Media Mix Is Trivia

As we go about our business in the media marketplace, we all, once and for all, understand that the marketer's relationship with the consumer has forever changed. This relationship -- how we attract, court, engage, sustain, deepen, communicate within it -- is driven by the new powerful role that the consumer plays and will now probably never stop playing. It's a powerful role for the killer assets -- kind of like great legs and gorgeous hair -- that it possesses. These assets are demand and influence.

But, also, if you take a look, the Internet has pretty much reorganized around the consumer. Digital exists to service the consumer, who basically lives within it. So the potential for leveraging these assets is also boundless across platforms and within the social graph. All traditional media lines are blurred in a 24/7 reality.

Keeping up in this business requires refreshing the nomenclature, definitions and constructs you use to operate and prosper within that reality. It occurred to me recently that as we rely on our steady go-to resources to monitor the ad economy, it's pretty easy to hinder our own strategic and planning performance. Think about the reports and stats we monitor: trend charts on planning allocation across TV, Outdoor, Digital Out of Home, Print, Radio, Internet. And then within the Internet pie: Email, Search, Social Nets, Video, Mobile and Display. We also look at revenue share within our economy across these broad delineations.



But, especially within the "Internet" stats, we must break this down further to look at spending across different social net entities; networks, exchanges, and DSPs; different definitions and video placement types; new options in mobile and connected devices; apps; blended search methodologies - and the permutations and combinations go on and on and on. Yet, we still get asked - and answer - the questions: "What allocation do you recommend for Search? For Mobile? How should I weight the media mix? What do you recommend for media mix modeling?"

Yes, within solid agency or marketing communications process, channel planning and determination of media mix -- are just downright wise. There's a certain ordering of ducks that must go on. But in an always-on consumer-fueled environment where the "campaign" is essentially a passé media institution and where the proliferation of options per any given channel or platform are more intricate than ever before - what does media mix really mean any more? Yes - slowing down to lay down the path forward will always be a good idea. But, to really begin foster sustained, ever-yielding engagement, in a world where consumers are truly living in the Internet, with digital organizing around them all day long - one must drop his or her rigid focus on media mix.

What then assists the way forward? Super Data in its most robust possible version -- including social listening and trending; purchase behavioral trending; and lifetime engagement modeling -- moves into permanent central position vs. the nice-to-have directional information used by planners. We must equip ourselves with systems for leveraging and optimizing against the analysis gained through that positioning of data. And finally, we must let go of those very explicit, black-and-white allocation plans and models for the media mix. In today's reality, the concise, overly simple little bit known as media mix is practically trivia.

3 comments about "Media Mix Is Trivia".
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  1. Kendall Allen Rockwell from WIT Strategy, April 11, 2011 at 6:21 p.m.

    Paula -- such sound trade advice. Hooking oneself up the stats IV, and looping around constant digital comparisons all year long... keeps one subsisting in such a fog. Never stepping out and getting just how much real information is right out of sight. Thank you for chiming in on this. (And on the elephants.)

  2. Thom Kennon from Free Radicals, April 11, 2011 at 9:43 p.m.


    I think there is an echo in here. I just finished teaching a class with my brilliant NYU grad peeps hitting almost every single essential point you make here, practically in dead-on sequence and detail.

    Brava, girl - keep it up. Eventually enough people will get the world-changing model shift underway. Even if we have to wait for the coming generation of all-channel, 24/7 marketers to prove it.

    Thom Kennon | | @tkennon

  3. Bruce May from Bizperity, April 11, 2011 at 10:44 p.m.

    Great insight… social media creates a continuous dialogue, much of which takes place outside the control of the marketer. Influence occurs throughout these dialogues. Individual media buys through specific channels can impact brand attitudes, beliefs and behaviors ( and even drive sales) but the impact of individual marketing messages (regardless of their original intent) create waves of influence that mix together with other content in complex ways that resonate across the social graph, creating measurement conundrums that even a nuclear particle physicist would find challenging. We need to find better ways to measure the long term impact of our marketing communications and the myriad ways in which they interact with other content. Barring that, we need to learn to simply listen more carefully to the dialogue and make our messages more relevant to the conversation.

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