Navigating the digital music space can be challenging for many marketers--even those as big as Miller Brewing Co., according to panelists speaking on Tuesday at Digital Music Forum East in New York.
"We're still newbies in playing with all the new opportunities and technologies," said Bill Averill, regional marketing manager, Miller Brewing Co. "We're still trying to feel our way through it in trial mode ... there aren't a lot of metrics."
Miller has been working on building its own custom music download site and experimenting with various offerings.
"We really want to talk to agencies that know our brand portfolio," Averill said.
The beer baron's experience with sponsoring music events goes back 30 years when the brand began sponsoring local bands around the country. It continues to tie in with local bands, since the "beer business is a local business," Averill underscored. But it's often hard to land on the right formula for what the brand needs versus what consumers are most interested in.
In his work with marketers seeking to partner with digital music venues or those that want to create their own programs, Scott Hagedorn, director of innovation at OMD Digital, suggests allocating 5% to 7% of the budget to "testing and learning."
Hagedorn maintains that there must be a fair amount of trial and error. At the same time, marketers' digital music programs must have established methods to track return on investment: "We track everything ... conversions, downloads, registrations." The tracking helps in developing predictive models that are based on consumer behavior.
To ease the way for marketers, digital music providers should provide case studies of their previous work with marketers, and offer fair pricing and a clear explanation of the technology and services involved, says Marcus Peterzell, co-president of AWE (Aaron Walton Entertainment), an experiential marketing shop under the Omnicom tent.