The Rising Market(ing) Share Of New Media

Fascinating article in Business Week (registration required to read the article) on the Association of National Advertisers conference earlier this month. It seems that Google’s chief executive Eric E. Schmidt asked the advertisers some tough questions, like "if you’re spending $46 billion a year on broadcast TV, how do you know if you’re getting your money’s worth?" Google is now raking in about $3 billion on its pay-per-click (PPC) offerings, and of course, has a ready answer to that question. It’s very easy indeed to track your return on investment with Google’s AdWords, as well as similar programs from its competitiors. If you manufacture Prada handbags, would you rather pay $100,000 for an ad in Vanity Fair, or spend that same amount on PPC, knowing that consumers will go directly to your website where they can buy the bag?

FineJon Fine, the article’s author, writes, "Google provides an
automatic return-on-investment measure for a marketing world
increasingly obsessed with ROI. If someone clicks on a company’s link,
it pays; if someone doesn’t, the company doesn’t. This comes as
corporations are demanding better accountability for their massive ad
spending.
    "At the conference, execs from some of the most
traditional companies (who control some of the biggest marketing
budgets) described big shifts away from traditional media. Wachovia Chief Marketing Officer Jim Garrity said his research on ad
effectiveness would sadden broadcast TV execs but gladden employees of
Yahoo! and — yup — Google. Joseph V. Tripodi, a good-humored old-school salesman, is Allstate’s chief marketing officer. He told me Allstate’s spending on ‘nontraditional media’ — from the Internet to sponsorships —
increased from 5% to 25% of its marketing budget in recent years."

Fine says Old Media executives (that is, traditional recipients of marketing and advertising dollars like newspapers, TV, and magazines) expressed "quiet terror" at the conference.

Nobody thinks traditional media are going away, or won’t remain valuable advertising outlets, but if Google and other search engines cut into their revenues by significant percentages like those cited above, there will be some massive changes to the marketing landscape.

At Smart Marketing, these are crucial questions. We are moving more and more of our clients’ marketing efforts (and dollars) into New Media: websites, search engine strategies including PPC, blogging, e-newsletters, and so on. As a consequence we now have two full-time employees in our Internet Marketing department. Since that represents about 20 percent of our staff, you can almost track the growth of New Media marketing by the make-up of our team.

(We interrupt this article for some shameless bragging and bold assertions.)

Attorneys have typically lagged 50 years behind other kinds of businesses in their marketing efforts. We’re making sure that when it comes to Internet marketing, our clients, at least, have a significant advantage over their competitors, who will take years to catch up — by which time, we will be on to the next cutting edge development.

But if you are not a Smart Marketing client, it’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.

Communism, Socialism and — Elder Law?

I am willing to bet that very few of my clients who practice elder law would describe themselves as communists, but I’ll also bet they find much to chew on in Louis Proyect’s article "A Marxist Approach to Problems of the Aging" in the leftist magazine Monthly Review. And while you’re at it, you might want to check out another article referenced in his piece, "The Middle Class Struggles In the Medicaid Maze" by Jane Gross in The New York Times.

Smart Marketing Reopens

I am happy to say that the Smart Marketing office has reopened. Three of our staff members are still without electricity at their homes, as are more than 50,000 others locally, but we are all trying to help each other. The Naples Daily News reports:

"More than 53,800 Florida Power & Light customers remained without electrical service Thursday in Collier County, three days after Hurricane Wilma thundered through with winds reaching 125 mph. Utility workers have restored power to 69 percent of the county.

Naples city officials continuing to assess the area are now estimating Wilma inflicted more than $378 million in damage. That number came Thursday from the city Community Development Department.

The lack of power, water and other utilities continued to take a toll on residents through Collier. The county shifted the sites where National Guardsmen had distributed water, ice and in some places food…."

Please know that we are very grateful for the calls, emails, prayers, and other expressions of concern over the past week. And we really appreciate your patience and good humor as we have scrambled to keep all projects on track and on time.

A Little Good News

I have just returned from a visit to our office building and the good news is that we have electricity and phone service, although I am still concerned about our wireless Internet. Since there are hundreds of thousands in this area still without power, this is extremely lucky. The current plan is to spend this afternoon and tomorrow morning reassembling our office. We will be in the office beginning tomorrow morning (Friday) and prepared to help you with any pressing matters. Please bear with us until Monday, however, as we will undoubtedly be operating at something less than peak efficiency. Many of our employees still do not have electricity or water. Estimates from Florida Power & Light for some areas call power restoration anywhere from Nov. 15-22.

Mh10610261940bigIf you want to feel good about your day, consider Smart Marketing employee Harry Casimir who is stranded on the east coast of Florida. Yesterday he waited in line for gas for four hours only to be told there wasn’t any. He called a few minutes ago to say that he has been in line since 5 o’clock this morning (six hours as I write this) in hopes of getting enough gas to get home tonight.

A Fine Mess

We are now struggling with two primary issues: electricity and water. My house has electricity, but no water. Most of Naples is still without power, including the Smart Marketing office. Three people have died as a result of the storm. We have even had a case of looting (four men arrested breaking into a pawn shop). President Bush will tour the area tomorrow. Here’s the latest local news coverage.

In The Wake of Wilma

Here is the situation, post-Wilma:

Dscn0488My home has electricity, but 90 percent of the City of Naples does not. (We were without power for about 16 hours.) We have no water and no phone service. TV and internet (cable) just came back on. There are currently 3.2 million people in Florida without power. Weirdly, the east coast of Florida seems to have suffered big damage and is largely without power.
I have gone to the Smart Marketing office, which does not seem to have suffered interior damage. The parking lot is full of fallen trees, the marquis sign out front is blown away and there is no electricity.
(The photo above is of the marquis sign outside the Smart Marketing office.)

The city is eerie, with thousands upon thousands of fallen trees and signage, and no traffic lights. Many streets are flooded out, but nothing like you saw in New Orleans. One of the strange sensations here is that, as bad as it is, there are no helicopters pulling people off of roofs — no looters, no Superdome. All things are relative, and relative to Katrina, this does not seem nearly as bad.

What was it like? It was scary. Outside the wind howled and the windows and doors rattled. It’s too dark to read, there is no electricity, and all you can do is sit there and hope the house doesn’t blow down. Under those circumstances, believe me, three hours seems like three weeks. 
I do not yet know how soon we will be back to normal….the keys are 1) electricity, and 2) return of the SM staff. I will try to keep everyone posted. Please check the SmartBlog for updates.

Waiting For Wilma, Part II

Hurricane Wilma is now expected to hit around 7 a.m., that is, in about 16 hours as I write this. The latest news says it will be a Category 2 or 3 hurricane. Of course, we have no idea when the power might go out, or when it will come back on, so I am not at all sure when my next post might be. We are very much hoping that Wilma turns out to be full of sound and fury and signifying nothing, but the Smart Marketing office is definitely in the flood zone. Right now, my house is a big camp whose residents include (besides myself), my son Max; his best friend Dylan; Max’s mother, Anne; and the wonder dog, Jacques. My own mother is stubbornly holding out in her own place, but that could still change. Only thing to do now is settle in and hope we feel silly when Wilma turns out to be a big dud. We are stocked with water, canned goods, flashlights and batteries. I have filled the bathtub with beer and chips. God save the Queen.