Archives for posts with tag: albert Einstein

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Most job descriptions talk in their requirements and qualifications about experience, skills and expertise. And in interviews candidates get asked about their experience, skills and expertise.

Sure, there are some professions where nothing else is required: Surgeons, chef or airline pilot. While their daily tasks and techniques might change incrementally, they need to really focus 99% of the time on their experience, skills and expertise.

In the ever-changing media world, there’s one quality that’s more important than any experience, skills or expertise:

Curiosity

I haven’t met one brilliant media professional who is not a curious person. Curiosity is so important because:

Your mind becomes active instead of passive

Curious people always ask questions and search for answers in their minds. Their minds are always active. Since the mind is like a muscle which becomes stronger through constant exercise, the mental exercise caused by curiosity makes your mind stronger and stronger.

Would you rather hire a passive or active thinker? Would you want somebody on your team that reacts to challenges or somebody who anticipates them?

It makes your mind expect new ideas

When you are curious about something, your mind expects and anticipates new ideas related to it. When the ideas come they will soon be recognized. Without curiosity, the ideas may pass right in front of you and yet you miss them because your mind is not prepared to recognize them. Just think, how many great ideas your team may have lost due to lack of curiosity?

It opens up new worlds and opportunities

By being curious, you will be able to see new worlds and possibilities  which are normally not visible. They are hidden behind the surface of normal life, and it takes a curious mind to look beneath the surface and discover these new worlds and possibilities. They can’t be found in marketing blogs, conferences or weekly status reports. They are out there in books, museums, the little store on the street, the conversation with daily people.

It brings excitement to work, life and your team

Curious people are seldom bored. There’s always something new to discover, new to explore, new adventures to experience.

So, next time you interview a candidate spend a bit less time on exploring the details of their career and find out more what goes in their head and imagination: What book did they read last? What movie made them think and change their opinion? What music connects with them? The last trip to the museum? If they would write a book, what would it be about?

We all start out curious. Often, this curiosity is being killed by the home, the school or the challenges of daily life. When you meet somebody who still has that childlike curiosity, who battled through all the curiosity killers and still made it: Hire them. You’ll never regret it.

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Yahoo!, the last traditional media company, is in deep trouble. Just like AOL, MSN and Forbes.com – dinosaurs founded in a time where media agencies had to manage scarcity. The Yahoo! Homepage used to be part of a digital media plan just like buying commercials during the NFL season for beer brands. Two things changed: ad networks, DSP’s and ad exchanges changed the focus of media agencies from placement buying to audience buying. And, more importantly, people are less interested in reading professional content and pay more attention to content created by their friends.

What is Yahoo’s response to a changed marketplace and customer behavior?

More content, more video, more, more, more. I wonder if Albert Einstein’s “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” has become Yahoo’s mission statement. More is not the answer. Traditional media companies will never be able to compete with the amount of content created on Social Networks, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, Facebook, Google+, Blogs, sites, Tumblr, etc. I’m not predicting the death of Yahoo!, nothing ever dies. VCR’s are still flashing “12:00” in millions of households, papers are being delivered to millions of door steps each morning and millions of faxes are being delivered each week. It took decades after the telegraph

was invented until the last telegraph was sent. (January 27, 2006, to be exact.) Yahoo! will be around for a long time to come. More irrelevant and less valuable by the day.

The demise of Yahoo! points to an important development

Online advertising is in the middle of a radical evolution but the majority of agencies/brands are acting as if it was still 2005. During that period, the majority of digital marketers were complaining about silos and the fact that they were cut off from the traditional campaign. Digital advertising had no place at the table and was not more than an afterthought: “Make sure the banner ad looks like the commercial.”

The disconnect is now between display advertising and social media

I see more integration between TV/Print campaigns and Social Media compared to Display Advertising and Social Media. The challenge is that Display Advertising continues to be deeply anchored in the world of Direct Marketing, creating a massive disconnect between that display advertising and Social Media. When your goal is to convert prospects into leads, a Social Media integration seems nothing than a silly distraction. Or, is it?

We’re reliving 2005 in the display advertising space: SEM/SEO is always at the table, Social Media the hot new toy and display advertising was relegated to the basement and algorithms.

What is the remaining value of media buying agencies?

The agency role in this new ecosystem will be re-evaluated by brands. The main challenge for media buying agencies will be their unique value proposition. It used to be access, buying power and custom tools. That competitive advantage is slowly disappearing because content created outside of traditional media properties gains importance and relevance over time.

The secondary challenge is the lack of trusted measurements. Ask 100,000 marketers about trusted and reliable measurements and you will get 150,000 answers. Is it impressions, clicks, conversions, engagement, connections – what the hell is it? It’s a lack of industry leadership but also a lack of confidence by agencies based on the fickle brands. “Oh, you focus on conversions? Sure, we can do that.”

Sorry, I don’t know the answer. I just have a lot of questions.

The marketing landscape continues to evolve rapidly. We’re still trying to answer the questions of 2005, while our clients expect us to answer the questions of 2012. As a industry, we need to find better ways to measure, to attribute and to communicate our value proposition to clients.

The conference season is upon us. I hope we can spend less time talking about case studies and acting as if we knew the answers. Instead, let’s ask more questions.