Kel Kelly

Hey, thanks for swinging by my blog.

Whether it's topical news, internet happenings, social media, public relations, marketing, start-ups, mobile shiz or whatever, I promise to wade through the bullshit and give you my unbuffered perspective.

You'll note I never take on a "corporate tone" — whether I'm chatting you up at a party or speaking to the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, my voice never changes. I say what's on my mind and I'm often the champion of the underdog.

I'm a social media junkie and smoke Google Analytics in a crack pipe to get my day going. I hope my immersed insight and offbeat view make you laugh. More importantly, I hope you take a second and share your thoughts by posting a comment. If you have any ideas on how to make my blog better, shoot an email to [email protected].

Peace out.

Archive for May, 2009

It’s “Agency” Not “Slavery”

May. 30th 2009

Before you read this post, you need to view the YouTube video The Vendor Client Relationship In Real World Situations. I laughed my tail off when I watched it because the execution amplifies the delusional approaches some companies attempt when it comes to paying for work/services from agencies. I can’t imagine there is anyone who has worked at a creative agency that has not had a company try to use any of the following arguments for not paying and/or reducing fees:

We don’t have it in our budget: Oh really…then what the eff are you doing standing in front of me and asking me to to do work for you? Last time I checked we didn’t have a sign outside our office that said “Free Marketing Services.”

We want everything but can only pay for a portion: Didn’t your mother teach you that you can’t always get what you want…and if she didn’t, The Rolling Stones should have. Here’s an idea, use your brain and put together a plan within your budget. I’m pretty sure that’s what you were hired to do…or did the employment ad say “Looking for someone to take our marketing budget and build a marketing plan that costs four times that amount.” I’m gonna let you in on a secret — agencies were not put on this earth to make up for client budget shortfalls.

I can get it cheaper from <insert name>: You get what you pay for homey. This week I actually had someone tell us she could get a logo done by her friend who is an “artist” for less money. Good luck on that one sista’. If you want to have someone who is good at pottery design the iconic image for your brand then you go for it!

I can pay more next time: Ummm…no you can’t and you won’t. There is not a company on the planet that will go from having a laughable marketing budget to a well funded one. Why? Because some schmo — usually the CFO that allocated the budget — thinks spending on marketing is wasteful and that’s why you were given an inadequate budget to begin with. That person’s perception will never evolve. Remember these people wouldn’t know a kick-ass marketing campaign if it kicked them in the ass.

Let’s use this project as a test: In other words, “if you do well with this project that we are paying jack shit for, we will give you more work and pay fairly for it.” Honestly, do they expect that person from the agency to jump up and down while clicking their heals and clapping their hands to squeal, “That sounds great! I love tests! When can we get started!”

This is an opportunity: No, it’s not. Spending a month in Darfur is an opportunity. This is a screw job. It won’t be long before you question why you bent over to pick up the soap.

I ordered three but only used one: This one always makes me wonder how much crack is actually smoked on the job. The agency is retained to do three separate projects which they complete. Something happens inside the company — usually a budget reduction — that only allows them to execute one. As a result, they now don’t want to pay the agency for the other two that they now won’t be able to use. And really…why should they…I’m pretty sure agencies exist for the sole purpose of absorbing every budget reduction that hits a company. Pass the crack pipe dude.

Show us how to do it so we can do it in-house next time: No problem. I’m happy to take my intellectual property that was developed over many years and give it to you so you don’t hire us again. <visualize two thumbs up with a big grinning face>

Wikipedia defines slavery as a form of forced labor in which people are considered to be, or treated as, the property of others. I’m sure every employee working at an agency reading this post just shit a Twinkie at how accurately that definition describes their world when it comes to some clients.

What’s an agency to do? It’s quite simple:

Make sure your pricing is fair: Always fair. Don’t raise it if you think the client can pay more. I believe you get what you give. By giving fair pricing you will receive it from the vendors you deal with.

Walk away from every situation described above: Seriously. Without exception. Don’t compromise your integrity or the value you deliver. Yes, it’s a tough economy but acquiescing to any of the above scenarios is unhealthy because you are being used and because you then become an enabler to this dysfunctional behavior.

If they are rude or bullying, laugh in their face: Sometimes the person at the company seeking your services is just the messenger in the above scenarios. Often times they are being told to say those things by someone else. In those cases it’s important to be empathetic and respectfully explain why the situation will not work for your agency. How-effing-ever, if the person communicating the message is rude and/or tries to bully you, laugh in their face at their suggestion. Trust me when I tell you that you will probably be the first to have done it. I hate bullies. The thought of someone using intimidation to take advantage of someone sends me through the ceiling. If you can’t do it, tell them you heard Kel Kelly may be able to help them and send them my way. Haha!

Disclaimer: The good news is that the peeps who try pimping the above scenarios are the exceptions. The vast majority of marketing people seeking agency services are honest and hardworking. Quite frankly, having the opportunity to help these people is one of the many reason I and others like me do what we do.

Posted by Kel | in Featured, Uncategorized | 34 Comments »

Chicken Little Had Emotional Issues

May. 11th 2009

Chicken Little was a hysterical, paranoid bird with some really effed up emotional issues. An acorn fell on her head and she ran around telling people “the sky is falling,” and as often happens with hysteria, others started to repeat the story. Swine flu anyone?

I feel like the same thing is going on in the tech sector. Seriously, I swear the proverbial Chicken Little now has a Twitter account and is tweeting up a storm over the mistaken belief that disaster is imminent in the tech sector. This bird sure has a lot of evidence to tweet about to prove her theory correct. Tech unemployment is soaring. Venture capital is tighter than a…’er well I’ll let you fill in the blank here. Tech startups are going under left, right and center. Even for many tech startups still alive, monetization remains as elusive as a fat-free, low cal, low carb food that doesn’t taste like ass.

I often think of tech waves in the context of wildfires. Wildfires usually occur in cycles just like technology. Certain regions become known for their wildfires just as Silicon Valley and the Bay Area have become known for their technology. And in spite of much chaos, wildfires serve a purpose as much next generation growth is dependent on them, just like in tech. How quickly we forget.

Remember the day when Wang Laboratories, Prime Computer and Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) ruled the tech landscape? With the demise of those companies came tons of job loss, financial collapse and uncertainty. However, the next wave of technology that emerged — the PC — spread like wildfire, positively impacting lives and creating great economic opportunity around the globe. How quickly we forget.

Remember the DotCom bubble (Web 1.0) when it popped? Tech startups went under in epidemic proportions, unemployment soared, and venture capital dried up. Sound familiar? But then came the post wildfire growth — Web 2.0. Soon Web 2.0 was its own wildfire with companies like Facebook burning up the tech horizon. Venture capital investment was flowing, job creation was abundant and user adoption had a hysteria of its own. Anyone else’s Dad on Facebook too? How quickly we forget.

Today we’re being hit by acorns. The future opportunities in tech are there, we just need to separate the healthy trees from the burning forest. Need help seeing through the smoke to find the next wave of tech? Keep an eye on TechCrunch to see which startups are successfully raising capital these days. You can bet your last buck any VC coughing up dough right now has done some pretty bad-ass due diligence. Last week’s announcement that FUHU, a startup that produces virtual avatars, secured $6.25 million certainly has some great insight regarding the future of tech. What I love most about TechCrunch is that it helps you keep your pulse on hot tech startups and it doesn’t cost a penny. Good times. Good times.

Looking for something more real world? Attend upcoming gig: What’s Next in Tech: Exploring the Growth Opportunities of 2009 and Beyond. It’s on June 25th in Boston. The $40 registration fee ensures it’s affordable to all. Direct round trip flights from San Francisco to Boston are only $250 and hotels are a steal these days. This bomb diggity night looks like it’s going to be jacked with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and other techlebrities discussing the future of tech including sizzlin’ hot sectors like cloud computing, robotics and clean tech. Also, there are lots of stealth-mode startups on the speaker list — a great way to see where the tech puck is headed.

It’s your choice. You can run around jumping on Chicken Little’s bandwagon and hang with her mentally off-balance friends Henny Penny, Cocky Lockey and Goosey Loosey. Or you can bitch-slap that bird and look to the future of tech as an exciting wildfire waiting to be ignited.

What do you see as the future of tech?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

Missing Link(edIn)

May. 4th 2009

I just don’t get LinkedIn. I must be missing a link or something. For the record, I know it’s me because there are over 39 million people on LinkedIn, so the company must be doing something people value. I think maybe it has to do with how I’m wired. In a million years, I would never use someone to get to someone else. It goes against who I am. I am happy to make an introduction for someone I respect and/or care about, but I would never leverage an impersonal third party, like LinkedIn, to do so.

I don’t value people based on their title, where they have worked or where they have gone to school…and let me be unequivocally clear, I’m not saying people who use LinkedIn do. I’m just trying to wrap my arms around the attraction people have for it. I value people for who they are as human beings. Maybe that’s why I like Facebook. I am much more interested in hearing that someone joined a group to feed hungry children than to hear that they joined some professional group. I am much more excited to be on the receiving end of a tweet about something funny that happened to someone on vacation than I am to see a LinkedIn status update about a business trip. I get jacked spending time on Facebook and Twitter and I would feel anything LinkedIn-related would be obligatory and a little dull.  Don’t get me wrong, Facebook can still be a powerful business tool to connect you to other professionals — the thing about Facebook is that it’s multi-dimensional and you can get to know someone beyond their business world.

Like most peeps, I barely have time to scratch my ass these days, so I choose my activities carefully. Honestly, I don’t do much outside my work window that is work-related. I have never attended on social networking event here in Boston. I just don’t have the time and quite frankly, I’m just not interested. I would rather be home having dinner (take-out) with my kids.

What am I missing?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 18 Comments »