Posted on March 31, 2008 in Digital Media, Strategy, by Rex Hammock
It’s been a while since I’ve made an “audio post” to a blog (I’m more “video” these days). However, some recent blog posts and Twitter comments by Patrick Ruffini inspired me to dust-off the Skype account and Audio Hijack software and give him a call. In 2004 Ruffini had the very Web 1.0 title “webmaster” for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. Despite the title, he ushered in some very Web 2.0 features and approaches to the site — and the campaign. Over 30,000 off-line “meetup-like” volunteer gatherings were organized on the site and over 5,000 websites and weblogs hosted the badges and widgets (remember, this was in 2004) that Ruffini’s team developed using RSS and XML. After the election, he ran the Inauguration website and later had a two-year stint as eCampaign Director for the GOP.
After the jump, read more and listen to the interview.
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Posted on March 28, 2008 in Content Marketing, by Jamie Roberts
Try to check out “Sons of Lwala” when it premieres at the 2008 Nashville Film Festival April 17-24. Last night I attended the benefit preview of the film about Milton and Fred Ochieng, two brothers who come to Nashville to study medicine while simultaneously opening the first health clinic in their home village in western Kenya. The brothers were driven to finish the clinic that had been their father’s dream before he and their mother died of AIDS. Milton, in particular, felt compelled to give back ever since villagers sold chickens and cows to raise the $900 needed for his first plane ticket to the United States. “Just don’t forget us,” they told him as they sent him off to pursue his education.
Despite the pressures of medical school, it proved impossible for either brother to forget a home where sick villagers have to walk miles for treatment, children suffer from preventable waterborne illnesses and 20-year-olds are dying of AIDS.
Produced and directed by Barry Simmons, a former TV reporter, the documentary follows two years in the life of the brothers as they struggle to raise money for the clinic on their own. Their goal seems close to impossible until they meet others who are inspired by their quest, including Sen. Bill Frist, the band Jars of Clay and hundreds of their fellow students. Thanks to an outpouring of support, the clinic opened in 2007, and to date, it has served 15,000 patients and spearheaded community health initiatives.
Check out the documentary Web site for a trailer and this link for more information about the brothers’ continuing efforts to support their village.
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Posted on in Editorial, by Hammock Inc.
“Only” is one of those words that never quite feels at home anywhere in a sentence. It is frequently misplaced, although our brains are wired in such a way that most of the time we unconsciously relocate it and interpret the sentence correctly.
“Only” can be an adjective or an adverb. As such, it should be placed immediately in front of the word it restricts. Otherwise, the sentence changes meaning.
Let’s take, for example, the title line from Gene Pitney’s 1962 hit, “Only Love Can Break a Heart.”
As it is written, the sentence says that nothing else except love can cause heartbreak. Fair enough, although maybe not exactly true.
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Posted on in Advertising sales, Digital Media, Magazines, by Barbara Logan
Hammock partner Jim Elliott of the national advertising sales firm the James G. Elliott Company shares some tips on how to train your magazine sales force to sell digital platforms in the latest issue of their company newsletter Ads&Ideas:
Training is, of course, necessary here to sell a brand which resides in different media platforms. But that training has to be in just the fundamentals or basics of each medium—not in the technical or mechanical aspects.
For instance, a seller should understand the fundamentals of podcasting; how it is delivered, its advantages and drawbacks and what kind of advertising works with the medium, but the seller doesn’t have to be an expert in the technology. Hopefully, the brand has a podcast traffic manager to handle the technical questions.
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Posted on March 26, 2008 in Advertising sales, Digital Media, by Barbara Logan
One of our Hammock partners is the national advertising sales firm the James G. Elliott Company. In the latest issue of their company newsletter Ads&Ideas, President Jim Elliott shares his perspective on recent news coming out of the advertising industry:
Oh, what a difference a few months can make! The first quarter of 2008 has been one of the roughest in magazine ad sales history. A quick glance at the revenue numbers for monthly magazines is sobering. The decline has been caused in part by many agencies holding back on placing 2008 schedules due to their clients not releasing budgets. But it has also been due to advertising money being diffused into various new delivery platforms.
Of course, the magazine industry has been trying to hold on to some of these dollars by creating their own multiple delivery platforms for their content. However, there is no dominant selling strategy in the way they actually sell advertising around these new platforms.
For instance, some magazine companies have created a separate digital advertising department. Some have hired outside representatives to handle on-line advertising, with a different outside group to handle mobile and so on. Others have taken their current sales force and trained them to be knowledgeable in several different media platforms.
We are keen on the last strategy being the most sensible approach because, regardless of the platform, it is the brand and its community that set magazines apart from other media. It is the strength of our business. For those of us who have also been on the buying side of the business, there is, and has always been, one thing that stood out about magazine representatives. Both trade and consumer magazine reps have always sold the brand — which is a conceptual sale.
Historically, magazine sellers were allowed to call on clients, account people at the agency and the media department because they were selling the audience, and what made that audience distinctively different, both psychographically and demographically from the competition. Magazine sellers have always been distinctively different stylistically in their approach from that of broadcast sellers in that the sale was more complicated, involving more channels of decision makers built around selling conceptually. Branding is a concept.
A good friend, Dave Smith of Mediasmith —a large digital San Francisco advertising agency—told me recently that their agency had identified many new digital platforms by which to offer up content. For example, they have identified things like:
• Rich Media Display Advertising
• Video Display Advertising (Web)
• Video SEM/SEO & Video Distribution
• Video on Demand & Interactive Television
• Over-the-Top (OTT)
• Digital & Interactive Out-of-Home
• Digital & Interactive Cinema
• Consumer-Generated Media and Advertising
• Social Networks
• Advergaming and In-Game Advertising
• Virtual Worlds
By the way, to learn more about each one of these subjects, you may visit Mediasmith’s website to see a section dedicated to emerging technologies:
From an advertising sales perspective, how many different groups–either internally or externally—will a magazine brand require to handle their ad sales needs in this world of diverse platforms? And what will happen to a consistent brand story with so many different groups involved?
I would strongly argue that magazine representatives are uniquely positioned to handle ad sales in this emerging world of different delivery platforms.
In our travels among publishers, we often hear that magazine reps don’t understand the Internet. But when you investigate these statements more carefully, often what they are really saying is that magazine reps don’t understand the technological aspects of the online medium. However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t understand the audience or the community represented and can’t, with a little training, translate the particular online site into a part of a brand for an advertising buyer.
Frankly, how many magazine representatives actually understand the many facets of the print production part of the magazine industry? I have noticed that magazine management frequently confuses the activity of order taking with the art of selling. Those folks that often take orders also perform tasks on the web that are similar to those performed by a print production manager in magazines or a traffic manager in the broadcast world.
Check back this Friday for Part II of Jim’s article.
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