It's Time For A Commerce Approach To Media

The industry-standard approach to media advertising is obsolete.

You’re more likely to survive a plane crash than you are to click a banner ad. And you can research and buy virtually any product, at any time, from any touch point. This fundamental capability overrides the marketing funnel and reorders the priorities of media.

St. Elmo Lewis imagined the marketing funnel in 1898. He postulated that people take particular steps in the purchase journey (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) in a prescribed order. By predicting the most important touch point at each step, marketers could build a perfect experience for each phase in the funnel.

Because it starts with awareness, the funnel puts a priority on one-to-many advertising. Make the most people possible aware of your brand, and a subset will progress to the Interest phase. So TV and banner ads have predominated marketers’ media plans.

The problem is, people don’t follow a linear purchase path anymore. They’re continuously getting information that influences their preferences, even when they are not “shopping.” Their preferences are far more likely to shaped by a friend’s social media post, or by ratings and reviews, than they are by the reputation of a particular brand. And when they decide they want to buy something, they expect to be able to do so in that moment, wherever they happen to be.



This is the heart of the Ubiquitous Commerce era we’re entering. It requires a commerce approach to media.

I like to think of commerce media in terms of the See-Think-Do-Love framework that Google’s Avinash Kaushik created. See-Think-Do-Love refers to audience intent clusters that marketers need to address at every touch point. See is the largest addressable qualified audience that might want to buy our product. Think is people who have already shown some purchase intent. Do is people looking to make a purchase. And Love is loyal customers who have purchased from us at least twice before.

Commerce media dictates that we create unique content and messaging for all four intent clusters, and that we devise separate success criteria for each. Whereas the standard media model overloads resources on See, commerce media starts budget allocation with prospective customers in the market now (Do), then casts a wider net by funding engagement campaigns for Think, Love and See customers. By messaging according to intent rather than demographics, marketing gets much more relevant. 

Mondelez is taking this tack in 25 countries, shifting digital media into shoppable ads that connect directly to sites like Amazon. Mondelez balances video, social and display ads that serve different levels of relationship. For example, retargeted display ads with tailored offers connect with in-market consumers (Do), while video ads on Facebook attract the uninitiated (See).

You can’t serve today’s customers with separate marketing and commerce teams. You have to converge them so they support each other’s interconnected activity. The best way to do this is to establish shared goals, and then allocate a shared budget and resources.

Together, the teams can plan, execute and continually improve campaigns that engage people appropriately at each level of relationship with the brand. Importantly, they can build in calls to action and buying opportunities that fit the multiple scenarios shoppers encounter within each level. For instance, a first-time visitor who searches for “running shoes” at 5 a.m. may need a different experience when performing the same search at 6 p.m. within two miles of your store.

That goes for measurement as well. One size doesn’t fit all; what’s needed are measurement and success criteria that account for all the touches at each level of relationship. These are critical to developing the ability to assess effectiveness from any point in a commerce media program.

Ultimately, marketers need to expand data management platforms (DMPs) to include shoppers’ experiences, so the complete range can be factored into content planning and delivery. Before an automation system can deliver personally tuned media and site experiences, though, marketers need to achieve a new orientation and orchestration. The cohesion that will cement relationships with oversold consumers has to start with a fundamental shift in the marketing mindset and management.


1 comment about "It's Time For A Commerce Approach To Media".
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  1. Brian Kelly from brian brands, September 30, 2015 at 12:07 p.m.

    You say "content and messaging".
    What is your definition of "messaging"?


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