Two Recommendations for Success in 2009

12/06/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In 2003, I met with a group of my clients and followers and shared my vision for the future of media, marketing and advertising. The following Classic Jack commentary is excerpted from that presentation. Read Part 1 -3 at

Business, especially the media business, is not simple. Incompetence can no longer be tolerated. To the smart go the spoils. One of the biggest and most important changes that technology is empowering in your business is improved intelligence for making smart decisions. We're transitioning from basic scans of TV and radio audience size or total magazine readers to deep sonar readings that will help us navigate new media consumption patterns. You will have a wealth of access to insights and knowledge that will empower expanded and enlightened thinking. You will have the ability to be clever, creative, and think out of the box with minimal risk and maximum confidence.

You need to look toward the future with assurance that there's a better way of doing things than the way you've always done them. The changes that are occurring in the TV business are not going to turn our world on its axis. They are simply going to take a world that's been adjusting to change in slow motion and speed it up to real time. So I'd like to offer two fundamental ideas for the transition.

1. Consider thinking of your business like it's a computer. You have a certain amount of capacity; when you get overloaded, when there's too much to process, before you can upload the increased capacity and new software, you need to reboot. In the advertising business, you reboot one business sector at a time, slowly and using new digital research services to test every step of the way.

Look at the parts of your business that have slowed down. Take the under performing brands and reprogram them. Introduce digital assets and relationship age strategies to your divisions that are in the greatest need of help, and push them into the digital age. The important thing to remember about rebooting is that you don't lose the past; you're not wiping out your institutional memory. New research tools are there to allow you to track day-by-day the return on investment of your decisions, and in the digital future you'll be able to course correct on a dime.

2. Years ago, I looked up the definitions of "business" and "enterprise." There's an interesting difference. Business is "the buying and selling of commodities and services; commerce; and trade." Enterprise is "a bold, difficult, and important undertaking; a willingness to engage in new or risky projects that require energy and initiative." Another idea for transitioning to the digital age is to shift your focus away from managing your company as a business and shift to managing it as an enterprise. The average company invests less than five percent of its budgets in digital age opportunities. [In 2008 it is still only 5% to 20% on average.] 95 percent plus is devoted to traditional mass media age relationships.

The heart of the transition from the Agrarian Age to The Industrial Age was a period of about 45 years from 1875 to the start of World War II in 1919. Then it took another 25 years for industry and mass media to shift from first to third gear. The TV was discovered in 1927 but wasn't a mass medium until the 1950s. Most people refused to bring electricity into their homes for years fearing its dangers and it took many more years before the electric outlet was developed. The sweet spot for the transition from the Industrial Age to the Digital and Relationship Age will be about a thirty year period that began in about 1990 and we are half way through right now. Looking ahead to 2010, 2015 and 2020, the path into The Relationship Age is clear and exciting. Good luck.

The Relationship Age is a trademark of Jack Myers.

Jack Myers is available to present his vision for the future of media, advertising and marketing at your corporate meetings and events. Contact and visit for more information.

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