Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Web advertising industry snapshot - First half, 2009

Minor updates, July 22, 2009:

Short and sweet tonight. Here's what we've seen in the Web ad industry during the first half of 2009:

1. Q1 performed better than expected, given the current economic conditions. Consumer confidence, unemployment, interest rates, energy prices and more have contributed to restricting economic growth in most business sectors.

2. Q2 performed much better than planned, due to stable-to-growing demand for online ad space.

3. Overall financial performance for 1H09 looks to be lower than in 2008, but only slightly, with a decline under 10% (which is less than predicted by a variety of forecasters).

4. Ad networks performed relatively well. We think this is due to better optimization tools and practices, as well as advertisers shifting budgets away from broadcast, print and cable to the Web.

5. We've noted a slight increase in VC funding of publishers and advertising intermediaries, somewhat disrupting natural pricing equilibrium for both buyers and sellers.

6. We've noted some realignment of publishers and advertising intermediaries away from conventional online media (banners, for example) opening opportunities for those who can effectively work these formats.

Outlook for 2H09:

1. We believe economic conditions will weaken further through the end of the year, with key indicators such as the unemployment rate, interest rates, real estate values, energy prices, tax increases, state budget deficits, tight credit conditions, and more choking economic growth.

2. We agree with predictions that unemployment will exceed 15% (or perhaps even much more) during 2010.

3. This particularly critical benchmark will cause marketers to continue to be conservative with their budgets.

4. We think the Web advertising sector should continue to be sound with stable-to-moderate growth. We expect blue chip advertisers to continue increasing their online ad spending for the rest of the year.

More to come, but we wanted to be among the first with a 1H09 summary.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer: Sizzle or snooze?

During the stock market crash of 1929, and during the depression that followed (and for that matter, in the film, "It's a Wonderful Life" the antagonist played by Lionel Barrymore), great fortunes were amassed by some smart folks who bought while the masses were selling. To this day, that same pattern repeats itself, by the likes of investors such as Warren Buffet.

So, when your competition is slashing their marketing budget during tough economic times (afterall, why bother selling your product when sales are down, right?), does it make sense to seize the moment and aggressively market your product or service?

Of course it does!

During weak economic times, such as those we're now experiencing, there is a lot less "noise" in the media, meaning that your message can get through more clearly and more efficiently than when times are good and lots of competitors are in the marketplace grasping for your market's attention.

That's why this summer, don't snooze...sizzle!

With the stage to yourself, and while great creative work is always vital, if you don't have a perfect idea, at least you will have more people's attention, so you can get across a sales or reminder or whatever message you're aspiring to deliver.

Think of it this way; Whose message are you more likely to hear: the words of one child in a classroom with 40 other chattering kids, or the words of one person with whom you are in a room alone?

Okay, so I'm not so good at the sales pitch myself these days. To encourage our target market to listen to our message, we're offering discounts and free bonuses this summer to capture your attention.

Too Sweet To Resist!

Check out Intermarkets today to learn more about an offer that's Too Sweet To Resist (plus we have a nice picture of some puppies as part of the promotion; yes, we can be ruthless).

Have a great July 4 holiday, and keep those cards and letters coming!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Managing aspirations

Profound lessons from the Bronze Age, more meaningful than the latest management fad:

Around 400 BC, near the end of the Peloponnesian War, controversial, brilliant and legendary (and real) General Alcibiades of Athens looked out over a mass of untrained, raw, newly-recruited Thracian soldiers, on a southern plain in Thrace (part of Turkey, today). His military companions looked on at the new recruits in astonishment that Alcibiades could have so much confidence in them.

In a haughty tone, one of the companions says to Alcibiades, "Even yourself are not so vain as to imagine that these recruits will stick (i.e., fight – KPL) for you?"

To which Alcibiades replies, "I'm disappointed in you, old friend. Can you be as blind as these Thracians to what stares you, and them, in the face?"

"And what would that be?" his companion asked.

"Their own greatness."

He meant he would lift them to it.

He continued, "They will not stay for my destiny, but for their own."

From "Tides of War," by Steven Pressfield

Do you see the greatness in your colleagues?