Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Media as the New Creative

That’s an interesting and provocative phrase. I’ve seen it a few times, but it really struck me when I saw it as one of the key trends in The Marketing & Media Ecosystem 2010 study done by Booz Allen for a group of advertising organizations. I referenced this survey of 250 marketers in an earlier post, but wanted to think more about their trends, especially the media issue. The trends are:
•Marketing as Conversation
•Media: The New “Creative”
•Marketing + Math
•Mind the Gap (between customer use of and marketing spending in the new media)
•The “Digitally Savvy” Organization
•The Network Effect (magnified by social networks)

All are of critical importance, but what do we really mean by media as the new creative? One thing that is apparent is that we’re at the end of the era of simply pushing content out to the user—by traditional media like TV or even by permission-based but irrelevant email. Chosen content needs to be pulled through to the user—think RSS feeds, widgets, Facebook apps and more.

Distribution of content has become the central focus for marketers who need to reach many different target audiences, for example young audiences and mobile audiences. The old media choices are not relevant to these two audiences. Which of the new media choices reach them? In what kinds of situations? Do they want marketer-initiated communications? If so, what kind? How do they want to access communications?

A slideshow has recently been posted that makes additional points. One is that advertisers are looking for media partners to the detriment of traditional agencies. Another that underscores the importance of this issue is that marketers defined as leaders are significantly more likely to be concerned about issues of brand community and to be hiring communications planners to help them navigate their way through the ecosystem of communications channels decisions I’ve just suggested.

While researching this topic I came across a posting in an Australian media blog with a checklist for marketers as they deal with social media. #9 especially caught my attention:

9. Treat social media as a communications conduit to your audience and a very important extension of the business.

That is a good perspective. It is “marketing as conversation.” It is communicating with customers and potential customers in their own terms, on their own turfs. It is engaging with them in an ongoing dialog.

The Booz Allen study summarizes its findings as follows:

The challenges are clear!
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