The Coffee Bean Problem

A US Coffee company conducted a study and discovered that if they took one coffee bean out of their recipe, no one could tell the difference in their coffee. They then took that extra money and put it into their bottom line. As they continued this practice, they increased production and decreased fees but, eventually, people started to notice that the quality of the coffee was declining.

This is exactly what has been happening among ad agencies and clients steadily for the last 20 years.


With the onset of social media and emerging technologies, clients are asking for more content to keep up with their consumers but at the same time, they are demanding agencies lower their fees. As deliverables increase about 2.3% each year, the fees decrease about 2.2%.

This is causing a breaking point for the agencies, and the only way for them to satisfy both groups is to either sacrifice product quality or cheat.

What do we need?

In order for agencies to prosper, they need to develop or adapt a new model that will to provide more value to the clients by solving the crucial problems agencies are facing.

The current model that is favored in Adland is the Holding Company model.

The reason for this is because they are “the Integrator,” making it easier for clients to have everything they need in one place, especially since marketing is always evolving. And until there is a new model that helps solves the procurement/marketing problem, holding companies will remain king.

What are we doing about it?

TOMORRO\\\ LLC was founded in 2012 with these concerns in mind, with our goal being to provide high value delivery to the client. Taking inspiration from companies like Uber and Airbnb, we have created a virtual ad tech holdings company that does not own any of the agencies. Instead, Tomorro operates as a consultancy working directly with advertisers while offering unbiased solutions.

The New Strategic Value of Film Production

The ability to make video content good, fast, and cheap is no longer just a device to save money or expand the ‘working media’ budget. Today, film production has a domino effect, making it all but impossible to successfully execute today’s strategic marketing initiatives without it. Take a look at these two examples.

Micro targeting

Micro targeting, or the process of using consumer data to influence specific individuals or demographics thoughts or actions, is a key strategy today. Advertisers are able to pinpoint media buys and reach varying segments of people at just the right time. However, this is all for naught if everyone still gets the same message.  

The missing piece to effective micro targeting is making content specifically for each segment. That is not affordable for even the largest advertisers if all they are able to produce are $500,000 TV spots. In 2014 the average cost for one 30 second spot of commercial prime time broadcast TV was $112,000. That's up from $110,000 in 2013. This is aside from the production cost, which could range from $2,000 to over $1,000,000. 

If advertisers would instead invest their budget to 10 or 20 spots and/or videos, there would be a shift from our history of ‘lowest common denominator’ content to hyper-relevant content.

Real Time Content

In 2013, Oreo's famed Super Bowl tweet set the Internet aflame when the stadium's power briefly went out. Seizing the opportunity, Oreo tweeted "Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark."

Despite this example, real time marketing goes beyond posting a timely tweet or status update. Companies are rapidly creating content that drives more response and engagement, making on-the-fly changes to marketing plans, and even using real time data for strategic business decisions, such as product development. 

Real time content is another strategy that is growing in popularity yet cannot be carried out without good, cheap, and (most importantly) fast creation of content. And while building brand sentiment via social media is important, marketers are mostly concerned with how they can increase business metrics like consumer retention and conversion rates. 

Agencies, media companies, or brands that are vertically integrated with strategy, creative, and production all in one place are poised to execute these 21st century marketing initiatives.

First media people moved from the last 10 minutes of the meeting to the front of the room. Now, it is likely that we are about to see “Revenge of The Production People” as the next episode of the ever-changing marketing caste system. 

Career advice; be nice to the production team.

Marketing So Good, You'll Pay For It

When you know enough about who I am, what my real time needs are, and where I am physically, marketing can become customized enough to finally migrate itself from an unwanted intruder, to an actual (gasp) service you appreciate. Maybe even (double gasp) pay for.

Imagine this….

Your Brita water filter ran out last week and you’ve been meaning to pick up a new one, but you’ve been so busy you weren’t able or kept forgetting. Now imagine walking home from work today and your smartwatch alerted you that the exact filter you needed was in stock at the approaching corner store. That’s not ‘advertising’, it’s a service. But to get it, you have to allow advertisers to access your data.

Can you say unblock me (please). That’s the way to tackle ad blocking – with honey rather than vinegar. Pull rather than push, or worse pushy.

Some people are worth going to extraordinary lengths to please.

Influencers just like regular people will promote your brand for you, but they require delivery of extraordinary experiences. Like the widely publicized Morton Steak engagement in 2011 where entrepreneur/blogger/author/super-influencer Peter Shankman tweeted to his 100K Twitter followers before boarding a flight to Newark: “Hey @Mortons – can you meet me at the Newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thank. : )” While Shankman notes that he was not at all serious, Mortons saw the tweet and fulfilled his wish delivering  a porterhouse steak dinner as he exited the plane.

“Sell something, and you make a customer. Help someone, and you make a customer for life.” — Jay Baer

What’s at stake?

How many times has a website served you an ad for a product that you had zero intention of purchasing? In fact, sometimes I’m insulted that the algorithm choose me of all people to target the way a woman might be insulted when a man clearly out of her league hits on her…..’as if.' Poor targeting creates distrust where the user is conditioned to immediately exit out of ads, regardless of its content.

The recent insurgence of users installing ad blockers is a testament to this frustration. Some estimates place potential losses in revenue in the billions whileothers believe that this trend won’t continue. I believe if mainstream users become even more tech savvy and online ads continue to be intrusive, adland has much more to lose.

I believe the future is about creating partnerships with consumers, helping them to leverage their data and sales history. I’ve bought a Range Rover for my last 4 cars – I’m ok with competitors knowing that and bidding against each other when my current lease runs out. My friend Brandan Eich, much to the chagrin of the ad industry, created Do Not Track during his tenure at Mozilla.

I think he’d be thrilled if consumers would not only skip Do Not Track, but would say “double track me!” if they knew transparently that the information they gave up would be used to their own benefit. That’s the partnership I believe is coming.