February 10-13, 2008  |  Hyatt Regency Coconut Point, Florida
Published: February 13, 2008
Tara Lamberson explains your world

MindComet VP Tara Lamberson talks shop and helps us make sense of the headlines that impact interactive marketers.

Tara Lamberson, VP of marketing and strategy at MindComet, lends her expertise as we probe the recent news stories that have shaped interactive marketing.

iMedia: By all accounts, there are some pretty gaudy predictions for growth in online advertising. But how do you see interactive responding to the possibility of a recession?
Lamberson: Since interactive is more accountable, it probably will not be as negatively impacted by an economic downturn. In fact, it may rise due to that accountability, and we've seen some of our larger national consumer clients already make larger commitments for 2008. Some discretionary work may suffer, like developing cool spec micro-sites for clients. But we think that the delta away from traditional may actually increase toward digital due to digital's increased accountability.

Tara Lamberson is VP marketing & strategy, MindComet, a company that is a unique mix of interactive marketing consulting firm, interactive agency and marketing technology developer.

iMedia: Every few months, we hear about another small startup trying to break into the search market and take down Google. Do you see a real opening for a new contender in the search field?
Lamberson: We don't. One of the things we can all learn from the Microsoft bid on Yahoo is that there really is no clear No. 2, and there probably won't be for some time. Even the married "MicroHoo" would capture only about 30 percent of the search market. That said, different types of focused search within verticals (like within healthcare, what Expedia is doing and in social media and mashups) are on the rise and will create niche opportunities.
iMedia: Yahoo has been taking a beating lately, but it was once a model for internet success. Do you think Yahoo can return to its former glory, and what do you think the company will need to do to get there?
Lamberson: Yahoo jumped into a number of markets and opportunities without a clear and cohesive business strategy. The company still has some amazing properties and products in its portfolio. But it has not managed to harness them. According to reports, Jerry Yang has been taking a hard look at making these elements sing in concert. But it may be too late. The company has a ton of great technology and a zillion users, so the potential remains.
iMedia: If the Microsoft/Yahoo deal goes through, how do you see it changing interactive?

Lamberson: These are two organizations that have historically employed disparate business strategies, and there definitely could be some problems with integrating the two from an alignment standpoint. Yahoo has had trouble integrating its own purchases of other technology companies, and it is sometimes difficult to see the intended application of some of Microsoft's releases. Given the enormous complexity of this merger, we speculate that any impact, be it favorable or unfavorable, will not be felt anytime soon.
iMedia: What do you make of Google's decision to collaborate with Publicis? Will this lead to the birth of the so-called new agency model?
Lamberson: Google's goal is to reach closer to its advertising clients and support them in more sophisticated applications of technology. The agency's goal is to help position its clients' brands on the cutting edge of technology solutions, while still remaining involved in the creative strategy differentiation. I worry that there could be conflicts of interest within this collaboration because if you think of Google as much as a media channel as a technology, then it's akin to thinking of an ad agency as being in partnership with a TV network.

Michael Estrin is associate editor at iMediaConnection. Read full bio.