Commentary

'Fragmentation' Isn't A Marketer's Most Pressing Connection Issue

I once tried to describe the programmatic ecosystem to a non-advertiser by way of a diagram. We were at a table, so I used tableware to lay it out: forks, spoons, knives, napkins, plates, bowls, cups, and even salt and pepper shakers. It's a good thing there were so many different utensils, too, because I used nearly all of them.

I wasn't even halfway through my makeshift diagram when I realized it was too confusing. The person I was explaining it to got the gist of it — automating the trading process — but I think it was a good example of why "fragmentation" is such an important topic to the industry.

It gets even more fragmented when you consider that my example only dealt with a single channel, in a single country, with a single language. The ecosystem as a whole would really look like a giant spiderweb.

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Yet while that short anecdote deals with fragmentation issues on a business-to-business level, new data makes me think that an even bigger connection issue exists — one between marketers and consumers.

An [x+1] report released this morning shows that marketers have an overblown sense of the value of their marketing. On the flip side, consumers seem to underestimate it. For example, marketers think advertising on Facebook or Twitter is 42% valuable, but consumer see it as just 7% valuable.

In their report, [x+1] writes that this disconnect between marketers and consumers "is a problem that still needs to be addressed, particularly as programmatic models and greater data management capabilities allow more marketers to reach their customers through the right channels."

But it's not just the value of marketing that consumers and marketers don't see eye to eye on. Turn, in conjunction with Forbes Insights, also released data this morning looking at the perspectives of both marketers and consumers. One area of the report focuses on privacy, and it turns out marketers overestimate how much consumers really care about it.

Turn's report notes that "customer anxiety over potential privacy breaches is significantly lower than that perceived by [businesses]." That's not to say consumers don't care about privacy — nearly half say they are concerned or highly concerned with privacy issues — but they are "more comfortable with exchanging information than most business executives realize," per the report. This is backed by the data that businesses believe 81% of consumers are either concerned or highly concerned by privacy issues when it's really only 47%.

"Fragmentation" in the sense of the muddied space is a real issue for marketers. However, it's clear that an even more important disconnect exists, and it's one that's getting in the way of what's ultimately trying to be accomplished: marketers understanding consumers.

"Spiderweb" photo from Shutterstock

1 comment about "'Fragmentation' Isn't A Marketer's Most Pressing Connection Issue".
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  1. Tom Cunniff from Tom Cunniff, October 23, 2013 at 5:08 p.m.

    It's nearly impossible to be an expert on a business subject, and be responsible for its performance, and be completely objective about it. Of *course* we're going to worry about the wrong things, and concern ourselves with ghosts. The critical difference is that fragmentation is a REAL issue and the others are not. I believe that when the history of this era is written, the steady collapse of mass reach will be the headline of that story. All of the rest will be viewed through that lens.

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