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Business, Marketing

Why Specialization May Kill Long-Term Agency Partnerships

December 21, 2014

If you’ve followed the advertising and marketing industry news of late, one item that might have caught your eye is the growing number of brands reviewing their media buying, advertising and brand representation. From Jaguar Cars moving their 6 year, $100 million global account from Euro RSCG Worldwide to Spark44, to Disney Media ending their decade long relationship with Publicis Groupe’s Starcom, long-term relationships between brands and those who represent them are coming to a close. Just how the number of players who stay with one sports team their entire career is diminishing, so is the number of brands that stay with an agency for an extended period of time. “Do it all” agencies that once handled the branding, public relations and marketing for large brands are seeing their responsibilities broken up and divided amongst several different agencies.

So what is the cause? What is causing brands like Disney and Harley Davidson (Former agency: Carmichael Lynch) to reconsider the future of their advertising, marketing, and entire branding? The answer is specialization.


Specialization is defined as “the act of making something suitable for a special purpose.” In the case of the “do it all” agencies, specialization is a word that can be hard to come by. Because of the growth and speed of information and content in the digital space, there is an accelerated market adoption rate when it comes to new products, messages and brands. This has led to the the need for agencies with quick turnaround times without the sacrifice of quality.

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Business, Marketing, Sports Business

The Sports Executives Dream…

January 20, 2012

When it comes to sports, there are two points of views that it can be viewed from. The first is from a fans perspective and the second is from those who work on getting the actual sporting events to happen. From a fans perspective, sports is as close to an emotional roller-coaster as you can get. From your favorite team driving in the winning run to a buzzer beater shot that sends one team home and the other to the big dance, fans enjoy the luxury of being able to watch athletically gifted individuals come together on a grand stage.

On the flip side of things, sports executives that are involved with the marketing, sales, and organization as whole have a different perspective than that of the fan.  Past all the glitz and glamor, what it all comes down to is that it’s still a business. From the promotions that need to hit its’ numbers to the press release that needs to be done before deadline, the world of a sports executive is full of hurdles, surprises, and twists. Just how Alice entered the rabbit hole toward an unknown adventure, the sports world never ceases to surprise those who enter it.

With that said, we present the question of what a sports executive would ask for if they could have everything go the way they wanted? While everyone wants something different, here 5 ideas on what a sport executives dream might be:

1. Facebook Would Be Easy To Understand

Hate or love it, Facebook isn’t going anywhere. For sports executives, embracing Facebook can be difficult because of the simple fact that Facebook’s Promotional Guidelines cause so much friction because of their lack of clarity when it comes to determining what is and what isn’t a violation. For sports executives and teams, this is especially troublesome as the next level of engagement for teams when it comes to maximizing their digital fan base is through contests and promotions via social platforms like Facebook.

2. League Rules Would Be More Flexible

When it comes to great ideas, there isn’t a lack of them in sports. The problem though that so few of them see the light of day. For sports executives that are looking for ways to maximize their resources and talents, league rules can sometimes create barriers that impede progress. In the ideal world, leagues would work hand in hand with sports executives and teams, giving them more freedom to be creative and leniency to try new strategies.

3. A Mobile Marketing Strategy Would Be Easy

With an expected jump in the number of consumers with smartphones this year, finding a way into the mobile market will become a hot topic for sports teams. While few would make an argument against the viral nature of the  mobile space, what is up for debate is whether it’s worth it financially and also more importantly, if it’s even feasible given both league restrictions as well as the difficulty in creating a single application/mobile strategy that will appease all parts of an organization.

4. What’s A Lockout?

Eliminating the possibility of a lockout is an ideal situation not only for a sports executive, but for fans as well. While potential lockouts irk fans, sports organizations must tread lightly with decisions they make when a lockout is imminent, such as the case with the NBA lockout looming next season. These decisions include a multitude of areas including hiring personnel and budget cuts.

5. Digital Sponsorship Are Easy

One of the biggest question marks going into 2011 is the direction sports teams will take when it comes to digital sponsorships. While sponsorship teams have had mild success when it comes to selling CPM and standard sponsorship space on their team sites, sponsorships teams need to begin focusing their attention on social media assets and distribution as well as developing exclusive digital content that are sponsor eligible. For sports executives, educating and bringing in the right talent that know how to effectively sell digital sponsorship would be the perfect situation.

Business, Marketing

Should Your Business Sell Everything?

January 1, 2012

As a business continues to grow in sales, there comes a point when a business needs to decide whether they should expand their product line offering or if they should continue to work with what they have. While there are many reasons why a business could benefit from expansion, there are also many reasons why it may actually hurt a business.

In the perfect world, the more you have to offer, the more valuable you are. Unfortunately, that is not the case. When a company begins to expand their product line, a business could be endangering their brand identity.

It’s Not For Everyone

Although expanding may seem like the best strategy, the truth is that expanding posses problems from a marketing standpoint if not done correctly.

To understand the possible implications of product line expansion, we will use Company X as an example.

Company X has built a reputation of building great copy machines. They have built a solid foundation in the minds of consumers, but now they have decided to expand to building computers, fax machines, and other electronic accessories. Although they are now able to penetrate existing markets, the big question is whether or not they can dominate it in the same fashion as they did with copy machines. In most cases, the answer is no. By expanding the product line and offerings, Company X has disoriented consumers. They are no longer relevant in the minds of consumers for any specific product or service, but are rather identified as selling a lot of ’stuff.’ Remember, there is never a demand for ’stuff.’

Don’t Sell Stuff, Sell Your Brand

While the obvious counter to Company X is to bring up examples like Target and Walmart, we must remember that they aren’t known for selling ‘stuff.’ They are known for selling many consumer products at a low cost. Similarly Costco sells many different product, but again they aren’t known for selling ‘stuff,’ they are known for selling products in bulk.

If you look at some of the leading companies that offer a wide range of products to consumers, what you will find is that none of them are known for selling ‘stuff.’ Rather, they are known for selling a particular type. Just how Costco is known for selling goods in bulk and Target at affordable prices, businesses that consider expanding their product offering need to determine what their message will be to consumers.

3 Questions To Ask Before Expanding

1. How much market share do you currently have with your current product offering/service line?

2. Do you have the resources to compete in other product/service market?

3. How will you change your marketing/branding efforts to support your new product lines?

Business, Marketing

Ideas: Scalability Versus Creativity

December 19, 2011

Ideas: Scalability Versus Creativity

In a recent article entitled, “China, India Offer Marketers Opportunities for Scalable Ideas,” AdAge touched upon the scalability of ideas and how in certain situations, ideas that scale should come first, followed by creativity. Using China and India as examples of areas where scalability are keys to a successful marketing strategy, the article points out that in markets like Western Europe and North America, “digital technology is often ahead of other regions, and the consumer engages with the online medium at a deeper level.” Further, the article goes on to say that “ideas that ‘wow’ you and break through the clutter in a big way are more successful” in those regions. Conversely, AdAge notes that marketing campaigns focused in areas like China and India need to be focused more on the scalability side and not necessarily on the creativity.  While the ‘wow’ factor is great to have, in regions where population growth continues to climb, being able to develop ideas and strategies that scale means that you have the potential to reach every single person, which in these regions means millions of people. Continue Reading…