Hitch and some bright folks from the agency world have put together 2 panels for the 2010 South By Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin.
30% of our vote comes from the public. We’d appreciate it if you could take 5 minutes to register then vote for our panels.
Details are at the following 2 pages.
Register then check yes (or no)–but we’d appreciate the yes! Then make plans to head to Austin, TX in March! SXSW is a great week of interactive know how.
Voting stays open from August 17 – Sept 4th. In the words of 2 old ad pitchmen “Thanks, and we appreciate your support!”
David Wiggs (Hitch), Spike Jones (Brains on Fire), Tim Hayden (GamePlan), Adam Kleinberg (Traction) and Pete Lerma (Click Here)
I first heard about Traction while researching interactive shops in California. Hearing them recommended by their peers was intriguing but, I became a fan as I dug further into their work, and even more so as more we talked about their agency’s higher purpose.
Traction was recently named the #1 interactive agency in the United States by BtoB Magazine, 2009. They call themselves a creative agency with a digital core.
Founded in 2001, Traction is full-service and develops campaigns from strategy through every consumer touch point, but they view everything they do as interactive. From integrated brand and social experiences to engineering strategically driven user experiences, Traction moves audiences from awareness through conversion.
Their client base is diverse ranging from Apple and Adobe to CamelBak, Virgin Mobile and Walmart.com, just to name a few.
Their twitter stream is always interesting or check out their web at www.tractionco.com or Adam Kleinberg’s blog
1. What was the aha moment when you realized “our company needs to be doing things differently than we have been”?
I have little aha moments every day. We’re constantly being reflective about our processes and approaches to make them a little bit better.
But, if there was a big aha moment along the way, it was when we started the agency.
My partners and I had worked together at big agencies like DDB and McCann and saw that there was a real mess about how integration worked. One group would do a print ad and then the interactive guys would be told to “make your stuff look like that.” We just thought that was dumb.
When we started Traction, we were integrated from Day One. We have one team working on all our business. We expect people to be able to take a concept from an idea to execution across whatever tactics they imagine.
And you know what? They can.
2. What books are on your nightstand or great blogs on your Google reader?
I read voraciously. I spend a lot of time on the blogs on iMediaConnection.com and blog on that site myself. There are a lot of smart industry people using that as a platform for thought leadership—and a lot to learn.
I’m also a huge fan of Susan Bratton’s Dishymix podcast. And I read my trades every week—AdWeek, Ad Age, BtoB, Creativity, Comm Arts.
My nightstand actually has way too many books on it. Reading Death by Black Hole right now, but have a bunch of business books on deck (Good to Great, Wired to Care: How companies prosper when they create widespread empathy, Grown Up Digital and A Sense of Urgency). I also have Eckhart Tolle’s Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. And Steven King’s Talisman. And Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five. Really.
3. Give me an example of marketing you think is brilliant and why.
Because of the ubiquity of technology, consumers can now interact with brands on their own terms. Ideas that provide relevant value to customers and get them to invite brands into their lives are what I consider brilliant marketing.
Zippo’s iPhone app is a great example. Three million downloads. Untold thousands of kids holding up their mobiles at concerts across the globe, promoting a brand because it provides them was a chance to be part of something greater. That’s brilliance.
4. We’ve all read that the pitch / RFP process is broken. Many agencies aren’t even interested in competing in pitches. Do you see an alternative to this process?
Sure. We have ten active clients right now. I think we only went through a pitch “process” for half of them. I just emailed a potential client a half hour ago to tell them we wouldn’t do spec work.
It really depends what kind of work you want to do. We walked into a capabilities presentation at a major consumer software company a few weeks ago, had a great meeting and got a call from their procurement department in the midst of celebratory margaritas 25 minutes later.
We ordered another round.
5. What does the agency of the future look like?
But more so, I think agencies are going to need to move up the value chain and become true strategic partners for their clients.
If agencies make their money producing banner resizes, pretty soon clients are going to ask, “Why don’t I just hire someone to do that?” On the other end of the spectrum, more and more publishers and providing brands with unique content integration opportunities and doing creative on their own.
What we can offer that is unique and invaluable are the abilities to uncover insights, to translate them into strategically relevant creative expressions of a brand, and to uncover opportunities to get those messages in front of the right audiences at the right time with the right vehicle. That will mean giving up some creative control at times, but it will also mean greater value will be placed on the strategic process and brand innovation that the agency of the future will bring.
6. What do marketers need that agencies are not giving them?
There’s a huge focus on ROI today and there’s good reason for that. But the result has been a slew of agencies that focus solely on performance marketing and are unwilling to take a risk. They’re afraid to fail.
Great ideas always feel like risks. They always make you nervous. Because great ideas challenge conventional notions. That’s what makes them great.
What marketers need and are not getting from agencies are efforts that bridge that gap. That offer breakthrough thinking married with best practices and a measured ROI. That’s the value we strive to bring our clients at Traction. I think we do a pretty good job.
7. Whom do you admire and why?
Is it trite to say Barack Obama? I don’t care. He’s my hero. He’s truly a visionary on so many levels. He dares to inspire us. He thinks and he leads. Total man crush on the prez.
Tomorrow is the first post in my new blog series Ad Industry Innovators.
The idea is borrowed (with permission) from Aaron Strout at Powered and his series called Experts in our Industry.
I’d have coffee with a different agency leader once a week if I could but that’s not practical, so this is the next best thing.
I don’t want to be the smartest one in the room; and if I am, it’s not a room I want to stay in very long! It’s what I love about helping clients find the best agency for their project. I stay current on emerging technologies for marketing (as much as anyone can) and get to work with some of the sharpest minds in marketing on the client and agency side.
In the coming weeks I’ll introduce you agency people who are leading the industry in this new era of marketing. No one knows for sure where we’re headed but they all agree that things are changing, and fast.
I’m honored to kick things off with the folks at Traction in San Francisco, CA.
Next is my buddy Tim Hayden from Game Plan Experience with offices in Austin, TX and New York, NY.
We’ve got Chris Clarke from the global agency, Nitro Group and even some Seattle stand-outs like DNA-Seattle and Boom Boom.
We go global again with Alain Thys from Futurelab and lots more but I don’t want to give away all the surprises!
So put us in your Google Reader. Subscribe. Tell your friends. ”Wake the kids and phone the neighbors.” It should be fun!