Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Media Ecosystem and Marketing Relationships

Last week AdAge had a provocative video clip that talks about the way changes in media are affecting the relationships between advertisers and their agencies. That’s not a revelation; late last year I wrote about studies from Accenture and IBM that focused on the relationship issues. I’m still taken with both the title and the content of IBM’s “The End of Advertising as We Know It.” It’s worth a reread. View the video here.

But time moves on and so do the studies. The one referenced in the AdAge video was done by Booz Allen Hamilton for ANA and the IAB. They surveyed 250 marketing leaders and the full report is also worth a thorough read. Here are some of the key findings. The first one “advocacy trumps awareness” is a cogent summary of what I was trying to say in my recent post on customer acquisition.
Other summary points reinforce the difficulty many marketers have in convincing their organizations of the value of social media. The report suggests that media is, in fact, “the new creative.” Their summary will also reinforcethe angst in traditional agencies, which are having just as much difficulty adjusting to the new media world as are their marketer counterpoints. A recent post in Marketing Charts, reporting on a different study by ANA, suggests that marketers continue to try to recast their organizations to deal with change but are not entirely satisfied with results.

The report ends by saying that successful response to the new media environment requires:
•Improved customer insight
•Better choice of media and management of multiple channels
•Marketing organizations with the necessary talent and a supportive culture
•Partnerships in the evolving media ecosystem.

All of this represents a sea change in the way most marketing organizations think about and execute their marketing efforts. They must be data-driven and must cope with a bewildering array of media choices. As frequently noted, many of the media choices require putting some control of the marketing message in the hands of customers. Dealing with the both the internal and the external issues requires skill and vision.

It’s a big order. This blog continues to try to point out there are leading-edge companies/organizations and agencies that give us ideas. This week alone I’ve written about a politician with a wonderful viral message and an income tax preparer that’s discussing issues with tax payers.

It’s a wonderfully challenging environment with many opportunities to “shatter the barriers between marketers and customers.”
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