An ode to innovation

I’ve had the privilege of knowing Ken Makovsky for quite some time. As Ken knows, I’ve always seen his agency as a “best practices” model for our own, especially when it comes to quality and business acumen.

Over the years, Ken has proven himself a fierce competitor, industry thought leader and, I’m happy to say, a rabid fellow Mets fans. Now, though, you can add one other descriptor to Mr. Makovsky: co-marketer.

That’s right, Ken and I are off-and-running with the first of what we intend to be three co-branded podcasts on the subject of blogging. The impetus for the series was two independent surveys on the subject undertaken by our respective firms. Ours showed an overwhelming support of blogging by marketing executives. Ken’s survey, on the other hand, audited business executives and revealed that 90 percent saw no benefit to blogging, either from an awareness or qualified sales lead standpoint. The “gap” between the two survey findings seemed like an ideal opportunity to launch a co-branded podcast series. The two of us completed the first one last week. Our next one will include a corporate communications executive. We hope the third podcast will include the views of a living, breathing CEO.

As much as I’ve admired Ken and his firm over the years, the very thought of enacting a co-marketing effort with him would have never entered my mind. But, then along comes blogging and podcasting. And, I thought, what a beautiful way for us to discuss our respective blogging initiatives.

And, so, here we are. Two heads of independent midsized firms discussing blogging and why our marketing peers embrace it, but Corporate America doesn’t. As we were wrapping up our discussion, the thought struck me that Ken and I were doing something quite unique in the public relations arena. I’ve wracked my brain to think of other agencies that have come together to co-market, but couldn’t. How fitting, I said to Ken, that two independent firms are leading this re-definition of agency marketing. As a matter of fact, we issued a challenge to the big guys, the firms owned by the holding companies (you know who you are). We said we’d like to see Helen partner with Mark or Ray sidle up to the new guy at Burson (I simply can’t keep track of who’s running the show over there anymore). In short, we’d like to see the big holding company guys show some innovation and thought leadership in the digital arena. Edelman certainly is. But, then, Edelman is independent. For now.

Beyond the agency world, though, why aren’t other “rivals” leveraging digital technology’s flexibility and partnering to reach consumers in new and different ways. Coke and Pepsi could do a podcast on beverage trends. Ford and Toyota could do one on environmentally safe cars. Delta and Continental could share business travel tips with their listeners.

The possibilities are endless (and very smart, to boot!). But, I guess it takes a couple of Mets fans to jump start the process. Hey Ken: I’m looking forward to the second podcast this week. Let’s see if any of the big guys take up our challenge and follow in our footsteps.

For me, this is one more example of the little guys leading the way in industry innovation. And, Julia, you can quote me on it.


5 thoughts on “An ode to innovation

  1. Looking forward to it rep. I’ve given my colleagues a heads-up regarding your co-marketing venture. We’re one of the “big guy” firms you’re challenging 😉

  2. Leo: ken and I see digital providing huge, new ways with which to connect with target audiences. Beyond the series I’ll be doing with Ken, I’d also like to podcast with advertising execs, purchasing managers, lawyers and line executives (among others). My goal in each will be to identify the “gaps” that exist between us and best practices for closing them. I’d welcome any thoughts you’d have for other podcast subjects.