April 21, 2011

The Cost Of Being First

What was the first company to do a banner ad? Who was first with an iAd? Who had the first YouTube video channel? What company had the first website, or Twitter feed, or Facebook page?

Nobody knows and nobody cares.

There are some areas of business in which being first can mean the difference between life and death. Advertising is not one of them.

While everyone wants to say they are at the “leading edge” of digital media technology, it seems to me that there is little or no advantage to it. In fact, with so many new advertising and marketing technologies evolving, there may be a greater potential risk than reward in being at the leading edge.

According to published reports, Apple has recently dropped the buy-in cost of iAds from $1 million to half-a-million. Wouldn't you just love to be the bozo who got there first?

The advertising industry has become obsessed with anointing every new media technology “the thing that will change everything.” Don’t be stampeded by this baloney.

You have plenty of time to analyze what is working and why. Digital technology is not going away. Understand the options and implement them prudently. The people who develop them will be happy to sell them to you fifteen minutes after they are proven successful

Remember one of my axioms: There is no bigger sucker than a gullible marketer convinced he’s missing a trend.

Yesterday, someone tweeted a link to something I wrote about a year and a half ago called "The Cluefree Manifesto." It was a spoof of "The Cluetrain Manifesto." I had forgotten all about it, and when I read it I got a few laughs (me? narcissistic? no way.) Anyhoo, I thought some new readers might enjoy it so here's a link.

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