September 04, 2009

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Players & Pervs Come Out After Dark on the Internet An provocative study of Internet traffic by Arbor Networks, an online security firm, suggests that Americans jump online after dinner to play games and watch porn. The study based on traffic data from dozens of ISPs, tens of millions of subscribers and petabytes of daily Internet traffic indicates that "US Internet traffic reaches its peak at 11p ET and stays relatively high till 3 am." This suggests that 8p-Midnight is prime time on the west coast and Pacific Time. The traffic consists largely of consumer traffic which climbs later in the day and accounts for the bulk of after-business-hours activity. By looking at the sources of traffic and analyzing traffic by host sites, Arbor discerned that video usage increases later in the day peaking at midnight. Similarly servers hosting adult material draw a traffic spike daily between 10p and 1 am. Its reasonable to assume that gamers, prohibited by policy, sensibility or bandwidth at school or work flock to the web at night to unwind and to lose themselves in the games, the avatars and their alter-egos. With similar limitations, those seeking more prurient stimulation do likewise. The implications for marketers are: 1. Primetime TV has serious competition. Either people are bailing out on network fare in favor of more interactive, involving or targeted programming or they are multi-tasking and only partly paying attention to the new Fall season. A roadblock strategy should integrate online and offline media to truly cover the waterfront. Its a fair bet that covering both bases is the only sure way to penetrate the male 18-34 demographic. 2. Commercial or product placement and/or integration into games and porn have the potential to reach and persuade more people than previously thought. Maybe the early adapters of product placement tactics in games were no so crazy. Naturally this is a sensitive issue in terms of content compatibility, but I have a hunch that daring marketers can achieve breakthrough awareness and brand affinity by strategically embedding brand messages in related online properties. 3. Consider online "appointment" events to reach selected audience segments. Midnight madness sales, special hour-by-hour promotions or pricing, night owl content or copy might have added value and pulling power for those up late and active online.
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The Marketing Job Market Sucks -- But Don't Panic Advertising and marketing have been devastated and decimated in the continuing recession. Nielsen reports ad spending is down 15.4% the first half of 2009 compared to last year. Everyone has a bunch of friends out,looking and anxious. Every agency and marketing organization has shed jobs and many will continue to pare down staff and freelance slots. Jerry Bernhart, ace DM recruiter, surveyed 418 unemployed executives during the first week of September and found that searches are taking longer than before and that marketers' were out of work almost twice as long as the national average 28 weeks versus 15.5 weeks. More than half of unemployed ad folks reported looking for a new gig for 7 to more than 10 months. And as you might imagine, the higher the rank and the salary sought; the longer the search. A third of those seeking $200K plus salaries reported being "on the beach" for 10 months or more. There is plenty of reason to worry. But, says my friend Kimberly Bishop, one of Businessweek's top 100 recruiters,don't panic and don't do crazy, desperate things that can sabotage your search. She cautions candidates to “differentiate yourself and stand out from the crowd but not by being obnoxious or by being a jerk.” Kim’s Top 5 search killers are: 1. Don’t force yourself on someone’s calendar. Don’t invite yourself using Outlook. Don’t pressure an assistant. Don’t show up unannounced. Don’t make threats or demands. Don’t send gifts, novelties or packages. Don’t beg. 2. Don’t pretend you have a relationship with a recruiter. Don’t drop executive names. Don’t say you are a distant cousin. Don’t masquerade as someone else to get through the phone screener. Don’t pretend someone the recruiter knows referred you. Don’t pretend to be a survey-taker or a customer service representative. 3. Don’t spin or spill a sob story. Don’t discuss your conditions, your medications, your mortgage, the state of your relationships, your immigration status or your creditors. Don’t suggest that there will be dire consequences if you don’t get an interview. Don’t whine. 4. Don’t go over the top. Don’t send over-the-top letters, videos or creative presentations comparing your career to famous actors, professional athletes, national political figures or Nobel Prize winners. Don’t exaggerate or claim credit for others’ work. Don’t brag. Don’t use profanity. Don’t sing, recite, rap or whistle. Don’t make up heroic or mythical stories. Don’t denigrate co-workers or former employers. Don’t share information or materials that are proprietary to former employers. 5. Don’t ignore the basics. Craft a perfect resume. Prepare for the interview. Anticipate the questions. Have your elevator pitch ready. Cite examples of how your experience matches the job description. There are lots of good reasons to freak out. But it's a waste of time and energy. It's not productive. Marketing continues. Firms need entry-level, mid-career and senior experts to help them. The smart players know they can gain share by advertising and marketing when competitors hesitate. There is an enormous pool of good will, advice and potential contacts in your network. Don't be bashful. Use what's available to you and never let them see you sweat. Good luck.

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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