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Gary Colen

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Building the Agency of the Future

  I am thrilled to share some exciting news about AMP. The AMP Agency team has joined forces with  UX focused agency BLITZ and premier experiential marketing and branding firm 206Agency. The three agencies become AMP Agency, and while the name may be the same, we have an evolved look and a national footprint, with five offices and more than 300 employees to build solutions for our partners.     Also joining our team is Adlucent, an industry leader in performance media and analytics who, through their proprietary technologies and methodologies, have launched successful performance campaigns for clients, including many retailers, including Amazon, Wasserstrom, and Gardner’s Supply Company to grow their ecommerce performance. We’re excited to have Adlucent join the AMP family,  operating under their existing brand.   What does this mean for our clients?     We believe brands that design better customer experiences lead the world in business performance. While these agencies have been collaborating behind the scenes for a few years, by more fully integrating, our teams have the ability to affect change at “every touch-point” of the customer journey, delivering exceptional brand experience systems – the Holy Grail for CMOs and modern marketers.    Our brand ecosystem agency has offices in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle and Austin. Together, we use proprietary data, behavioral analysis and predictive analytics tools to better understand our clients’ audiences and drive business results through creative marketing solutions.   I’m humbled by the incredible team at AMP Agency. 300+ happy AMPers, digital natives and global thinkers who are passionate – and yes, maybe a bit obsessive – about the work we create every day for clients like Amazon, Facebook, Fisker Inc., Garnier Fructis, Levi’s, LinkedIn, Maybelline, Southwest Airlines and Patagonia.   With a rapidly changing technology landscape and connected consumers’ demands for more personalized products and services, there is no question the pressure is on modern marketers who must continually evolve. I am confident our team of number-crunchers, strategists, analysts, geeks and creatives can deliver on this mandate, building solutions across the entire brand ecosystem, connecting people and brands in more meaningful ways that grow businesses.   We look forward to tackling your most complicated marketing and technology problems and creating solutions that move business forward.   Gary Colen CEO, AMP Agency        

iPad Hype? Or iPad Hyper Speed?

Been thinking quite a bit about the iPad ' two things struck me. Went to a store today, Monday, and all three of the WiFi models were available for purchase.  In fairness, if you run retail, out of stock is not a good outcome as you've missed a sale, but I sure would want to understand what really happened this weekend. The majority of major analysts all increased their respective forecast for iPad sales by almost double across the board ' I assume that's based on earlier opinion polls however those and exit polls have been inaccurate in the past. Trust me, I am not an iPad hater, I have ordered a 3G+Wifi ' more that I embrace the spectacle of the brand. The fact that I ordered the 3G+Wifi model is my second point. If we really did wire up the nation to provide Wifi access ' think the Philadelphia Experiment (not movie) ' you really wouldn't need the two versions. Just struck me that maybe the math works ' would people pay ½ the cost of a 3G plan from AT&T to support free Wifi in their community? Just a thought...

Crossing Moats and Scaling Castles

Here is something to think about. Consider two brands in the electronics category. Brand A has clearly defined technical superiority, a 30 year + history, as well as dominant brand awareness and distribution at retail. Brand B has an entrepreneurial bent, clear brand positioning as a 'cool' challenger brand, secondary retail placement and is a smaller business. Brand A spends 10x what Brand B spends in marketing. Brand A focuses on traditional media; print, broadcast and newspaper. Brand A spends on digital; display and PPC. Brand A spends $0 on social. Brand A spends zero time on social. Brand A has not one person assigned to social. Brand B spends $0 on traditional. Brand B has six full-time employees dedicated to social. Brand B is measuring the efficacy of their investment in dollar based ROI. As I approached the display at retail featuring both brands with questions regarding respective effictiveness and quality, I couldn't find an employee to discuss (brief note to thank our nation's wonderful electronic's retailers 2010 ' topic for another time). So with no in-store sales assistance, I took out my mobile, queried vark, and asked each brand's respective social presence, Facebook and Twitter specifically, and got perspectives from my own social network. I immediately received feedback from each of the brands. One gave me their feedback through lack of response. One responded back immediately. The feedback was clear, appeared honest and open to me and most importantly, was provided in my specific time of need. And that, was the difference maker. 10 minutes from start to finish, I left with Brand B. So, Brand A spends 0% of their budget on social and Brand B spends almost 100% of their budget on social. Someone is making a poor decision'?¦I have a thought on which. Brand A is in a castle under attack worrying about keeping the castle, while Brand B is building a bigger castle right next door. Welcome to the neighborhood.

AMP Agency Extends Its Capabilities with Rock Coast Media Acquisition

,/b> This past month AMP announced its acquisition of Rock Coast Media, Inc., an interactive marketing agency focusing on search engine marketing, search engine optimization and social media strategy. The addition of Rock Coast Media significantly enhances AMP's comprehensive media offerings with the addition of full search engine and social media marketing capabilities, disciplines that continue to show considerable industry growth and influence as part of effective digital strategies. Web 2.0 environment is pushing marketers to rethink their digital strategy and this allows us to provide comprehensive strategic and deployment services under one budget, and optimize against it. By adding Rock Coast Media's search offerings, we round out our integrated social and display advertising solutions, allowing our clients to leverage full scope marketing services alongside innovative technologies to maximize their online investment and extend the impact of promotional campaigns. Not to mention the fact that we have put some extremely talented and intelligent people in our corner. As we look to increase our services to our clients and further increase our value, RCM will provide yet another great suite of capabilities. The more assets at our disposal, the greater our ability to be strategic thought leaders and the better positioned we are to help you make difficult decisions with your budgets in these tough times. Let me know if you are interested in learning more ' gcolen@ampageny.com.

There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch

Looking for a guaranteed way to get your product in consumers' hands? Give it away for free. In the wake of May's KFC grilled chicken riots, I've spent quite a bit of time pondering the tenet of 'free'? as a promotional strategy. Free has always been (and always will be) a strong tool to excite consumers, but in the wake of continued economic distress, we've seen a recent resurgence of 'give it away'? marketing. Coldplay has announced they'll give a free album to all concert attendees. FedEx recently offered free printing of resumes. Burt's Bees is giving away 25,000 lip balms to celebrate their 25th Burt Day. Friendly's is even giving away free ice cream. We're seeing free being met with great fanfare and consumer appeal, but does it lead to success? Understanding that success looks different to every brand based on their objectives, when free is executed well (read: strategically), it doesn't mean free of profit. It means free to succeed. Let's take a quick look at two examples from this year of how free was done right and done wrong ' Denny's and KFC. During the Super Bowl, Denny's promoted an offer giving away free Grand Slam breakfasts via a 30 second TV spot. In preparation for the rush, they extended store hours, overstocked on eggs, rallied the staff and ended up feeding roughly two million people. The hard cost: $5 million dollars on food. The amazing news: they broke even less than a month later thanks to day of drink sales and coupon redemptions, and more importantly, they cashed in on nearly $50 million in free advertising and mostly positive reviews! KFC had all the pieces in place to utilize free to create tremendous momentum for their grilled chicken launch: a new product offer, coupons for a free meal and, the ultimate kicker - an endorsement from Oprah. However, KFC underestimated the power of free. Not all their franchises honored their own coupons. Employees weren't trained to handle the demand. They ignored the risks associated with free and were ill-prepared for the response. After two days of lines, and a lack of legs and thighs, all they had to show was negative buzz and disgruntled clientele. So, what's the next big idea to harness free? How can we deliver trial and ROI, drive profitability and grow brands without the grilled chicken backlash?

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