The most dramatic and disturbing period in modern media history is clearly present, yes, actually dominant: The transformation to digital. The consequence will be that the traditional marketing consultants must adapt to a fundamentally different world or fade away.Marketing has always been a communication discipline that covers many different functions; they typically share a firm anchoring in the creative; brainstorms, advertising mascots, pillow fights and fantastic ideas The good idea will always have an essential role to play in the battle for the attention of the consumers, but it will gradually lose its strategic significance as the dominant factor when a company needs to define its sales and marketing strategy. In an attempt to establish a competitive strategy, the marketing function will to an ever-greater degree have to refer to more scientific techniques, rooted in analytical methods and statistical models and a deeper analyzed understanding of the target group.Why this shift from the creative and artistic towards a more scientific approach to the marketing function? Simply put to become more accountability, that which passes for accountability in the current marketing environment is, to say the least, highly unsatisfactory. Two of the most important catalysts for the development towards a more analytical approach to the marketing function are on the one hand the transformation of the mass media from analogue to digital. And on the other hand the increasing collective demand for directions the world over for clear documentation of the effect of both historical, as well as future marketing activities.The anatomy of the media is changingThe discipline marketing has a close, symbiotic relation to the media and changes in the media manifest themselves with great consequence for the way marketing is thought out and practiced. If you look closer at which direction the media landscape and the media are moving there are three trends worth noting:1. The media landscape is getting more and more fragmentedThe supply of media and the amount of content have risen explosively in the past 30 years. Competition for the attention of the consumers has become enormous. The number of American television channels, for example, has risen from around 5 channels in 1960 to around 80 channels today. Entirely new media such as wireless and broadband Internet have come into existence.The fragmented media landscape means that the behavior of the consumers has also become much more dynamic and fragmented than before. The consequence is that there is no longer a mass in the mass media. The marketing function has to use quantitative data and analytical techniques in order to target efforts to a much higher degree than earlier in order to get to the target group. Decades of carpet bombing through the traditional mass media are definitively losing its effect.2. The media become addressableWhile the increased fragmentation of the media can seem like a barrier in the attempts to capture the attention of your target group, the possibility of to a much higher degree being able to direct a unique message to the individual will offer entirely new possibilities.A still relatively primitive example is Google, which today gives you the possibility of directing your message at the individual, either based on user behavior or the context of the user (a certain page). And Microsoft and Facebook give you the possibility of yet more targeted placements using data such as sex, age and personal characteristics.The media becoming digital and addressable also means that the media and marketing activities become measurable. You will very quickly and precisely be able to analyse the effect of a specific investment; compare your result with existing goals and historical data. In other words it will be possible to very simply and very cheaply document what works and what doesnt work. Companies who have typically had problems communicating directly with their target group because of their placing in the value chain, with an agent between themselves and the consumers will have unique possibilities of entering into a more varied dialogue with their customers.3. The media become interactiveA last central change that meets the marketing consultant is interactivity. The media becoming more interactive means that companies have the possibility of establishing two-way communication with the consumers, which for example makes it possible to conduct market surveys quickly and at a fraction of the earlier cost. It also makes it possible, to a higher degree, to use a response-oriented strategy in your marketing and target your message directly in situations where a consumer articulates a here and now need (impulse buying need).Marketing from art to scienceFrom the marketing industry traditionally being dominated by characteristics associated with creative qualities, we will in future see a clear shift towards a far more analytically informed approach. The focus will be on the collection and segmentation of customer data and the preparation predictive analysis, which can lead to the decisions that will have a high business value. A marketing consultant will to a much higher degree have to employ a detailed analytical method to precisely indicate the customer group that must be reached, adapt the message to the individual segment to motivate a particular reaction, and deliver precisely the creative message at the exact time where it will create most attention.In order to solve this task, companies will have to invest more in technological analysis solutions, just as they have to invest in people who understand how to construct models, collect data and make well-documented decisions on the basis of this data.The traditional advertising agency or the classic creative marketing consultant, who doesnt know how to acquire these qualifications and develop these tools will have great difficulty maintaining their position as (most) strategically important. The trend is already visible in the large media conglomerates where the media agencies are aggressively expanding with large interconnected business science divisions and in this way are gaining quickly on their creative sister companies.This trend only underlines an even more dominant trend; In a world dominated by tendencies like fragmentation, addressability and interactivity, and new media like broadband Internet, wireless and interactive television. It will not only be agencies rooted in the creative, but equally be companies like Accenture, Acxiom, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and Epsilon, who will define the marketing strategy for the worlds leading companies.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
In October of this year (2008) the book, Television killed advertising is published by Oktober Books Publishing.
Television killed Advertising discusses, in detail, the need for a
thorough understanding of Interactive Communication and lists examples
of just how much more effective Interactive is when compared to normal
advertising. Written by Paul Ashby with an overview by Marketing
Consultant Edd Keeting, Television killed Advertising will provide
you with a detailed and comprehensive guide towards understanding the
future of Marketing Communication. You can also visit
http://interactivetelevisionorinteractivetv.blogspot.com to discover