Trad Media Plans Remain, But Consumers Harder To Pin Down

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.--Finding the consumer these days is a slippery thing.

In a panel called "Nomadic Consumers and Nomadic Media Escape Marketers' Media Plans" at the OMMA Global Hollywood event, neither consumers or marketers may be responding to typical media plans that use traditional reach and frequency formulas.

"From a planning perspective, you don't start with a preconceived notion," says Scott Sorokin, president of Carat. "That's a big shift over the last two years. My experience is that you start at zero. But the reality is that clients are pushing back. There is a fear; there is that tension."

Moderator Joe Mandese, editor in chief of MediaPost, wondered whether traditional media plans fit into media agencies' plans these days--especially when consumers are distracted with multiple messages on many different platforms.

All panelists say it starts with consumers--although traditional processes still abound. Alan Cohen, president of Initiative West and Innovation Worldwide, says: "It may surprise you that we are still doing media plans. But there is so much work beforehand. Consumers are living in a super-sliver environment. Consumers don't come to work the next day talking about the TV show they saw the night before. They come in talking about different videos they have seen last night."



More traditional media agencies, such as Santa Monica, Calif.-based RPA, says their focus has changed.

"It really starts with consumers," says Cathleen Campe, senior vice president and director of media communications, broadcast and video Investment of RPA. "We don't sit around and ask: how much money should be spent in TV? We do with every single campaign."

Concerning some weariest of its clients, Campe adds: "If we have the measurement in how it all works together, it's the best way of not getting pushed back."

Much has been made recently about the use of widgets in the digital space. The question arose: Are these digital tools the new 30-second commercials? Shawn Gold, CEO of Social Approach, said widgets "are a new and important part of the mix." But he disagreed with the root of the question. "When I hear that people say broadcast is dead, it's a silly thing. You still need a [TV] commercial for mass awareness, especially for high-ticket products."

Digitally, there are many ways to keep nomadic consumers from straying. For a specific Adidas campaign, Carat's Sorokin says it gave lots of stuff away online, such as videos, which proved very successful. He added that 21 million people also had some interaction with Adidas through members' individuals MySpace pages.

Sorokin said Carat recently merged its digital media efforts along with traditional media processes because consumers are increasingly nomadic.

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