The explosive growth of mobile media combined with the growing adoption of Internet TV creates new complications and new opportunities for marketers. While we are just beginning to understand who uses which device for what tasks and when, its time to start thinking about how marketers can intersect or intercept consumers with commercial messages in ways that are welcomed, interactive, and acceptable.
We are beginning to reach a critical mass of consumers owning and using multiple devices. People like me have smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and Internet TV. In some cases, we use them interchangeably. In others, we do distinct tasks on each device. So far, we haven’t discerned any usage patterns that are predictable by psychographic or demographic variables.
This fundamentally changes the way we think about creative and content development. Rather than thinking up and designing a TV spot or a rich media banner, we now have to come up with a big idea. Then we have to efficiently develop ways to expand, parse, and interact with it. It’s less about filling a media unit with content and more about creating a brand experience that suits mobile consumers.
Some emerging data hints that form dictates function and that individual devices are being used by default or by preference to undertake specific tasks. For example, it’s becoming clear that tablets are primarily being used for entertainment, information seeking, and email. Similarly complex tasks, like filling out mortgage applications, are being done on laptops and desktops, while smartphones are emerging as a fast-acting utility tool for on-the-go tasks.
Assuming that marketers still want to efficiently target high probability customers with the right message, at the right time, and on the right device, this opens up a number of new possibilities for creating and transmitting integrated campaigns. But it requires us to consider a broader array mobile and digital devices with expanding technical capabilities in tandem with TV, cable, print, out of home, email, and other traditional advertising channels.
We know that more email is now read on mobile devices that static devices. The incredible consumption of video is moving in the same direction. Mobile search is becoming an increasingly important factor, especially for retailers. So who is using which device, when, and to accomplish what become critical to defining creative direction and success.
Consider four new mobile-driven messaging and media options.
Frequency. Impressions and exposure equal awareness. This is a marketing and media maxim. Given multiple devices crafting a single impactful message and communicating it often will yield greater awareness sooner. The same message, more times, on more devices equals higher reach and potentially more persuasion.
Imagine transmitting a solo message at roughly the same time using an array of devices synched with TV, radio, online roadblocks, or page take-overs to create a super-roadblock that could blanket a target audience and potential earn added viral distribution. If you could synchronize a persuasive offer and communicate it within a defined time window (think Super Bowl), in theory, you could create a surround-sound of messaging that could penetrate and persuade a target group faster than ever before.
Sequencing. A variation on the frequency idea would be to sequence a brand’s key message by parsing it out over time. This takes the Burma Shave OOH approach, circa 1940s, and applies it to the post-digital world. Using the same mass media/all device tactic, a brand could communicate a series of short messages over time using the roadblock tactic. The additive value of sequential messages over a limited time period can expose a broader impression of a brand.
For brands with complicated messages or a series of products, sequencing could build awareness and momentum. Alternatively, a brand could assign different parts of the message or different offers to different devices at the same time. Maybe the brand promise goes on tablets while product messaging is placed in online media, but the offer, the coupon or the interactive CTA is assigned to smartphones.
Fractal Messaging. The opposite of frequency and a variation on sequencing would be to acknowledge different facets of a brand’s appeal and expose different facets or offers at different times to different people using different devices.
This tactic assumes that consumer moods, mindsets, and tasks are different by device. So while prospects may resent ads on their smartphone, they might be willing to watch pre-rolls or other video formats on a tablet or a laptop. By understanding how consumers use devices both in terms of the mechanics (who, what and where) and the sensibilities (openness to being interrupted or interacted with) brands can optimize engagement and satisfaction by aligning with consumers’ workflow and life style patterns.
Orchestration. Another approach is to assign specific marketing tasks to specific devices in the same way that Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms assigned specific roles to specific instruments. One plays the base theme. Another adds the variations. The third, fourth, and fifth infuse the experience with complex harmonies or contrapuntal sounds. In this media and messaging scenario, TV lays down the basic message, while tablets or online media amplify or expand the message and smartphones become the channel for consumer reaction, interaction, and response.
And this is just the beginning. Mobile, new digital channels, and social media are expanding our choices and expanding our thinking about messaging and media. It’s time to start thinking and experimenting with creative and media options.
Danny Flamberg, EVP Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM at Publicis based in New York, has been building brands and building businesses for more than 30 years.Prior to joining Publicis, he led a successful global consulting group called Booster Rocket, as Managing Partner. Before becoming a consultant, he was Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP, SVP and Managing Director at Digitas in New York and Europe and President of Relationship Marketing at Amiratti Puris Lintas and Lowe Worldwide.