As new media opportunities increase and the ways to achieve true marketing leverage through them grows, the driving questions for marketing professionals—advertisers and agencies, alike—are clear: “What does the capability and skill-set to appropriately embrace “new media” look like, how does it successfully function in the marketing organization and, above all, how can marketers be both practical and efficient about building one?”
What the Capability Looks Like—Gauge and Feed Consumers’ Growing Appetite for Engaging in a Two-way Ad Dialogue
Like any effort to achieve next-level performance, succeeding with the use of new media starts with building an informed perspective on the value consumers will attach to an interactive ad experience. The core strength of the growing array of opportunities to interact with consumers is the ability to generate real and actionable insights on consumer behavior. Online marketing, mobile phones and interactive television all offer marketers a means of reaching consumers who can be inspired to voluntarily reach back.
The crux, then, is developing a marketing capability that effectively harnesses the power of new media to appropriately engage consumers. Doing so comes down to 1) defining a practical approach and skill-set for gauging and feeding consumers’ willingness to engage in a two-way ad dialogue and 2) creating a process for converting behavioral insights into structured decision-making, focused execution, and increased marketing effectiveness, as follows:
- Building the new media capability starts with an ability to translate a marketer’s communications goals into a common audience experience across both traditional and non-traditional outlets. The experience should feel seamless to consumers, designed in a way that is completely synonymous with how they prefer to encounter a particular brand or product.
- Another key step is to build a clear and complete understanding of the ways consumers will be successfully drawn into a digital ad experience. Simply transporting a web experience to interactive TV, for example, will not ensure exceptional performance, but skillfully done, it can not only extend the value of a campaign but also substantially amplify it. Understanding how and why interactive behaviors vary is critical to achieving consistent campaign performance across new media outlets.
- Finally, the ability to tailor the design of a new media experience, as well as map it to explicitly defined marketing goals, is absolutely central to tapping the full marketing potential of these vehicles over time.
How it Functions - All Hail the ‘Honest Broker’
Often, the key to effecting refinements to internal work processes hinges on a combination of managerial leadership and identifying an internal ‘champion’ who can embrace the essential need and inherent challenges of reaching next-level performance. These ingredients are also essential to developing a well-functioning capability to capitalize on the potential of new media:
- A new media professional has the ability to effectively work across marketing disciplines and partners and to manage them toward a collegial, truly collaborative dialogue focused on how to extract the most value for consumers from new ad models and technologies.
- In addition, an emphasis on fostering relationships with new media providers beyond their sales representatives’ standard pitch is essential. A deeper dialogue provides the necessary context for developing interactive marketing solutions that are specifically tailored to the demonstrated behavior of target audiences. Leveraging custom-built interactive marketing solutions vs. a vendor’s off-the-shelf offerings should be considered a “Must Win” battleground for advertisers and their agencies, given the demonstrable difference in audience impact of the former over the latter.
- Finally, creating flexible work processes that allow for the dynamic adjustments necessary in the planning, buying and overall communications strategy is key to exploiting the power of the structured, fact-based approach described in the prior section.
The stakes attached to establishing a new media marketing capability get higher each day. In addition, the coincident timing of an increasingly glaring gap in agencies’ ability to effectively guide marketers only increases the challenge. Achieving a new media marketing capability requires a sustained commitment to understanding consumers’ new media behavior and a disciplined approach to tailoring their ad encounters. These experiences must ultimately provide relevant, entertaining and informative messaging to which consumers find it seamless and easy to opt in and respond.