The New Oreo: A Business in 3 Layers

In 2007, I put forward a couple of presentations and a white paper called "The Oreo Doctrine." The point of the O.D. was that our industry -- online marketing and advertising -- was really splitting off into two very distinct sets of businesses. On the one hand you had "Transaction" -- the buying, selling, placement, optimization and yield management of commodity ad units (whether 728 x 90 leader boards, 15-second pre-rolls, widgets or what have you.) The other business I called "Marketecture" -- the creation of value through aggregating and organizing marketing solutions from digital assets. My point was not that either of these businesses was superior to the other, just that they were wildly divergent. I urged readers and audiences to make hard choices which of these businesses they'd compete in and then live their choices.

Since that time the concept has been widely discussed and -- I believe -- has held up quite well. But now as I look specifically at those who run digital sales organizations -- my primary constituency -- I believe they must now think of their business on three distinct levels:

The Page Layer: How will I sell and be compensated for guaranteed placement on the specific pages of the domains I control. What are your strategies maximizing yield and managing your human capital?

The Audience Layer: Online audiences are being assembled, bought and sold independent of context. That's a simple fact. To cry foul or make moral judgments about the practice is counterproductive. Will you participate and if so, what alliances and practices will you embrace or reject?

The Integration Layer: Marketers still want to blend their brands and messaging into the fabric and experience of your site. But making this happen means far more than trotting out 'sponsorships' or slapping logos into the banner ghettos on your site. Do you have the long-term enterprise sales skills in house to get this done and are you deploying them well?

Over the next three installments of The Drift I'll examine each of these layers separately and offer advice and guidance to digital sales leaders as they navigate these three distinct revenue streams. Stay connected to this space and post your comments freely.

Next Up: The New Oreo Part 1: The Page Layer