We (Finally) Have A Seat At The Table
Luckily, those days are over. Now I spend my time (per prospects' request) illustrating the most effective ways to advertise online. We talk about integration and synergy. We urge clients and prospects not to think about the digital space as stand-alone. We often struggle to quantify vehicles such as word-of-mouth, viral, blogging and podcasting.
I just read a great article in Strategy + Business magazine called "The Future of Advertising Is Now," which says that the "future" of the digital space is finally arriving. This writer couldn't agree more.
It's time for big media companies (and the rest of us) to look at all media platforms holistically. We need to keep a close eye on how the consumer uses media. Advertising nowadays must have a multi-platform approach. According to the article, when brand marketers and media companies consider this concept they:
- "Shift spending and management attention to digital media, and use those media to more effectively influence consumer purchase behavior.
- Develop formats to promote interaction with audiences, especially their most likely consumers.
- Create new research approaches and metrics that measure outcomes, not inputs.
- Combine "above-the-line" advertising (TV, radio, and print) and "below-the-line" marketing (promotions, sponsorships, events, public relations) in new two-way, integrated campaigns.
- Create their own branded entertainment assets and appeal to customers directly through them.
- "In-source" new skills and capabilities to achieve greater sales impact and other measurable results."
Many of us still, however, experience brands only allocating 5 percent to 10 percent of their marketing dollars toward the online space. This still does not make any sense to me. Is it just habit? Is it lack of trust in the medium? Do these folks take in account broadband's being in about two-thirds of American households? Do they realize how many people are beginning to use TiVo, DVRs and cable on-demand features to skip commercials altogether? Haven't they read about the infiltration of blogs, social networking sites, video on demand and the like? Why the hesitation? Will anyone move away from a TV-centric media buying mentality?
I was watching the Emmys last night. Conan O'Brien was talking about the threat of TiVo in his monologue. He said, "Now viewers can skip commercials with TiVo instead of just leaving the room." Isn't it true? He then talked about losing the younger audiences: "And the kids aren't watching us, they're watching a cat on a toilet on YouTube!"
Funny thing is, it is true. I was watching with my resident 16-year-old. She sat for a few minutes here and there, but kept getting up from the couch. She kept grabbing the clicker, going over to VH-1 and all sorts of music videos. Then she left the couch to go into the kitchen, hop on the computer, etc. She had music streaming on her PC, was downloading music, looking at Web sites and IMing friends. Oh yes I forgot, her phone kept chiming that she had text messages.
Certainly this scenario pertains to a younger audience. However, sitting down for an entire Emmy show was almost painstaking. The format seemed, well, I don't know--old. There was really nothing that kept me engaged. The commercials were a blur to me. I have to give those advertisers a bit of credit, though. They had Web sites to log onto and URLs tagged all over the place. However, I don't remember anything creative or compelling enough to make me want to log on.
So all in all, we have a permanent seat at the table--but we still only have a few percent of media dollars. What do we need to do as an industry to get the share we deserve? Is it creative? Strategy? As I scratch my head, help me out--post your thoughts to the Spin blog. As Gloria Gaynor once belted out, "I will survive. I will survive...hey heyyyyyyyyyyyyy."