The Buckshot Stops Here

I am pleased to report that I got some interesting feedback to my New Year's column asking for suggestions on where digital out-of-home media is heading next. Some of the more interesting comments came from a top marketing executive who asked not to be identified, but who is an expert on all things out-of-home, including the digital kind.


First off, the marketer reminded me that digital, in and of itself, is not a medium, but a "form of distribution" that can be delivered across an array of platforms -- everything from in-store shelf talkers, vending machines, mobile devices, online destinations, and of course, outdoor ones.

"Digital distribution offers marketers an opportunity to optimize a [message] in context of where, when and how an individual consumer receives it," he explained. "However, it calls for planners to fully leverage deep consumer understanding."

His suggestions for gleaning those insights include:

* Going beyond the numbers and getting to know your consumer as a person ("not a demographic or MRI story finder run").
* Understanding your consumers by going through their daily "journeys" and media habits: "Literally visualize their day."
* Determine consumer contact opportunities along that journey that deliver on your strategy.



"So far, it has been a one-sided media conversation," he asserted, adding that there are equally important challenges on the creative side of the equation.

"What is the best approach to effectively and efficiently develop and produce content that can be pre-purposed to all these digital 'media' to best leverage their contextual relevance and targeting capabilities? Content is still largely created in the old TV model -- one message, to one 'mass target,' usually focusing on one key product attribute.

"That was fine when we broadcasted out (think buckshot) our broad messaging to the masses because we didn't have the flexible, efficient and effective distribution models that digital has enabled today," he continued. "But like selling ourselves in job interviews, we wouldn't get very far if we sold ourselves on only one of our key attributes. No, we demonstrate our unique multidimensional attributes that show how we are 'adaptable' to different circumstances. In fact, we pre-purpose our resumes (our content) to meet the needs of those we are interviewing with (the consumers). How do we create and communicate brand value (all of it) as we do ourselves through resumes and interviewing -- perhaps resume writers are the next talent pool for agencies."

Apt advice for these times, regardless of the medium. Thanks, Mr. Anonymous. Anyone else have any thoughts, on- or off-the-record? Post them here, or email me at

1 comment about "The Buckshot Stops Here".
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  1. Dan Kost from Sportrons, January 14, 2009 at 1:48 p.m.


    One of the more exciting digital out of home networks is minor league sports. Triple A, Double A and arenafootball2. Offered by Sports Media.

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