David Ogilvy and Bill Bernbach could never have imagined that “word-of-mouth” advertising meant this. (photo: blognaver)

If you’re not wired up, you might want to stick to shopping, not selling

Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook (forbes.com)

Those sizeable numbers in my email notice (PCs around for 35 years, the Internet for 20 years, 2 billion people on the Internet, 1 billion smartphones, Facebook with over 1 billion people) came from an insightful interview on Charlie Rose last week that featured three people who know a thing or two about the digital world: Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Marc Andreessen, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz and Facebook board member, and Ken Auletta a technology writer with the New Yorker.

The video is worth watching. If you don’t have time to watch the full interview (50 minutes), fast forward to Charlie’s chat with Sandberg and Andreseen. Very insightful. Here’s the link:


A few highlights (with my comments) if you don’t have time to view the video:

Coming soon to your pocket or purse––5 billion smartphones, connecting everyone to everyone to everything, everywhere. (photo: facebook)

  • Smartphones will become central to our life’s communications – the hub – and there will be one in every pocket or purse.
  • Marketing will become 90% driven by software. So get yourself up to speed or hire the best. And get your kids into software classes, quick. As Marc Andreessen says, “Software will eat the world.”
  • Most of the marketing and advertising money is still on the side of the “traditional media” equation, but it isn’t going to stay that way for long. Online is addressing a first principle of marketing: be customer-centric. Two behemoths come to mind: Amazon

Jeff Bezo saw the whole picture of the wired  future before most people even thought about it.

and Facebook. They are creating enormous consumer value and building huge numbers, which will be followed by the money. They are deferring financial “gratification” and playing long ball, which is uncharacteristic of many traditional corporations. They just have to figure out how to monetize it. And they will (don’t be too worried about Facebook’s current stock price). If you’re in marketing, advertising or the business of selling something, you might want to get on board with these online juggernauts before they’re too far from the dock.

  • Another age-old Marketing 101 maxim has been: “Word-of-mouth advertising is the best advertising.” (I think a Fuller Brush salesman first said it). The Internet has turned word-of-mouth into viral megaphones. Two numbers that make the point: Facebook has 1 billion members and they each have, on average, 130 friends.  That’s one helluva lot of word-of-mouth. And Pinterest, at last count, had only a puny 10 million members but they are the fastest growing site on the Internet. And there’s Buzzfeed, Linked-In, and an endless stream of newbies, everyday. These numbers reinforce two other maxims: “People trust friends the most,” ergo, traditional advertising not so much; and “If you aren’t there, you’re nowhere.”
  • People haven’t changed, they’ve always enjoyed, welcomed and used good advertising and rejected the bad (agency dumpsters are full of them). Now, in the digitalsphere, if the ads are embedded in news feeds or favorite sites that’s okay – if  they’re good ads. Nothing new there, except the context has changed and “good” means something quite
  • Great viral video. Tom Brady and Underarmour at their best.

    different in terms of content. The same old, same old gets trashed in a “click.” Here’s an example of great online advertising gone viral (Tom Brady for Underarmour).

  • Product placement isn’t new but buying those products right off of your favorite TV program is. Here’s a blog about what you can buy from The Good Wife.
  • Traditional media is basically a big system, delivering a conglomeration of messages to many anonymous groups with no relationship. But now, we are beginning to create tailored messages to many small, specific groups and individuals and building relationships anchored in customer-centric choices. They either “Like” and “Share” or they don’t.
  • As a footnote, this year online shopping set new records on “Black Friday”  up 26% over last year to $1.042 billion. Online shopping on Thanksgiving Day  increased 32% totaling $633 million.
  • Around and around, where it stops nobody knows. (digital planet.co.uk)

    It’s just the beginning

    As Sheryl Sandberg says, “We are just at the beginning” (of the digital frontier). And the fact that all seven billion humans on the planet are social animals it follows that some smart marketing people will figure out how to connect everyone to everyone, to everything, everywhere, all of the time. Whether it’s scary or up lifting, it is reality. And if you’re in marketing and not yet wired up then you may soon find yourself disconnected, short-circuited, out of touch and out of business.