Archive for the ‘Visionary Leaders’ Category

March 25, 2018

Is Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook, behaving like a “Bad Actor?”  Facebook has proven that it is a commercial giant.  Facebook has proven to be a major facilitator for an expanding group of “bad actors” around the world.  The Facebook brand is suffering major trust issues with its vast community.  While CEO Zuckerberg releases carefully worded press releases, investigators have exposed the company letting foreign “bad actors” meddle in the 2016 presidential campaign and a massive subscriber, 50 million subscribers,  privacy breach used by the Trump for president campaign.  The Facebook brand is suffering real perceptual issues around trust, integrity, accountability, journalism, and mean-spirited behavior.  Elon Musk isn’t the only one pointing to a movement of #deletefacebook.


What does Facebook have in common with BP Gulf oil spill (British Petroleum)?  Nothing, they both did harm to our environment, but BP spent $61.6 billion to satisfy local and federal.  Was Mark Zuckerburg alarmed that Facebook was the primary technology used to influence voter sentiment in the 2016 presidential election?  To date, Facebook’s actions don’t instill confidence.

When Facebook wants to compete with an opposing threat, it brings out the resources to dominate the competition.  Instagram versus Snapchat after Snapchat turned down multi-billion dollar offers to purchase the start-up.  This post isn’t challenging what Facebook could do.  It is pointing out that it isn’t giving the 2016 election meddling more than lip service.  Rest assured the federal government has tried to convince Facebook to clean up a mess that the company helped create (self-governance).  However, Facebook isn’t placing ethics as high a priority as commerce.

The Facebook’s newsfeed changes proposed by Zuckerburg was a public relations strategy to deflect accountability by saying Facebook would turn the editorial decisions over to local news outlets is a misdirection move.

“I care deeply about the democratic process and protecting its integrity,” Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg.

What are the types of threats that get you on the “bad actors” list against the United States?  We acknowledged oil spills.  Anyone supporting terrorism.  Allowing foreign enemies to sabotage democracy by using free speech to influence political outcomes.

Facebook can proclaim to be just a technology platform, not a controller of journalism.  However, if Facebook allows its technology to manipulate elections, is America in danger of letting a free-speech debate hurt democracy?  To be clear, Russia is only interested in doing harm to the American way of life.

Congress just used its power to essentially block a foreign acquisition of Qualcom for reasons that relate to China’s interest in dominating the global smartphone industry.  Is there any doubt that China wants to dominate the United States?

For the first time in American history, our presidential election was sabotaged by a foreign “bad actor.”  What has Facebook done to prevent election tampering from happening?  The announcement that Facebook would share the ads with the Senate and House intelligence committees came after the social network spent two weeks on the defensive.

The strongest argument from Facebook management was that “fake advertisements” ran after the election too so the sponsor’s motive was most likely something other than influencing the election.

“The main goal of the Russian propaganda and misinformation effort is to divide America by using our institutions, like free speech and social media, against us. ”Facebook required a subpoena to turn over files requested for a congressional hearing.  In response to “fake news”, Facebook has said it will hire human beings to review content and advertisements.

If Facebook’s claims of really not being capable of correcting the manipulation of its technology, the government needs to step in.  The Federal Communications Commission has spent decades updating rules of political advertising.

On sponsorship identification, the FCC focused on third-party ads, requiring that broadcasters make an inquiry as to the complete set of executive officers or the complete board of directors of any sponsor.

Facebook has bent over backward to find ways to get its technology into China.  China’s demands prove that Facebook can use its limitless technology capabilities to play within rules.  Free speech is not challenged by a law that says you can’t go into a theater and yell fire as a prank.  Facebook is a massive “theater” and someone is yelling fire to disrupt the governance of the United States.  For that and its continued inaction to avoid future incidents in political elections, Mark Zuckerburg and Facebook look like, and act like, “Bad actors.”  Are we going to see a repeat of tampering in 2018 mid-term elections similar to the 2016 presidential election?  It is going to require more action than moral indignation from Facebook.

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Don’t be too quick to dismiss Gary Vaynerchuk’s views on the impact of social media and social media’s ability to integrate directly into CRM and/or POS.  You can’t get more accountability than POS results.  TV still has power, but the flaws are adding up.  However, consider how a global advertisers target their brand’s core customer?  Buying broad demographics groups A18-49 or A25-54 is archaic and ignores what brands understand in ethnographic studies and real-time research where actions, comments,sentiment, and word-of-mouth offer valuable feedback.

ANA Masters Of Media: Are Marketers Missing The Forest For The Trees?


Social media for brands requires a lot more work than buying TV off a Nielsen ranker to reach a broad demographic group like adults 18-49 that is a demo range too large to think that and 18-24 group will respond to the same marketing as the 34-49 portion of that demo category.  Unfortunately, effectiveness measurement requires deeper insights and different work-flow to get actionable feedback.  Social media is both a marketing tool and real-time analysis of customer feedback or feedback about the brands top competitors.

The ANA group is the right place for this debate.  There is real proof of top global brands like J&J who are making internal ,cultural changes about digital and social media to improve effectiveness of marketing and improve overall P&L performance.  Programmatic is all about speed and less about effectiveness.  If you believe in the effectiveness of display advertising in general, we will simply agree to disagree.  Social media giants are studying 1-1 customer data every second of every day.  Television is studying Nielsen data in different formats, but it is still using a 75 year old demographic approach from samples that are scientifically to small.

There are 200 million Facebook subscribers in the US with targeting and audience analysis data that forces accountability and effectiveness to different performance standards present more effective brand analytics and results.  There was no discussion in your post about the changes in the customer’s path to purchase which is different for different products, but totally different than the marketing funnel created in the mid 20th century for off-line and TV advertising.  Reference McKinsey’s article about J&J’s cultural shift to digital and social to a more holistic approach driven by social media impacts. For Listerine brand, J&J changed a longstanding strategic philosophy of producing two or three TV commercials per year to taking in-house producing teams to the World Cup where they produced 200 video messages for social media at the World Cup in real-time!.  Marketing shifts are usually gradual.  Consumers are changing patterns of media consumption from linear TV , to on-demand TV or OTT/ IP Channels and video on-line and mobile.


CMO’s are spending more time on mobile and social media strategies based on evidence collected from research.  Mobile has created new distribution channels for new video formats for advertisers to place on brand new social media marketing channels.  Gary Vaynerchuk was probably presenting advanced social media technique that he has developed over eight year which can be validated with results, but if you are accustomed to listening to traditional CMO presentations at ANA Gary would sound like a computer scientist explaining the positives and negatives of coding.  I don’t know Gary Vaynerchuk or Guy Kawalski but they have made brands of themselves in social media strategy.  Disparaging either them would be like saying Warren Buffet really doesn’t know much about financial investing.

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In March of 2015, Jon Mandel, an experienced c-level executive on Madison Avenue, declared in a keynote speech at the ANA annual conference that “kick-backs” at the advertising agency level and/or at the conglomerate holding companies who control close to 80% ownership of the world’s largest advertising agencies were pervasive, totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  Mandel’s speech sent shockwaves through every side of the business associated with advertising, most prominently the top advertising brands who were allegedly being left in the dark.

When the ANA announced that it had hired two outside consultants, one with cyber security experience, to advise the ANA, the advertising industry’s largest trade organization representing brands like P&G, Unilever, AT&T and hundred more, I published a blog post on the advertising industry scandal. that Jon Mandel brought to the forefront at the ANA’s annual convention.

In my three decades working for Hollywood Studios, the largest broadcast television groups and working on Madison Avenue can I recall a more explosive event triggered by one very brave and bold individual, Jon Mandel.  Some credit has to go to the ANA board who had to have approved the content of the speech as Mandel was serving as a paid consultant at the time.

After that, the ANA went through a vetting process for consultants to investigate and recommend potential fixes to the board.  Having been a part of one of the finalist groups presenting to the ANA’s executive committee, I can attest to firsthand experience that the ANA with Jon Mandel still participating as a consultant were serious and on a timeline to advance the discussion.  The only exception I took to the ultimate approach that was being taken was making the broad discussion more open to the community who had a vested interest in findings and the outcome.

Maybe suggesting the use of social media was too progressive for this group, but I pointed out that it was the only way to let all stakeholders have a voice in the process.  So now trade journalists and industry experts are left wondering what, if anything, is going on as both the WSJ.com and Jack Meyers, industry expert, did in published stories where the headlines were:

“Seven Months Later: Smoke But No Fire”  Media Village.

After over three hundred hours of research preparing for the presentation to the ANA executive committee and Jon Mandel, I felt like I had a good understanding of the critical issues which required infographics to explain.  Without having some public debate, the industry may not hear a word from the ANA on the so called “transparency” issues, or “kick-backs”, “fraud” for years because it is complicated, heated, and almost impossible for two organizations that have so much at stake, ANA and AAAA’s, to reach consensus.ANA_Blog

Case and point where the AAAA’s, Agency’s trade group, feeling pressure made a public announcement, prematurely in my view, without the support of the ANA.  I believe I said this was the advertising industry’s version of the “Watergate Scandal.”   Because of that, I think Jon Mandel should get the book rights and play himself in the movie to a story that is destined to get published.

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  1. It is easier to be proactive when you are still ahead versus putting an entire sector in jeopardy like local newspapers when they failed to respond to the Craigslist threat.

  2. Invest a portion of political windfall in development of news brand extensions to internet, mobile and social network channels.

  3. Build an alternate approach approach to develop new insights about news consumption from internet and social media networks like Forrester’s Groundswell and technographics research approaches.

  4. Develop incubation for multi-media advertising strategies incorporating local TV and social media to guide local advertiser strategies.

  5. Invest in ongoing cultural transformation to understand social media both as a strategy for news, marketing and sales, but also to stay in tune with the competitive threats caused by changes in consumer media consumption.

  6. Intensify proactive approach using internal and external resources to maintain a competitive advantage that it owned before technology disruptions.


Political candidates have used media megaphones to recruit voters, presidential candidates the most prominent . Local TV has held the biggest megaphone throughout the modern political era of the last half of the 20th and 21st centuries.


In 2016, local TV stations are expected to receive staggering ad buys approaching $4.5 billion.   For the first time digital is expect to exceed $1 billion in political spend, an increase due mainly to the explosion of consumer usage of video on the internet-desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile.  The internet spend is 625% more than political spend on the internet in 2012.  Research experts project that by the 2020 election the internet figure will increase to $3.3 billion, 330% higher than the 2016 projection.


Many Americans feared that political advertising created an unfair advantage for deep pocketed candidates, defeating the cornerstones of US democracy which is debate over issues and the voters hold the ultimate power.  The debate over campaign finance reform made it all the way to the Supreme Court in 2010 where landmark Supreme Court case, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission. The biggest winner was local TV stations who were willing and ready accept more political and issue advertising. Looser guidelines unleased budgets that defied logic and had no correlation to average media value on local TV. The 2010 Supreme Court decision allowed corporations and other politically motivated organizations to expend unlimited funds supporting political influence and issue ballots. Like plenty of Americans, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg detested the ruling:

“I think the notion that we have all the democracy that money can buy strays so far from what our democracy is supposed to be.”

Since the 2008 presidential election, dubbed the Facebook Election, where a virtually unknown Barack Obama changed campaign strategies that were more likened to social media tenets of 1-1 relationships and crowd sourcing than the traditional campaign strategy of running more TV spots than your opponent.

How could local TV stations learn from President Obama’s CRM strategy?  For one, by listening to consumers in “real time.”.  Obama campaign manager Jim Messina explained his tactics during the run up to the 2008 and 2012 elections:

“Measure every single thing in the campaign.”

Political advertising is following the basic marketing premise of following the audience.  Case and point that media consumption has changed forever can be explained by the video traffic growth in the past year when it was added to the platform: Today, Facebook has 8 billion video views per day, a number that grew in 2015 from 4 billion to 8 billion between April and November, 2015.  Facebook also offers political advertisers the Achilles heel of local broadcast TV, geo-targeting.

Like customers, voters embrace social media because it is interactive, immediate, visual, multiplatform, and listens to local voices in “real time.”  Political campaigns like social media because of its scale, personal connection with consumer, offers feedback, offers a distribution method that pushes and pulls information.




You Tube & Facebook on Top of Video

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ANA_BlogThe AAAA’s released guidelines for a select set of issues in response to allegations of Kickbacks, transparency, ethical issues raised initially by a speech made by agency veteran Jon Mandel at the ANA’s annual conventionANA Feud Over Transparency.  The ANA was quick to make it clear that his organization’s members were not endorsing the AAA’s guidelines.   In full disclosure, I spent several months researching the “transparency” issues in response to the ANA’s RFP for consultants to investigate the transparency allegations.  While my team didn’t win the bid, I learned a great deal about what is a list of real issues.  There are four players in this discussion divided into two teams: 1) ANA and the world’s largest advertisers and 2) AAAA’s and the world’s largest advertising agencies and the holding companies that own blocks of agencies.

The ANA exists because of its clients who represent the world’s biggest brands.  While I believe the ANA has taken a very professional approach to a very complicated list of transparency issues, they are paid by the advertisers and are therefore conflicted because of that relationship.   The AAAA’s represent the advertising agencies and holding companies and they are also conflicted and bias towards the interests of their advertising agency clients.  The result is that you have two conflicted trade organizations who have limited authority trying to negotiate what is the equivalent of “Watergate” for the advertising industry.  There are “smoking guns” which Jon Mandel pointed to a few of the most serious issues.  Some will deflect this assertion by pointing to the fact that advertising agencies exist because of the world’s largest advertisers who pay fees to agencies, yet are on the opposite side of this debate.  Global companies like P&G, Unilever, GM, McDonald’s outsource advertising to agencies to fulfill specific marketing services.  Unlike the advertisers who depend on innovation to remain competitive, the advertising agency sector has used scale as a dominant strategy to compete.  Advertising agencies are not value creators, nor are they innovators.  Agencies are moving towards programmatic as a method to increase operating efficiencies.  Programmatic has focused solely on speed and now have been caught flat footed over use of “bots” and “viewability” or the critical component of any buy/sell transaction, common currency.  The transparency debate points fingers at whether practices might be legal, but not ethical.  Audit rights stopping at the agency level when it is very clear that the biggest deals are made at the “holding company” level where multiple owned agencies are bundled from operating units all over the world.

If you have ever worked for a global company, you are aware of the evolution of the procurement department as a strategic arm of large corporations pursuing efficiencies, process innovation, effectiveness and leverage.  Procurement specialists can find gaping opportunities to improve the deals between the company and the advertising agencies it hires to spend billions in advertising dollars, tradition, digital and social media.  AAAA’s wanted to rush guidelines to the market which is an indication of the problem.  The type of business model innovation that the advertisers seeks will require myriad approaches that a recent McKinsey article described as “reframing beliefs.(McKinsey)”   

Big corporations have resolved similar issues in supply chain transparency issuesHBR-The Transparent Supply Chain.  The HBR article published in 2010 illuminates how complicated, “opaque”, issues can get when their are multiple stakeholders who have differing views on transparency.  Like in the case of Ad agencies handling of billions of dollars in clients’ money and whether shifts in technology and global deal making are just smart or whether words like “murky” and “opaque” seem to be the only descriptives that can explain lists of transactions that should have been disclosed and possibly shared in the spirit of fairness, ethics, GAAP and IFRS, barter, and revenue consideration.  For those individuals who try to isolate the discussion to only US transactions, those may be the very people to investigate first because this is clearly a global discussion.

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Blog_Cover_WhiteboardWhether B2B or B2C, sales management commands salespeople or business development people to think-outside-the-box to create incremental or new sources of revenue. Contemporary thinking has replaced “OOTB” with innovation. Sales managers are right to point towards innovation to create “new business” and salespeople are appropriately asking for more specific guidance or at least resources to “mine those hills.” Local newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, local cable/telco/DBS who depend on advertising for revenue know that account attrition is inevitable, downward rate pressure is the norm so what do the innovators do to create a steady stream incremental revenue? Here are the 5 Top trends for local sellers to build new revenue channels:
1) re-invent remnant inventory marketing
2) out-source targeted business development in order to creat a fresh approach to closing “zero share accounts and categories.
3) Co-invest with new platform developers to help leverage complementary skills-mobile, Apps, video.
4) develop better data mining capabilities
5) Measure total market advertising expenditures and then invest dedicated resources to build new revenue strategies by providing new solutions for new customers.
Homework: ad links for the following to add context and substance<!-

TV anywhere
Live plus seven
Dynamic ad insertion
TV Video remnant to online/mobile video market

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How many years has your company been selling advertising? Can you see with confidence why the company will make its plan, or worse, miss? Here are 5 tips that will help you sleep at night:
1) Datawarehouse:
2) CRM
3) Knowledge Management
4) Competitive sales coverage analysis
5) Short list of KPI’S that tie to compensation

These are simple, cost effective, and available from several established vendors. So why are so many CEO’s bewildered or fired because they could not articulate what is going well pot not so well? In many cases, these individual categories fall under the wrong departments or sponsors don’t want to risk internal conflict over tedious work or the commitment is pushed aside for other projects. All five strategies are not required all at once. They are not in a prioritized order, but they are all capable of creating non-linear revenue and profit growth. Not this year or next year. Every year! As an illustration, draw a sketch of the perfect sale in your company. Give some quick definition to “perfect” and make a short list. What happened?
1) Landed a “whale” defined as big advertiser who was new to your company.
2) The client purchased a long term campaign using multiple components found in the proposal.
3) The deal was big enough to include C-level decision-makers at the client.
4) after the initial presentation, the client suggested working teams from both sides to help sellers better understand client’s brand and its customers.
5) the spirit of the relationship hit such important issues to the client , other marketing projects were opened up separately as problems that needed to be solved.

Now imagine that your company becomes known for the type of experience described in the “perfect sale.” The CEO naturally wants to know how to scale “the perfect sale.”

You have a company competing for advertising buys daily, weekly all over the market, country, maybe the world. The top five tips listed at the beginning are the foundation of the most productive sales organizations, including advertising sales of both traditional and new media companies. In a series of five blogs following this one, we will dig deeper into each listed tip so you can get a closer look at the power of each component.

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