Archive for Kendall Allen

Sorting out the vapor in the programmatic trend

Posted by Kendall Allen on November 6th, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Those of you doubting the trends in programmatic—reports that more and more inventory is being bought and sold this way, that more marketers are embracing the machine over the human media planner or buyer—might be asking the wrong question. As aptly illustrated by the ad:tech NY panelists today on “Surviving the Programmatic Buying Bubble,” it’s not a question of whether the growth is happening. It’s happening. But, might the movement be a bubble? How do we sort the vapor from the substance and find the ingredients that make programmatic useful to our business and marketing plans?
In order to sort, there are key areas to understand. First, if you are engaging an agency, or a holding company staffing a trading desk—do you understand what solution is being utilized? Is it proprietary? Do you understand what additional partners or parties are in the mix? Transparency, a principle that dogs us all, especially when we are not sure how to attend to it, extends beyond understanding placement and price, but of course includes those things. It’s important to understand the programmatic ad marketing operation you are engaging.
Secondly, it’s essential to get that programmatic is not just about the real-time bidding mechanic. Adopting programmatic,... Read more

Let's think about the mindset of multi-cultural marketing

Posted by Kendall Allen on November 6th, 2013 at 12:34 pm

As a consumer marketer, one of the most crucial parts of your discipline is your ability to navigate and to rise above the myths that dog your particular segment. Nowhere is this discipline more tested than within multi-cultural marketing—quite simply, because there are more myths flooding this marketer’s consideration. Are African Americans more or less brand loyal? Does the Latino market have more or less spending power or lower socio-economic status? What informs our reality when it comes to these matters? Society breeds myths, as we know; a marketer working across cultures therefore has to bust them to do good consumer marketing work.
Myths about a segment’s psychologies, lifestyle and even key demographic trends will fuel bias, in a way that directly influences the quality of your marketing work. If you are off base on your consumer, you will be off base on your choices start to finish. If your view is skewed, what consumer insights will you have in hand to thoughtfully shape your strategy or your tactics? Your creative and your message? The way you optimize? Today, we are reminded that tactics are not inter-changeable across cultures. And to get this right, you’ve got to deal first with your... Read more

Agencies, Brands and Making the Love Last

Posted by Kendall Allen on November 8th, 2012 at 1:17 pm

If you've spent any time on the brand side or inside the agency -- you could muse on this topic all day long. With fond memories, painful remembrances, and all the recollected fodder that is your personal case history. The topic of the Brand/Agency relationship is perennial. And, we've been talking about how to make it last for the long-term, well, for a very long time. Most of the advice, truthfully -- is never, ever new. But, the best of it is tried and true.
In Tuesday's ad:tech session, "Meeting the Needs to Build Long-Lasting Relationships" -- those musing drew on experiences at American Express, Arnold NY, and Central Desktop. And the moderator herself, was a well-known strategist and trooper in brand and agency relations -- Ms. Dana Todd. There were no obvious battle scars and the conversation came down mostly to well-earned insight.
Having spent most of my career prior to say, the last five years, inside agencies large and small -- multi-practice, digital and/or specialty -- the categories of concern rang true. On both sides of the relationship, the primary pieces remain: navigating and aligning procurement processes to do the right deal; savvy negotiation and care-taking of scope; aligning and... Read more

Influence Clarified: We All Live in Networks

Posted by Kendall Allen on April 5th, 2012 at 9:07 am

During today's sessions, I found one of the most delightful industry geared ideas a really simple one. In fact, as someone who advises clients on integrated, increasingly socially led marketing and media -- I appreciated the presenter's care to simply express an often nebulous concept: influence. We often find ourselves in the position of clarifying such concepts for our clients or teams before we can lay out strategy, plan and execution. In the "Occupy Advertising" keynote, Paul Adams, Global Brand Experience Manager for Facebook -- and author of "Grouped," stated quite simply that we all, every single person, live in networks. That's it, all of us.
This is a liberating thought, opening up the concept of influence a bit -- not exclusively attributing it to the most avid connector, or intricately socially graphed "influencer." As you imagine the radiant circles around a person -- any person -- you have their inner circle of intimates, extending further into family and close but not closest friends and on outward into degrees of acquaintance and societal fabric, you can begin to see it. These radiant circles have cross-sections: your confidantes; your college friends; your life-long friends; your marathon buddies; your local industry business peers... Read more

Big Ideas Ring True: Proving Personalization and Scale

Posted by Kendall Allen on April 4th, 2012 at 4:24 pm

In "The Next Big Idea: Personalization and Scale," several VCs showcased companies they felt represented the state of innovation and stood as our industry's best bets today. With a few of his stand-out examples, Jeff Crowe, General Partner, Norwest Venture Partners, led a particularly interesting segment of this session -- with this thought: personalization and scale are "mutually re-enforcing." Admittedly, at first, Crowe's mantra on personalization and scale played a bit like industry speak. But, the power was in an example or two.
First, to expand on this personalization/scale concept, when personalization is successfully scaled by companies, media tech providers and other entities, personalization itself is enhanced for the consumer. The consumer experience in these dynamically, highly personalized environments reaches an incredibly satisfying hilt that builds upon itself. And, the company in turn is able to accelerate its own scale, by operationalizing live feedback on consumer demand, preferences and choices. Crowe's illustrations vividly, quickly showed this concept at play.
Take the crowd-sourced product conceptualization, design and commercialization that is the core business of Quirky ( that he shared.  In the Quirky environment, brands look to the crowd for critical product input, feedback and direction. For a sense of scale: there are currently... Read more