Saturday, October 10, 2015

An Ad Man For All Seasons?

It is hard to believe but it has been approximately seven full years since America was hit with an economic downturn that we now refer to as “The Great Recession.” The downdraft tested many companies, people, and portfolios. Recently, I talked to a seasoned ad man about the recession and its affect on ad agencies.

He went through the usual delineation of issues that many struggled through but then said that he knew a number of agency chiefs who could survive easily through anything. As we talked, I had to disagree. Survive yes, but prosper and grow all the time was something that I am quite unfamiliar with in this business.

To me, business professor Don Hambrick of Penn State nailed it when he wrote, “An executive who is well suited to leading a firm during one period may be ill suited for the next period.” Many chiefs can look effective when the wind is at their backs. Can they adapt to more challenging circumstances?

Ambassador Joseph Kennedy is widely credited with coining the now proverb, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” I have witnessed agency leaders who seemed bored or a bit disengaged during good or middling times, yet rise to the occasion when their shop has its back to the wall. Suddenly, they make tough decisions, stay hands on and drum up significant new business in very trying environments.

Some analysts go even further and say that some firms grow at times because they seem to be near perfect fits to the current marketplace. Management and staff are not exceptional but rather are at the right place at the right time. Remember when the internet first started to gain real traction as an advertising medium? Some shops had big gains as they had keyed on the emerging platforms early on. A few years later some early mobile players had similar success. Were they that good or was it simply that in the valley of the blind men, the one eyed man is King and the competition was playing catch up?

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that these people were mediocre. Sometimes success is due to many factors not the least of which is a bit of luck. Granted, there are some people who are excellent forecasters and seem to see what is happening a bit earlier than the rest of the pack. Some 90+%, however, see the trend after it is clearly in place.

Life, business, and the free market are all full of bumps in the road. Leaders react to them differently. Few, if any, perform well through all of them.

If you would like to contact Don Cole directly, you may reach him at or leave a message on the blog.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Is All Research Cooked?

Several weeks ago, I began work on this post. I sent feelers out to a number of people asking if they thought research reports in broadcast and advertising were often manipulated. As I finished a draft of the post and was waiting for a few more responses from my panel members, the Volkswagen scandal broke. So, I deliberately delayed putting this post up until the smoke had cleared a bit.

Mark Twain set the tone for questioning research when he said in the 19th century: “There are three kinds of lies--lies, damned lies and statistics.” Most people say that a clever analyst or executive can spin data in such a way that even poor performance can look much better than it really is.

Responses to my query often had the tone that, “Yes, you can always find a way to lie with statistics.” Now, some of that is not as heinous as you might think. Most of us have been or are in situations where you have to put your best foot forward when research goes against you. A magazine may have a declining audience and circulation but the average income of the remaining readers may have risen smartly. Or, a cable channel that is not growing finds that it does well against certain demographic groups that are highly attractive to advertisers. Where the wheels come off is where people want the research to mirror their pre-existing notions of their brand or media property.

Decades ago, I was an earnest young media analyst who was sent alone to a fairly important client to give a state of the media world presentation. We had no power-points  in those days but I did have a slick deck of acetates and after several rehearsals I faced the music with Mr. Big. The presentation went well and the clients asked many questions and there were frequent nods and smiles as I worked my way through the material. The boss, the marketing chief, told me that he would like to keep slides #2, #17, #31 and the final one. I said of course but wouldn’t you rather take the entire deck. He smiled, said no, and told me that I had a done a very thorough job. Later I found out that he had recommended a course of action to his president and used my four slides to back it up. Of course, by selecting those four slides, and only those four, he had rigged the deck in favor of what he wanted to execute for his brand.

Another time, a year or so later, a client asked me the purpose of research. I said what I still say today--”The purpose of all research is to reduce uncertainty. There is always risk with a new brand and we can never eliminate it but solid research is an important hedge as you begin to market a brand that you are betting millions on.” He seemed to agree and then asked the same question to a contemporary of mine who was the research director of the company. The young fellow said, “Research is the search for truth, sir.” The boss started laughing so hard that he spit his coffee out on the conference table. “That’s rich, son,” was his reply as the young fellow scurried for napkins to clean up the mess.

A year later, the young guy had lost his innocence. I sat in on a research presentation from an outside company. When he was done, the marketing chief thanked the presenter who left. He asked me what I thought and I related how some of it mirrored what was going in media at the time. The young fellow said, “Boss, what do you want me to say in your executive summary to the board?” Somehow, the search for truth was no longer a goal. Both of the players have died so I do not feel horrible telling the story for the first time. Yet, the nagging issue is how much of this type of behavior goes on?

Some of my kitchen cabinet weighed in:

“I don’t think everyone is lying. But, all of us at times try to position things favorably either about our brands or what communications tools to use. It is VERY hard not to have some baggage with you.”

“The big companies are the worst. Remember, 30-40 years ago when the tobacco companies would commission studies saying that smoking was not bad for you? And, I am sure as more evidence comes out about corn syrup that food and cola companies will commission research that will mysteriously exonerate them.”

“When I worked in radio, even if we got killed in an Arbitron ratings sweep, we could always find a few ways to spin the numbers to make the station appear to be first in a few things. Were we crooked? Not really."

A few people wrote that they wonder why some marketing chief and CEO’s even bother to do research. Some get furious looking at customer verbatims about poor service and say, “Impossible. Our customers all love us.” Their attitude often strikes me as “don’t confuse me with facts, my mind is made up.”

When is research the straightest? Some tell me it is when one company is considering buying another. They look carefully for accounting tricks, maybe do customer research, and are brutally honest about how good the company’s product(s) are relative to competition. Once the purchase is made, suddenly key people want to protect themselves or push a specific agenda regardless of what the research is telling them.

So, is all research cooked? No, but much of it is shaded or manipulated a bit.

If you would like to contact Don Cole directly, you may reach him at

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Stockholm Syndrome at Ad Agencies?

Recently, someone whom I know casually wrote to me and asked me to draft a post on the presence of Stockholm Syndrome at Advertising Agencies. I wanted to dismiss the idea as absurd but I sent out a few feelers and was more than a bit surprised at the reactions that I received.

To recap for those who have not heard the term in a while, Stockholm Syndrome is generally defined as “a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with their captors.”

Reviewing the working definition, I again thought that the concept was ridiculous when applied to ad shops. After all, employees at ad agencies are not captives. People can quit, move to another agency, another state, or leave the industry. My mail, however, said otherwise.

Here are a few comments from people whom I value and trust:

“The problem definitely exists and I am certain that it is present in a number of American  businesses. In recent years, I have seem a number of people who are overworked and underpaid defend their superior even when their treatment has been rough or belittling. Today, more people seem to be happy to remain employed and put up with a lot of grief and actually defend the supervisor or executive who treats them badly.”

“Don, the Great Recession was frightening and many of us are scarred by it. When we saw some shops closing and friends getting fired left and right, it was a severe blow. You know how I was always in the CEO’s face lobbying for more money? In 2008-2009, I kept my head down and worked like crazy. When some of the staff would go out for beers, I got annoyed when they attacked our chief. I made some comments to defend him and then stopped going. There was no raise for five years although he did give small bonuses to us starting in 2011. We were thrilled! Now, I ask for a raise each year but I am far more low key than before. The boss is a sarcastic bastard and sometimes is mean. Yet I defend him sometimes and so do others on the team.”

“We have several people on board who seem to have the scent of Stockholm Syndrome. They are treated I think very unfairly but they never mention the thought of leaving. It disturbs me. They are not stars but are very serviceable employees. I think that they are being exploited. The way she speaks to them is really shabby.”

“Some of my peers are indeed captives. They work in a city where there is no where else to go. We almost went under during the big downturn and our recovery has been slow. One guy will have a hard time selling his house and the other is afraid to move from his hometown. I will be gone in a few months if my plans gel. Honestly, I did not see this issue clearly until I made the decision to leave. I was defending my jerk of a boss to my wife for a couple of years. No more.”

“Stockholm Syndrome! Give me a break! The weak economy and the rapid shift to digital has hurt a lot of us at small and mid-sized shops but there have always been people who put up with a lot just to keep their jobs. My son was reading Dickens for school and we discussed the character Uriah Heep  in David Copperfield who always said how humble he was. He was just a yes man and so are the people who some say have Stockholm Syndrome. These people are afraid and know that they have not kept up with the changes and neither has their agency. Many are not that young. The boss is nervous too and takes it out on defenseless staffers who cannot and will not fight back verbally.”

“I think Stockholm Syndrome is an exaggeration. BUT, as things improve I think some executives are taking advantage of people’s fears. My CEO and CFO were talking the other day and I overheard them laughing saying that, “The poor fool hasn’t asked for a raise in 8 years.” I was not meant to hear the comment but I was deeply disturbed.”

What do you think? Is this phenomenon true everywhere or is it more prevalent in 2015 advertising agencies.

If you would like to contact Don Cole directly, you may reach him at

Thursday, September 10, 2015

American Marketing Arrogance

Last year, I took a great trip through Italy and, after other family members went back to work, my wife and I headed for Venice. It was in May prior to tourist season so the weather was great but the crowds were not oppressive.

One day after breakfast, we strolled from the hotel and were headed for a vaporetto (water taxi). As we passed a bakery, we stopped and decided which of the luscious treats that we might buy. In the bakery, I spotted a distinguished looking man holding court with a few cronies. Imperially trim, he had on a perfectly cut Milanese suit and a shirt with the distinctive Turnbull & Asser collar that I can spot from a mile away. Also, in one hand he had an Italian pastry and, in the other a flute of prosecco. To myself, I thought, that guy knows how to live. It was about 10:45 in the morning.

The next day we passed the same bakery at roughly the same time and saw him again with two new companions. He was impeccably turned out and was also again munching on a sweet and had a prosecco in hand as well. The following morning we had to leave the unique floating city but passed by the bakery on the way to the vaporetto to take us back to our rental car. He was not there and I assumed he was stuck in a boring meeting as many of us are apt to be at 11 am. As our vaporetto was taking off, I saw the Dapper Dan hop on to the back of the water bus. He was carrying a slim attache case and seem to know several people on board and engaged in some very animated conversations punctuated by lots of laughter. A few stops later I looked up and noticed that he was gone.

I found it striking in many ways. It is a big world out there with about 7.1 billion people. Of the 200 countries on earth, each has a distinct culture. And, within many countries there are unique places such as Venice and unusual individuals such as the mystery man I have described.

Americans can learn something from this. No, I am not going to say that we waste our lives chasing money or conforming to corporate straightjackets. It is simply that as marketers we must step outside ourselves as Americans and remember that few people think, act or live as we do. There are many paths up the mountain to happiness. This is a huge advantage from my viewpoint that the advertising holding companies have over domestic shops. They have seasoned people on the ground all over the globe. These pros are familiar with local likes, dislikes and taboos. I recently had a conversation with a marketer who said that he was going to roll his successful US advertising campaign to 22 countries next year. He felt customizing it locally was an unnecessary expenditure. When I used my Venetian lawyer (financier, realtor, playboy?) as an example of how others think and live differently, he said, “The guy sounds like a drunk to me if he is drinking that soon in the day.” I wish my acquaintance well but his type of American marketing arrogance usually ends badly.

It is a big world out there. Take note, adapt to it, and revel in it!

If you would like to contact Don Cole directly, you may reach him at

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Is America a Plutocracy?

I am going to use a $10 word in today’s post as I am seeing it used more and more often these days. The word is Plutocracy along with fellow traveler Plutonomy. Webster defines it as a society that is controlled by a wealthy few.

While I had sometimes seen the word as an economics history student a long time ago, I first considered it seriously 10 years ago when three Citigroup analysts--Niall Macleod, Ajay Kapur, and Narendra Singh released a research report to their high wealth clients. In it, they described the United States as a Plutonomy. To sum up their position I quote them--“Plutonomies have occurred before in 16th century Spain, in 17th century Holland, the Gilded Age and The Roaring Twenties in the U.S. What are the common drivers of Plutonomy? Disruptive technology-driven productivity gains, creative financial innovation, capitalist-friendly cooperative governments, an international dimension of immigrants and overseas conquests invigorating wealth creation, the rule of law and patenting inventions. Often these wealth waves involve great complexity, exploited best by the rich and educated of the time.”

Ten years later, can you honestly say that these conditions have gone away? The analysts at Citigroup also said that the very wealthy few, while clearly small in number, account for a large slice of income and consumption. They also said the rich minority is “swelling from globalized enclaves in the emerging world.”

Now, those of you who have read this blog for a time know that I have always stated that income inequality will always exist in a free economy. It has to be that way. Some work harder, others are smarter and some are luckier than the average person. Capitalism rewards those who outperform.

Looking ahead the highly regarded Boston Consulting Group (BCG) put out a report last summer that was optimistic about the U.S. economy for the immediate future. They said that the sub-millionaires (many of us) would grow their wealth by a compounded 3.7% per year until 2019. Those with $100 million plus in liquid assets (15,000 people worldwide) will likely see a compound growth rate of 9.1%. Is there anything immoral about this? Absolutely not if the money was earned honestly and taxes were paid.

To those of us who are marketers and not asleep at the switch, it is obvious that a two tier market has emerged that is far sharper than a few decades ago. High priced items such as single malt scotch and luxury cars are doing well while more mundane or everyday products have sluggish growth. I have noticed how mid-level clothing has not gone up much in price in recent years but the quality has declined significantly. No one seems to grumble.

The Citigroup team closed their memorable report by reminding people (in 2005!) that we had one person, one vote in the U.S. They warned that labor might someday fight back and there would be a political backlash against the rising wealth of the already rich. I have yet to see it in a big way as Donald Trump’s poll numbers continue strong as I write. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has struck a responsive chord with those who feel disenfranchised in our Plutocratic society and is polling surprisingly well.

The real chatter that I hear today, even from educated people, is about the upcoming NFL season. So, we could be a Plutonomy but few people seem to know it or care.

If you would like to contact Don Cole directly, you may reach him at

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cutting Expenses at Advertising Agencies

It is no surprise to many of us that most new businesses fail. Many blame the economy, changing consumer tastes, brutal competition, too much government regulation and a host of other issues. In conversation recently with someone whom I respect, another variable came up and we hashed it out rather thoroughly. One of the reasons so many businesses, particularly smaller ad agencies and marketing firms are failing or struggling is simply failing to control expenses properly.

We shared some war stories about how we witnessed waste over the years both in places we worked, visited, or where we knew many insiders. On balance, my friend stated that he felt that many smaller to mid-sized ad agencies have the equivalent of an account that bills $2-4 million dollars in paid media if they simply had a better handle on expenses. Here are a few things that popped up plus some comments that a few agency principals shared with us:

1) Some CEO’s say the best way to cut expenses is to always cut staff. When you package up benefits on top of salaries, the savings are clearcut and take effect quickly after severance is paid. This is hard to argue with except that when times get tough, top management often seems to terminate some high level and highly paid employees that can be the glue that is holding the shop together. They can get to a desired number quickly that way. Over the last few years, several old pros have told me that they are down to a few senior staffers and a bunch of low paid kids. They have no bench anymore and everyone is overworked and clients suffer as they continually cut corners on both service and analysis.
2) One CEO says that he has painted himself in a corner regarding expenses. “Nowadays, I almost always cut staff when things get tight. What I learned is that if I give up a perk to the team, it is permanent. If someone gets a car allowance (increasingly rare) or the whole team is off an extra week at Christmas, it is impossible to rescind it without really bad feelings emerging. I try to be more careful about travel and entertainment but I know we waste money there. When it was back to the wall time in 2008-2009, we did some short term belt tightening and everyone understood as they were really scared, but as soon as we picked up a new account things got a bit sloppy again.”
3) A creative head put it this way--“Look, we could save some money by nickel and diming things to death. But part of the charm of working at an ad agency is that things are looser than a bank or an insurance company. We don’t look at the small expenses all that much.” My friend just shook his head and wanted to bet me $1000 that this firm would go under in five years. Time will tell but the creative director seems to be in la-la land.
4) I once suggested to a CEO that waste was rampant. He smiled and said, “I could really put the hammer down if I wanted in this office but I won’t do it unless things get desperate. Don’t you like nice meals when traveling? I know you use your frequent flier miles for your kids.” He then admitted that he was going to let a few quality people go in the next few weeks. Clearly, it was his bat and ball, not mine, but I was amazed.
5) Also, word gets out among the staff about what they can get away with regarding expenses. Once, when reviewing an expense report, I saw magazines, a bottle of aspirin and airport VIP parking on a trip a team member took. When I redlined the items, she said, “The people in production do this on shoots, why can’t I?” My friend said that you just have to be reasonable about travel expenses and be consistent. Everyone can only rent certain types of vehicles, and stay at certain hotels was ground zero. From there, put some reasonable guidelines in place. The $200 bottles of wine should show up only at large client request--most of them do not have that refined a palate.
6) A #2 at a mid-sized agency weighed in as follows--“My boss once told me to always book first class travel; I was told that I was entitled to it. I responded that I was upgraded to first 95% of the time because I am a frequent flyer (platinum status). Why pay for it? Over the course of the year, I could save the company thousands. If you did the same thing with a few other people, you could save a job or two, hire someone you need or pay us all a larger bonus at year end. He was not buying. Finally, when things got tight after a client loss, all of us were flying coach. As it happened, I, the “road king”, was upgraded to first class on a new business trip and no one else was. I looked my fearless leader in the face and said, “Let’s trade seats. I do not need the legroom you do.” He was genuinely grateful and accepted both my seat and my savings argument. A year later he told me we had saved nearly a quarter of a million dollars by buying coach tickets for senior management. I  personally delivered the biggest savings and I still almost always had a first class or business class upgrade.”
7) Finally, an agency president whom I have never met but who comments frequently on Media Realism had a sports analogy which was interesting. “When I was in high school, I played on the basketball team. I was not very good and neither was our team. Our coach had us do endless defensive drills. We probably spent 80% of practice working on our defense. Years later, at a reunion, I asked him why he did that. He told me that there were nights when we would shoot 60+% from the floor and others when we hit 30% of the time. He could not control that. If we played good defense every night, we would win some games and keep others close. I take the same approach to my business. When the economy sours, we lose some business. Or, a client gets bought or a new Chief Marketing Officer comes in and we lose an account. I am powerless over that. What I can do, day in and day out, is control my expenses. So, I key on that and it has helped us through some bad times and made the good times even better.”

Are you exhibiting tight cost controls? Unless faced with bankruptcy, the changes do not have to be draconian. Warren Buffett calls his corporate jet, “The Indefensible.” America’s favorite folksy billionaire is a tightwad when it comes to business expenses. Perhaps we should all listen to him a bit more.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Advertising Agency Holding Companies

For some time, several readers from a number of companies have asked me to comment on Advertising Agency Holding Companies. I put people off as this blog focused more on issues facing the mid-sized and smaller shops and how they are dealing (or not) with the rapid changes in the media landscape. Yet the requests kept coming and a number of people wrote or talked with me about how their world had changed since they went to work for a holding company agency or were principals in a fair sized shop that was bought out by one of them. As you might expect, some loved it (usually due to the big financial payout) but others hated their diminished role and total loss of control.

Today, four major holding companies control the majority of advertising and soon perhaps marketing activity globally. They are Omnicom, WPP, Publicas and Interpublic. Each owns dozens of agencies and they operate in many of the 200+ countries around the world and all are publicly traded. They grew by buying up other agencies and getting economies of scale in media and finance. Also, they could often handle conflicting businesses as the agency partners in their groups operated fairly autonomously.

So, here is an update. I caution readers to note that my cross section of observers is not  necessarily a well drawn sample. All, however, have lived it or are still involved with a holding company.

A management rep who has worked at two holding companies had this to say--“People can complain all day and will. What the holding companies bring to the party is financial sophistication and muscle. I worked at a company with offices in nearly a hundred countries. They were foreign currency experts, great hedgers, and they had a global outlook. Intuitive marketers, no way! Yet one of the firms that I worked with reminded me of Nestle or Exxon Mobil. They could thrive in any environment given their deep diversification.”

A friend who is a creative chief but sharp eyed observer of the industry says: “From a mid-sized agency standpoint, when we have a pitch against a big agency, they have a capacity to throw fifty teams at a project when I have one or two. But that isn't as much about a holding company as it is just big agencies. Are there any big agencies that aren't part of a holding company?”

“The money comment is dead on. They can pretty much make or break an agency if they want to. Once you are owned by one and have to meet their numbers, it certainly changes how you do anything at the end of the year because you have to do work that produces. In that way, the holding companies are a bit ahead of the game when it comes to doing what's next, because they are solely focused on the profit of the business”.

“So when I see a holding company being experimental with something (like they were with digital agencies about 15 years ago) then I get interested. They certainly have a great perspective on the business because they can see what all of their clients are doing, where they are spending their money, and whether something is turning into a solid business practice or if it's just a trend that will fade. They also have the money to play in a lot of different arenas where smaller places have to really focus on one or two core practices or they will spread themselves too thin”.

A deeply experienced agency owner who worked for a few holding companies weighed is as follows: “Most small shops that sold were for CEO’s and cronies to get a guaranteed pay day--then they realize what was said in the brochures ain’t quite what they expected so they walk away or grumble away their contract time and then leave unhappy staffers who came with them looking for other jobs.” He also added that you need to “hire an agency you think can move faster than you and will fill you with thinking that is better than yours.”

A man in his 80’s who sold his shop nearly 25 years ago said, “I was just lucky. We got out when I had a health scare. I was able to get thousands of thousands of shares of a publicly traded shop that is now part of a holding company. Today my dividends alone cover my needs and guarantee my grandchildren’s future. But, I was not treated well after the takeover. No one wanted the advice of a hick.”

From the midwestern U.S., a friend writes: “Every agency that I have ever worked at had a distinct culture. Some were unpleasant, a few were wonderful. When you become part of a holding company, much of the charm goes away. You have to drop the platinum bars off in New York or London or Paris each quarter. Nothing else matters.”

An agency owner who would like to retire or sell his shop says: “I was born maybe 20 years too late (laughs). Back in the day, I would have sold to DDB or Ogilvy in a heartbeat. Today, the mega-shops do not want or need agencies of my size. And, they can buy speciality companies. If someone makes a breakthrough in mobile or some other emerging medium, one of the holding companies can scoop them up with an irresistible offer. Then they are #1 or #2 in that arena. You have been honest in your blog the last few years about we mid-sized players faking it. In truth, we can compete with ideas and energy and fast turnaround but NOT in technology.”

A few people mentioned that companies often choose a mega-shop as they want to be perceived as a global company. Once, I pitched to hold a piece of business with a few colleagues against a mega-shop. We fought like hell for it. Our holding company competition arrived with a map of the world stuck with flags in it. The pitchman said they were the biggest and the best. We lost the business, as the main client, an international player, loved the identification with the giant. Years later, after a punishing trip, I was stalking through the Atlanta airport eager to get to my car. I was stopped by a man who looked vaguely familiar. “Are you Don Cole,” he asked. He introduced himself and said he was in the room the day we lost our account. His boss was eager to deal with the global giants. He then said they never saw the slick pitchman again and he would not return phone calls. Off the record, he said even his boss said he had made a terrible mistake. I am not sure if nearly as much of this goes on as in the past but they can promise one stop shopping across emerging media types that smaller guys cannot match. And, they do have people on the ground all over the place so you are less likely to stumble and use wrong verbiage, colors or even packaging when operating abroad.

A feisty buying service player says the big guys need to watch out with their programmatic buying. “If they are not transparent with how much they are making, it will come back and bite them. Arrogance generally does not work long term.”

A marketing chief writes, “I tell young people to go work at a holding company. They are an excellent training ground and have resources that are amazing. Then I suggest that they go client side or to a mid-sized agency that still does good work where they can make a difference and have a life.”

A tough minded realist who is a junior partner at a relatively large agency says: “These guys know that Integrated Marketing Communications is slowing taking hold. For some companies, advertising was 85% of marketing spend a decade ago. Now, it has shifted across the board into promotion, PR, mobile, online, etc. So, they buy companies across the marketing arena. As the advertising portion of the marketing pie shrinks, and, it will, they pick up revenue in all disciplines that are picking up the slack.”

From the West Coast, a financial analyst says, “The only thing that can stop these guys is if the Big Data players such as Google and a few others go directly to big clients and offer their services. Will that happen? I just don’t know.”

So, the future for the holding companies will be cyclical and tied to the vagaries of the global economy. They are here to stay. Something is lost when the bean-counters take over a creative industry. As we move to more mobile and abbreviated means of communication, it appears that classic creative will increasingly take a back seat to social media and other media yet to emerge. And, the big will likely get even larger.

If you would like to contact Don Cole directly, you may reach him at