Friday, May 15, 2009

Survival of the Fittest--Marketers, Media, Agencies

I saw the Digital Darwinism article in Booz & Co’s online Strategy+Business magazine a few weeks ago. I read it, thought it summarized important ideas, then pushed it to the side of my desktop where it languished until a couple of days ago. When I received an email that it had been republished as a Resilience report I reread it and was again impressed with its insights.

Part of the reason is some good case studies; author Christopher Vollmer talks about HP and there are sidebars written by Carolyn Everson of MTV Networks and Ajaz Ahmed of digital agency AKQA. That represents their three key players in this struggle for survival; businesses, media and agencies.

The report identifies 5 behaviors that the fittest will use to survive:

1. Getting close to consumers. Hardly a surprise! The point is to “activate” consumers, making them “prosumers.” I think we used to call that brand advocates, but whatever we call it, it’s hard to do.
2. Stimulating conversation. Again, not a surprise. Advertising is out; listening and dialog are in.
3. Recognizing that content and context are inextricably intertwined. This puts a premium on careful media choice and integration.
4. Making better use of customer data and insight. In this fragmented media environment we lack integrated metrics to measure the progress of our efforts.
5. Building new, more collaborative relationships. This is where marketers have to work in close collaboration with their agencies and media to create the kind of meaningful, two-way dialog that will “activate” customers.

This report is essentially analysis of the fall Marketing and Media Ecosystem 2010 report, which I've written about a couple of times previously. While there is nothing startlingly new in the analysis, it is cogent, focused and a good reminder.

A friend commented to me recently that a brand of our acquaintance didn’t seem to have the basics in place. Good point. These are the basics. If your company/your brand doesn’t have them in place your chances of survival in a challenging environment are seriously diminished!

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