Tech Prom, Time Management, and the Future of Marketing: Q&A with Dave Balter

9/7/11Follow @gthuang

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the space to write and block off the time necessary to both start and finish a piece (or a book).

As an aside, after having authored two books as a CEO, I do feel it’s very, very hard to balance the writing and publishing of a book while running a business. Publishing is a business into itself, and many CEOs fall prey to the vanity of publishing a book and seeing their name on the cover.

Investor: As an investor I think the most important skill is being realistic. This can be really hard when there are so many great companies and entrepreneurs to invest in. But this means being realistic about how many you can actually work with, both financially and time-wise. To me it also means investing in concepts you can understand and provide some input into the construct of the business. Hell, I’d love to invest in some biotech startups but, realistically, it would be a total crapshoot given I have no idea about the space. I’d rather win or lose with something I can understand.

X: From where you sit, what does the landscape of PR/marketing, journalism, and books look like in 5-10 years? Who wins: Twitter, Google, Apple, Amazon, or Arrington? (Please don’t say Arrington.)

DB: The future to me is more symphonic and orchestral than it is about one supreme soloist. There won’t be one single winner, but rather many companies will be providing tools and value that create success for writers, marketers and authors. The winners will actually be those who figure out how to utilize as many of the tools as possible most efficiently. Our “jobs” will be to know about all of the potential tools and paths to create exposure and value, and to understand how to use those tools as successfully as possible (see Smarterer…).

X: How has marketing changed, and how has it stayed the same, over the past 10 years? What is the most important trend entrepreneurs in the field should be thinking about for the future?

DB: The biggest change to me isn’t really about the type of marketing that we do, but how we use it. Yes, there are new social and digital tools, but there have always been marketing evolutions (print to TV, for example, is probably as big a change as TV to Social). Traditional media hasn’t been replaced by any stretch, as many marketers continue to see strong results from ads on TV to FSIs [free standing inserts] in newspapers.

What is different though is how we understand the intersection of these medias, when to use them and how to create the most value. In previous years, a company may have just used TV during one night of shows on one of the big three networks. Now they may want to run a series of different ads across TV and cable, with call-to-actions around visiting a Web presence or a Facebook page.

The most significant trend is accountability. Everything. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g can be and is being measured. If your marketing isn’t creating value that can be tracked, then it’s going to go away.

X: Lastly, what one question would you ask the God of marketing and social technology?

DB: Where’s the bar and is there a buffet nearby?

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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