Catching Up

I’ve been away for a bit doing some actual paid work and a few events and articles require comments.

First is this wonderful post (thanks, Jeff) by marketing guru, Seth Godin, on the need to act now:

According to MarketingVOX, online media accounts for 12% of media consumption. That’s a stunning rise: one out of eight, up from zero in just ten or so years.

At the same time, though, they report that online media accounts for just 2% of ad spending.

This could be because online media doesn’t work (but it does)
or that it’s hard to buy advertising in it (but it isn’t)
or that it’s radically underpriced and a bargain (which may be true).

The real reason is pretty obvious: organizations hate to change. (so do people, but that’s a different story).

Whenever you are faced with a situation where your competition is afraid to change but you can see the reality of the situation, you have a huge opportunity. This is the biggest growth and market share opportunity in at least a decade.

Short version: corporations, politicians, non-profits and even individuals who overinvest in online will see the same spectacular bounce that companies saw from TV in the fifties and sixties.

Seth is a brilliant guy, but so is Craig Marshall, who says this a little differently:

Challenge the status quo.
Utilize consumer research.
Analyze your current strategy.
Recognize paradigm shifts.
Constantly monitor change.
MAKE the changes.

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Secondly, Poynter’s Steve Outing calls this Wired article: “A must-read for all media executives — everyone else, too, but especially the media people at the top.” I couldn’t agree more. This is an outstanding article that offers a fundamental understanding in the changes currently underway in our business.

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Local search (see: The Value of Local Search) continues to move forward at lightning speed. If you’re not getting into this space, you’ll lose any chance at all within 12 months, because Google’s beta local search is now being joined by two other big players, Yahoo! and Ask Jeeves.

According to Reuters, Ask Jeeves has signed a two-year deal with CitySearch to provide local search results for its users.

About 10 percent of Ask’s searches are clearly local, such as those including a zip code or address, while many other queries include local words like “plumber” said Ask Jeeves Senior Vice President of search properties Jim Lanzone.
Meanwhile, AP reports Yahoo! has announced the beta version of its own local search.

“We think this is a first product that crystallizes the power of local search,” said Paul Levine, who directs Yahoo’s push into local search.

The local search site represents another bit of one-upmanship in Yahoo’s intensifying rivalry with Mountain View-based Google, which introduced a similar product in March.

Local search is a natural for local media companies, who sure as hell ought to be able to do it better from inside their communities than some external source can do it from without. Now is the time to act, however, for once these brands get inside consumers’ heads, it’ll be much tougher to build your own.

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