I rather be a Marketing Generalist, than a Marketing Specialist

The rapid evolution of communication technology and the ever growing choice of media channels have created a new type of consumer. In previous years, it was acceptable to consider these consumers as a niche group, a new category that brands were only beginning to understand.

Today, media savvy consumers are reaching critical mass.

Whilst the number of hours in a day never changes, our daily media consumption has increased dramatically. The average person sees something like 250 pieces of advertising messages per day on the conservative side, to 3000+ brand impressions every day (based on common estimates by various sources). That is a lot of information to process (or we, the marketing community would like to think)… but in fact, that’s impossible – our brains can’t truly process that many messages, right?

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Add another layer to this – in the recent 2013 #AWX event, latest stats were provided on the “Multi-Screen” user:

  • Digital natives under the age of 30 are toggling between devices 27 times per hour (That’s a really high number!)
  • Non-natives, toggle between devices on an average of 17 times per hour (Um.. that’s still really high! …contrary to popular belief)

Overwhelming, isn’t it?

As far as I’m aware, consumers rarely pause to note where the messages they receive come from – media is a blur, with less obvious distinction between channels.

Like it or not, converged media is happening; if marketers do not take action, the effectiveness of marketing efforts will suffer. End off.

So my plea is, when we think about connecting with consumers via media, PLEASE let it be about the consumer. By understanding their motivations and why they should choose (yes, you heard me) to absorb your communication, these will make for better marketing plans. In a converged world, there is a need to align around generating engagement and driving business results.

“Consumers are the new media and they know it.” – Elizabeth Ross, Tribal DDB

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As for creating consumer engagement, one of the worst things you can do is jump head first into digital. I stress, any strategy or plan should not be grounded in mere platforms. I have seen it happen too often.

“By 2020… [technology] will just be seamless. It will just be there.

The web will be everything and it will be nothing.” – Eric Schmidt, Google

Mel Exon from BBH Labs sums it up nicely.

“Brands don’t need a digital strategy, they need strategies for a digital world”

So far this has been a bold belief I hold close to my chest, since my career has been built around media planning and creating ways to communicate to consumers… I know (inside) that it’s better to acknowledge the reality, and then work with it – the best I can.

So when Marc Pritchard, P&G’s global marketing and brand building officer stood up and addressed to the marketing community at Dmexco 2013 that “Digital Marketing is dead…there’s just Marketing”, it shocked me (in a good way).

You see, he makes a very good, and long overdue point and it’s much more than a semantic one. He’s basically referring to a holistic brand building plan founded on purpose and contribution. For such a big brand to come out and say this, I was “WOW’ed”.

Humans build relationships with brands in the same ways they do with other humans: through on-going interactions, establishing trust and mutual benefit/value. As digital channels continue to evolve, so does the consumer’s options for consumption. Aligning content across channels is paramount for driving consistent brand messaging, value, look, and feel. True content alignment should be a natural extension of the brand’s alignment among paid, owned, and earned channels.

An example of a brand that understands this:

“From a Coke [brand] perspective, we sit in partnership across strategic, creative, executional, and implementation cycles, involving communication among the groups collaborating across all of those. Sometimes the voice leans in favour of one, sometimes the other, but we always have these teams working together around the brand position,” Jonathan Mildenhall, Coca-Cola’s VP of Global Advertising Strategy & Creative.

So, being a Jack of all trades, doesn’t have to mean you’re a master of none. The thirst for life and learning can lead you down a path of various disciplines.

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