After tinkering with media planning, technologies, research, and analytics, I am beginning to form a belief that what really matters is whether or not we have made audience interested in our brands through the touchpoints and the messages that we have deployed.
It's all about entertaining the audience. Broadcast and print media - and now the web - exist mainly to entertain.
Now one can potentially argue that "newspapers don't entertain - they provide news - and how could news be entertainment?"
One could also potentially argue that "emails, IMs, display ads, and search are not about entertainment - they are informative!"
But think for a moment:
[ Is entertainment totally different from information? Are entertainment and information mutually exclusive concepts - that if I plan to entertain, I cannot inform simultaneously? And that if I aim to inform, I cannot entertain at the same time? ]
The question I guess is this:
[ Could audience entertainment - entertaining audiences, making sure that they are invited into our messages delivered through touchpoints and channels - be the holy grail of all marketing communications? ]
David Ogilvy said it succinctly.
[ You cannot bore people into buying a product. You can only interest them. ]
And which leads me to a thought:
[ As media planners (or communications
channel strategists), as digital media planners and strategists, as ad
strategists, as marketing communications strategists - are we always
planning towards getting our targets excited and interested in our
In this age of an (almost) infinite number of media touchpoints -
from the traditional (TV, radio, PR, press, outdoor, 'detailing',
experiential) to the relatively-new (online display ads, search, mobile
push ads) to the emergent (location- and context-based mobile,
blucasting, community-building - are our decisions guided by this
simple, yet profoundly relevant, Ogilvyism?
Are we ready to move beyond "technology-led", "media-led", or "creativity-led" planning to "entertainment-based, audience-first communications planning"?
i stumbled upon this video from IBM's Smarter Planet channel on YouTube.
and i have some problems with it.
it might sound a little weird since i use numbers and maths and spreadsheets a lot in my line of work.
having worked with numbers and equations and spreadsheets and statistics for quite a number of years, i know that they can do good. it quantifies what is presumably unquantifiable - and by making "it" measurable, it becomes observable and manageable. it can then lead to efficiencies - as in the case of generating more savings - or effectiveness - like in making sure that each buck invested in an ad campaign generates more bang than it should by putting it in the right place (identified through a number) at the right time (identified - again - by a number).
but i also know that numbers have limitations.
and numbers can lie.
and numbers can create havoc.
just think of the financial crisis - it was all about equations and probabilities and risks. risk theoreticians and academicians thought they could quantify ALL risks involves in investments, and therefore put a number - a price-tag - to it so they can trade it and create more money out of it.
[ numbers make us confident - but they can also make us too confident to realize that not everything can be quantified and reduced into a mere set of equations, statistics, and models.]
the most innovative things that have happened in the past decade in marketing were all made possible by innovations in the digital world.
the rise of Google and Google Search changed the economics of media buying. though they may have failed (?) in their attempts to replicate the same business model beyond search into TV and print spaces, their innovations in search have shifted the way we look at media economics, auctions, and bids radically.
the emergence of mobile apps and ads has started. and with the onslaught of iPhones in Asia Pacific and the avalanche of responses it has generated from Google, Nokia, Microsoft and Blackberry in the OS front, from Samsung, Motorola, Nokia, Blackberry, HTC and LG in the design/handset front, we can expect 2010 to be the start of an even bigger shift in delivering messages to audiences.
the developments in digital outdoor and the continued expansion of "TV on the streets" in major Asian economies will also change the landscape dramatically - and increase efficiencies in delivering time- and geo-targeted messages, and hopefully, effectiveness and measurability of the outdoor medium.
the battle of the consoles - XBOX360, Nintendo Wii, and PS3 - is not just about selling games in disc-formats anymore. it has begun to evolve into the "battle for domination of the living/game room". the integration of traditional on-PC services (e.g., twitter, facebook, emails, instant messaging, radio streaming) is just the beginning.
and expect that ads will also follow as the technologies that allow on-demand delivery of games are applied to ad-serving.
(aside: whilst i was playing Topspin3 on my XBOX against Roddick, I saw ads of McD's local delivery service - 67773777 - in Singapore.)
with all these developments in the world of digital marketing, one can be tempted to say that "wow, digital media can solve all our problems!"
and that's where i take a stand:
[ digital media are not a panacea to all marketing problems ]
i acknowledge that digital media - and digital marketing - do have a role in the communications mix. and it could very well be a role that is important and one that could lead to revenues and profits for the clients.
but not all marketing problems can be solved by digital "marketing".
in the same way that advertising cannot solve all marketing problems, digital "marketing" cannot solve all marketing problems or communication problems.
to say that digital marketing can solve everything is to fall into the trap of equating digital "marketing" planning with the search for marketing solutions.
marketing is far too complex than just a mere mix of search keywords, digital ads, social networks, fanpages and number of followers/fans...
marketing - in spite of what most marketing managers and juniors (and even seniors) would want to believe - is complex.
marketing involves making multi-dimension decisions that span pricing, product development and creation/extensions, branding and brand extensions, geographic prioritization and go-to-market strategies, competitive response anticipation, risk assessment and mitigation, said/unsaid consumer need satiation, opportunity-scoping, -assessment, and -realization...
i don't think digital marketing and the technologies that support digital marketing - and our understanding of these technologies - have reached that level just yet.
The Comprehensive R Archive Network I am a believer in making data analytics more accessible to the masses. R is a significant alternative to SPSS, SAS, and other stat software that cost an arm and a leg.