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paulmcenany
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Well there you go, I like that argument! I really wish you had just started with everything you just said. One of the things I've always liked about how Teehan grew their presence was how they are constantly adding value to the space. A new framework, an in depth look at how their work comes together, yada yada. Your original post was about creating a foil, I think. Which if you have a better way forward, that's a way more valuable conversation to have. On incentives, not sure I buy that argument entirely. It makes sense if you are paid by the hour (which I'm not), or if you have essentially unlimited resources but you've reached the limits of what you can actually execute. 9 times out of 10, our budgets are what they are and we're simply defining the best way to allocate those resources to maximize the result. So we're okay taking 5% of a budget and spending it on analytics rather than making something or media because we believe that it'll make the other 95% perform better over time. Same goes for strategy, We're okay spending 5% on strategy because we believe that it'll make the rest of our outputs work better cumulatively. Ultimately, the incentive for the agency is still to make better work because that is what gets us more fame, more awards, more clients and more profits. So bad agencies may be looking to add a few more short-term bucks, but most are probably just trying to balance resources. Either way, it is questionable enough to not make a blanket statement as to what all of our incentives are. Although, I would agree that it's probably more prevalent at digital shops, only because they are more often charging by the hour. As far as not answering your statement about complexity - let me take another whack. I agree that the world is incredibly complex and we can't know everything, where we disagree is how then to approach it. For me, we need to ask really specific questions and design around those. So industry, internal or brand dynamics are super complex, but it doesn't mean that we can ignore them. We just need to know what questions are important and develop a common foundation for how to think about them. For the audience, we definitely need to consider different forms of research that pulls us away from communicating one key benefit to focus groups and then hoping they tell us the truth. There is unquestionably little value there. So we just need to explore better ways of understanding them, which it sounds like that's what you guys are after. It's an area we're playing with a ton, too. As are many agencies, which is why your insight here is important and valuable. Then last thing about operating in complexity is increasingly pushing decision making down the line. Once you've worked through directional questions, you have to put tools in place for teams on the ground to make decisions without losing sight of the macro-objectives. Ultimately, giving the most flexibility to those who touch the customers the most is what allows us to stay effective and moving in the same direction when the realities of the market hit us in the face. Doing that takes strong leadership, common understanding across the organization and a whole bunch of trust. Which is part of what makes the strategic work so valuable. Either way, it sounds like you are doing the upfront work, just more dedicated time, more focused on the audience and maybe without the client presentation in between. So that's good. Spending 2 weeks up front would be a long time for a project with fairly pre-defined output (like we have this objective and we need an app or a website). That's more time than I've usually gotten to get a project into the next phase. And again, i think that's good and important. You made one statement that struck me as funny - that there's more than one way to get there. That's sort of my point, too. It's not an either or - you take parts of the old and the new and you apply them to the situation that sits in front of you. I just don't like the idea that problems we're running into have to conform to a specific process. Precisely because of that complexity. Sometimes our clients are getting decimated by a certain competitor or changing industry dynamics. You can't be slavish to one particular model unless you only want to think about one particular type of problem. And for me, I'm way to ADD for that. And one more side note - I wasn't questioning your experience. You just mentioned that your characterization of strategy is how you were taught, so it sounded like that's what you were referring to. I was just widening the argument. Good debate though, Eric. Happy to see you guys kicking some ass up there.
Toggle Commented Sep 6, 2013 on In Defense of Big Strategy at Hee-Haw Marketing
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Hey Eric- Those were the examples you used, so not sure what to tell you there. And you compared what you do at Teehan to other digital agencies without making the distinction that what you do today isn't the same job as you did before. And then you went on to accuse those agencies of doing the work they do only because they want to steal a few more bucks. Which is, of course, nothing more than a conspiracy theory. I would also be careful to not overgeneralize your specific experience at Klick or TF with how everyone else does strategy. Some of the best work on the planet is getting done with a mix of old school and new school methods across agencies like Wieden, Goodby, BBH, etc. etc. It's not accident that some of the highest quality ideas developed today are happening at the shops with the highest quality strategy teams, too. So a few points in response. For point 1 - I would call all of those factors making things for real clients in the real world. So yes, internal culture is part of what we have to consider. It is also a reality for most companies on the planet. If your company philosophy is to avoid complex organizations or complex projects for organizations, that's fine. You just didn't make that distinction. Second to that, you sound like you're making the case that research before building is unnecessary. Which frankly, whether Ideo or Ogilvy, they spend a lot of time understanding what it is they are trying to do before they start making. It may be a super inclusive and active process, but it's really hard to find those problems to solve without spending time defining them. To my prior point, you may solve a problem, but it could be inconsequential, wrong or just your own problem. Not a problem for the people you are making tools, experiences, whatever, for. For point 2 - Is that not a fairly arbitrary line? Like we make stuff people actually use, too. if we're designing a loyalty program, that can be awesome enough that people enjoy it, talk about it, use it, yada yada. We engage both at the brand level and at a product level. Sometimes at the same time. Either way, I really dislike the idea that a product and how you create demand for that product exist in two different planes of experience. It just gets back to that old mantra that advertising is the price of being boring, which isn't true and never has been true. Advertising is the price of scale and there is always and will always be a push and pull between the product and the expression of the brand. But you'd need some serious blinders on to diminish the real value that brands provide both companies and consumers. We have 4 different brands we're building from the ground up in-house today, but all are built with a close eye on their cultural value and what and how they communicate, not some dogma that says marketing has to be a choice of one thing or the other. As to your last paragraph, I agree with the failure of creating ideas that don't come to life. But usually that happens because we ignored all the other elements you dismissed earlier. You don't get things to move by ignoring the consensus you need to get things moving in most organizations. You can make the choice to work for lone entrepreneurs or dictatorships, but there are only so many of those to go around. It's just not reality for 95% of those you're preaching to. We need more people sharing the tools to make better work happen, not telling them to do something that won't work in most other organizations. At least not without making that distinction clear. Again Eric, much respect for you and Teehan. And really, most of the conversations I've heard as a result of that article got to basically the same place. Teehan isn't a marketing agency and you are not trying to do methodical approaches to strategy that are more focused on understanding markets, making plans and the rest of it. And all of that is great. And I get it. And I root for you and Teehan's success, but my fundamental issue is that you never said that your company is trying to make something different. You said that most strategists dealing with entirely different problems than the ones you're trying to solve are wasting client money on purpose, and you backed it up with examples that only the crappiest strategist would ever consider to be something resembling strategy. That said, I'm excited to learn the methods you guys are using to speed things along and jump directly into product development. I'm sure the rest of us will find ways to benefit from that conversation when we're dealing with the challenges we get juiced up about solving, too. -The American
Toggle Commented Sep 6, 2013 on In Defense of Big Strategy at Hee-Haw Marketing
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Congrats, feller. Don't screw it up. :)
Thank you sir!
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Second that. Love me some Mike Arauz.
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Awesome! Thanks, Gavin! Hope you're doing well over there!
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paulmcenany is now following Sari Stein
Sep 21, 2010
Dude, you rock man! Hope you have a blast while we kick your ass in all these pitches. :) Won't be the same without you, Sean. But I know you'll be great at the TF, as usual. I'll just sit here and quietly envy your big corner office. :)
Toggle Commented Sep 14, 2010 on Never Say Never at CrapHammer
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Nice, dude!
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Your rock, Gavin! Thanks, man!
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Hooray for cursing! :)
Toggle Commented Jul 2, 2010 on What we REALLY know at CrapHammer
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That was absolutely awesome!
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paulmcenany is now following The Typepad Team
Mar 15, 2010
I'm pretty sure you just called trivia one of your most masculine qualities. :)
Toggle Commented Feb 24, 2010 on Mindware at Talent imitates, genius steals
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Dude, have you seen my desktop? I need multi-tasking... :)
Toggle Commented Jan 31, 2010 on iPad - Stemming the Flow of Complaints at CrapHammer
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I would like a pixie magnet.
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But can they? A store has the advantage of all their own data on what products they carry and where the are, customer information, purchase behavior, stuff like that. It's unlikely that a mobile application developer would have access to those things. I think you can make the same argument for a .com, too. Amazon already carries the products you have and has all the reviews, so why add that to your site? I'm not saying that mobile is the end all be all for retail, but I certainly wouldn't recommend against it. Particularly in a fairly nascent market, seems like it could be a single piece of an overall strategy to provide a better customer experience. In your face, Isakson! :)
Toggle Commented Jan 16, 2010 on Mobile behaviors & in-store shopping at Paul Isakson
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Not sure I agree on this one. Reminds me of when my local kroger first added the self-checkout. Sort of weird to scan my own stuff the first time, but pretty quick - the fact that I didn't have to deal with anyone and could quickly take care of it myself was a service in itself. And frankly, after a long day of work, I'm generally not all that eager to have people looking out for whether or not I'm confused or having trouble finding something. In all likelihood, I probably would just move on, assuming they either don't have it or try something else. But - if I had an application that knew what was in the store, where it was, and how people felt about those products, I wouldn't really ever have to be confused. I could just quickly know whether or not they could actually solve my problem. Or - having just moved to Toronto, I just tried shopping at the Eaton Center mall last weekend. After having some trouble finding a store, instead of going to the information desk, my first inclination was to pull out the iphone to see if they had an eaton center application. And, sure enough, they did. Found the store and I was on my way. So - that's a really long way of saying that for types like me, a mobile application with specific information about a store and its products would be an incredibly useful tool.
Toggle Commented Jan 15, 2010 on Mobile behaviors & in-store shopping at Paul Isakson
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I'm sorry, it's really cold. And everyone is talking about how warm it is. So confusing...
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2009 on Big News at Twist Image at CrapHammer
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Congrats, man! Can't believe how quickly time flies by...
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For serious. I do wonder what this will end up meaning for measurement, particularly when social media is often in the hands of ad agencies and interns, one of which doesn't measure anything, and the other that's only trained in measuring externalities, symptoms. Just like reach, frequency, click-through rates, or whatever advertising metrics train you to try and fix your advertising problem, worrying about how many likes, or youtube views, or your "return on influence" score, or whatever SM metric you choose probably focuses you on trying to fix your social media problem. But with social media, I think that thinking will fade much more quickly. It's easier to cover up your fundamental problem with advertising when you can just buy more eyeballs, or different eyeballs, but you can't buy friends. So at some point, you gotta head down a different rabbit hole.
Toggle Commented Oct 8, 2009 on The Myth of Social Media Monitoring at CrapHammer
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Wow. I'm sorry to see you go, man. I'll be looking out for the next LG incarnation, for sure. Best wishes!
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But I like hamburgers... :)
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Nicely said, Gavin. Love the idea of creating gravity. I think I'll be noodling this a bit... :)
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You should check out Chrome dude. They basically did away with search bar and made url work for both. Can't wait 'til it's ready for prime time on the mac.
Toggle Commented Sep 5, 2009 on Death of the URL Bar at CrapHammer
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