Archives for posts with tag: authority


Facebook is starting to join the real-time conversational marketing bandwagon. Basically, ads will be delivered based on the declared intention of the user. Ad Age explains:

“Users who update their status with “Mmm, I could go for some pizza tonight,” could get an ad or a coupon from Domino’s, Papa John’s or Pizza Hut. (…) ”

With real-time delivery, the mere mention of having a baby, running a marathon, buying a power drill or wearing high-heeled shoes is transformed into an opportunity to serve immediate ads, expanding the target audience exponentially beyond usual targeting methods such as stated preferences through “likes” or user profiles. Facebook didn’t have to create new ads for this test and no particular advertiser has been tapped to participate — the inventory remains as is.

A user may not have liked any soccer pages or indicated that soccer is an interest, but by sharing his trip to the pub for the World Cup, that user is now part of the Adidas target audience. The moment between a potential customer expressing a desire and deciding on how to fulfill that desire is an advertiser sweet spot, and the real-time ad model puts advertisers in front of a user at that very delicate, decisive moment.”

Could this work? Isn’t that finally the transformation of advertising from attention to intention? VRM has finally arrived? Hallelujah?

Sadly, no. Facebook tries to find a business model that can help them sustain their valuation of $85 billion. Or, is it $4.5 gazillion by now? Fact is, the Facebook ads perform abysmal. Brand pages and apps are doing okay but Facebook needs to make most of their money from  ads. So, they are scrambling. Problem is, the contract between Facebook and each Facebook user is broken. It’s not broken enough for people to leave Facebook. We’re just too lazy to head over to another network. It might happen one day. But not in the foreseeable future. The platform is too user-friendly, too big and too embedded into our daily lives.

Facebook is the new Microsoft

We didn’t like to use PC’s, always envied the Apple users. We didn’t really care for another version of Office. But the rest of the world was using it. Microsoft was omnipresent and we had no alternatives. That’s how people feel about Facebook. John Battelle thinks people will game the system. I don’t really see it as gaming, just another way to look for special offers.

But that’s not real challenge.

Facebook has only one asset: You & me, and the community we create. In order for Facebook to command any decent valuation, all of us have to be comfortable with the deal. And the deal is that Facebook sells our data, our personas to marketers. This requires an open, truthful and transparent relationship between Facebook and us. Have you ever thought of Facebook as an open, truthful and transparent company?


The Intention Economy is built around more than transactions. Conversations do matter. Relationships as well. So, do reputation, respect and trust. To think Facebook can be the mediator in an intention economy is, to say the least, questionable.


Imagine a brain surgery.

No, better: Imagine your brain surgery. You’re blissfully knocked out while a team of surgeons, nurses and anesthesiologists are working on keeping you and your brain alive. The chief surgeon is about to make a decision that will end your life. And the lowly nurse knows it. She knows that this particular cut will lead to unstoppable bleeding.

And she doesn’t say a word. Because she’s a lowly nurse. Without a gallery of degrees and country club friends.  She keeps her job. The surgeon keeps his degrees, salary and friends. And you are dead.

That happens right now in boardrooms, offices, agencies and, yes, in hospitals.

In most team cultures, bosses tend to act as authority figures who are there only to help subordinates, not to listen to and be helped by others. So, what happens if a nurse sees a doctor about to make a fatal cut? The human in us expect her to scream “No, doctor.” and explain her reasoning. But the organizational animal in her tells her to say nothing. She’s done it before, maybe many times, and had to feel the wrath of the organization.

It happened to the media planner criticizing the work of the Group Creative Director. It happened to Sherron Watkins, the Enron whistleblower. It happened to you.

People with the most authority have to make the rest of the team feel safe

Real teamwork and a lively collaboration environment requires constant mutual helping. Breaching hierarchies and organizational structures. Every executive and leader needs to create a culture where helping each other is more important than any title or rank. They need to ensure that each team member can speak up without fear of retribution.

Team-building exercises often focus on making everybody feel great about one another. That has been the cornerstone of the US education system, making American kids #1 in confidence. And #25 in competence.

Instead, a team culture should be nurtured where the #1 priority is how to work with one another as equal partners. We all depend on each other. If the media plan is awful, the creative won’t perform. If the technology is not up to par, a great media plan means nothing. We are not responsible for life and death in the marketing world. But we’re responsible for our employees, our clients and our families.