Dinosaurs And Muses: What Blocks Or Inspires Digital Maturity?

Your relationship to media is not simple. As hands-on media executives with your own innate, sometimes-feverish media consumption. you care about paths to adoption -- and, you shape them. You are integral to the situation, the fabric of progress.

Personally, we consume media by degrees big and small, adopting early and late. Professionally, we buy, pitch, sell, advise, analyze, predict, surmise and debate its livelihood and progress within a world of interests, both conflicted and aligned. The consumer who wields demand and influence within it; the seller who flails it thoughtlessly; the agency person who short-changes it; the market banter that focuses on medium instead of message, technology or channel over the power of quality story-telling itself. These are some of the dynamics that shape the situation. So, when growth and progress seem sluggish, obviously it is trivial to take aim at a single bottleneck.

Bottlenecks and the Persecution of the You
In that vein, last week, a headline caught my eye and wrinkled my nose: "Why YOU are the Reason Mobile is Locked in a Cage." Well, something like that. Because I am at once a consumer, buyer, seller, and a client adviser, I could not fathom who in the world the slandered, singular "you" was. So, I read on.

After an alarmingly familiar intro that pinpointed the lazy agency buyer, the piece did get a bit meatier. As the author referenced what is now the third year of "the year of mobile," there were hints that he recognized the drone of that marketing-speak and knew there was a richer context to consider. True, he did not delve into consumer adoption realities beyond stats --- ignoring principles of user interaction design, story-telling, what works on mobile and why or why not. He focused almost entirely on the chasm between brands and the available opportunity to ramp this puppy up. And there he pointed to a friction largely caused by conveyance and communication problems between polarized buyers and sellers. So the article was about more than a single you -- and some of his ideas were interesting.

Deconstructing the buy-sell relationship is kind of interesting - but not the whole story. It never is. Stirred after these readings, I asked others how they thought we were progressing in a number of movements within our sphere: targeting, behavioral targeting, rich-media technology, social media, search, networks, mobile, video, convergence -- and, layer by layer, how we should really be thinking about this galaxy at all. It's an open inquiry. The conversations I've had could seed many an article or case in point.

Enabling Digital Zeal
Jacquie, an executive for a leading mobile and broadband content platform, has a healthy respect for the accountability of digital media as we now consume it. She mused, "Faster networks and better, feature-rich devices have raised the bar on consumer expectations. Here, our focus on the end-user experience --- porting to over 350 handsets, marquee content, live sports and current events, faster channel change and service reliability - has resulted in an increase in engagement minutes and in subscriber growth. Consumers are demanding 'I want to see it now' rather than just 'can you hear me now?'" I can tell you that the agility of her own media consumption reflects this belief and this power. She is hard on her media and parlays the feedback into the marketing of it.

Channel Agnosticism
This past weekend, a few friends and I were discussing the idea of channel agnosticism -- and what can happen when we lead unduly with a stringent channel bias. We were out in the country but all happened to be working on presentations placing digital within an integrated mix for the upcoming week. So, we sat on the porch, drank wine and dug in.

As a long-time executive creative director, my old friend Tortorici gets right at the tension around channel bias and its implications. "Technology and marketing will sometimes conspire to create (Marshall McLuhan forgive me) too much media and not enough message. We're all about vogue in technology. Creatives get pelted with it. Use it or die. Don't embrace it, and we'll slip into the irreversible luge ride to the chasm of irrelevance. My experience has shown me that a brand's lack of relevance to a consumer has less to do with how it's delivered and more about if its core value really means anything to anyone. This is independent of media type. Rich media plays a part of the delivery, but as part of an agnostic mix of all kinds of media in a program that looks at what message needs to be delivered based on who you're targeting, how they consume it and what they need to know -- and when. Otherwise we please the brand manager, but just help a message that will be ignored... get to consumers faster."

Core Principle
As markets mature, there are always periods of over-selling, extending the promise and winding the curve as things come to the fore. Remembering events like the earliest days of behavioral targeting; the scrutinized chronological advance of networks, mobile, or video; and social media coming of age -- we know there is always a finer future that exceeds our current vision.

It's never going to be just a specific transactional breakdown between one or two interests that slows or stalls progress. But it is certainly a confluence of positive movement and interests that propels us forward and eventually allows our media ecosystem to flourish. Orientation around consumer demand and influence, the religion of connective messaging, sound media and channel choices and integration -- these things matter deeply. This is all about resonance -- a principle that speaks for itself



Next story loading loading..