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Posts Tagged ‘Recession’

It’s a job title, not an excuse

November 8th, 2011 3 comments

“(I’m this way because) I’m an Engineer/Architect/Lawyer/Advertiser/Blogger.”

Within the past week, I’ve heard all of the above excuses for behaving in a certain way in a group of unknowns and possible uncommons.

In my career, I’ve witnessed behaviors that warrant the same verbiage.

Junior players refusing to step up to the plate because it’s not in their job description.

Senior partners acting as if they no longer need to know how to swing, run or catch (as long as they know how to pitch). As if they are allowed to be excused from practicing and improving once they hit a certain title.

Once you stop becoming better and challenging yourself, you simply begin to lose where you once won.

By stepping out of the game, you are allowing others to get ahead, no matter who you are.

Perhaps that’s where we’re really seeing the difference between the 99 and 1%. Those at the top refusing change no longer feel obligated to pick up a bat and play the game. They simply want to bark orders and remind everyone how big their balls are.

What they haven’t realized is that Soccer is rising up on the old fashioned world of Baseball. And soon enough, those balls will get kicked.

Surviving without Twitter

August 7th, 2009 No comments

Networking, conversations, DM’s, RT’s, links, picture sharing, and naked video spam came to an abrupt halt yesterday when Twitter was taken down.

Those first few hours of realizing I was without my 140-character voice was gripping.  I imagined myself in a world without communication, as if a bomb had struck, as I hit refresh again and again.  What if I was the only one that couldn’t get on and missed something interesting?  What if I had something witty to say?  What if I got a DM and couldn’t reply?  What if I got a new follower and couldn’t return the courtesy fast enough?  What if a client got mad that I hadn’t increased their followers that day?

Starting to shake, I scooped my daughter up and headed off to Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead.  (Did you know it’s humid in Kansas in August, and you probably shouldn’t go outside in jeans?)  We pet goats and cows, fed ducks and geese, and I watched her climb and slide on playgrounds.   I was surprised by the crowd for a Thursday morning; there were a lot of small tour groups, teenage couples, grandparents, SAHM’s, and even dual parents with kids. 

As I wondered how many of those dual parents were on staycations and how many were victims of the economy (or perhaps both), a sweet faced woman, Becky smiled at me and complimented my daughter.  Soon after starting to chat, she explained that after being laid off in March and unable to find a job, she was starting her own business.  Sure enough, she asked for my email and phone number, to help her with marketing; just as if we’d met on Twitter.

How did you survive without Twitter?

The Fall of the Billboard

August 2nd, 2009 No comments

If a billboard falls in the middle of a field, does anyone notice as they’re speeding past?

Driving across the middle of the country, kids and husband finally sleeping, I had time for my favorite long drive activity: looking at billboards.  As I started searching for those ridiculous headlines that you see so often in the middle of nowhere, I found the scenery to be more frightening than humorous.  Sign after sign posted variations of, “Your Ad Here.”

As a lover of media and advertising, I felt a cold shudder.  It was like driving through my childhood neighborhood, turned into a ghost town.  For the first time since my own bad news and layoff, I felt true fear.  I found myself wishing that my kids’ whining was still a distraction as I held my breath through the graveyard.

On the upside, among all of the empty space, I still found a few of those nutty little advertisers that need our help.  For instance, after being served a 3-board teaser message about Jesus, we were delivered to the doors of the XXX Adult Video Store and Massage Parlor.  At least God and porn still have budgets.

Fueling Magazines’ Failures

July 20th, 2009 No comments

As September drop-deads are upon us, I’m hearing a lot about tumbling circulations and ad pages continuing to fade from magazines.  While it’s true that advertising budgets are trending downward, we have to remember that this started long ago.  Before big government bailouts, unemployment surges, mass foreclosures, and the fall of the auto industry, the once booming magazine industry has been quietly suffering.

The strength of magazines didn’t take such an immediate pummeling from things like the mass adoption of the internet as it’s printed sibling newspapers did.  But as more consumers’ dollars were allocated to cell phones and broadband connections, magazines began to see circulations decrease.  In early desperation, some publications falsified audit reports or inflated verified circulations, dumping titles in unnecessary public places.  They began to lose the faith of their advertising partners, and some began to close.

Planners paying attention began demanding cleaner circulations along with deeper discounts, free space, premium placement, product integration, cross-platform opportunities.  With the negative press, they had to deliver greater ROI to clients.  Even titles which had historically refused to negotiate began making “special exceptions” and “finding loopholes.”

While a great value for clients and making the negotiator look like hot-stuff, the additional decrease in revenue only fueled magazines’ woes.  Combined with the economy’s hard fall, titles both young and old began to announce last issues.  Those same planners once considered savvy are now finding themselves knocked for buying “cheap space” in a title that didn’t survive.  (Shameless Plug: Check out Magazine Death Pool for more dirt.)

Today, clients are uncertain of budgets, don’t trust signing annual plans and don’t know which title is going to be cut next.  Their lower budgets are still forcing even higher ROI expectations, yet the lack of commitment means positioning can rarely be negotiated, decreasing the medium’s value.  Of course, that means they’ll need to balance that loss with even bigger discounts and more free pages.

As a media planner, I jokingly used to say that I was a “media fundraiser” to folks not in advertising.  (Lest I be asked, again, if I write the commercials.)  Today, I wonder if I should’ve spent more time focusing on getting those funds approved, and a little less time doing multiple rounds of negotiations with titles I was forcing out of business.