when the world changes fundamentally, survival depends on fundamental change

April 17th, 2005

Re-reading Bob Garfields 'Chaos Scenario piece clearly demonstrates that more conventional marketing is no longer the answer, what is required is a different type of marketing, a new way of doing things.
Garfield writes

As technology increasingly enables fine targeting and interaction between marketer and consumer, the old measurement and deployment standards are primitive almost to the point of absurdity.
"The industry's key currency is basically reach, frequency, exposure and cost per thousand," says Rishad Tobaccowala, president of Internet media shop Starcom IP. "I'm not saying whether it's right or wrong but that's currently the currency. And where the currency ought to be is about outcomes, engagement and effectiveness. Because right now all I'm doing is I'm measuring how cheaply or how expensively I'm buying the pig. I'm not figuring out whether the hot dog tastes good."

Are we running to standstill? Have we eroded difference by hyper-competition in all areas of business bailing out the sinking ship with ever decreasing effectiveness?
when everything starts to look alike, when you can't differentiate, when you can get it cheaper on the net – what do you do? what do you do when your customers come armed to the teeth with information – when they expect 'service,' 'quality.' People are not hoodwinked by marketing messaging – They know that what is on offer is or is not an attainable reality. Piss them off – don't come up to the mark – "well baby, I'm outta here"
So you have got to interact – understand everything is negotiable – don't pay lipservice to the notion 'we are a customer centric company' Interactivity, two-way flows of information, ease of access to information – a life spent on google and SEARCH – fundamentally change brands hegomony.
More direct marketing sounds like "INCOMING'" to me as we dive into our shelters or sign-up to the "DO NOT CALL ME REGISTER"
If as a brand you are not provider of a valuable experience – go home – hang up your boots and retire.
In this new world the key to commercial success is to make your customers successful – understand your customers needs – involve them – engage them – develop strategies that by holding their attention willingly, you can also have a commercial relationship.
ITS NOT CRM IT'S CMR where the emphasis is on relationship NOT management. And in a new media ecology of always on – always connected – some argue vociferously that stand alone TV advertising seems increasingly circumspect
But of course at the moment TV advertising spend is still increasing – The comfy cardy of the 30 sec spot lives on. It is very cosy. And its not that TV advertising will go away – its just that the notion that we have to get everybody all in front of the box – ALL at the same time, to get the eyeballs etc. Is looking pretty prehistoric – shrinking TV audiences are coveted still – as Bob Garfield writes

they are the last vestige of mass media and marketing

In fact we argue that the term mass media is becoming an oxymoron.
And when Andrew Robertson, the CEO of the BBDO advertising agency (the world's third largest) says in the Financial Times , "Mobile Phones will replace TV as most important medium."
You start to figure, that, perhaps, our familiar analogue media eco-system teeters on the brink.
As a practicioner of cross-platform engagement strategies – I see more and more and more requests for 'big ideas' – cross platform strategies. Terms used are of engagement, creative content strategies, which we have advised on a few
Customers you see, embrace the world holistically – funnily enough where-as we marketers like to chop chop chop, everything down into little tiny pieces – then we bandy words around like "integration."
It just does not work like that anymore. Though some people out there seem hell bent on postponing the future as Steven Rosenbaum testify's
Remove the notion that marketing is 'adversarial' and you start to get into a really interesting place – that can be tailored and enhanced by new digital technologies – one can create and co-create value in so many ways.
Customer-base is replaced with customer community – And all brand interaction should deliver an experience that actively links customers, media and brand in relevant and meaningful ways. Brand experience replaces broadcasting in its broadest sense.
And finally from Garfield

fragmentation, the bane of network TV and mass marketers everywhere, will become the Holy Grail, the opportunity to reach — and have a conversation with — small clusters of consumers who are consuming not what is force-fed them, but exactly what they want. Producers and broadcasters capitalized with billions of dollars will be on approximately equal footing with podcasters and video bloggers capitalized with $399.99 12-months same-as-cash from Best Buy. And just as DailyKos, Instapundit, Wonkette and Wil Wheaton have coalesced large followings in the cacophony of the blogosphere, some of the citizen-video programmers will find not just a voice but an audience.

You can agree or disagree with this but I believe there is a conversation to be had. Today and tomorrow we have to start helping companies towards 'integrated thinking' , which is very different from a format specific start point.
It is an holistic approach – idea driven – richly creative and richly rewarding – lots of fun – with great opportunities for those that get it right.
So what are you going to take? The Red Pill or the Blue Pill?
Over and out.

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