You probably see at least two ads in your immediate line of sight, and there are likely to be at least five to 10 product logos within your peripheral vision. I can guess you have a Starbucks or Peets coffee cup, your company logo, and there is probably a Google or Yahoo! logo and a few other scattered marketing messages (certainly one for Microsoft on the bottom left of the screen).
How do you plan for this environment when putting together a campaign recommendation?
This is a difficult question, and one that I pose without having a guaranteed solution. We talk about clutter quite often, and the difficulty for a brand to break through and have an impact on the consumer. But if we take a slightly different approach and focus on the environment first to determine how a message can be effectively caught in the filter, we just might be even more effective in our marketing.
Traditional planning departments will spend time on the placements and examine the behavior and usage of media vehicles. They will run reports that show composition and coverage, and will generate formulas that support the decision to select a vehicle for inclusion in the plan. More forward-thinking planning departments will also include considerations of what messages will be conveyed using these vehicles. They may also provide rationale for why each message makes sense, based on the probable succession of exposure across media formats.
The most effective planning department will also provide an analysis of the landscape in which the messaging is weighed, against the environment in which it is exposed. For example, many people have started to use podcasting to convey a message. A traditional planner would consider a podcast a means of delivering content to the user, with ad messages interwoven and the content sponsored. The most assertive planner would also give consideration to the environment in which the podcast is listened to. Is it being heard while on the bus or the subway, or is it being plugged into the stereo at home and played aloud for multiple people to hear? The environment may have an impact on the type of messaging as well as the method by which it is being broadcast.
The environment has an impact in more ways than you imagine. When you are planning a piece of outdoor, you plan it differently for a north-facing unit on the 101 in San Francisco than you do for a west-facing unit in Times Square, Manhattan. You inherently plan for the environment with this media vehicle, so why don't you for any other format?
Just a consideration. Do you agree?