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Tales of the E-City

  |  November 19, 2002   |  Comments

There are big-picture Internet ad issues, and then there's thedown-and-dirty reality.

I already discussed the increase in online spending for this quarter. Everyone is still beating a dead horse in the great pop-up debate. Buyers and sellers alike are trying to close out the books while scurrying to gain monies for '03, which seems to be creeping up way too fast. Meanwhile, we learn that traffic numbers surged due to increased political advertising in the U.S... snore.

I typically try to provide insight by offering my outlook on the events occurring in our world. Then it hit me. People want to hear about the "bad stuff," too -- the nitty-gritty reality of working in online media. So let's take a peek into the life of an online media person (who could that be?).

We'll start by painting a picture of her. She heads up a small online media group housed within a larger media group for a full-service midsize agency owned by a holding company (say that 10 times fast). Anything that could be clicked on, viewed through, or digitized falls within her domain. She gets bombarded with calls and emails all day when she's completely understaffed and often eating lunch at her desk. She's cynical, stressed, a survivor of the dot-com fallout, and yet still passionate about her work.

Let's take a look at some, errr... well, interesting events of her past week:

  • Got a call from a senior-level exec who needed her to tell him "what the heck was scrolling across his screen."

  • Got asked four times if she believes in pop-ups.

  • Had someone ask her to seed a chat room and was shocked when she said, "I'm sorry, the agency does not support that."

  • Worked on three new business pitches for three completely different verticals, targets, offerings, and goals. The only common thread was she had about five days to work on all of them.

  • Went to an industry party where she gained questionable knowledge from fellow industry members in drunken stupors while fending off inappropriate advances from a junior-level competitor.

  • Stepped in as visiting professor to an urban college and was blown away at the wealth of information now formalized under such majors as Internet marketing.

  • Was frustrated when she pulled competitive spending numbers from well-established, reputable firms only to find figures that no one could ever have spent online in a year.

  • Got forwarded a study of how C-level execs use the Web and found the sample size to be too small for chest-beating.

  • Spent too much time finding free e-greeting cards to send to friends.

  • Opened several emails saying someone from high school has found her when she never even registered on the site in the first place.

  • Realized she and her peers have turned "Google" into a verb. For example, "I Googled you because I lost your address."

  • Won some business to be announced.

  • Scoured through a slew of resumés for open positions.

  • Read an average of 250 emails per day.

  • Responded to approximately 650 emails during the workweek.

  • Received approximately 100 phone calls that week.

  • Returned about 20 of them.

  • Got booked for two meetings at the same time, same day.

  • Wrote an article for a really great site. (You can't blame her for sucking up to her editors.)

  • Was interviewed by the press twice.

  • Walked in to an industry event and became roadblocked by a sales rep who said he "wasn't going to talk business" but just wanted to let her know...

  • And her most favorite activity of the week by far -- receiving an opt-in email outlining how online chat and porn are contributing to divorce, lawyers say.

Never a dull moment, dear readers, never a dull moment. And if you see this media woman, give her a little knowing glance, would ya?


Seana Mulcahy

Seana Mulcahy is vice president, director of interactive media at Mullen (an IPG company). She's been creating online brands since before the first banner was sold. Her expertise includes online and traditional media planning and buying, e-mail marketing, viral marketing, click-stream analysis, customer tracking, promotions, search engine optimization and launching brands online. Prior to Mullen, Seana was vice president of media services at Carat Interactive. She's built online media services divisions for three companies and has worked with clients spanning financial, telecom, high-tech, healthcare and retail. Not surprisingly, she has taught, lectured and written about the industry for numerous trade associations and publications.

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