The Long and the Short of it

The always excellent finance and business video series Wallstrip has a great game called “Long; Short” where various interviewees give their thoughts on stuff using the time honoured trader’s choice of “long” (in for the long term) and “short” (sell now, buy later for a quick profit).

Here’s my long/short position on various things going around right now

Twitter – short. No business model (as yet) and I think businesses will find it hard to justify their presence and their employees presence on such a huge time suck. Another outlet for the PR function to monitor.

Blogging – long! Great content will win out.

Google – long. In a recession, detailed analytics will be paramount to proving value. As more and more content goes up onto the web and into Google’s index, more and more people will use the number one search engine meaning more and more click-throughs will be sold. Long on AdWords; long on Google.

I’m long on SEO for the same reason.

Podcasting – long. In a knowledge based economy, portable content of any kind will be a winner.

RSS – short. Well, I’m short RSS as we know it. I’m short on consumer adoption of RSS improving beyond a small to medium portion of the general population. However, I am long on RSS as a technology which continues to power the best Web sites and syndicate content all over the Web. I am long on RSS becoming the backbone of the Web.

Fleishman-Hillard – long! I read a ridiculous post a few weeks back on big PR agencies not taking digital seriously and spent way too much potentially billable time thinking about a response. The best way to put this is that FH has probably the most advanced digital capability out of all the big agencies and probably by a decent sized multiple. That said, the laser focus on clients has meant the organization is not blowing its own horns enough.

Social media “experts” – short! Find a social media expert and all you get is social media expertise. But…

Integration – long! Integration across all disciplines needs to be tighter. That doesn’t mean having the PR agency writing a news release about the ad campaign, but about a true multi-channel approach to marketing with consistent creative and channels that match up with the demographics.

Facebook – long. But it’s a tough one. It is tough to “long” a company that needs > $365mm in revenue ($1mm a day) to cover server/bandwidth costs alone. On the other hand, I love the idea of advertising along the social graph. I’m told by peers and colleagues that Facebook ads are getting a higher ROI than even AdWords campaigns – so if I’m long AdWords, how can I short Facebook? Plus, you have to hope that will the caliber or investors Facebook will turn a profit someday…

Email – long. With all the hype around Web 2.0 type technologies, it is sometimes hard to remember that Web 1.0 is still alive, kicking and producing tremendous ROI. Email ROI is about 46:1 on online advertising (down from 56:1 the previous year) but still represents an efficient, elegant way to dialogue directly with engaged (read: opted in) consumers. Definitely long.

Viral marketing – short. Well, short until people realise what they’re asking for. Viral is a result, not a tactic. In order to be viral, you need to be, literally, remarkable. Not enough agencies/consultants have the chops to really tell this to clients. It is a high risk, high reward game and until companies follow Diesel and Nike and Agent Provocateur down the path of creating remarkable content that people will want to share, I am short on “viral” marketing. Contradictorily, I would probably be long on word of mouth marketing if I knew more about it and its inner workings.

Online or digital marketing – short. It may surprise you to know that I am short on online/digital marketing. I work for an Internet communications agency and my work is all online and digital marketing. I’m short this because I think, eventually, “online and digital” marketing will just become “marketing”. The boundaries are starting to blur and will continue to blur as integration continues apace.

Keeping my English spelling – long.

Business Jargon – short. For me at least. I neither like nor understand baseball so why would I want to “touch base”?

What are you long/short on in today’s marketing world? What would you like my ill-considered, hastily assembled, snap-second judgement on for next time?


8 Responses to The Long and the Short of it

  1. Very interesting, Ed. I agree with you on all points except Twitter. Yes, it can be a time suck, but I’m finding it interesting seeing how both B2B and B2C are using it.
    PS Although I subscribe to your blog, it was your tweet that led me to this post.

  2. Joe Boughner says:

    Great list, Ed. I think you’re right on regarding RSS. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot, lately. RSS is the underlying technology but it’s the results that matter.

    Most people using iGoogle or My Yahoo don’t realize they’re using RSS. They just know they’re getting content delivered to them.

    But the big area I see RSS exploding is in syndicating and integrating content from across the web in one central place.

    For example, we’re looking at using the RSS functionality built into to easily syndicate outside news stories on our website. If I see an article of interest to our membership, I tag it in RSS and it appears in a “related news” widget on our site.

    Our members (the end users) don’t have to know that RSS enabled the process, they just get the benefits of it.

    Oh, and I feel your pain on the jargon thing. I accidentally use jargon more and more these days; I blame the work environment.

  3. Judy Gombita says:

    I think you are bang-on about all of them, Ed. Good for you, taking a realistic look (especially when it comes to the bright shiny toys).

    Two questions re: long or short ones not covered in your list.

    Online public relations? (As per the answer to my Q2 to Jim Grunig)?

    Keeping some Capitalization and punctuation (i.e., periods)? 😉

  4. Ed Lee says:

    Donna – as I said, one of the reasons I’m bearish is because of how bullish the rest of the industry is on Twitter. There are a load of very intelligent people in our industry; but are they right all the time?

    Joe – completely agree with you on RSS. it is easy to use but terribly tough to understand.

    Judy – I am short on both. for online pr – see online marketing. i know that de jure PR isn’t supposed to be part of the marketing equation, but as much as it will pain bill sledzik, de facto it is.

    and you know my stance on capitalization in emails! well, on personal emails at any rate…


  5. Cheryl says:

    I’m a new twitter-er, but with you so far on this. I actually started a blog for my company (that was then shut down). I don’t see any way for them to use twitter. I’m finding it addictive — but am also annoyed with myself for spending so much time on it.

  6. I’m short on Twitter per se (too complicated and time-sucky for most people), and ditto most public social networking sites (inc Facebook) but feel that something will shake out of the technology.

    Good to hear that you are maintaining the Queen’s English too – I got called out by a US student recently at PR Conversations for my UK spelling, which they felt indicated errors.

  7. Ed Lee says:

    Heather makes an awesome point – a lot of our positions, so to speak, will come out in the wash. it will be interesting to see if so many people are so bullish on twitter, for example, in a year’s time.

    if you take a look at the gartner hype cycle, after the “peak of inflated expectations” comes the “trough of disillusionment”.

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