Insights from Nebo

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July 27, 2009

Leading Users To Dead Ends

Besides books, I don't read anything on print anymore, and so I don't see print ads very often either. But, last Thursday while I waited for my car to be fixed at Walmart I took the opportunity to immerse myself in a fishing magazine and its advertisements. Print ads don't have to connect a reader to a website, but there were few ads that didn't try in some way. Most of the ads would append a url to the end of the body copy, and leave it at that. But, some of them tried a little harder. Intriguingly, the two ads that I think did the best at connecting readers to their websites had completely different strategies for converting users who actually got to the website: one built a dead end website, the other built a busy street.

July 22, 2009

There's a difference between hiring people and recruiting talent.

As an interactive agency, our biggest expense is our people. Hiring a new employee is a big investment, and potentially a risky one as well. This is made more difficult because the interactive industry is growing, and is highly competitive. There are lot of good companies vying for a limited number of exceptional people. Over time our approach to hiring has evolved based on a rather unlikely template. We've decided to approach hiring new employees more like college basketball programs approach recruiting talented players.

Why? College basketball is highly competitive. In fact, it's more competitive than most industries out there. Plus, everyone has to play by the same rules. This means that the biggest differentiator a team can have versus it's competition is the talent-level of their players.

So how do the great teams go about getting more talented players than their competition? College basketball teams don't post ads on websites and wait for the applications to flood in. They scout, identify and recruit talent that fits their needs. Great companies used to do the same thing with corporate recruiters. But, with the advent of tools like linkedin, it's easier than ever to proactively scout for talent. Companies can identify potential employees with nothing more than a few minutes searching.

But, changing from a hiring mindset to a recruiting mindset also shifts the way you approach the interview process. Each touchpoint with a potential hire is an interaction with your brand. It's the business equivalent of a high school athlete making a campus visit. If the applicant has to answer a series of generic pre-interview questions by email, is blown off by a distracted team member when they come for the in person interview, and has to sit uncomfortably in the lobby for an extended period of time; then the chances are the applicant is going to judge your company based on those interactions. And if those interactions are negative then you're at a disadvantage from the start. Talented people aren't really "hired" by companies, they "choose" to work there. If you give them a reason to say no, chances are they'll take it.

July 20, 2009

Business Principles Learned from Board Games

monopoly_board

1. There are rules.

2. Changing the rules can make the game more interesting.

3. Context determines strategy. There is a time and place to build hotels on Baltic Avenue.

4. There is a point, when the game has stretched into the early hours of the morning, when winning is more about not giving up than it is about having the right strategy.

5. There are always surprises: jails to go to, fees to pay, and (if you're lucky) jackpots to collect.

July 16, 2009

Connecting Top, Bottom, and Middle in Social Business

If you've been keeping up with the Dachis group then you may already be familiar with some of the ideas I'm going to present concerning social business. In that case, this post aims to serve as a case study for you to reference. If you aren't familiar with the term social business, distinct from social media, this post should serve as an introduction.

Instead of focusing on using social media as a tool to broadcast marketing messages, social businesses seek to use social media as a connection between consumers and companies. Perhaps the most compelling reason to engage in this sort of business is that it simultaneously increases the number and depth of customer touch points, giving brands more frequent and deeper interaction with customers on an individual level. With that in mind, one of the most important tasks for a social business is to develop a corporate culture and a corresponding set of tools that will facilitate social involvement from everyone in the company, rather than from one or two individuals. Skipping past this crucial step has a tendency to create reoccurring problems and render the company's outward efforts less effective.

July 13, 2009

Everyday Life: An Interview with Helge Tenno

helgetennoHelge Tenno is an agency friend at Screenplay. He writes a compelling blog called 180/360/720. Last week Helge published an in depth slideshow detailing his thoughts on the future of digital marketing. I thought it was interesting and was lucky to catch Helge online just before he left for vacation.

Introduction: What makes you tick? Where do you work?

• I believe I represent two things: the first is an extreme passion for combining knowledge and finding ideas in different places, then putting these ideas together in order to understand stuff in new ways. The second thing is that I always question the status quo or the accepted idea. If everyone else believes something is true, there is an even bigger reason to challenge it. We often fall into these cultural traps and are way more likely to accept the status quo, or even a flaming new thought, than challenge it.

• I am currently working as a Strategic Director and Digital Planner at an interactive communication agency called Screenplay in Norway. We are a small company working directly with media companies, media agencies and brands in order to make marketing a better place. This is exciting and challenging as Norway has one of the most advanced and innovative digital populations in Europe; however, at the same time our businesses and brands have one of the youngest marketing cultures and some of the most conservative approaches to technology and digital.