ad:tech Miami: Multi-Platform World Simplifies Consumption, Not Our Jobs
It's my opinion that multi-platform marketing, despite its maddening number of nuances, has made a lot of advertisers lazy. Consider how many brands settled for a CGM contest during the last Super Bowl instead of sitting down to think of something genuinely unique and thrilling.
But lest we tread too far down the path of least resistance, it merits noting that while a two-way discourse between ourselves and The Consumer is nice, it's hardly made our job easier. And it isn't supposed to.
Multi-platform marketing suggests a much broader responsibility than just throwing your brand onto every medium you can imagine. You're not engaging in viral marketing, for example, if all you're doing is loading your :30 spots onto YouTube.
Do you really think The Consumer is that stupid?
The requisite stats on the multi-platform world:
- 65 million watchers voted for American idols via mobile phone
- User-generated videos aren't new; they've been around for years (a point we forget. Consider America's Funniest Home Video)
- Over 50 percent of US households will own a DVR by 2011 (Forrester)
- 37 million US households by 2011 will have broadband access
Broadcast companies no longer have the privilege of conveying messages to people sitting 10 feet away from the screen. They must now meet the marketplace on cell phones, online, and via other forms of mobile content.
Plus, "piracy" and faster, more available technology make for an uncomfortable compression of expectation - movies are released onto DVD just weeks after their cinema debuts, for example.
A massive generation gap also plays a big role. To quote (not quite to scale) Terry Semel, "My oldest daughter, aged 24, does a lot on the internet. My second daughter does everything on the internet. My third daughter, aged 13, lives online."
In an ideal world in which marketers imagine they can still segment the common man, there remain two axes of consumer:
- Passive users, which enjoy sitting on couch and being broadcast-to
- Gadgeteers* that engage/become interactive with content (social networking, etc)
How do you hit the gadgeteers? By unfolding the brand in multiple windows (called a 360 digital media platform):
- Social networking platform
- Developing world-class content created solely for people who are downloading, viral-swapping, etc
All these platforms can fool you into thinking that all you have to do is splatter a logo anywhere a consumer may think to look. But it's less a matter of getting people on our properties (sites, programs); it's a matter of getting them engaged in what we're saying.
That's the neat thing about ad:tech Miami, which has a strong contextual focus on the Latin market and the global market at large. M importantly than ensuring we're everywhere people are looking, we also need to make an effort to remain culturally relevant.
This isn't just a language thing; people are too unique for that. You need to hit them on a near-individual basis, easing into their unique worlds with the touch of a safecracker.
This is why viral marketing is so awesome. It leaves the door slightly ajar for brands to slide into a subculture on the ground floor.
The reason why we even care about hitting The Consumer on a number of platforms is not to deluge or box him/her in; it's because, at the end of the day, The Consumer is choosing where (and how!) s/he wants to absorb our message.
To set you on the right foot, remember the three W's:
Give people what they want, where they want, in the way they want.
If The Consumer feels s/he has to appropriate your brand, you better let them.
One example of a brand that has mastered the art of giving consumers what they want is Apple, which did more than see a need and fill it - they actually created a need with the introduction of the iPod. Apple is the quintessential WWW brand.
To note, our last speaker, a Macbook Pro user, did not step behind the podium to give his presentation. Unlike his three colleagues, which stood up old-school and addressed us with nervous laughter, the guy did everything from his seat, right on his trusty computer.
Tell me why Apple turns everyone, despite the so-called "generation gap," into a spoiled hipster.
* I realize this is off-topic, but I really hate words like "gadgeteer" and "marketeer" (which was also mentioned at this presentation**). They remind me of "mouseketeer," and I just can't stand the idea of running amock with big ears and a rubbery sword.
** At the risk of forgetting to mention it, the presentation in question was Media and Entertainment: Programming, Distribution and Advertising in a Multi-Platform World.