Marketing and Research Consulting for a Brave New World
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Throw out the old rules of thumb from traditional marketing about share of spend vs. share of market. In a multi-screen world, where consumers can pull information at will and have self-directed media experiences, Marketers need a new plan to do the fundamental thing they are charged with…use media to create healthy, growing brands.

And researchers need a new picture of what a healthy brand looks like in a digital age.

If you don’t think that the connection between media and brandbuilding is broken, check out these quotes:

  • Mondelez (nee Kraft) via Bonin Bough (global head of digital): “being able to understand a consumer’s entire shopping journey will (JR note: ‘will’ as in, ‘we don’t know yet’) give brands a disruptive competitive advantage in mobile.”
  • Google: “…. mobile does not have a conversion problem – it has a measurement problem”.
  • Procter via Joan Lewis head of CMK: “things that are big, backward looking have to cost less. The money’s not going to be there in 5-10 years”
  • ESPN via head of research Artie Bulgrin: “I bet all of you have consumed media on multiple devices this morning and we still have no way of measuring what you did, why you did it, or what the cumulative effect of all that is…the media planning models are simply broken today because of cross-platform use.”

The Media industry is focused on learning how reach is built across screens, but that doesn’t completely help advertisers. The key media planning question for advertisers should be how to identify the ‘when, what, and which screens’ of media moments of relevance when brand messages will have the greatest impact on sales. The good news is that in digital media, users have a ‘tell’ as seek out information with a purpose. Hence, their searches, content they consume, and conversations they engage in are all forensic markers that reveal what is relevant to them in the moment.

Here is the advice I give my advertiser clients to rebuild understanding of brand-building in a digital, social, mobile age:

  1. Create a measurable model of paid, owned, and earned media that you (rather than your agencies) own. Use this to start understanding relative impact.
  2. Learn how to integrate digital behaviors, social media listening/fan profiles and survey data to create a complete and continuous monitor of what a healthy brand looks like in a digital age.
  3. Create a fast pivot campaign optimization system with a tagging and conversion structure that links behaviors to ad exposure.
  4. Use multi-stage marketing mix modeling approaches that model the direct and indirect effects of media
  5. Get ahead of the curve on mobile. It is changing everything
  6. Understand path to purchase influencers; are you reaching people with your messages at the right moments?

My advice to media companies and agencies is to think like advertisers. Empathize with their brand building challenges.  The goal of a media plan is not to achieve reach.  It is to achieve effective and efficient use of marketing resources to build brands so you need to show how your media vehicles offer the opportunity for a marketer to build brands affordably (CPM), effectively (ROI from modeling and experiments), and in  durable way (leads to improvement on brand health KPIs).

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