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Sleeping at the Internet wheel

There seems to be a trend emerging wherein agencies and clients use new media and Web analytics to catch each other sleeping. It started with the Zappos agency review in July in which one respondent, Ignited, tracked Zappos’ review of its submission and found the company had spent fewer than 15 seconds per page viewing only five of the 25 pages submitted. Right, wrong or otherwise – as usual both sides have their story – the point is that Zappos was “found out” thanks to Google Analytics.

 

And just yesterday, Marty St. George, senior vice president of marketing and commercial at JetBlue, tweeted the following:

We’re pitching our advertising AOR. Curious on digital savvy….first test is how many of the agencies will find me on twitter. #sneaky
10:57 AM Feb 17th from UberTwitter

I would look at these examples as an eye opener for parties on both sides – you better be on top of new mediaor it’s likely to bite you in the “you-know-what.” The hashtag #sneaky at the end of JetBlue’s tweet gives me a sense of the spirit in which it was done. But, for Ignited, I think it was a legitimate test to see if there was any valuable return on its hours of time invested.
Some follow-up tweets from JetBlue indicate the sneak attack may not have been as fun as initially thought, but it was a great wake-up call to agencies on the types of metrics some clients are beginning to use. No longer should we just view new media as a way to communicate, but realize that they’re also a way to track us, like a bloodhound. Sarbanes-Oxley would be proud – you can run, but you can’t hide.
As someone involved in business development, these tactics initially make me question the authenticity of a relationship we might be about to embark upon. If the client and/or agency is setting up “tests” for us to fail or pass and we don’t even know we’re being tested, it seems sneaky (no hashtag needed) to me – the wrong way to lay the foundation of a trusting relationship. Shouldn’t the quality of our work, the quality of our strategies speak volumes? Isn’t that what they are hiring us for?
The JetBlue example also feels arrogant. But even if I “passed” the test, found the tweet and presumably were as smart as the client, I’d constantly have to wonder what next test was being administered. Would I start to think up some of my own tests to get the upper hand (even if I never told the other party)? Wow, this could get interesting…

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