Madison Avenue is footing the bill for Silicon Valley's digital-media innovation, but for years it's been an afterthought. That's why it's refreshing to finally see more West Coast start-ups hopping the five-plus-hour flight to the heart of adland to unveil their advertising model plans, as Twitter did last week.
Both Ad Age and The New York Times broke the story of Promoted Tweets, Twitter's big bet on monetization, last Tuesday. Later that day, Chief Operating Officer Dick Costolo took the stage at the Ad Age Digital Conference to describe to an audience of brand managers, media buyers and digital strategists how the feature works. That Twitter chose to announce that at a marketing-industry event in New York rather than its own conference out West a day later is a sign that advertisers are an increasingly important partner for start-ups.
As 360i's Director of Innovation David Berkowitz noted in a post for Ad Age's DigitalNext blog, it's not the first time a Silicon Valley company has announced its ad plans in New York. But, he wrote, "Mr. Costolo's keynote was the exclamation point ... handily upstaging founder Evan Williams' South by Southwest appearance and perhaps overshadowing anything that comes out of Chirp."
It hasn't always been that way. In fact, for years Silicon Valley's venture-capital lifelines have poured money into any digital idea that could snare an audience, assuming Madison Avenue's dollars would follow. But over the past few years, they've realized that eyeballs don't equal an ad model.
Indeed, today's marketers are not looking for the same thing the next guy can buy; they are looking for real partnerships, ones that require time, relationships and a personal touch. Ford's global marketing chief Jim Farley told the Ad Age Digital Conference crowd that its marketing and media partners need to think differently. And if sellers want to sell Ford the same thing they pitched Chevy, after simply changing the logo on the presentation, then they're not the media partner for Ford.
As those kinds of relationships become more important to marketers, getting in front of Madison Avenue folks will be more important for anyone who wants their dollars. As 360i's Mr. Berkowitz said: "Maybe it's not such a Valley-Alley rivalry after all. We New Yorkers are more than happy to entertain our Californian counterparts and will bring our marketers and menus to the table."