Marketers' Constitution Tenet #6

by , Sep 20, 2010, 5:00 AM
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In celebration of its 100th anniversary, the ANA has created The Marketers' Constitution. Its goal is twofold: to acknowledge the marketing industry's many contributions to our society, and to help the marketing profession move beyond the inefficiencies, limitations, restrictions and unknowns of the past to a new, effective, transparent, economical and socially responsible model of marketing and media for the future.

The Marketers' Constitution sets forth what the ANA believes are ten essential "musts" of marketing for the next 100 years. These will help ensure that the industry thrives and continues to contribute to the growth of the nation's businesses -- as well as to the economic and social well-being of our society. Read the entire Marketers' Constitution and show your support for its tenets by digitally signing it.

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The sixth tenet of the Marketers' Constitution states that the marketing ecosystem -- including agencies, media and suppliers -- must become increasingly capable. The concept of the marketing ecosystem was first coined in a landmark cross-industry study, Media and Marketing Ecosystem 2010: Digital Darwinism. The study, conducted by Booz & Company, was completed in partnership with the ANA, the 4As and the IAB. One of its core findings was that a capable marketing ecosystem is more than just an essential. It is fundamental to marketer's ability to make targeted, confident and effective business and brand building decisions.

The term "ecosystem" is an appropriate metaphor for what marketers increasingly need to compete effectively in the rapidly changing consumer and media landscape. Marketers' ecosystems are a dynamic, complex and interconnected community of advertising agencies, media organizations, research firms, production companies and other resources that support wide-ranging needs.

Marketers must have their hand on the pulse of evolving consumer needs and patterns, evolving media, enhanced measurements, streamlined business systems and thought leadership. Marketers cannot do this alone; their ecosystem partners must continuously support them to create new ideas and core competencies -- like powerful branded entertainment vehicles, thought-leading intellectual capital, breakthrough licensing opportunities, original digital media properties, proprietary software applications, two-way consumer conversation facilitators and ingenious media packages.

Agencies are marketers' most important partners. Yet this relationship has been under considerable strain due to a variety of factors including:

  • The elevated role of procurement departments. It is clear that major cost reductions have been secured for marketers. However, it appears that this is causing a deep divide in the relationships among brand marketers, agencies and the procurement organizations. A recent ANA survey confirmed these findings.
  • Disintermediation strategies direct marketers to work directly with digital publishers, social media and evolving media platforms. Concurrently, increasing numbers of marketers are pursuing in-house agency organization models.
  • Fairness in compensation practices. The recent recession created the need to reduce overall costs elevating margin concerns at many agencies.

But for many marketers, there is nothing better than a client/agency partnership that works brilliantly. For the past two years, Denny's and its advertising agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and PR firm Hill & Knowlton implemented a truly creative multi-media effort, known as the Super Bowl Grand Slam campaign. This promotion, which offered a free breakfast on the Tuesday after the Super Bowl game, included TV advertising, online search, PR and buzz marketing. This courageous campaign drove huge traffic to Denny's restaurants, reintroduced consumers to the chain and reinvigorated its brand. Energizing the "Denny's ecosystem" drove profit and increased brand awareness and trial.

What is clearly taking place in the agency community is a level of "reinvention" -- and as our good friends at the 4As say -- "Transformation" (the theme of their Annual Conference). Ongoing transformation is a predicate for all participants in the ecosystem. The research community is going through this now as their focus seems to be shifting toward producing valuable, actionable insights, rather than streams of endless, mind-numbing data.

Finally, the media need to "get it" as well. And that seems to be happening with increasing frequency. For example, one of the most significant transformations appears to be coming in the "television" arena. Successful advances in creating "interactive television" are creating enormous possibilities for marketers. These advancements lay the foundation for the next generation of improvements, enhancing "addressability" potential. This, of course, needs to be balanced by responsible consumer privacy principles.

Net, there is much embedded in Tenet #6. While marketers bear the responsibility for insuring their respective ecosystems are being managed effectively, they need a heavy assist from their ecosystem partners to ensure this is being done with optimum efficiency and effectiveness.

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