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Still Searching for Analytics?

David Hills
Still Searching for Analytics? David Hills

Analysts at Forrester, Jupiter and the like continue to tell us that paid search will be one of the main revenue and growth drivers for the foreseeable future. It certainly has helped fuel the online marketing turnaround and continues to post impressive numbers as a percentage of advertising spending.

The questions I have then are: Why, if paid search is such a business driver in our space, are search engine advertisers still attacking the marketplace with one arm tied behind their backs? Why are they not effectively leveraging audience, ROI and site path analytics in every paid search campaign?

Part of the answer certainly lies in a high-growth sector that is still developing, but I think there are other reasons as well. Regardless of where a marketer is in his search strategy, understanding and being able to analyze all aspects of search spending is critical for the business to continue to grow and be productive.

Missing the analytics boat

The stakes are enormous. Industry research indicates that a majority of search engine marketers either use no campaign success metrics, or simply reference clicks and traffic. They certainly know what they pay and what is sold, but the entire process of consumer path analysis, relative ROI measures that can be viewed across engines and campaigns, and understanding paid from unpaid search is not yet well organized. That's beginning to change.

I recently read an interview with the VP of advertising sales at one of the top search engines. He said that in the past year, the company has seen a growing number of sophisticated marketers arming themselves with enterprise-level technology solutions that track the profitability of virtually every paid search action that happens in their campaigns. These marketers are leveraging analytics to get a jump on their peers, particularly in categories where there is significant competition for inventory and where the margins are tight.

In the coming months and years, we're going to see the availability and utilization of in-depth analytics increasingly enable success among paid search marketers. I am glad to see that the engines themselves are sensitized to this as, like in all aspects of media, an informed buyer is the best customer you can have, if your product is superior.

Analytics have been a critical component of online marketing since the early days of ecommerce. From simple site traffic reporting to highly complex behavioral targeting, analytics are the foundation upon which all strategic marketing campaign planning is based. Yet, many search engine marketers still need to access the power and control that analytics can bring to their campaigns.

Effective analytics enable search marketers to generate greater revenue while decreasing campaign complexity, thus maximizing every marketing dollar spent and providing a greater return on that investment.

Choosing the right technology

Thanks to the growth of the online space and increasing demands by educated online consumers, search engine marketing has become a truly challenging proposition: thousands of keywords, multiple search engines, demands for real-time reporting and seamless campaign management. All of this contributes to an increasing complexity that often distracts marketers from addressing the core issue -- is my campaign as effective as it could be? Today, technology solutions exist that can help marketers cut through that complexity and determine effectiveness and ROI on a minute-by-minute basis.

When considering search engine analytics technologies, marketers must determine whether a given solution provides answers to six business-critical questions:

  • Which keywords offer the best overall ROI?
  • Which search engines provide the most traffic?
  • Which search engines drive the most sales?
  • Where does drop-off occur as prospects move from search to sale?
  • What is my return on advertising spend?
  • Where should I concentrate my marketing budget?

A robust search engine analytics technology will enable marketers to architect multi-engine campaigns, link sales data with particular keywords and phrases, and generate performance metrics that detail traffic from specific search engines throughout the sales cycle -- from customer prospecting to final sale. Being able to simultaneously and seamlessly stitch together those metrics from multiple search engines will provide marketers a holistic view of their search engine initiatives, enabling on-the-fly adjustments to the keyword and engine selection and a better basis from which to plan future campaigns.

As I said in my last article, the ability to do all of this has to be viewed in the context of increasing effectiveness and efficiency. These tools have to be easy to use, comprehensive and allow for critical data to be easily seen and acted upon.

Staying ahead of the curve

The pace of change and innovation in online advertising is largely unprecedented. It's matched only by the rate at which sophistication is spreading among online consumers. Marketers must keep pace with change, and the only sure way to do that is to understand your audience.

For the search engine marketer, finding and leveraging an effective, in-depth analytics solution will likely spell the difference between staying ahead of the curve and being trampled by the competition.

David Hills is president -- media solutions at 24/7 Real Media

Where brand initiatives are a focus, agencies and advertisers are increasingly using ad networks to extend reach to their target audiences.

There's just one problem-- not every network can provide a bulletproof picture of the potential reach it can add to a campaign. As new networks debut, agency planners and buyers want to know if they're measured by syndicated research. It becomes very tough to justify unmeasured networks to brand advertisers, particularly if the agency can't get a gauge on the reach and GRPs a network might add to a brand buy.

This is why it's important for networks to speak to the syndicated research companies like comScore or Nielsen//Netratings about rolling up both their channels, and their network in general, so that planners can easily measure reach across channels and the network..

Being measured makes it easier for agencies to use the network when planning various buy scenarios for a client, and if the advertiser decides to move forward with the buy, the measured networks will have an easier time garnering their share of the online spend.

Unmeasured networks run a serious risk of not being selected in these situations.

By no means does this article cover every single thing a buyer might ask from an ad network, but it does cover some popular requests. Whether you're working at an established network or you're launching a new one, be sure to consider this checklist to make sure you're covering your bases, otherwise you might be risking ad revenue:

  1. Differentiators: What makes your network different from the dozens of other ad network options open to agency buyers?

  2. Campaign management and optimization: Can buyers rely on your staff to keep the performance of their buys improving?

  3. Targeting options: Do you have what it takes to carve up your inventory into the slices that buyers most want to purchase?

  4. Transparency in business: Are buyers confident they won't get burned by doing business with you?

  5. Measured reach: Do buyers have an idea of how much of their audience they can hope to capture by advertising with you?

If you can answer these questions simply, quickly and correctly, your ad network will likely benefit quite a bit from the increase in demand for network inventory across the web.

Oreo's "Daily Twist"

Fallacy: Viral is a one-off thing. It's not for the long haul.
The astounding --- no, that isn't hyperbole -- "Daily Twist" campaign put Oreo at the center of daily news and conversation throughout its several month run. The effort published a daily photo that used Oreos to iconically illustrate an important event of the day.

"Daily Twist" helped drive colossal growth in their Facebook followers -- which now total almost 29 million. (Including the author, who is still incredulous that he chose to follow a cookie.) Almost 180,000 web pages have mentioned or highlighted the campaign. Surprisingly extensive fan pages adorn the web as well.

Does it say more about the brand or our culture that Kraft -- that venerable Midwestern family company -- chose this illustration to kick off the campaign?

From salutes to the London Olympics,

to the landing of the Mars rover,

to welcoming a new "Nessie" photo,

Oreo was there in a magical and iconic way. Visit the "Daily Twist" archive and see the daily genius.

Dollar Shave Club

Fallacy: You can't be too much about the product in a viral campaign
Many industry observers, including the author of this story, have spent countless hours telling the world that product focus and viral success don't mix. What idiots we were.

Dollar Shave Club proved us all dead wrong.

This stand up presenter ad scored four million views in its first four days online, and the company is selling truckloads of razorblades every month. The immensely entertaining blog and the brand's quirky contests keep the irreverent spirit going daily.

Its success have spawned a virtual publicity machine with coverage on CNN, NY Times, BBC, NBS, WSJ, etc.

The "pink slime" debate

Fallacy: Motivating views is one thing. Motivating action is quite another.
What's in your hamburger? Well, what was in your hamburger? British "celebrichef" Jamie Oliver drove awareness of pink slime -- something the industry calls "lean, finely textured beef" -- with a website and viral video that captured the attention of tens of millions of Americans, especially parents.

In weeks, grocers and restaurant chains were stumbling over each other to tout that they no longer sold beef containing pink slime. In my view, a big part of this success was the name they attached to the product. Names can create opinion and set the public agenda.

Soon the leading maker of the stuff had closed three of its four factories and took to the airwaves with an impassioned plea for people to rethink their opposition.

Whatever your opinion on lean finely textured beef, this campaign offers ample proof that viral can move people and prompt action.

P&G "Olympic Moms"

Fallacy: Viral needs to be funny to work
The CW says that to be viral you have to go funny or dirty. P&G proved that dead wrong with its wonderful "Olympic Moms" campaign. Nothing funny here -- instead, Procter & Gamble delivered warm and unbelievably touching. Dare I say sweet?

This particular piece of copy garnered more than 10 million views on a variety of videosites across the web, pulling eager viewers in worldwide.

So strategic, on brand, and wonderful. This is so Procter & Gamble.

FinnAir "Indian Republic Day"

Fallacy: Viral needs to be completely original to work.
I love flashmobs and adore the T-Mobile series, the Tourism Ireland effort in Australia, and any of dozens of other FlashMob efforts that have delighted viewers even if they have been done and done

This particular ad from FinnAir juxtaposed multiculturalism with good old fashioned flashmob fun, and garnered more than 5 million viewers. That's about one for every man, woman, and child in Finland! What worked so well here? Was it the delight of seeing Finns getting their Bollywood on? I suppose that is a scosh original, in a way.

Done before? Yes. But fun and successful? Definitely.

Cartier's Jaguar ad

Fallacy: Simple messages work best.
I cannot for the life of me figure this one out. Cartier's reimagining of its 165 year history is an orgy of beauty and lack of clarity. And yet it worked. Some 20 million plus people sought out this 3.5 minute ad.

The company had me hooked when the Great Wall came to life. I dare say that this is a triumph of production values (and "Frenchness"). I find myself imagining the storyboard meeting for this baby. To the account people who got this through company approvals: I have nothing but awe and admiration!

Coca Cola's look at Tunisia

Fallacy: Stay away from politics.
In our republic divided on blue and red lines, it probably does make sense for brands to stay away from issue politics. But this magnificent Coca Cola music video is a celebration of a universal political value -- the freedom from oppression.

Featuring a huge cast of Tunisians connecting with their athletes and their hard won freedom, this video has an infectiously optimistic spirit.

Throughout the video, the Coke polar bear is an ever-present element. But the commercialism is ultimately fairly minimal as the brand plays second fiddle to a nation in genuine celebration.

And maybe, just maybe, people in other countries including the U.S. can remember that the values that connect us matter more than whether we consider ourselves blue or red.

Google Maps takes on the look of Nintendo NES

Fallacy: Be cool, people. Be cool.
Geekiness alert! The delightful dweebs at Google (and I mean dweeb in the nicest way possible) created this entertaining April Fools spot in which Google Maps is integrated into yet another platform -- the 8-Bit NES.

The deadpan employee presenter, the exquisite graphics, and the wonderfully strategic underpinnings really make this work. The message is that Google Maps is available on any platform, that Google wants to help everyone, and that everyone matters.

Nothing cool here, but funny in spades.

Jim Nichols is vice president of marketing at Mediaplex.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"African American sprinter" image via Shutterstock.

Stage 2: Engage and connect with customers to show them you care

The next stage in social media maturity is to engage with customers and let them know you're listening. Reaching out can be done for a variety of reasons: to offer an incentive to come back after a bad experience, simply to tell them you're listening, or to actually do something about it.

By engaging with customers you can stop negative reviews in their tracks, and you can take neutral and positive reviews and make them more positive. The result is increased customer loyalty and ultimately increased revenue.

Best practice guidelines for connecting with your customers include:

  • Reply to all types of reviews. Don't just focus on negative ones.

  • If possible, make the conversation private. Some review sites allow this, others do not.

  • Avoid the temptation to fix the customer. Rather, you should fix the experience. Treat this even more sensitively than you would an in-person exchange with an angry customer.

When you engage with reviewers, the results are impressive. Ultimately you are working to increase customer loyalty. Loyal customers talk to friends, bring friends with them, and increase sales. In the meantime though, by engaging with customers you can demonstrate that they matter -- that you are a brand that cares.

Stage 3: Empower staff to make the right decisions to fix issues before they damage your brand

Brands at this stage empower their general managers, staff, operations team, etc., to use the intelligence gleaned from online reviews to make the right operational changes in order to deliver a consistent high-quality customer experience and earn customer loyalty.

Best practice companies know:

  • When empowering your staff, let the data inspire you. You know your business better than anyone, but sometimes you need that extra bit of information that only the customer can provide. Look at the data with an open mind.

  • You can't just do this once. It's important to make sure you are keeping track of your operations and the customer experience over time.

  • Measuring progress is critical. When you make a change, watch for results.

  • Not to react or overreact to individuals. You don't want to experience a yo-yo effect on your decision. Let the volumes of data be your guide.

When you do all of this, you will deliver on your brand promise, motivate your staff, keep customers coming back, and grow your revenues.

Stage 4: Optimize top-of-mind customer feedback to drive strategy improvements to your business

This final stage of social media maturity is when you change your business to better serve your customers. Usually regional managers, owners and CEOs, or VPs of operations look at the social intelligence to determine how to optimize the business. The goal is to drive the strategy, make changes that improve the business, and monitor the results.

To change strategy or drive strategic initiatives based on social reviews:

  • Let the data challenge your fundamental beliefs. Sometimes making a change like this can yield dramatic results.

  • Keep tabs on the social market data of your competitors. There is a treasure trove of information on your competition online. Take time to evaluate it.

  • Monitor your progress. Ensure the changes you are making have the desired effects and continuously and dynamically adjust.

Moving through the stages of social media maturity doesn't have to be difficult. You can start by reading, and step through the other stages of maturity over time as it works for your business.

Susan Ganeshan is the CMO of newBrandAnalytics.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

It's impossible to get budgets and plans approved

Here is what you are thinking: "This client is paying us thousands of dollars every month to improve its [search rankings, Facebook ads, email drip marketing campaign -- whatever]. But we can't move past the first step because the goddamn client won't return my emails or phone calls."

The automatic reaction might be to let the client continue to pay the monthly retainer until its team realizes that no progress has been made. And since you have very clear documentation that all of the delays were on the client side, your ass is covered -- right? Nope.

Guess who the client is going to be pissed off at when its digital campaign, the one that you were hired to improve, fails? Save yourself the bad word-of-mouth and fire the client. When you explain why you are terminating the agreement, you might even motivate the client to improve its own internal processes. Who knows? At a later date, the client might return to you with more work. At the worst, you've proved that your agency is honest and insists upon integrity.

Invisible Children

Campaign: "Kony 2012"
The biggest campaign of the year was by far Invisible Children's "Kony 2012." Released in March, the campaign's goal was to make Joseph Kony, a Ugandan warlord, famous. And they did: The campaign broke online video records, crashing past 100 million views in just six days, scoring more than 41 million views in a single day, and becoming the second most-watched video ad campaign in history with a total 211 million video views. Audiences got involved at unprecedented levels in spreading the Invisible Children's message by publishing more than 3,300 clips for the campaign.

2012 True Reach views: 211,286,369

Red Bull

Campaign: "Stratos"
Red Bull grabbed second place with its own record-breaking campaign. Sponsored by Red Bull, daredevil Felix Baumgartner broke records when he jumped from the edge of space, falling 127,000 feet from the stratosphere to the earth, breaking the sound barrier on the way. The jumped topped 50 million views in three days and has gone on to generate a total 156 million video views. The campaign has inspired more than 2,400 clips scattered across the web, with the vast majority of them coming from copies of the ascent and jump itself.

2012 True Reach views: 156,691,794


Campaign: "Angry Birds Space"
With three wildly successful games under the "Angry Birds" franchise, Rovio decided to up its game for the fourth installment, "Angry Birds Space," and launch a video campaign. The campaign includes a NASA astronaut explaining the laws of physics in "Angry Birds" from the International Space Station. The campaign also includes trailers of gameplay and a background story on how the birds went intergalactic, reminiscent of a super-hero flick or comic book. In all, the campaign has produced more than 104 million views. Is Rovio happy with the results? It would appear so, as the franchise already has another video campaign for its next release, "Angry Birds Star Wars."

2012 True Reach views: 104,909,951


Campaign: "Galaxy S III"
The Korean electronics giant has been ubiquitous in video this year. Its biggest campaign has been "Galaxy S III," which includes multiple creatives. In perhaps its biggest coup of the year, Samsung released the creative "The Next Big Thing Is Already Here" just days after the iPhone 5 launch. Featuring Apple fans waiting in line for the iPhone 5 while pining over features the Galaxy S III already has, Samsung's clever campaign dominated Apple's launch efforts. In all, "Galaxy S III" has driven more than 70 million video views.

Creative agency: 72andSunny Los Angeles

2012 True Reach views: 70,299,930

Intel, Toshiba

Campaign: "The Beauty Inside"
With a premise worthy of the silver screen, Intel and Toshiba launched "The Beauty Inside," starring Topher Grace, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and fans across the world. The campaign tells the story of a man named Alex who wakes up as a different person everyday, which is a challenge when trying to land the woman of your dreams -- but a smart way of incorporating audiences into the storyline. Lasting several weeks, just like a miniseries, Intel and Toshiba released six full episodes between five and 10 minutes long. "The Beauty Inside" bridges the gap between Hollywood filmmaking, branded content, and audience participation, which, ultimately, helped Intel and Toshiba inspire more than 54 million views.

Creative agency: Pereira & O'Dell San Francisco

2012 True Reach views: 54,401,372


Campaign: "Just My Shell"
The candy brand scored this year's most-watched Super Bowl campaign with "Just My Shell." The spot shows a "naked" brown M&M at a party, featuring the voice talent of Vanessa Williams. In all, the ad has more than 340 copies, spoofs, and mashups associated with it, which are responsible for more than 85 percent of the campaign's total 48 million video views.

Creative agency: BBDO New York

2012 True Reach views: 48,093,340


Campaign: "Proud Sponsor of Moms"
P&G decided to own the 2012 Olympics with its "Proud Sponsor of Moms" campaign. The campaign has multiple creatives. These include the main spot, featuring moms helping and encouraging their children to be their best every day and realize their goals, as well as interviews with mothers of Olympic athletes and "thank you" videos from athletes to their moms. With so much content, P&G created a campaign where there was something for everyone interested in the Olympics. Spanning months of new creative launches and media pushes, the campaign has won more than 46 million video views.

Creative agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland

2012 True Reach views: 46,303,157

They're constantly asking for free work

This one gives me heartburn. It's so simple: Clients and agencies agree to a specific amount of work to be performed at a specific rate. (By the way, if your contracts aren't specific, one of them is going to bite you in the ass eventually.) Yet clients often ask for perks above and beyond the approved scope of work.

There's nothing wrong with strong negotiation during the sales process. But once the price is set, that contract needs to remain intact for as long as possible -- for efficiency's sake. When the client needs more help or the agency needs more money, the contract is renegotiated. Simple. So when clients are constantly requesting freebies, it means that they are not respecting your agreement.

You don't want to nickel and dime your clients because that's annoying. But it's OK to remind them when certain requests are out of scope. On the other end, an extra favor here and there is just good business. The simplest solution is a quarterly review. Both sides get the chance to air some grievances, shake some hands, and request changes to the existing contract. But if you can't come to a resolution at the quarterly review meetings, it's probably breakup time -- time to bust out the Haagen Dazs.


Campaign: "The Dog Strikes Back"
Hoping to capitalize on its breakout success in 2011 with "The Force," the German automaker released another Star Wars-themed campaign in 2012 with "The Dog Strikes Back." The campaign launched a teaser a couple of weeks before game day, building anticipation for the Super Bowl spot and driving up viewership. In all, the campaign has run up more than 41 million views this year. Notably, VW is the only brand on this list that had a campaign on the top 10 list in 2011.

Creative agency: Deutsch Los Angeles

2012 True Reach views: 41,001,384

You have to fight to get paid every month

If your client can't pay you, then it's pretty much all out the window. If the contract says "net 30," and the client doesn't pay you within 30 days, then you cease work. If the client doesn't pay immediately after that, then the contract is terminated. Again, this is pretty simple stuff. But it never seems to work out this way. I don't want to sound completely heartless. I acknowledge that there are special circumstances that can delay payments for legitimate reasons. But these special cases are pretty rare.

There are plenty of excuses for late payment. You know them; you probably used them on the gas company when you were in college. Of course, the only actual legitimate reason for nonpayment is that you didn't do the work right. And if you can't do the work right, you have bigger problems than accounting. But if your clients aren't paying for any other reason, then you probably don't want to be in business with them.

No matter what the reason, late payment or nonpayment is professionally disrespectful. This is especially true for a client that has to be (strongly) reminded to pay you every month. If the client doesn't respect what you're doing, its team will eventually find a reason to be unhappy with your work, no matter how successful you have been. Put on your "Ghost" DVD and snuggle up on the couch because it's breakup time.

DC Shoes

Campaign: "Gymkhana Five"
DC Shoes has found a formula that works in video advertising, and it's sticking to it: Get your spokesperson to do insane stunts with his rally car. For its fifth installment in the Gymkhana series, DC Shoes unleashed Ken Block and his awesome tricks on the streets of San Francisco, which were good enough for more than 20 million views in a week. The campaign went on to produce more than 35 million views in 2012.

2012 True Reach views: 35,720,400

They never turn around the assets you need on time

While the agency often acts as the captain of a campaign, providing strategy and leadership, the client must also play a major role. Digital assets, like photos, videos, text copy, audio, etc., are often given to the agency by the client. In fact, in most cases, the client must work closely alongside the agency to ensure that the correct voice is being used and the brand is portrayed in a way that is consistent with the overall message.

Unless your agency is being paid to do everything, which is pretty rare, then you depend on the client for something (approval of ad copy is a common one) at almost every step of the project. In other words, clients can't throw agencies into the wild and expect the campaigns of their dreams without any input on their part. Since the client is the one writing a check every month (hopefully), you would think that client-side delays wouldn't be so common.

Maybe the guy in charge of approving copy on the client side thinks the girl who writes ad copy at the agency is a jerk, so he never wants to talk to her. Or maybe the client has larger efficiency problems that simply prevent it from finishing anything on time. No matter what the reason, it's a problem that must be addressed. If not, the agency will eventually be blamed for a failed campaign, despite its best efforts to the contrary. Yep, grab a couple of bottles of red wine and put on "The Notebook." There's a breakup coming.


Clients don't often blame themselves for the failures of a campaign, even when the evidence is clear. So you have to be on the lookout for early warning signs. One of the reasons that agencies are hired in the first place is to have a fall guy to blame when something goes wrong. Most agencies know this, and they do their best to avoid being in those situations too frequently.

As the agency, it is your responsibility to see disaster coming. If you are on a path with a client that will certainly lead to the failure of your campaign, attempt to resolve the issues immediately. If they can't be resolved, abandon ship. Explain to the client why. You might find that a "fired" client is quickly replaced by another because of positive word-of-mouth.

Drew Hubbard is a social media strategist and owner of LA Foodie.

On Twitter? Follow Hubbard at @LAFoodie. Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"Boss dismissing out someone using a post-it" image via Shutterstock.


Campaign: "Summer of Football"
Nike is all about saluting champions where they work. The apparel brand did it in 2010 with "Write the Future" before the World Cup, and it did it again this year with "Summer of Football" for the Eurocup. "Summer of Football" enables audiences get into the game by stopping the campaign's main video at certain points and exploring mini stories behind the game. There are more than 500 clips related to the campaign on the web, from the original three-minute-plus main creative to interviews with famous footballers.

Creative agency: Wieden + Kennedy London

2012 True Reach views: 35,119,995

Matt Fiorentino is director of marketing at Visible Measures.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"Man looking through binocular" image via Shutterstock.

Worst thing No. 2: Superficial metrics

John Bohan, the founder of Socialtyze, says that if the digital marketing industry relies on cosmetic and perfunctory metrics to measure the ROI of digital investments, it will be the worst move agencies can make in 2013. In this clip, he also explains what the meaningful metrics are.

John Bohan is the founder of Socialtyze.

Worst thing No. 3: We're not innovative enough

It's no surprise that the bigger an agency gets, the more likely its employees are to get stuck in a streamlined mode of operation. As Rick Parkhill, chairman of Poptent Media, explains, companies big and small need to maintain a focus on innovation if they want to thrive in 2013.

Rick Parkhill is the founder and chairman of Poptent. The business concept for Poptent was a result of his many years in the interactive media world and watching his son grow up shooting, editing, and producing homemade music videos. Parkhill recognized early on that advertisers would have an increasing need for video content and that there was an ever-deepening pool of capable creative talent that was developing outside of agency walls.

Worst thing No. 4: We ignore consumer concerns

Peter Matthews, OMD's group director of digital, says we need to listen to the consumer in 2013 about issues like privacy concerns and educate them about good options. Not doing so, he explains, will bring down the hatchet of do-not-track for an issue that requires a scalpel.

Peter Matthews is a digital marketing and media professional with more than 18 years of experience building brands and driving acquisition. He is a seasoned analyst and negotiator with a broad range of category experience, including consumer healthcare, CPG, finance, retail, and travel.

Worst thing No. 5: Small agencies disappear

Shenan Reed, Morpheus Media's chief media officer, says that if the independents get swallowed up by big agencies in 2013, we'll lose our sense of camaraderie, competition, and ultimately new ideas.

As chief media officer, Shenan Reed, leads the digital media group for Morpheus Media, a CREATETHE GROUP company. A world-renowned digital strategy and media expert, Shenan co-founded Morpheus Media in 2001 and subsequently joined CREATETHE GROUP when the company merged with Morpheus in June 2011. Within a few short years, Morpheus Media emerged as one of the top digital marketing and media firms for luxury and premium brands such as Bergdorf Goodman, The New York Times, Dior, LVMH, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, DKNY, Hennessy, and The Economist, among many others.

Worst thing No. 6: Bad execution of good ideas

2013 will be a year of innovation and new ideas. While Kate Thorp says there is no impending doom for the digital marketing industry, she does think executing on great ideas poorly would be an immense failure. The Vice Chairman of Mobiles Republic also talks about an exciting new opportunity for 2013 that, if not managed well, could be a major setback.

Most recently, Kate Thorp was President of digital worldwide for AKQA. During her tenure, AKQA's client list expanded to include ESPN, The Gap, MSN, and Coca-Cola's global account. Before joining AKQA, she was Chairman and CMO of Carat Interactive, the media giant that acquired Lot21, the agency she had founded. She got her start at the top-tier agencies of McCann Erickson and J. Walter Thompson. She is now the Vice Chairman of Mobiles Republic.

Worst thing No. 7: Too much focus on programmatic buying

Beware of the temptation to get too caught up in programmatic buying in 2013. Brad Piggot, Brightroll's VP of U.S. sales, says shifting our focus to this area (instead of relying on our teams) would be the worst thing for digital marketers in the next year. While the future should include replacing manual RFPs, negotiations, and insertion orders with automated media buying, don't abandon your traditional methods just yet.

Brad Piggot oversees and manages central region for BrightRoll, the leading online video advertising network.

Worst thing No. 8: Regulation stifles creativity

As digital marketing gets even bigger and attracts more spend in 2013, Maggie Boyer Finch, founder and CEO of King of the Web, says the worst thing that could happen is heavy supervision. She says our creativity will suffer if we need to clear too many regulatory hurtles before executing on a simple idea, and it could cause our industry's momentum to screech to a halt.

Maggie Boyer Finch is a media and advertising executive who has spent the bulk of her career building digital marketing firms and technologies. In 1995, she built one of the first online media buying shops and pioneered many other industry firsts. For more than a decade, she served as general manager and VP of media for aQuantive (now RazorFish), establishing the firm as one of the world's leading digital media agencies.

Worst thing No. 9: A downturn in marketing spend

Pauline Malcolm, head of sales for StyleHaul, says that if the economy takes a turn for the worse in 2013, brands might pull back on marketing spend. She says, instead, if we experience a downturn, it will be an important time to continue to spend in order to maintain and gain valuable market share.

Before joining Stylehaul in 2012, Pauline Malcolm was director of national advertising sales at Condé Nast Business Group, Digital. In this position, she managed annual advertising revenues in excess of $17 million and oversaw a team of 16 senior sales executives and sales support specialists. Previously, she served as senior regional sales manager at MySpace, where she developed revenue-generating partnerships with key consumer packaged goods brands such as Kraft Foods.

Worst thing No. 10: Something new becomes cooler

Change is a constant, and consumer culture could evolve rapidly this year. What if a new trend emerges that trumps the current digital strategies we're already working on? Or what if something replaces digital as we know it? Gina Lee, SVP of media for Intermundo, says history shows precedent for major shifts like this happening, and she thinks we should be ready.

Gina Lee is the senior vice president of media for Intermundo Media.

Worst thing No. 11: Too much government regulation (if we don't self-regulate)

Cory Treffiletti, SPV of marketing for BlueKai, says if digital marketers don't self-regulate issues like consumer tracking, we could experience a government crack-down. He says the media has scared consumers about tracking, and if we don't educate the public and address their concerns, we could experience detrimental restrictions.

Cory Treffiletti is the senior vice president of marketing for BlueKai.

Worst thing No. 12: Failure to prove digital ROI

Have the right standards and attribution models emerged yet? Or are inconsistent metrics giving us a questionable reputation? Talia Arnold, associate director of digital strategy for Horizon Media, says we need to have a solid hold on reporting and ROI.

Talia Arnold has more than seven years of progressive experience helping Fortune 500 companies ignite their brand presence in emerging media through strategic marketing and media planning and buying. Her specialties are digital media, social marketing, search, online video, media buying, negotiation, business development, training and mentorship, direct response, and branding.

"Businessman" cover story image courtesy of Shutterstock.


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