The Marketing environment is complex and convoluted, but no unmanageable.
Media, communications, entertainment, technology and society today, have fused together to form an environment of epic changes for those in the communications industry. Our clients are challenged by increasing inflationary pressures of traditional media as well as the fragmented media space. All of which exert pressure on the agencies to define more engaging and enduring communications. Media agencies struggle to integrate digital in a meaningful manner, and this can be clearly seen in the under-representation of our advertising expenditure, official or otherwise.
Complexity #1 - Consumers are ahead of the game
Consumers are far ahead of agencies and advertisers in the digital sphere. Agencies and clients alike, bandy about data in the digital realm, while the consumers are fully immersed in their respective digital experiences. All too often, agencies need to throw the data sink at the client to convince them to go digital; large audiences being on digital, the cost impact of digital vis-à-vis traditional media and the top Websites that consumers are on. Sometimes those research discussions move on to counting unique visitors to unique browsers, with the odd question of sufficient sampling of that particular research data. With social media thrown in the mix, the environment is rendered chaotic. People often forget that research is where the consumer was yesterday not where he is today. It is an aid to guide our thinking not a crutch. Are we not expected to skate towards the puck? How else can we keep in touch and stay ahead of our consumers? Move ahead on the argument, donot dwell on it.
Complexity #2 - Market is ever shifting
‘Digital changes everything', is an often quoted phrase. The nature of new technologies in digital, changes the media game. When digital planning was in its infancy, digital planners chose sites based on the top 20. Then ad networks came about and contextual advertising came in, planners then looked at the long tail. Questions, however, kept popping up, "Which Website does my ad appear on?" The focus of the question is still on the Website and not the consumer. One of the favorite inclinations are what Websites can be accessed or bought, and not what are the consumers like. Fast forward to tomorrow with DSPs (Demand Side Platforms) in play, this question becomes significantly more complicated yet infinitely easier, it is no longer about top 20 or the long tail, but buying inventory in real time where the consumers of your choice are: demographic and behavioral. Even when we focusing on where the consumers will be, some questions asked will be, "So which site does my ad appear on?"
Complexity #3 - Social
Social media has been hogging the buzz over the last couple years or so. People misconstrue it as a technology and fail to recognize that it is just people communicating on a different platform. It has its own social etiquette, and it is really easy to see the faux-pas as social condemnation takes place. A central key theme in social is "Whose job is it anyway?" My usual glib and flippant response is everyone's, and genuinely so. It is all too encompassing. Anyone who says they can do everything should be questioned (and perhaps have their head examined)-from management of social campaigns, to managing public relations, from research to marketing, right down to customer relationship management: each and every part of the marketingcommunication food chain.
Complexity #4 - Pieces of a puzzle
In digital you can measure everything. This is both, a pro and a con. Tomorrow's digital environment is sweeping far and wide. Not only will you have DSPs in play but also the ability to retarget consumers. Fuse this with the ability of dynamic ad creation to create a multilevel communication framework, to target the consumer at literally every step of their decision making process, from being aware of your product to triggering an action. This gives the planner a greater ability to measure the effect of their communication. Couple this with social and traditional media data, analytics and ROI and have a field day, measuring consumer behavior in communications. The pieces of the puzzle will now make sense.
Making a Difference
The world is a complicated place, and no less in media, communications and digital. There is one saving grace, however. We deal with people. People are varied in their approach on a lot of things but one thing is certain, that we recognize the changes in today's environment. With those changes, you have to take risks in this new world order, albeit measured and calculated risks. Every marketer today knows that. You can't keep doing the same thing and expect different results. With that comes a degree of risk and expectation of making mistakes. The world isn't perfect, it is complex.