Weighing Ethical Issues In Testing Drugs Abroad

Pushing a new drug past the daunting scrutiny of the FDA and onto the

shelves demands a typical outlay of $200 million. Average in all the

remedies that fail along this four-phase process and that single

success may have to pull in $897 million before its manufacturer turns

a profit. Understanding these astounding figures grows is easier when

one considers the up to $100,000 per-patient cost of testing over the

long term in the United States.

Given the cost for doing this testing in the United States, many large

pharmaceutical companies have taken clinical drug trials offshore. In

a number of countries, including China and India, the per-patient test

is 50 to 80 percent less than it is here, making the decision to

complete human tests overseas a no-brainer. But for smaller biotech

firms, the decision, while alluring, may not be quite so simple.

Both the benefits and hurdles are covered in the panel discussion

"Off-Shoring Clinical Trials: Where? Why? & How?" on Monday, October

16, at 2:15 p.m. at Loews Philadelphia Hotel. This seminar takes place

as part Biotech 2006 Conference, which is co-sponsored by the Biotech

Council of New Jersey (ww.biotechnj.org) and Pennsylvania Bio

(www.pennsylvaniabio.org). The event continues on Tuesday, October 17.

Cost for workshops only, $650; for full sessions, $1175. Visit

www.biotech2006.org to register and for more information.

Panelists for the discussion group "Off-Shoring Clinical Trials"

include Ulrich Grau, president and CEO of Lux Biosciences; Nyan

Nanavati, vice president of PAREXI Clinical Approvals; Carol

Cruickshank, vice president of A.T. Kearney; Ramesh Kumar, CEO of

Onconova Therapeutics; and James Taylor, worldwide head of outsourcing

for Pfizer.

Grau, a native of Frankfurt, Germany, earned his bachelor’s degree in

biochemistry from Stuttgart University in l978. He came to the United

States to earn a Ph.D. and to do post-doctoral work at Purdue

University. A diabetes researcher at one stage in his career, Grau

invented a a long acting insulin for later stages of the disease.

No stranger to giant corporate culture, Grau served as senior vice

president for development for Aventis, overseeing a $1 billion budget.

He then took a post as president of research and development for BSF

Pharmaceuticals in College Park, Maryland. Grau founded Lux

Biosciences (www.luxbio.com) in early 2005 for the purpose of

developing novel medications and delivery methods for the eye.

"As for me," he says, "I did it partly for the excitement of being on

my own, and partly because I feel that smaller biotech firms can be

more effective on specific projects."

There is no doubt, Grau says, that offshoring clinical trials has

become a popular trend. Any time that you can cut costs so

dramatically for such a huge operations expense, everyone wants in.

"But it is a quickly moving target with many tricky considerations

that one cannot ignore," says Grau.

Small versus large. Life science companies of all sizes face

fast-rising research and development costs, along with a reduced

number of FDA approvals. But Grau says that the smaller biotechs

almost always operate much more cost effectively in the research

areas. "There is no economy of scale here," he says. "The large

pharmaceutical firms are bogged down with a huge infrastructure,

inhibiting both speed and thrift."

But big companies do possess the ready cash necessary to move

operations across an ocean, to rent facilities, and to train foreign

staff. A smaller firm may spend more to move clinical trials overseas

than it saves.

Patient competition is another consideration. For oncology

medications, for example, finding appropriate patients as yet

untouched by testing can spark a highly competitive man hunt.

How far offshore? The contract research organizations, which provide

patient pools for biotechs, are now looking for trial candidates in

India and China. Both countries’ populations are ethnically varied.

Transportation and research infrastructure are solid in these

countries, and each has large numbers of individuals who are not

taking medications that will interfere with the results of clinical

trials.

"It is a sad fact," says Grau, "that in these places there are many

people who have never received the medications related to their

disease." This is unfortunate for affected individuals in these

countries, but good for drug developers. In contrast, nations like

Korea and Singapore, along with countries in Eastern Europe, have the

technical infrastructure for trials, but cannot generally be used

because so many of their patients are treated for serious diseases.

Both Africa and South America, while rich in qualifying patients,

frequently lack the skilled local personnel and transportation

structure to make testing attractive. The exceptions are parts of

Argentina and South Africa. "However, Africa is definitely the future

field of clinical testing," says Grau.

Ethical issues. The vision of the heartless lab-coated scientist

injecting hundreds of trusting native folk with questionable

substances has dogged clinical testers for over a century. Many

cynical observers point out that skin lotions may be tested on the

arms of United States residents, but when it comes to experiments with

the heart or eye, researchers turn to people on some distant shore.

Grau abhors any program of testing that involves individuals who are

less than completely informed. But he notes that there is another

moral obligation more easily overlooked. Experimental clinicians

cannot just descend into an area, bring a long-sought-after medicine,

heal for six months, and then up and leave. "There must be long term

continuation protocols," he insists. "It goes beyond approval. It is

one’s ethical imperative."

The true ethical rule of thumb is conduct clinical tests in a manner

that is above reproach. Regardless of how eager a country may be to

cooperate in such testing, and to look the other way on issues of

informed consent and treatment of test subjects, Grau says that

researchers must take every safety precaution, just as if they were

testing their own family. By making such a commitment, the company is

opening its doors for international approval later, once FDA approval

is obtained.

Not all patients are equal. Finding a suitable patient population goes

far beyond getting a clean, unmedicated group. The ethnic

differentials are enormous, Grau points out. Africans tend to have a

different metabolism than most Asians and North Americans. Japanese

people tend to require smaller dosages than most Americans. Remote

island people may be too homogeneous to reflect the population of a

country like the United States or Great Britain.

Beyond the patients themselves, clinicians need to consider quality

controls. Are their enough technical personnel in a new arena to

perform the tests and to gather and record the data accurately, and on

time? (Hot-wired India is renowned for getting tests back to United

States companies while North America sleeps.) Finally, Grau mentions

the stability of the national and regional government. "I have seen

people actually trying to monitor test sites in a war zone," he says

with a shake of his head.

The contract research organizations continue to grow as an increasing

number of medications require testing across the globe. They are

making overseas patient pools more attractive to even small companies.

But as with any business venture, it is wise to undertake a lot of

cost and logistics planning before leaping at a bargain price tag.

– Bart Jackson

Pros and Cons of Franchising

So why do all the stores in New Jersey malls look the same as those in

Georgia? Well, there are two reasons, each having to do with a

different business model. First, there are the establishments like

Starbucks and Outback Steakhouse, both owned by corporations that have

stores throughout the nation. But there are other operations, like

Applebee’s, Cheesecake Factory, and Kumon, which have spread widely

using a different approach, franchising.

Franchising is big in New Jersey, with more than 20,000 franchise

establishments in the state, according to Adam Siegelheim, a Stark &

Stark attorney with practices in banking and financial services,

business and corporate, and franchise law. "There are very few

independent-run, non-franchised retail stores," he says and quotes a

recent Price-Waterhouse study estimating that franchises contribute

$40 billion to the New Jersey economy.

For a local business owner who wants to expand, says Siegelheim,

franchising is a relatively inexpensive way to go. "You don’t need as

much capital," he says, because the franchisee is making the

investment. Furthermore, when the franchises are being managed by

owner-operators, "they are more motivated for a store to do well than

if a corporation opens 10 locations, and puts a manager in each one."

Whereas a manager sees it as a 9-to-5 job, the owner is going to stay

there until 10 p.m. making it work. "If you have people vested in

making it work," he says, "it’s their livelihood, their baby."

Siegelheim adds that if businesses choose the corporate ownership

route rather than franchising, they not only need to hire and train

employees, but are still responsible for day-to-day operations. "With

franchising," he says, "you also train, but at that point the

franchisee takes over."

Of course, the onus is still on the franchisor to choose a qualified

franchisee to run a location. "You’re only as good as your

franchisees," says Siegelheim. "You really have to do due diligence to

make sure you are picking the best franchisees."

Siegelheim speaks on "Franchising Your Business" as part of Trenton

Small Business Week on Tuesday, October 17, at 8:30 a.m. at Wachovia

Bank, at 32 East Front Street in Trenton. Siegelheim will explain to

business owners looking to expand their businesses and increase their

profits what a franchise is, which businesses are franchisable, and

what the legal requirements are. For more information, call

609-989-3531.

An annual fall event, Trenton Small Business Week runs from Monday,

October 16 through Thursday, October 19. It includes the fifth annual

Mercer Regional Chamber Expo on Wednesday, October 18, at 9 a.m. at

the Trenton Marriott and the Trenton War Memorial. There are many

seminars each day, and most of them are free. Topics include selling

to the government, grass roots marketing, creative negotiating for

real estate, trademarks and patents, and the art of using credit. The

final event of the week is the "BlackNJ Professional Mixer," on

Thursday, October 19, at 7 p.m. at Maxine’s2 Restaurant on South

Warren Street.

Siegelheim emphasizes that the advantages of franchising are not just

for business owners looking to expand but also for relatively

inexperienced individuals who want to start their own businesses:

Startup and ongoing support. "Lots of people who have been downsized

out of corporate America are looking to do something completely

different," says Siegelheim, and franchising gives them the chance to

open their own businesses with a safety net. Most franchisees, it

turns out, have no background in the business they are going into, and

need lots of help, and the franchisor provides them with a weeks of

training, an operations manual, and ongoing training and support.

With franchising, he says, "they are not starting from scratch." The

franchisor gives them "a recipe to run the business," which includes

ideas about how to most effectively advertise, hire employees, and

market products and services. A franchisor’s help reaches down to the

nitty-gritty level; in the restaurant business, for example, it might

include how to cook meals, do the payroll, and hire a manager.

Name recognition. Possibly the biggest advantage of a franchise is the

franchisor’s name. "You are not only getting the formula of how to run

the business, but also a brand name to associate with," he explains.

"You can make the greatest doughnut in the world, but if a Dunkin’

Donuts opens across the street, their parking lot will be full."

Loss of control. But there’s also a big downside to becoming a

franchisee, says Siegelheim. "It can stifle your creativity and any

entrepreneurial aspirations you want to fulfill." He cautions against

franchising a McDonald’s restaurant and thinking you can improve on

the Big Mac. With franchising, you can’t tweak the system. "If you

feel you can make a better burger," he says, "you should open your own

restaurant."

Although franchisees are not permitted to introduce their own

products, there is a role for entrepreneurial skills when franchisees

own multiple locations. Multiple sites open the possibility of volume

purchasing, but the different sites also provide backup for one

another. If a manager is sick in one location, you can bring an

assistant manager from another, or if one location is low on staff,

you can bring in employees from another. .

The decision to clone. To decide whether a business is franchisable,

the owner needs to ask if it is easily replicated, and if it is easy

to teach others how run it. "It’s one thing if a family in business

for 80 years makes the best spaghetti in town," says Siegelheim, "but

it doesn’t mean someone downsized from AT&T who never ran a restaurant

can do it." The business also must be something that is not regional

or specific to one area. "The largest segment of franchises popping up

respond to universal needs," he says. Right now a hot segment is

businesses that cater to children and to pets.

Businesses that decide they are ready to franchise must contend with

some legal issues. Franchisors must provide prospective franchisees

with a Uniform Franchise Offering Circular (UFOC). In it they must

disclose the total investment necessary for the franchise; the amount

of fees to be paid to the franchisor; information about the

franchisor, including business experience and whether any litigation

has been filed against the franchisor in the past few years; whether

the company or any key employees have filed for bankruptcy; how many

locations the franchisor has; how many locations have terminated or

otherwise left the system in the last three years; and a copy of the

company’s audited finance statements. The UFOC must be given to a

prospective franchisee after the initial face-to-face meeting with the

franchisor.

Fifteen states have enacted registration laws that require a

franchisor to register the UFOC and get permission from the state to

sell within its borders. Although New Jersey does not have this

requirement, New York does, so it would make sense for any New Jersey

business planning to expand in the Tri-state area to register in New

York.

"There are also statutes in states that offer franchisees protection

that franchisors need to be aware of," says Siegelheim. The New Jersey

Franchise Practices Act, for example, affords franchisees broader

protection than they would normally get under a franchising agreement

– on issues like denying renewal without good cause or attempts to

prevent the transfer of a franchise from one party to another. And, of

course, a potential franchisee should bring the UFOC to both an

attorney and an accountant for review before signing.

Siegelheim, who grew up in East Brunswick, comes from a family of

businesspeople, not lawyers. His family’s firm, started by his

grandfather, produces advertising specialties like the hats with a

Yankees logo provided to the first 10,000 fans at a game. Because it

sells in such large quantities, Siegelheim doesn’t think the business

would work well as a franchise.

But he mentions a similar business that does work as a franchise,

EmbroidMe, which he describes as a "watered down version" of his

family’s business – providing one or a few items to each customer as

opposed to his parents’ business, which sells thousands at a time.

So why did Siegelheim decide to become a lawyer instead of joining the

family business? "When I was growing up," he says, "I was always

fascinated by TV shows like LA Law, Matlock, Law and Order." After

graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 1996, with a

bachelor’s degree in political science, and from the University of

Pittsburgh School of Law in 1999, Siegelheim worked for several years

as a litigator, first in Paramus and then with Carroll, McNulty and

Kull in Gladstone.

He then switched to corporate with Stark & Stark, which he much

prefers. He says that corporate law he feels that he can help foster

positive relationships rather than always being adversarial. In

franchises, for example, he brings together people who can form a

mutually beneficial relationship. "It’s much better to be a deal maker

than a deal breaker," he says. "When I was doing litigation, the

wheels had come off the bus, and everyone was at each other’s

throats."

– Michele Alperin

Move Your Sign To Cyberspace

`A business without a sign is a sign of no business" has long been a

standard phrase in business marketing. Without a sign in front of your

shop, nobody will know you are there. In the Internet age many want to

alter the phrase to include websites. Surely if a business does not

have a presence on the Internet, it must not truly exist.

Unfortunately, like a sign that has been overgrown by brush, a website

can easily disappear behind the billions of pages among which it

stands.

"Build it and they will come" no longer applies to websites. Everyone

has one and no one has time to look at them all. How then can a

company maintain a website that will help increase business instead of

draining resources?

To sort it all out Thomas Edison State College hosts "Pods, Blogs,

VOIPs, and More: Using Internet Tools to Advertise Your Business," a

free seminar by Nancy Vinkler as part of the Trenton Small Business

Week on Tuesday, October 17, at 10:30 a.m. at 101 West State Street,

Townhouse Room 104.

After graduating from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in education

and earning an MBA from Villanova, Vinkler embarked on a 25-year

career in information technology. Specializing in business development

and product marketing, she managed websites for several large

corporations including, Quadritek and Lucent Technologies.

In 2002 Vinkler went out on her own, purchasing a franchise from WSI:

We Simplify the Internet (www.WSIsimplyROI.com). Vinkler works with

companies to tailor a marketing package that suits both their needs

and budget with a "focus on business strategy."

Vinkler points out that Internet marketing is not very different from

standard print marketing as far as strategy goes, and that return on

investment is still the most important consideration. The biggest

difference is the flexibility of the Internet. As an example, Vinkler

says that a traditional Yellow Pages ad run can cost $1,000 a year and

once printed cannot be changed. Web content can be updated as

frequently as a business has a new message its customers.

Websites are a business’ home base on the Internet. To make them work

Vinkler stresses three key steps:

Traffic is the number of potential customers who click to a website.

There are a number of ways to build traffic, starting with search

engine optimization. A typical Google search can easily return several

million sites. A quick search for "furniture," for instance, returns

more than a quarter-billion hits. This number is way too large to wade

through, so a consumer is most likely to click on one of the first few

results. While optimization has been around for a while, "it’s more

complicated now that it ever has been, because of volume," Vinkler

says. "If you are not on the first three pages you are not considered

to be on the Internet."

Luckily there are a number of tools that can help a site improve its

ranking, the easiest of which is sponsored links. Search engines

typically return two sets of results, the "organic" or free listings,

and the sponsored links. Sponsored links are paid advertising and

premium space on the results page. Vinkler explains that "the top left

position is the most desirable and can cost upwards of $5 per click."

The upside is that the link is free if no one clicks on it, and

because the Googler can see a brief description of a company before

deciding whether to invest time in a click, he is not likely to click

if he is not interested.

Content is what will keep a surfer on your site. Vinkler asserts that

"the average time spent on a site is eight seconds." This is not a lot

of time to grab a potential customer’s attention. No one is going to

spend much time on a boring page, but Vinkler warns that "overly

salesy sites" can also be a turn-off. The key to balancing between

bland and bling is useful information.

Vinkler says that both blogs and podcasts that inform or entertain

will keep surfers on a site. Both are now easy to set up. Podcasts

have the advantage of letting potential customers take you away with

them in the form of audio that can be downloaded onto a portable media

player. Keeping new visitors around long enough to fall in love with

your product will greatly increase your chances of advancing to the

conversion phase of the relationship.

Conversion, the holy grail of Internet business, occurs when a person

has found a web page through the sea of competition, stuck around long

enough to realize that he wants your product or service, and has

decided to make a purchase. It’s not easy to get far. This is akin to

the "close" that real-world salesmen use to bring a deal home. An

Internet entrepreneur who has gotten a potential customer this far has

to pull out all the stops to turn him into an actual client – and, if

at all possible, a loyal, repeat customer.

Vinkler suggests using VOIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, to

connect directly with prospects, and to add the personal touch lacking

in most internet businesses.

VOIP links on a web page let visitors make a free phone call to a

company representative right from their computers. Vinkler says that

VOIP system can even be set to find the business owner, ensuring that

he is able to close the deal.

If you own a business, it is a solid bet that you have a website. You

have already spent time and money developing it, and it probably looks

well tended, but not much else. Now is the time to send it out into

the world and put it to work. Vinkler says that the tools to take your

website to the next level are now inexpensive and easy to put in

place. – Patrick Spring

From Your Kitchen To The World

You make a fabulous salsa/chocolate chip cookie/chicken pot pie.

Everyone tells you that you should market that product. Go into

business, they say. You could make your fortune!

It’s not that easy, says Diane Holtaway, associate director for

business development at the Rutgers Food Innovation Center. Starting

any business is complicated, but there are special concerns to

starting a food related business. To assist would-be food

entrepreneurs in the early stages of planning their businesses, the

Rutgers Food Innovation Center holds a business basics seminar for

food entrepreneurs on Tuesday, October 17, at 1 p.m. at the Rutgers

EcoComplex, 1200 Florence-Columbus Road, Bordentown. Cost: $25. For

reservations and more information call 609-499-3600.

The seminar focuses on the basics of operating a small scale food

business of any type, from selling food to the public, perhaps as a

bakery or a restaurant, to manufacturing food to sell through grocery

stores, gift shops, and other outlets. Speakers include Holtaway and

other staff members, Julie Elmer, associate director of food

technology, and Christopher Shyers, business development specialist.

The seminar introduces would-be entrepreneurs to "everything they need

to think about before starting a food business," says Holtaway, as

well as the services offered by the Food Innovation Center.

Government regulations regarding food safety can seem complex, and not

following the rules can put a company out of business. One of the

first issues a food business must deal with is finding a certified

kitchen to produce the product.

"If the business is going to sell directly to the consumer, there is

one set of rules. If it is selling to a wholesale market, there is a

whole other set," says Holtaway. For a retail business the kitchen the

food is produced in must be certified, usually just by the county in

which the kitchen is located. If the company plans to sell wholesale

state regulations must be met.

Liz Duckman, owner of Nutty Ducky’s Brittles in Edison, attended a

seminar at the center in 2005 and learned that her original dream of

making her candies in her kitchen could not become a reality. Duckman

left corporate America a few years ago "with a package," and then went

about trying to decide on a new career. With more time available she

began making nut brittle candies and giving them away as gifts.

"Everyone told me it was so good I should sell it, and stupidly I

listened to them," she says jokingly. In her first plan she envisioned

herself cooking up her candies in her own kitchen, packaging them

herself, and marketing them. After meeting with the Food Innovation

Center staff she knew that she couldn’t run a business that way. "It’s

against the law to make food you are going to sell at home. You can’t

even store it at home," she says. "You need a lawful kitchen or a

co-packer." A co-packer, she explains, is a manufacturer who

specializes in making food products.

While the kitchen may be one of the biggest obstacles for a food

business, there are any number of other things the would-be food

entrepreneur should know, says Holtaway. Just as for any other type of

start-up, the first step is a good business plan.

Differentiate your product. It is particularly important for a food

start-up to differentiate itself because there is so much competition,

says Holtaway. In fact, 90 percent of food start-ups fail. "Whether

you are selling house cleaning services or making truffles, you have

to know what makes you different from any other company."

Figure on feeding the multitudes. "Your friends may think that you

make the greatest salsa in the world, but when you go to manufacture

in large quantities the recipe is going to be different," says

Holtaway.

Find your funding. Food entrepreneurs have to have money to develop

and produce labels and packaging, design a marketing campaign, rent

time in a kitchen, pay a a co-packer, and ship the product to market –

all before seeing a dime back on their investment.

Investigate price points. If the product isn’t priced right, it won’t

sell. A food business must be sure the product can be manufactured at

a price people will pay.

Keep up with trends. Knowing the trends in the food industry is one of

the most important things for a food start-up. "To come up with a

winning idea you have to do your homework," says Holtaway. "Marketing

to a 12-year-old girl is different than marketing to a 45-year-old

mom."

Some of the current trends in the market include ease and convenience

of use. "Easy to prepare or no preparation" is a very important trend

in the current market, she says. Customization is another trend.

Targeting a specific market segment, rather than banking on general

appeal, will make a product easier to sell.

Yogurt is one of the best current examples of market customization.

There is the traditional yogurt with the fruit on the bottom, blended

yogurt, yogurt for children, yogurt aimed at athletes, yogurt drinks,

yogurt specifically for women, and reduced calorie yogurt. "Each

product addresses itself to a specific consumer group," says Holtaway.

There is one factor that cuts across all groups, though. Says

Holtaway: "It has to taste great."

Holtaway joined the Food Innovation Center when it opened in 2001. She

sees her work there as an extension of her lifelong love of food and

cooking. "I’ve always had a passion for food," she says. "When I was

very young I remember standing in the kitchen with my mom and

grandmother and learning to cook." She received a bachelor’s degree in

food and nutrition from Rutgers University and then went on to get a

master’s degree in business from New York University.

She has worked as a food editor for Ladies Home Journal and for two

large food corporations, Unilever and Campbell’s. "At the Food

Innovation Center I’m doing for small companies the same types of

things I used to do for multi-million dollar brands," she says.

The five-year old center can help its clients "do everything a large

company can do except manufacture," says Holtaway. "We have a team

that can assist with all areas of the food industry, a technical

staff, marketing, production, even an international expert.

The center is going to add manufacturing to its menu of services soon.

The architectural plans for a food manufacturing incubator are

currently in the final stages. When the incubator is built companies

will be able to use the facility to manufacture small quantities of

products.

The food and agricultural industry is second only to pharmaceuticals

in New Jersey, says Holtaway. The center has assisted about 600

clients since opening in 2001.

Without the advice from the staff at the center Duckman isn’t sure her

brittle candies would have made it from concept to production. After

attending a seminar last June she was able to begin production in

January, 2006. She says she has invested about $45,000 in the

business, and while she has yet to see a profit, her candies are now

available in stores in 10 states and she is now talking to potential

buyers in Puerto Rico, Oklahoma, Arizona, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Says the brand-new candy entrepreneur, "Without the knowledge and

resources of the center, I wouldn’t be here."

– Karen Hodges Miller

For Advertisers, Cyber Niches to Mine

`America is changing from consumers to prosumers," says Richard

Teplitsky, Lucent’s director of communications for global sales and

services. "They don’t care about

this year’s model or last year’s brand. Instead they are shouting what

they want loud and clear."

These prosumers are telling that communications industry that they

want what Teplitsky terms "content banking." Be it money, music, talk,

or business information, people want to have it banked, on hand, and

ready for access across the globe. For the already ulcer-ridden

industry of advertising, this change has proved to be a traumatic,

mold-cracking experience.

Exactly how one can market in the face of new customer profiles and

ever-shifting technology is the topic of Teplitsky’s on "Corporate

Communications and Technology" on Tuesday, October 17, at 4 p.m. at a

meeting of the Jersey Communications, Advertising, and Marketing

Association (NJ CAMA) at the Princeton’s Marriott Conference Center.

Cost: $45. Visit www.njcama.org to register.

A native of Philadelphia, Teplitsky attended Temple University,

earning a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1985. After

graduation, he joined WWDB, one of FM’s first all-talk radio stations.

"Everything was done live, with all the interview talent being pulled

in and run to the split second," he recalls.

Teplitsky then worked for the media department of Philadelphia

Magazine until l996, when he moved with the times and headed various

communications departments for a series of high tech companies.

Students at Temple University, where he serves as an industry advisor,

love

to hear his tales of telecom’s boom, then bust of seven years ago, and

current re-boom. For Lucent worldwide, Teplitsky tracks his firm’s

expanding international partnerships and

reassures everyone that telecom innovation is speeding ahead.

"Technology has rearranged our social networks," says Teplitsky. "This

change will surely continue and advertisers ignore it at their peril."

New canvases. Analogous to magazine publishing in the l970s, today’s

blogs continue to proliferate into increasingly specialized interest

topics. (Yes, there really are 30 blogs on skateboarding.) Three

decades ago, magazine advertisers quickly seized the opportunity and

inexpensively targeted these small, hot-to-buy groups. That same

opportunity now has reemerged in cyberspace.

Ironically, while technology makes us global, the mode is infinitely

more personal. MySpace (www.myspace.com), once deemed a young person’s

online pathway for finding friends, activity partners, and jobs, has

crossed the age barricades. Seniors are slacking off on E-mailing the

grandchildren and increasingly are logging on to link with each other

for meeting or just chats. These more personal channels allow a more

personal marketing access, but only if the message is deemed an aid,

not a distraction.

Teplitsky points out that the new media, like their still-giant kin of

television and radio, all require ad space to pay the bills. For the

marketer, this means more study not just of new targets, but of the

media a given client’s buyers access.

Cyber furors. Individuals using cybermedia are not just watching, as

they do with television, or reading, as they do with newspapers and

magazines. They are interacting, and therefore feel more possessive

about their screens and time. The television commercial is greeted as

a tolerated interruption, but the online ad gets labeled "spam" and is

often viewed as an invasion.

The prosumer clicks his mouse in search of information. The marketer

who merely seeks brand recognition will fall – stunning graphic and

all – right into the delete basket.

Additionally, digital rights management issues will accelerate with

increasing content, Teplitsky warns. Who is the author? Who is the

owner? And who, if anyone, gets paid? These are questions that the

judiciary has only partially answered for the last half century. It

began with photocopying, moved on to VCR tapes, and is now a hot issue

with Internet content.

The fight over downloading intellectual property will continue. The

advertiser must examine not only his own ethics, but the legality of

the media through which he plans to send his message.

Device fatigue. Watch a road warrior in any airport. He’s got his cell

phone and laptop flipped open, scanning back and forth to his

Blackberry, dreaming of that on-plane moment when he can relax with

his MP3 player or E-book. We all are becoming victims of what

Teplitsky terms "device fatigue."

We are screaming for electronic consolidation amid our juggled

clutter, while retaining, of course, all that content banking and

global portability we’ve come to love.

The American prosumer has more than demonstrated his willingness to

pay for electronic content and the devices that deliver it. Teplitsky

notes that Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) has risen to $72. This

means that some Americans may gladly pay nearly one half of their

average individual at-home food bill each month just to reap the

riches of the Internet and the cell phone. This ARPU does not include

cable and other television fees.

As manufacturers scurry to catch up and cash in, telecommunications

lines have begun to blur. Is Google a connector or a content provider?

What are the turf differences between Yahoo and Verizon? More than

ever, the advertiser finds himself perplexed as to how best to reach

his customer.

Marketers’ dilemma. Amid this swirl of expanding and converging

technologies, what’s a poor ad person to do? Teplitsky advises a new

strategy. Concentrate less on placing spots and on grabbing larger

market shares of targeted groups. Instead look for those furtive sites

and cyber niches where individual customers hide. After all, they tend

to cluster in interest groups – places where standard demographic

studies do not apply.

But most important, Teplitsky warns advertisers to keep themselves

technically aware. Technology is driven by trends. Latch onto these

and it becomes easier to predict the next avenue of placement.

"Remember," he says, "your competition is already studying the new

changes. You just cannot afford to be ignorant any longer."

– Bart Jackson

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