Online Business Strategy and Media Buying
How would you like to have a guaranteed promotional strategy for your business? Would you like to know exactly how much every dollar you spend in advertising will generate in revenue? Or how to know exactly where to pick the ads and what ads are the most effective to different audiences? Yeah – me too.
Well, it is possible. In two recent cases we were retained to investigate – competing companies pop up – truly out of the blue, being run by utter and complete novices to an industry – and garnering significant market share – within weeks of appearing on the scene.
The owners of these two companies were trying to figure out what disgruntled employee had left and what advertising models for the Internet they had taken with them when they had left the company. These companies – in different industries – had each spent millions on advertising and research to make sure their advertising dollars were extraordinarily effective only to see a new competitor staffed with newbies – taking significant market share away from them.
The answer in both cases was –it was not an internal job. It was not an ex-employee running around with the secret advertising formula; it was not what they expected.
What we found was that the media company who they were using to place the ads and monitor the ads were responsible for the new competitors. In fact – one such company was so brazen they even set up a competing company as a subsidiary to their media company. They took the Critical Information, developed by their advertising client, and set up the competing business. Not only was it a competing business but the media company kept taking advertising money from the client and began placing only media company’s ad at the best times and insuring their client only got the less- good times for ad placement. The media company did not need to steal the clients’ leads – they were getting plenty of their own.
We looked at the media purchase agreement and it was devoid of any language about the ownership of the Critical Information – the Intangible Asset – developed by the advertiser through the media company. This Critical Information an Intangible Asset, cost millions to develop and discern had not been identified nor had ownership and exclusivity of that ownership been asserted.
This is a clear place for an OPSEC review to be taken by all companies advertising anywhere, especially on the web. What is the threat? What is the risk?, and what are the contractual agreements and procedural process to be put into place to:
a) clearly identify the critical property intangible asset
b) assert work for hire and thus ownership of the intangible asset
c) protect inadvertent disclosure of the critical information
d) establish monitoring to discover leakage of the critical information
e) provide for meaningful penalties
At this time there are no breaches of agreements and there are no penalties available. The wholesale theft of the critical information has no redress. Two very large companies are now facing significantly successful competitors founder by the media companies they paid good money to advertise their services.