Marketing and Research Consulting for a Brave New World
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I was honored to be one of 200 industry leaders invited by Professor Jerry Wind of Wharton, leading the Future of Advertising initiative, to provide thoughts on what advertising might look like by 2020 and what it will take to get there.

The full presentation is here.  However, let me put it in a nutshell. Marketing will transform from being a battle for the mind to becoming a battle for behaviors.

Now, the skeptic might say, “Wait, we have always wanted advertising to drive sales, so what’s different?” Here is my answer.

In traditional marketing, we ran mass advertising, targeted based on demos, that was intended to change people’s attitudes about a brand.  We measured our effectiveness via surveys like copy testing and brand trackers with attribute ratings.  All attitudes, all mind marketing.  We HOPED that affecting the mind would result in increased sales behavior but there was little direct connection unless you were in the direct marketing business.

In a digital, social, and mobile culture, people can do things with media and marketers should want these behaviors to occur as much as possible so the commercial doesn’t pass by like dust in the wind. They amplify the effectiveness of your paid media. Behaviors include sharing links, liking or following a brand, commenting in Twitter or in a forum, taking a picture in Pinterest, searching to find out more and visiting websites. Add to the list downloading branded apps, Shazamming a TV commercial, scanning a QR code, and who knows what else a few months from now?

And media targeting is increasingly based on behaviors rather than old-school demo approaches. Search is obviously behavior-based but so is paid advertising in Facebook based on people’s liking and friending behaviors. Facebook has even gone further by announcing a deal with Datalogix so that advertising in Facebook can now be targeted based on frequent shopper behavior.  Even TV advertising is becoming addressable at scale.  Invidi announced a deal with Comcast that brings addressability up to 60 million individual TV households.

One of the biggest differences in behavior marketing is the ability to build brand audiences. For example, when people like a brand on Facebook (a behavior), they grant permission for that brand to publish updates into their news feed.  A brand like Starbucks, with nearly 35 million fans, can generate 100 million earned impressions or more each and every month that reinforce their relationship with fans…all with no additional media cost.

However, perhaps the biggest sea change in behavior marketing has yet to occur, so fasten your seat belts, because it is coming.  It is the rise of mobile marketing which brings digital marketing right to the point of purchase.  It is the convergence of advertising and shopper path to purchase where a marketer will be able to deliver the right message, at exactly the right time and place, to shoppers who that brand has a relationship with but who split their purchases among other brands as well.

To equip your organization for behavior marketing, here are five cornerstones:

  1. Build interactivity into your brand communications creative. TV advertising should encourage digital and second screen behaviors. Facebook stories should encourage return to the fan page, etc.
  2. Build brand audiences so you have an annuity from your marketing investments.  Encourage people to like and follow your brand, sign up for e-mails, and to download branded apps.
  3. Create media targeting strategies that are based on behavior first and only use demos as a last resort for more scale.
  4. Master mobile.  It is not too soon to get ahead of the curve and soon will be too late.  Mobile is likely to account for 10-20% of your total ad spend by 2020.
  5. Build an insights and brand tracking strategy that converts digital and social behaviors into brand KPI metrics.

Paid advertising will demonstrate increasing ROIs and be an essential and growing part of marketing investment into 2020 and beyond. However, paid advertising WILL change in fundamental ways in our digital, social, and mobile future.  And, the way we researchers measure advertising effectiveness and brand progress must also change, becoming more native to our digital lives.

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