Letters, May 12, 2008

Published on .

Nothing new about MindShare Idea

RE: "MindShare Moves Beyond Buying and Planning." The fact that the concept you describe was announced as a "new" initiative was most surprising. Our business in Australia -- Growth Solutions Group -- has operated on this model and these goals for the past five years of our 10-year history.

The melding of people with McKinsey backgrounds as well as with partners from marketing management, research, media and advertising-agency careers has been not just our distinctive point of difference, but the reason for our successful client track record.

We will watch how MindShare pulls off its "new" concept. It is likely that it may follow the many other failed attempts in the advertising industry to restructure their way to new visibility, for reasons best typified by the reported comments of the North American CEO of MindShare: "We think media should be at the center."

It is instructive to see how many times advertising-industry "leaders" believe they can build a consulting model when in fact their new efforts remain advertising-centric. There can only ever be one hub for strategy and marketing-related consulting. That center point must always be the client-business question to be addressed, with a solution-neutral approach to finding the right answer.
Graeme Chipp
Managing Director
Growth Solutions Group
Melbourne, Australia


Newspaper death greatly exaggerated

The "Newspaper Death Watch" headline is completely over the top. Advertising Age in print form will die long before major-market newspapers die in print form. Newspapers have been evolving for decades and will continue to be leading local-content providers across multiple formats. Newspaper companies still enjoy 20% cash-flow margins, above the level of the early 1990s, per a new Deutsche Bank analysis. The "Death Watch" title is sensationalist, inaccurate and unfair.
Jason E. Klein
President and CEO
Newspaper National Network
New York


Hybrid measurement already available

While instructional, your recent piece "Website Traffic: Why Can't We All Agree" missed emphasizing two important aspects of the state of the online-measurement field. The first was the unusual admission by both Nielsen Online and ComScore representatives that panel-based measurement of online media brought with them significant deficiencies. The second is the noteworthy move by many leading online publishers, agencies and marketers who have adopted Quantcast's direct-measurement approach.

In the story, Nielsen's David Osborne noted that, unlike with analog media, every media-consumption event online can be logged (a case for direct-measurement). Josh Chasin of ComScore more directly stated that panels may "not be sufficient" and that "there's been some talk about maybe a hybrid approach is the best solution."

Though dramatic, the story misses the fact that more than 30,000 media properties, agencies and marketers are already leveraging Quantcast's "Quantified Publisher" program to improve traffic and audience data accuracy for their sites, videos and distributed widgets through a hybrid measurement approach.

Our methodology addresses many of the challenging issues highlighted in the story by incorporating real traffic data in combination with multiple third-party-panel data sources. We "triangulate," if you will. More importantly, we provide a dynamic inference model that goes far beyond simple projection of audience characteristics from linking directly measured traffic data (pixels) with sample-based audience compositions (panels).

Simply put: Direct-measurement and hybrid pixel/panel solutions are very much a present-day reality. As we establish the foundation for tomorrow's addressable-media economy, we must embrace evolved approaches to audience characterization and activation that build on new infrastructure, modeling and processing capabilities.

Publishers, agencies and marketers already agree the ideal solution is measurement that combines both directly measured and panel-based data. The discussion and focus needs to be on how we deliver that solution to the market -- both effectively and efficiently.
Konrad Feldman
Co-Founder and CEO
Quantcast Corporation
San Francisco


CORRECTIONS

RE: Lenore Skenazy's "Finding a Band to Dance With Your Brand Is a Fine Art." The column incorrectly identified Aaron Walton as Aaron Isaacson. Mr. Walton's agency is Walton/Isaacson.
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