The annual Media Tech Summit is the best coliseum to study titans in battle. Shelly Palmer and Landmark, along with a dozen important organizations in the media space as sponsors, delivered wisdom, insights and updates during Media Week in New York. Other notable events included the Digital Place-based Advertising Association (DPAA) “Video Everywhere” Summit, the Digital Signage Investors Conference and various other corporate and association events.
Three things matter on this earthly domain: Ideas, Organizations and People. From these, “vision” is made real, without which the people perish. The dictionary definition of wisdom includes knowledge, discernment and just judgment to action.
The grand idea is that communications can (and must) serve marketing, promotion and the improvement of society at large.
The further idea, upon which organizations must act diligently and effectively is that broadcast and digital (the titans) can achieve this vision. The Media Tech Summit focuses on these worthy ideals.
The Meaning of “Digital”
The relationship between broadcast and “digital” remains an uneasy one. TV and cable are struggling to retain their majority hold on ad spending in the face of the growth in video recording, time shifting and video on demand. Broadcast, a mainstay of consumer communications, is challenged by the swell of digital technologies that includes online and social, digital place-based and mobile.
As steel sharpens steel, “digital” messaging and engagement options that offer new approaches for marketers, also enables broadcasters to shift and expand their service models. TV is not going away. Viewership is up 40 percent due to PVR, VOD and streaming, with a 23 percent increase in hand held engagement,” noted David Poltrack, Chief Research Officer at CBS Corp.
Digital marketing is indeed maturing. Online banner ads are prolific, driven by programmatic media planning and placement, and social media sites, such as Facebook actively promoting banner advertising.
For many marketers, social media is a difficult, still growing child, problematic to brands whose investment and attention to it have been experimental and non-conclusive. ROI on social media site involvement is elusive. Sentiment analysis often reflects focus group findings, and the costs/benefit of social media monitoring and intervention is uncertain.
Because required outcomes differ from time to time and are achieved at different locations, different media must be used to achieve different results – needs can shift tectonically.
Marketers and their agencies are confounded by the myriad approaches that can be stitched together to declare of the brand, “It’s alive!”
Determining what media device to apply in presenting the brand and activating commerce keeps Wannamaker laughing in his grave: “Half my advertising spending is a waste; I just don’t know which half.” Communications advances make outcome comparisons between devices challenging, while attribution of the value that any one device delivers is exponentially more difficult as the range of communications tools and tactics are increased.
Robert Tas, the Managing Director and Head of Digital Marketing at JP Morgan Chase & Co. said to DPAA delegates, “Cross-platform impact analytics do not exist, and so attributing outcomes to specific media is not possible. Marketers are having to create these tools so they can actually do marketing.”
A digital medium seldom noted during the Media Tech Summit was Digital Place-based, a messaging platform that serves as paid (there are over 400 ad-based DPb networks) or owned media, with the ability to drive earned media. This display infrastructure fits into the “video” envelope of media along with TV/Cable, online and mobile. “Brand safe” is achieved as controlled messages are delivered based on what the marketer or communicator want and need to say, without being blended with other brand messages or curated. An estimated 20 million displays operate in North America, through which, according to Arbitron (now Neilsen On Location), 70 percent of Americans have made a decision based on seeing a digital signage message.
Investment is moving into owned Digital Signage as brands and organization launch new initiatives and expand current infrastructure. Ad revenues rose by 14.8 percent, second only to online, and marketers are enthusiastic about digital signage as owned media, in particular where partners and suppliers are enrolled to support overall revenue achievement through merchandising and promotion budgets.
Context is King and Location is the New Cookie
In the marriage of “consumer is king” and “content is king,” the context is king claim acknowledges all of the changeable attributes that define the influences on a consumer and their propensity to respond to or act on brand messaging. Context for a viewer is the composite scenario of where I am, what is or is going to happen around me, what I’m doing, what I’m feeling, the needs I have and the wants I have.
Jon Bond, the Chief Tomorrowist at Tomorro LLC, noted that marketing is driving toward “mass individualization.” He added: “the ability, as provided by digital signage, to delivered customized content relevant to the viewer context, playout location, daypart and target audience is the key to brand messaging success.”
Digital signage is a location-aware, premium messaging device that is “brand safe.” Unlike celebrity endorsement, TV or film placement where the brand is blended or associated with the “carrier” element, or social media where it is linked with opinion, messaging on digital signage can wholly reflect a brand, in particular when used as “owned” media in brand locations.
Robert Tas the Managing Director and Director of Digital Marketing at JP Morgan Chase said, “We have to engage with consumers differently and go deeper to describe our value.” He added that “efficiency of assets is a key goal and so we think about ‘video media’ that can be applied – TV spots, online and in-branch.”
At the Media Tech Summit, Tim McDonough the VP Marketing for QualComm, described the growing capabilities of mobile, noting “Mobile is moving from passive to active marketing and from audience to engagement.” He added, “Mobile device functionality is being designed to discover things relevant to you, sense local content and services, learn what you like, filters out the irrelevant, know you and what’s around you and to interacts with your surroundings.”
Mad Men vs. Math Men
The “battle royal” in the media agency world is between Mad Men, who perpetuate the art and mystic of marketing, and Math Men, who focus on tangible value. Art and science are expressed even within agencies as they define themselves as creative, digital, media planning/buying or public relations agencies, among other descriptors. A disconnect exists between the creative agency and the execution agency led by media planning and buying.
Lisa Donohue, the CEO of Starcom, addressed the Media Tech Summit and noted, “It takes integration and strategy to build brands. While marketers can be attracted to shiny objects, it is the black and white of investment decision-making that is the science of marketing. It is the combination of art and science – the combination of left and right brain as one brain that makes marketing work.” A disconnect exists between the creative agency and the execution agency led by media planning and buying.
New approaches are challenged by the status quo as those involved in the day-to-day business of the brand are invested in current approaches and business models. “Innovation can be very challenging to embrace,” declared Donohue.
Programmatic Buying is a utility for bidding on an advertising inventory source in real time for the opportunity to show one specific ad to one consumer in one specific context. In providing improved advertising campaign efficiency and effectiveness, it is projected to grow at 53 percent per year in the United States between 2011 and 2016, according to IDC. Forrester believes that that programmatic buying will ultimately capture the bulk of digital advertising spending.
People are behind making ideas and organization fulfilled as vision. The Media Tech Summit delivered a full day of visionaries. As people expressed their outlook, each distinguished themselves in service to media.