Wednesday, 30 September 2009

A Shift in Marketing Strategy from Awareness to Engagement Means Big News for Experiential, NOT Social Marketing

Comment on AdAge to the news that Online has passed TV in overall spending.  Link:   In a First, Web Advertising Outpaces TV in U.K.

This isn't some earth-shattering moment in history (unless you've got all your eggs in the broadcast TV basket), it merely signals the vast amount of media choice that is opening up.  Key is the strategic "re-purposing" from awareness to engagement.

There is now incessant hype about the shift to increased digital/online/mobile spending (I fear we're still going to see a couple of years of attempts, like Hulu, to shift the 'push marketing model' of repeating the same boring video ads ad infinitum to the online space -- you know this is NOT "pull marketing" and it will kill the opportunity!), but this isn't the big news. What we should be talking about is what a shift to 'engagement' means to how marketing campaigns are developed. Instead of starting from "How do we build a brand through repeating the same thing over and over in as many media as we can afford?", the new marketing model has to start from "Ideally, what should a person's first experience with this product be like?", then "How do we build upon that first 'brand experience'?"

What this suggests is a shift of any brand's initial, core spending away from video, or radio, or 2-dimensional ads to: "People as a Medium" (to lift a description of the "engagement concept" from Aidan Tracey at Mosaic) and "Making Connections" (to lift an alternative description of the "engagement concept" from CIM's LAUNCH!, Canada's other major XM agency). The big news here is a shift of significant dollars to a realm that is currently in every switched-on brand's marketing mix, but trivialized: Experiential Marketing -- 100 times the cost of a TV or online "impression", but 1,000 times more effective in terms of establishing life-long brand loyalty. (Don't quote me on the actual effectiveness numbers -- the point is valid and we all know it from our personal experience with face-to-face product demos.)

What is not glamorous about XM is the fact that it is not new and shiny (and mysterious!), like the emerging online/mobile media (I've resisted becoming a "Social Media Consultant," to my bank account's chagrin). In fact, one-on-one marketing has been around since the first stone-age farmers' market, right through snake-oil salesmen at traveling fairs, door-to-door Fuller Brush-men, and "blue-haired" ladies in the supermarket aisle. A powerful, long-lived medium that is 100% "advertising-appropriate" -- while "social media" are entirely "advertising-INappropriate" (social media are arenas for PR and listening/research).

Just a thought.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Kevin,
    I think the proliferation of different media options is driving advertising (and agencies alike) to get down to the true essence of marketing. Howard Gossage said "Advertising may seem like shooting fish in a barrel, but there is some evidence that the fish don't hold still as well as they used to and they have developed armour plate. They have control over what type of ammo you have, when the trigger gets pulled, and how fast your shot moves. Oh, and they're not all in the same barrel anymore". The shift from traditional media to digital isn't a revolution, the shift from screaming at people to buy a product to advertising as a 2-way dialogue between a brand and consumers is. This dialogue can happen using any medium as long as its relevant and targeted. Some agencies were built on this premise and that is why I have posted the top 3 ads by media-neutral agencies that happen to do video. check it out at




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