Yes. It's a mouthful. However, as hard as it may be to say five times fast, truly delivering on the concept of multi-platform media marketing ("MPMM") is even harder. At least since the early days of radio, when newspaper companies tried to leverage their local print franchises into local multi-platform media franchises -- or some might say, leverage their print monopolies into multi-platform monopolies -- folks have been thinking about how to make different forms of media work together to create more power. They have tried to make print and audio and video and outdoor add up to more than the sum of the parts in producing results for marketers and profits for media owners. Unfortunately, no one has ever really cracked the code on it, even today when you can complement the power of traditional media channels with direct consumer contact and interaction channels like postal mail, telephone and the ubiquitous Internet.
For all of the talk of "360 degree media and marketing," true multi-platform media marketing is still largely just a lot of talk and not a lot of tangible action. However, I think that we are going to see a lot of change here very soon. Here is why:
- Fragmentation, Clutter, Bypass and Accountability. The fragmentation of media audience, the extraordinary clutter of advertising messages wherever consumers go, the fact that consumers can find what they want when they want it, and the fact that so much digital marketing is now quite measurable and accountable, means that marketers and their agencies no longer have to buy the templatized products that media assembly lines produce. Now marketers are asking for much more marketing-solution-driven offerings. This is requiring a shift in emphasis, from the media type to the total solution.
- Weakness in Analog Media Relative to Digital Siblings. The Internet has been held back at most traditional media companies by the folks that controlled the incumbent media channels, whether they were print or radio or television. It's a classic case of the big older brothers holding back their younger and previously weaker siblings. Online was used as a complement or "sidecar" to support the incumbent products. Over the past five years, as consumers have moved away from those products, as marketers have begun to shift their budgets away from those products, as much of the best talent in analog media has shifted to digital for a brighter future, and as Wall Street has begun to hammer analog stock prices for the lack of a long-term future, leverage in media companies is now shifting to the online platform. These internal power shifts have helped break historic silos in these companies and permitted everyone to reexamine the solutions that they bring to market with a more holistic view.
- Ability to Orbit Audiences Across Media Platforms. It used to be that media publishing was a field of dreams -- publish it and they will come. In that world, you created products and hoped that consumers would orbit them, like bees to budding flowers. No more. In the kind of consumer-driven, on-demand media world that is emerging today, media companies are starting to reverse their thinking. Now it is about orbiting audiences with content and communication and community and related services that they care about. They tell you what they want. They are less responsive to being told what to want. While this reversal is most prominent today online, it will certainly creep into all channels. Media companies are learning quickly that if you want what you want online, you also want what you want in print and on your television. You also want these things to work together.
- Digital Back-ends. We talk so much about the power of digital platforms to present content, we sometimes forget how powerful digital networks are as back-end systems. The notion of truly coordinating marketing programs across newspapers and magazines and television and direct mail and online was unheard of and impossible years ago. Not so today. Sales force automation, customer relationship management, and customer self-provisioning systems have changed all of that. True, multi-platform media marketing is no less complex than it used to be, but at least we now have systems that can manage it.
So, what do you think? Is integrated marketing across media platforms finally coming? Will media owners or marketing service companies finally get it right?