Seattle, May 24th 2010
John Fitzpatrick, Director of Business Development, Razorfish : started as a copywriter in the
advertising industry (2 years) for technology related items.
He then left advertising for Microsoft where he worked for 15 years as a product manager.
He lived in Paris and developed the Microsoft's ecosystem for banks and insurance
He subsequently went to Latin America and South Asia.
He then left Microsoft for venture capital in the mid-nineties.
He's now Business Development Director for Razorfish. His role: finding new clients.
Clark Kokich, CEO and early founder of Razorfish, email@example.com
Ron Gross, Director at Blue Goose Productions, firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Mele, Managing Director Media & Marketing, Razorfish, email@example.com
Salim Hemdani, Vice-President Technology, Razorfish, firstname.lastname@example.org
Razorfish is the largest digital agency in the world. They have 15 years' existence. The agency was
divided in two divisions : technology and traditional agency, and counted 2000 employees. In 2007
Microsoft acquired it for 6 billion dollars. The technology company has built servers drive PM for
performance media. The advertising agency portion had problems with the Microsoft ownership
(conflicts of interests).
Razorfish became part of the Publicis group in 2009.
Digitas, one of the former big rivals, is now a sister company. They have phenomenal resources
around the world.
Digital agencies engage consumers in creating experiences. Razorfish is a 3rd type agency : Innovation
with digital in its blood. Build brand. Create experiences. Invent platforms and measure impact. All of
this requires a good bunch of technology layers and people.
Today's biggest trend is the ability to narrow-down and narrowcast. So many things are taking place
in social networks that people tend to narrow their perspectives and stay closed in their bubbles
more intensive consumers that you have to target more accurately.
The business of creating customers has changed in a very fundamental level. How do agencies and
advertisers organize in order to be more effective with this new kind of customers?
Advertising in the 80s and 90s, meant doing something to get attention, to be remembered. The
whole function of marketing was to get attention : media buying, advertising making, was TALKING
to CONSUMERS (one-way communication). It's what we call today "BLA, BLA, BLA". All of it was very
static, it didn’t change. Everything was structured, non changing : 60” radio spots, 30” TV spots,
street advertising format was set, etc.
What we are experiencing as marketers today is a non-set, highly fluent, changing environment.
Communication is two-ways, newspapers are dying, consumers are communicating and influential.
Newspapers are readable on-line. The direct mail business is imploding, radio is bypassed by iPods
and MP3s. TV is becoming more and more fragmented. All video content is available anytime, on any
device, anywhere in the world.
Rules are changing and you don’t know how to be a marketer anymore. So we have to develop new
tactics to comply with these changes:
Process: in the old world process used to be completely linear. People became experts in their
specific job. Now you have to have an interactive process. The media person can have a more
creative idea than the creative himself. You have now -as an agency- to put all the functions together
to be effective in digital.
Componency: to go beyond media, to develop new competencies
Technology : we need to be able to work with the technology used at the clients’. In the
agency you have to have people that can interface with technology people at the clients’.
This is something that did not exist in agencies in the past. And then you have to be able to
host the data.
User experience: helping people navigating complex systems in a quick and delightful way.
And integrating this with design: things have to be beautiful and nice.
Analytics: segmentation modeling that looks like what you would have done in direct
mailing. Did not exist until 10 years ago
Culture : creating a culture of curiosity vs. expertise. People now have to be excited about the truth
and not only about their own idea. People have to behave like true teammates to understand what
the customers need. What can we do to create more delightful experiences for customers? Example
of Starwood hotels.
The important thing is to build a culture that includes change and that is non linear. The means will
continue to change (Apple, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) but you need to have teams that are constantly
able to adapt and that have consumer satisfaction as a main focus. The attitude has to be
collaborative, entrepreneurial, risk-taking, etc.
The collaborative process is more time-consuming. Non-working dollars : the part you are giving to
the agency. Working dollars : the money you give to the media. A Facebook advertising program is
100% agency fee (so –theoretically- non-working dollars) but can be much more effective than a 1
million $ program on regular media.
Recognized brands built their brands without any advertising, for example Google, Starbucks,
Amazon. What made their success is innovation, quality, word of mouth, customer experience. A
brand can’t lie any more: there’s nowhere to hide. Innovation will be rewarded.
The next question is: who are the key influential customers? Those who buy the most are not
necessarily those who talk the most about the brand in the social media. You really have to address
two groups of people: BUYERS and INFLUENCERS. We have to engage them in doing something. Only
20-25 % of consumers go out and advise on the social media. They are not the majority, but the
other consumers would never buy a new product without having checked on the internet the
How do you encourage brand loyalty in this ever changing world? The metaphor of the small shop
down the corner where you are a unique and valuable client: they know you and try to make the
experience a pleasure for you. Delight them, thrill them and have them talk to friends.
Clients have to change more than agencies do. They are still working with distinctive sections:
advertising, retail, customer care, etc. Very often these divisions are separate and hate each other,
and are hated by the technology department at the agency, whereas they should be working
together! This approach will be very difficult to change.
The leading-edge of change are products that are expensive and that you spend time researching
about online. Packaged goods and luxury goods are apart (behind the curve). Luxury goods are based
on un-rational buying motivations and packaged goods are too undifferentiated for you to read
information about in the internet before buying.
Relation with the Publicis group : Razorfish operates as an independent brand. They haven’t changed
anything in their working model. Maurice Lévy does not wish to modify the way companies work.
And this is also true for Digitas and Starcom. The aim is to maintain individual brand integrity but
then find ways to work together as a group.
RON GROSS – DIRECTOR – BLUE GOOSE PRODUCTIONS
Blue Goose Productions has been invited as a supplier to understand how the production side in
agencies is changing. Ron has worked for the biggest agencies in the world.
The platform has changed dramatically and the habits of using those platforms have been modified,
too. More eyes are on the internet than they are on TV screens. The new platforms and the way to
interact with them have caused a profound change. The production industry behaves differently :
social marketing (blogs, special interest groups) makes people work more collaboratively: groups of
photographers, web designers work together to finalize production for many different platforms and
uses. A high value is now accorded to "a story well told", because you choose (or not) to watch it. A
rule that Ron applies when creating a TV commercial is to ask himself : why would a person come
back and watch it again?
Question: impact of video games on production? There’s small opportunity for real production to
come up with something similar to games. The consumers are much more empowered because they
can now create their own commercials. In the end what counts is always "a story well told".
Isn’t there a risk of creating clutter on the internet now? The amount of unfiltered information on
internet is daunting there’s much more of a premium to be able to create a viral piece of
communication. Viral is clutter-immune.
JOE MELE - MANAGING DIRECTOR MEDIA & MARKETING - RAZORFISH
Clients are adjusting their investments. To reach customers they have to continue to push into new
areas. Small formats are preferred, because of the increase of digital screens as a means of
CMOs are pushed to talk about sales. You have to have smart people in your organization to make
smart things about the whole bunch of data you have.
You also need technology : you now need developers in your creative department.
The controversial point is that creative is not creative anymore: the media planners' job is not to find
a space anymore but about the fitting of creations to different plat forms and the whole experience
you want to give to the customer.
We have to re-think ways that agencies are compensated. Percentage media does not make sense
anymore because it incentivizes the agencies the wrong way : the most money there is the most you
SALIM HEMDANI –VICE PRESIDENT TECHNOLOGY - RAZORFISH
A traditional agency : has to have a good idea. How am I remembered by consumers?
A digital agency : develops a two-way communication. How do I bring customers to interact? What
kind of experience can I bring? You cannot run away from the consumer.
Consumers do not interact with a brand only in their website or retail shops. I can now interact
through YouTube, Twitter, forums, etc. The experience is fragmented.
Mobile has really picked up so now we can interact with a company through mobile displays or
phones : Apple iPad, Microsoft contact-table. New digital interfaces are coming up every month. All
of these are coming up in one place. It’s no longer traditional advertising. You need interaction
with the consumers. You need people on the technical side who can make this happen.
5 technologies that will change the way to do business:
1. Cloud computing: benefit of the scalability. You only pay for the processors and servers you
actually use. It takes away the stress of managing the IT infrastructure. It's a pay-per-use
2. Cloud services will be everywhere : Facebook Connect will be more used than Facebook.com
itself, as the application will be available on other sites. More business will be conducted
through the cloud. Perhaps even stock trading will go through Facebook and Twitter
3. Touch interface: window 7 now supports the touch screen interface to foster interaction of
the consumers with the products, especially in the retail space. Mobile devices are becoming
the glue that connects online and retail experiences.
4. The mobile revolution:
a. Geo-triggered SMS platforms will enable delivery of messages based on the user's
time and location, significantly increasing the relevance of messages
b. Cloud computing and augmented reality APIs will exponentially increase the amount
and types of information that can be delivered through mobile services.
5. Agile technologies
a. Individual and interactions over processes and tools
b. Working software over comprehensive documentation
c. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
d. Responding to change over following a plan
Agile will push businesses to think of software development as a solution to innovation.
There will be greater Agile adoption by offshore development shops, enabling global
JOHN FITZPATRICK – DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT – RAZORFISH
The brand is a “post perspective” (i.e. it is built by converging experiences of customers) and not a
“pre-perspective” (where you tell people what you want to be).
Razorfish built the first tracking tools to track social networks conversations. The crisis creates unique
opportunities for social media.
Measuring techniques: most people consider purchasing search words as the best ROI. Proper
analytics enable to optimize and maximize the ROI through a consistent mix. The problem is getting
clients to care enough about all these precise and analytical reports. If you do, as a client you can
save lots of money. But the problem is that analytics are in competition with many other issues of
importance in a company.
THE STAR WARS TENDER AND PITCH
Star Wars is one of the most iconic brands in the world. It can be considered as a Grimm's fairytale of
the XXth century.
Money is made through:
Marketing partnerships (ex. Mc Donald’s)
Digital : they are trying to figure out how digital can be a revenue source and they’re not
very good at it. Their website is a mick-mack of information. These guys have lost control of
their story. If you search for a specific scene you are far more likely to find it on Youtube than
on the Star Wars’ site.
Razorfish wants to demonstrate to the Star Wars teams that a number of new revenue streams are
possible : advertising revenues, mobile revenues, … = 7x revenues Razorfish is going to generate a
lot more money than they cost (1 million dollar cost against 7.7 million dollars of projected additional
revenues). The final cost turns up to be 12% of the revenues.
Integrated approach of Razorfish:
Attract: consumer research and digital strategy, paid search media
Engage: brand definition
Razorfish benefits from a worldwide presence and worldwide clients : Audi, Pepsi, The New York
Times, Mc Donald’s, CocaCola, Fanta, XM2go, pc.com, Levi’s, …
When you get people to do things (experiences) as opposed to listen to things, you get them to
interact much more deeply.
Examples of Razorfish realizations:
New York Times : Razorfish created a complete digital business model so that they were not
dependent on traditional models.
ESPN was losing control of their content
HULU : Razorfish designed the business model around the joint venture between Fox, NBC
Mattel: 50th anniversary of Barbie. Razorfish brought Barbie to life in Facebook, Twitter, etc.
She's the best friend and fashion adviser. She’s the equivalent of Lindsay Lohan without the
drugs and legal problems.
For years and years the digital agency was the ugly little child that got the lowest budgets where
larger agencies were getting the big budgets : but this is shifting as budgets are shifting to digital.
Right now, although people love Star Wars, it is difficult to find a real Star Wars experience. Star
Wars are losing money to other websites. And accounting on the fact that the average expenditure is
72$, that makes a terrific amount of money-loss.
So Star Wars are losing what’s theirs.
If they get it back, they can get back an awful amount of money. Star Wars.com must become the
place where people go to find information and experience about Star Wars.
Star Wars have to become publishers to generate new sources of revenues.
Let's take the example of the Xbox : they have created a computer, not only a game console, so kids
can go on Facebook or shop with an Xbox.
Another good example is Nike. One could almost say that Nike owns the iPod, given the incredible
number of Nike applications that you have in it.
60% of the traffic on Facebook is generated by 30 years old and over.
In the 80s Star Wars created 800 comics that can now be used in readers like iPad. in the new Star
Wars site imagined by Razorfish, any time there is content, you can roll over the content with a
mouse and purchase the product linked to that content.
Connect with fans
How can Star Wars make money with it?
Today they are selling low CPM ads. They can gain exclusive contracts and partnerships . Razorfish
built a complete business plan to show how the traffic could increase and how Star Wars could be
getting revenues on their mobile rights (messaging, mobile games).
1 million dollar cost for a 7,7 million dollar forecast revenue. The financial part is very important in an
era of measurement. Fun fancy websites are good, but to show the client where he can earn money
is even more important. Clients are not accustomed to this type of approach and they are absolutely
enchanted of finding somebody who cares about their business. Razorfish presents assumptions to
explain how the business plan was constructed.
Sepian, RGA, agency.com, etc. are their usual competitors in these types of tenders.
Problems related to the pitch : producing a good pitch means 20 people working for three weeks.
The total cost of it is of 30 to 50 k$. How can the pitch be monetized? The problem right now is that
you do the pitch and that the client takes the ideas and does not choose you.