

I don't mind questions. I don't mind studies. I don't mind diving deeper into digital technologies to uncover the possibilities that lie beneath the surface. What I mind is the attitude that digital technologies are somehow inferior or mystical when compared to traditional media.

I don't think I'm alone here. For those that live in the world of technology day after day, this can be a surprise. There are those that inherently understand the power of communication. An entire generation now exists that has been brought up expecting digital communication as the norm. And yet, we see story after story in the mainstream media about how this new generation will remain unprepared to face the challenges of tomorrow. The story revolves around some kind of inability to connect and engage individuals face to face.

The point is missed on the mainstream media as well. And it's not the first time.

What digital technologies offer is the newest way to communicate with people. We used to love the telephone. Before that, there were books. All of these were new and novel at some point. I'm thankful we I don't run the risk of being burned for practicing the mysterious power of writing.

Yet, I get the feeling that there's a street war happening between those that had carved out comfortable holes for themselves and those ready to adopt a new world order (and I actually mean that in a good sense).

Let's get down to details for a second - or lack thereof. So there are few models for successfully churning out digital campaigns. There are few metrics to measure the effectiveness. There remains an elusive formula for calculating ROI for the web or mobile or applications. And somehow, the shit still works. Last time I checked in with the statisticians, we were still estimating the metrics for print campaigns. The margins of error for many of the projections were quite high - given a 50 year head start.

So what's the hold up? Why can't we begin to adopt digital technologies as marketing vehicles?

I get the sense that there's fear. And a lot of it. The last thing any of us wants is to show up at the office one day and learn that we know nothing. Everybody has a value. In this business, your value is tied to what you can contribute to the BIG IDEA. A vile, ego driven business it truly is.

Us digital guys (and dolls) remain relatively young. Not a lot of gray hair showing through the Twitter profile pics just yet. Put yourself in the shoes of someone that has worked years in this industry to get to the top. And then what happens? Guess what? The game just changed. Not on my watch you'd think and try to get the most out of what you can.

This is not any offer of forgiveness - only understanding. If you happen to stumble online curious about what these interwebs are and read this, I have just one message. You're holding up the future of this industry.

Imagine if we could put the same minds that have cracked and refined the existing models for the past 10 years. Imagine if we put that effort to a new medium that's cheaper, faster and more powerful than any communication channel we've used in the past.

It's not sorcery. It's real, but we need your help.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sign o' The Times

So here we are. Confronted by a landscape that's changing daily. And the best advice we can offer is to hold tight?

How can anybody in the industry today still defend television as the best buy? I've seen the statistics and understand that television still has a broad reach. In fact, we're discovering that multi-channel efforts increase the effectiveness of a television buy.

But this doesn't defend television as the best option.

Let's think about this claim for just a moment. We're surrounded by studies that show us that customers are spending more time online, more time watching digital video, slightly less time watching television, more time working, less time on vacation and you can add anything I'm sure I've left out. What it adds up to is about a 32 hour day (finally time for sleep).

Take a look around and find someone participating in a singular task these days. It's not uncommon for customers to be watching television while also online. In fact, they are often doing this while engaging with family or friends. It's naive to think that we focus our attention on one item anymore.

Whether this is a result of a new digital culture or perfect timing for a technology in our lives, the reality is that we spread our attention around.

Let's top this off with a heavy dose of real time communications. New technologies have made it possible to get all of our news and information in real time. Where televisions strength once reigned - the ability to deliver news and entertainment to everyone at one time - is eroding due to our access to the same information as it happens.

What's better is our ability to receive this information from our close, personal contacts. Nothing against the pretty, tan ladies and gents that grace my nightly news programs, but they don't know me like my friends and family. Even the digital connections that I've never met have a better understanding of me. They have at least heard my voice whether through video, typing or uploaded photos.

In fact, what's the point of newspapers and television? They certainly were not created to sell to us. They would have never taken off in the first place. Now that digital technologies are replacing the original use of these devices, why can't we expect them to be relegated to second tier status? Is the fight to keep television as the best mass medium about defending what is likely to be or what we wish it could be? And are our predictions based on evidence or fear?

I think you know my opinion.


Amen. Video highlights this wonderfully. Though I wouldn't agree that these are *new* revenue channels. Let's just call them recently discovered.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Where to Start? Attention or Engagement

With frustration implementing digital solutions mounting, a good question to ask is where to begin. We certainly have enough buzz around many solutions. What we don't have is a consistent way to measure.

So what's more important, attention or engagement? On one hand, the ability exists to reach a great number of individuals. With reach comes an opportunity for persuasion. On the other hand, engagement offers individuals a high degree of value. While more limited in scope, engagement often creates lasting memories.

I believe engagement is the key. Concentration on engagement allows you to speak better with the customers that are currently taking an interest. They get a high degree of relevance and you get positive word of mouth. Broad reach will come. Proper engagement allows individuals to create their own benefits. They will share these benefits with others. In other words, you don't have to sell to a broad base. Your devoted customers will. But only if they are currently engaged with what you offer.

That being said, most digital campaigns should start with awareness. The way today's marketers justify expenditure and chart success revolves around these numbers. How many people is it reaching? Who is being converted? How many total conversions do we have. With the end game still being about quantity, awareness provides a fit.

We all talk a great deal about engagement. We understand why it is the more logical choice for digital marketing. Yet, there is very little to justify the opportunity in today's market. Using an awareness campaign as a stepping stone for smarter (engagement) efforts down the line can lead to both understanding and success. And success is not what is currently standing in the way of a new form of marketing. Understanding is.

Friday, February 6, 2009

CMOs Grow Weary

And so CMOs are growing weary of the 2.0 world. I got good news and bad news. I work and live in the 2.0 world and I'm weary of it as well. The good news (that wasn't it), is that it's about to get a whole lot better.

In fact, it can't get much worse. Nothing new is really being adopted, we have no way to measure the success of anything and the most production comes from coining terms to describe the new technologies. I know we love our copy in the marketing world, but sometimes (and I only mean sometimes) we have to deliver something of substance.

The end game is upon us. Budgets are shrinking. It's no longer good enough to run rampant over the 2.0 world with nothing but buzzwords. In fact, buzz is no longer enough if it doesn't lead to results.

I can already see the gears turning. Digital marketing is returning to the geek where it belonged all along. Sure, banner ads are great. They're fun to build, require a great deal of creativity and are relatively cheap. But us geeks have known for years that they just don't work. How do we know? We don't use them. A little common sense goes a long way.

There's suddenly a new (I don't know why it's taken this long) school of thought on digital marketing. We are also users of this technology. If we wouldn't do it, why do we expect customers to use it? I'll wait a moment for the answer.

Intuition leads to great ideas but not great execution. The numbers are starting to fall into place. By that, I mean that there is actually some measure of accountability being cooked into the work. This goes beyond Omniture tags. This is about engagement.

Are the numbers right? Absolutely not.

But that won't matter in the long run. The models will be refined and eventually lead to greater production on digital work. For once, we will have models to defend the buzz - or relegate it to the proper pile where much of it belongs.

I, for one, am looking forward to the day where we stop talking about 'viral' and start talking about a good placement for digital video that generated a 20x return.

Imagine that.

CMOs already are. They're just waiting for us to deliver. And like the pizza you grow impatient waiting on, the chance for something revolutionary is growing cold.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Do You Google Yourself?

A local reporter in the Twin Cities area ran a story on the news a couple nights ago. Jason DeRusha has a solid grasp of newer technologies and the way digital conversations work. He maintains a blog, Twitter profile and personas on a number of local sites. His question for the other night was - Do you Google yourself?

Good question. I was expecting a number of responses on what the best way to track your online presence would be. I anticipated results pointing to SocialWhoIs, WhosTalkin or even just straight Google Alerts. What I saw for responses was very eye opening.

So much for hope that we're moving into a more connected age. All the more reason to get another laugh out of The Onion's report of a the new site "The Google" for older adults.

What was most striking was the thought that there was a cost associated. First, the basic premise of a search engine is the ability to find terms. This is not a Yellow Pages. Anything and everything can be archived. What's the difference between searching for 'Homemade BBQ Sauces' and a name? It's nothing. There still seems to be a stigma to digital technologies that they only exist for business purposes.

Second, and most striking, is the notion that many of us have taken for granted. If there's a way to monitize errors through digital mediums, it's being exploited. And by Google themselves. If you're curious, try the search for yourself. Take away any notion or experience you may have with digital technologies. Look at the page. Notice the search results filled with so much nonsense. What about the right column that promises information on that name. Voila - it costs money to Google yourself. No distinction between the actual results and the promises to find additional details.

Other than that, I don't know what to make of it. Technology marches onward separating the young from the old. I used to be the only one that could program the VCR in my household. Now, my son knows how to make the television do things I never discovered in 5 years.

Thanks Jason for bringing us something interesting and entertaining. As a bonus, here's a little insight into my now favorite reporter in town.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Ray of Hope

And from the darkest of winter comes a ray of hope. Just three weeks from the day my favorite warm weather pastime returns. The Minnesota Twins hit the field for the first time in 2009.

I have not lived in Minnesota my entire life. Baseball to me is an emotional game. Thus, my conversion to a Twins fan has been somewhat of a surprise.

But like life, it's easy to cheer on those who do things the right way. I'm eagerly awaiting the return of a team that trains, develops and builds talent from the bottom up. We already know that's what works when marketing products. The Twins are just the early adopter of the baseball world.

There are plenty of claims to other teams that are doing the same. The question to ask is whether they would be doing the same if not forced on them. Consistently, year in and year out, the Twins have avoided the lure of big name gambles in favor of fielding a team. This group truly is greater than the sum of its parts.

And I can't wait to see how this year goes.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What can We Learn from this Economic Mess

It's all about perception now. There's not a greater takeaway to be had - and we're not even at hindsight yet. Let's recap just what we know thus far.
  • Banks maintain motivation by using taxpayer money for conferences at spas
  • The big 3 auto makers use private jets to beg for help keeping their business afloat
  • Financial institutions pay enormous bonuses to retain the same employees that oversaw the fallout
  • Girlfriends of finance workers need a support group to help them cope with their dwindling vacation quotas and allowance cuts
  • Citi needs the president to tell them no - otherwise, they would be taking possession of their new corporate jet today
  • BoA insists that their multi million dollar sponsorship of the Super Bowl is necessary to business operations and maintaining profitability
So what can we learn beyond the obvious fact that the way companies are perceived today matters?

We learn that corporations are not going to change. They achieved success by doing it 'their way'. No amount of persuasion or legislation is going to change that.

So where does change happen? It happens from the ground up. We've already seen this in some industries. Travel has been shaken and reinvented by digital destinations that replaced travel agents. The auto dealer association was successfully able to shut down online distribution and purchase of new cars many years ago. Same for liquor distribution - although they needed some help from legislation.

When fighting for your business model requires incredible spending on lobbyists, you know your business is shortly to be on the wrong side of history (to take from our own president's vision).

What's missing from today's marketing vision is the threat that loom just under the surface. Marketing has turned into a reactive business. We make small changes to make what has worked in the past a little better. When the market or competition changes, we react.

The market has changed. However, marketers don't know where to look anymore. The usual suspects are equally confused. The success is happening under the radar. It's happening with niche groups and with palm sized devices. There's a revolution, well expected 10 years ago by 'The Cluetrain Manifesto'. And although warned, there have been little preparation for these changes. If the money returns, where will it go? That's the big question.

So what have we learned from this economic mess we find ourselves in now? We have learned that regardless of success, failure, blame or rationale - we are all irrational beasts. We see things the way we see them. No special offer can change what we believe, and we can spin stories to fit our perceptions. We have learned that marketers better focus on proactively crafting our perceptions lest we be lost to the undercurrent of competitors waiting to nibble away at our digital fronts. And when digital turns mainstream*, they will own the lions share. (*today's digital generations are not abandoning their behavior as they age - rather they further embrace)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Bowl as Sign of the Times

All right. What just happened? Did we actually just have another game that beat out all the fringe entertainment?

Those actually are not the big question that has been floating around in my head. After hours of programmed entertainment and millions upon millions of spending, I'm left wondering whether I just saw one of those large cultural shifts firsthand. Cultural anthropologists will look back on history with the advantage of knowing the outcome. Like the chance to look back once the game has been completed, it's easy to say that the Cardinals should have just knelt on the ball to end the first half. It's a bit tougher to make those decisions in the thick of it.

So what's the point?

Point is, The Boss rocked, we had some laughs, the game was good and it still makes no difference. What did any brand get for its $3M investment? A little light chatter during the nightly news and what's sure to be analysis come morning drivetime. Otherwise, was there any effort that will actually push the sales needle?

In fact, aside from just showing how companies can be 'just one of the guys' for a couple hours on one Sunday during the year, there was nothing that really showed any strength.

Why should that matter? Isn't the Super Bowl just about extravagance and entertainment? Not in this day and age. While the MSM will lap up the manufactured story for a couple days and push the messages further, it will largely be forgotten in a week. We're at a time where customers are in need of solutions more than ever before. Monkeys, horses and dogs may offer a brief respite, but no substance leaves the long term effects empty.

My one exception. The NFL ran a promotion early in the game (maybe before kickoff) promoting the chance to call a play in the next Pro Bowl. While not really my dream, the effort to partner with Monster.com was highly effective. Why? The NFL now has another channel to promote its business. It's not a channel dedicated to entertainment. It's a channel dedicated to a solution. With layoffs being announced every day, job searching has become a priority for many. The ability to combine your job search with some interaction of meaning with the NFL not only serves as a brief bit of entertainment and hope but also connotes something more. Exactly what 'something more' is, remains to be seen. It will change with each individual.

In the aftermath of the biggest television event of the year, how many participants can say that they gave their customers 'something more'? I'd wager the NFL with the quality of the game. Outside that, did you get anything other than a couple laughs?

Friday, January 30, 2009

This is too Good to be True

So this story has already had its lofty coverage from the NYTimes. Gawker and Jezebel have added their own dirty spin. The story is about a group of girls that formed a pseudo support group to get them through the hard times of dating bankers - Dating a Banker Girls (dabagirls.com).

While I, like most others, have an opinion on their grasp of reality in today's world, that's not what angers me. We live in a conversational age. But unlike a cocktail party - or support group gathering - what we now say is recorded in the digital annals of history.

We need not look any further than this blog/support group to see the effects of the amplified voice. Hell, I'm contributing to it right now. My mother claims (rightly) that these things go away if ignored. Unfortunately, it's not going to be ignored.

What makes or breaks companies in the digital space is not the ability to go viral or fully personalize the experience. What's key today is crafting a perception that speaks to your audience. With a properly crafted perception, your audience will market to themselves. So kudos to the DABA Girls for finding their niche, staying true and hanging on for the ride. They have stumbled on the secret. Too bad they display little hope of capitalizing on their success. Given the success of site, one would think of hundreds of opportunities to profit. Their choice - a book deal. That's what you get when you cross fashionistas forged from the publishing world with wall street influence - hunger for money without a plan.

So what's the plan? They have crafted a distinctive perception. They have the attention of a large chunk of the digital audience. Some will gravitate to their ideas - others will not. And in the end, the site will fade away into obscurity like all the other fads of the digital era. The golden opportunity to allow their members to stretch this message for them is lost. Well, not lost, but there's less than a week left to move. Because, in the digital world, information and fads travel at light speeds. Perceptions last, but only if you can stay top of mind. A book just won't cut it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Current Digital Efforts Reveal Lack of Understanding

So the marketing world is well versed in digital work. We have agency shops, 360 shops, digital shops and all kinds of digital boutiques. What's missing is one single good example of a solid digital campaign. I'm not talking about banners or video or viral projects that sometimes hit and more often miss the point entirely. I'm talking about just one brand that has had consistent success with their digital efforts.

I can think of Dell coming close. And this is in spite of the efforts of Enfatico. For all the talk about conversation, listening and engaging customers, where is the proof. We can talk until our jaw bone hurts (and many of us do). I'm ready to see some action. Where will the first effort come from? Will it even be an agency or is this realm resigned to internal efforts?

The formula is not a secret and not even as difficult as campaigns currently being produced:
  1. Monitor/Listen - You can sell this as an effort to gain insights that make the current campaigns even better. Why do we require a critical mass of criticism before taking action. There is enough feedback to be kinda smart already.
  2. Participate (Part I) - Participation doesn't take a silver bullet (or gold lion). All it takes is the ability to respond to a customer that is passing along wrong information. Trust me, these are not hard to locate. Correct the mistakes that are out there. Do it in a nice way. Done? Good job. You're already ahead of 99% of the digital efforts.
  3. Participate (Part II) - If you've done a good job of providing the proper information where needed, you might just get invited to the party. Make sure you show up ready for a party. This does not mean arming yourself with business cards and leaflets. The only businesses that offer pure product are commodities. If you don't sell a commodity, you have something of value to offer. Offer insight, not sales pitches.
  4. Technologies - Everyone wants to build the bright and shiny object first. There are plenty of them already out there. Most fail. Not because they are bad. In fact, many of these shiny tools work quite well. They only require users. Build your user base first. See where there are gaps. In fact, your customers will often tell you where the gaps are. If you can fix the problem, do it. Then, make your functional object bright and shiny. Aah, look at the chrome shine in the sun.
  5. All together now - Final step, and it's the tricky one. Let it all come together. Let people surround you with love. We have a name for this - affinity. But be careful, if you think you can build affinity without trust or consistent expectations, you're doomed to end up like all the rest. Affinity is not a campaign. It's the result of smart campaigning.
There you have it. If you don't believe me, you can find much of the same being touted by hundreds of others in the field. The problem is not the thought behind reaching today's customers through digital technologies. The problem is the execution (and often lack thereof).

Just dumb it down. The big idea is gone. Don't expect this to sit well with any of the c crowd you run into. But work it in your favor. A small victory can snowball into a new way of thinking.

It's coming anyway. It's coming slowly, but it's coming. One thing you can't avoid is a cultural shift. And don't say I didn't warn you.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's Always Been Marketing

It's always been marketing and always will be. There's all this talk about how agencies and clients are needing to change. While long overdue, it doesn't change the fact that we still rely on marketing to spin the world. Since the first man painted a picture of his successful hunt on a cave wall and claimed his superior killing skills, it's been about marketing.

When fire, the wheel, stone weapons, bronze, iron and steel were discovered it took some serious marketing to prove their worth. Imagine had the first bronze effort involved minted coins. A serious WTF moment. No. I imagine it was turned into a sharp point and used to kill some sort of beast. Like the prehistoric version of Tony Little - it never needs sharpening. Talk about SpearWow.

All our great (and not so great) moments in human history have been nothing but the most successful marketing campaigns.
  • The Age of Enlightenment - Direct Marketing
  • Spanish Inquisition - Loyalty Marketing
  • Choose your Religious Foundations - WOM
  • Succession of Military might, Kings, Queens and Leaders - Relationship Marketing
  • War of the Worlds broadcast - Viral
Yes, some are a little stretch. But let's not miss the point. It's always been and always will be about changing perceptions. It's not an easy task. Take part persuasion, part inspiration and mix in some greed. While times change only our methods change along with it. The bottom line has not fundamentally shifted from the earliest man.

What makes us human more than thumbs is our ability to persuade and market our strengths and services.

Induco ergo sum?
So before we get too bent out of shape about the current state of this and that, let's return to the roots of the problem we were originally hired to solve. Let's persuade people that what our clients offer is their best choice. When you start to feel lost in the shuffle, think about all the changes in perception fire has had over the last several thousand years. It's not just for cooking anymore.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Stop Using ROI as an Excuse

Great reports today out of FUTURELAB that examine the failures between agencies and clients. Bonus credit for taking a gun to a knife fight. The agency failures are a topic very few are willing to discuss today.

Though I'm still working my way through the reports, the section on ROI rings especially true. For years, we've had the promise of better metrics through digital. Better targeting, better customization, the promise of personalization, blah and on. For all the promise, we're left with an empty bag of comparative email figures. I still have a hard time keeping a straight face when telling clients that the most recent campaign went smoothly because we saw a 2% increase in the open rate.

A quick paraphrase of the section of note: (the full report can be found at the site)

Client says: "I'm under pressure here to prove that this shit works. You know I'm on the outside of the c crowd. They rarely listen to what I have to say. My cfo is pissed with the budget increases we put forth every quarter. I need to know if we're making anything at all."

Agency responds: "That's great. Have we shown you our creative awards from the past year. We've got gold lions, pencils and all sorts of other shapes. We might even have to build a new cabinet to show these off. We might have to hire another intern just to keep them polished."

The only time this argument can carry any weight is if the awards can be melted down and sold on the market. Should we start measuring ROI by the pound?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Please Allow Me To ...

As a new pile of shit seems ready to greet the fan every day in 2009, I find little to feel positive about in the ad biz. Clearly, we're at the dawn of a new age. Unfortunately, the future of advertising and marketing remain firmly clenched in the sweaty palms of those not qualified to herald in this new era. Theirs is not the blame. After all, they started fresh faced and inspired at some point in their career. Their reward for having been beat down are the positions held today. The best way to keep them is to remain firmly entrenched in the same process and speak that have proven results over the past 50 years. Innovation is for the brave - and foolish - who will blaze the trail only to be trodden over once victorious.

Yes, it's a fool's game. It's a thankless task for those that venture in with dreams or ambition. The reward is only paid out in hours of service. I've seen the best laid plans washed aside for a rehash of what kinda worked before to be followed by harsh criticism and calls for innovation. It's a vicious cycle that chews up the weak and thrives on cowards.

I offer no strength. If you're looking for best practice, keep moving. In today's biz, you're probably already doing it. If you're looking for thought leadership, there's plenty of voices already pleading to be heard. I seek nothing more than an avenue to keep me sane. A space to lay out the crazy ramblings that bounce around my head as I fight through the madness and vileness of this world.

What you may find, should my better humours get the best of me, is some reason to the collision between technology and marketing. There has to be a better way. Actually, there is a better way. No agency is capturing the true strength of digital marketing today. A couple companies have used the power of today's digital world to their strength - but only through internal resources. Whether this even constitutes marketing anymore is beyond my expertise. I know of no one that can see the future - though it has done nothing to prevent hundreds from trying.

What will come, will come. How we name it is beside the point. Who gets ownership of it is currently a knock down brawl in boardrooms filled with the seediest c crowds you'd care to encounter this side of the windy city. What comes from the battle will sure to be a ream of fancy new titles worn like heroic medals on the lapel. For the other 99% - more of the same.

Oh yes, now that's the stuff. I'm feeling better already. There will always be a place for smart thinking and reason. How far that resonates is beside the point.

God help us all.