lots of bits, not just bigs
Words are flying out like
endless rain into a paper cup
They slither while they pass
They slip away across the universe
The universe is composed of gas, dust, stars — billions upon billions of stars. At least that’s what Carl Sagan impressed upon me during the formative years of my scientific thinking.
Five years ago, Larry Light, McDonald’s chief marketing officer, stated at AdWatch:Outlook 2004, “We don’t need one big execution of a big idea. We need one big idea that can be used in a multidimensional, multilayered and multifaceted way.” While he may not have been specifically talking about audience fragmentation, the point is still insightful and relevant to today’s marketplace.
Fragmentation should come as no surprise to anyone in this space, it is the inevitability of choice. But it does create operational difficulties for organizations that have not evolved as quickly as the market. Years ago it was important enough and cost-effective to hire one person to manage the ads in a particular program reel. Their job was to ensure that each expensive ad got to air, no matter what. Today, marketing it is not about one big expensive ad, but about many, many cheaper ads, which in aggregate garner the same audience and hopefully at least as much revenue as that single expensive ad of long ago.
The average cost of the transaction has been lowered over the years due to automation. And, correspondingly, the economics of advertising has changed as a result of technology. Pushing content closer to the customer leads to the following:
- If you cannot place the ad, instruct it, and manage the content cheaply and effectively, then your margin erodes
- Organizations have consolidated in the hope of getting bigger audiences and inventories. As a result, they have to handle more diverse ads. Unfortunately, during these acquisitions, they have inherited cost structures that are not conducive to delivering multi-media campaigns… the very reason for acquisition in the first place. The only way to drive efficiencies is to automate.
- The only way to automate effectively across mediums is to have a common infrastructure. You cannot have different workflows for different mediums in a consolidated business: it simply costs too much.
Till now, the industry focus has largely been on solving the technical infrastructural problems that have emerged as a result of the digital transition and audience expectations. A quick look at most conference agendas confirms this reality.
Increasingly, the realization that sales organizations and research departments must evolve concurrently with multimedia content delivery models is coming to the fore. These organizational disciplines must consider targeted marketing, ROI measurement, advertainment strategies, interactive television, pay-for-play and the effects of device proliferation on consumers. More than ever, media organizations must engage in the marketing and promotion of their own capabilities, and their own inventories, more than ever before in a bid to retain audiences.
Tell me it isn’t so… I’m listening.