Q&A with Christian Kugel & Michael Zeman of Starcom IP

A recent Starcom IP research project examined the merits of aligning marketing communications with consumer motivations for using the Internet. The result was a new approach to Internet ad planning called Contextual Temporal Mindset (CTM).

According to Starcom IP Director Christian Kugel and Insights Manager Michael Zeman, CTM is a framework media planners and buyers can use to anticipate and leverage receptivity and counter situations where online consumer approachability is low. It also shows that contextual and mindset relevance are two different things.

MEDIA: Why is CTM relevant to planning and buying media on the Internet?

Kugel & Zeman: Currently, online media planners value potential audiences based on variables such as target composition of a site, ad unit sizes and technologies, and overall and competitive clutter - the idea being that these variables should aid a planner in predicting and anticipating receptivity. What's missing from this equation is really the base-level of receptivity that a consumer might have prior to even opening a browser window. By recognizing and incorporating consumers' underlying motivations and associated mindsets, a planner can add an additional dimension of insights into the planning process.

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MEDIA: You say different consumers have different motivations on the Web. What are they? Is any particular group more receptive to advertising?

Kugel & Zeman: Broadly, online activities fall into four buckets: Information search; engaging hobbies/interests/passions; entertainment; and commerce. One activity group is not necessarily more receptive to advertising overall than another. Rather, consumers in one bucket may be more receptive to certain types of executions than another. The bottom line: executions which the consumer perceives as fueling their specific motivation are more likely to generate receptivity.

MEDIA: How does CTM Relevance address these motivations?

Kugel & Zeman: The CTM Relevance framework recognizes that it's not just about site content and the time at which an impression is delivered. It's also about the reason the site was accessed by a consumer. CTM recognizes that someone who visits an entertainment site is going to have a much different mindset than someone who visits a technology products review site. For example, the research that we conducted uncovered the differences in these consumer motivation buckets on variables such as attentiveness, constructiveness, contentment, hindrance, and assurance. When striving for Mindset Relevance, a planner incorporates the differences between these variables into the strategy.

MEDIA: How will clients best deploy this methodology?

Kugel & Zeman: The key to applying CTM Relevance is two-fold. First, there must be true cohesion in the development of the media and creative strategies. Second, the nuances of the motivation being targeted must be recognized and incorporated into the execution. In order to achieve a high degree of CTM relevance, media scheduling and placement decisions must be made alongside creative development decisions. This process ensures that the tactical approach is centered around one goal: creating a holistic execution which fuels a consumer's motivation.

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