Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Dig­i­tal is dead

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We’re pre­dict­ing 2015 is the year dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing dies. What do I mean by that? Well first and fore­most we need to fo­cus on the fun­da­men­tals of mar­ket­ing. We also need to ac­knowl­edge that the new me­dia world is dif­fer­ent, more trans­par­ent. We need to have great prod­ucts that are use­ful for our con­sumers. Con­sumers are look­ing for the com­plete pack­age, and if you’re not de­liv­er­ing this they’ll find out. So take a lead­er­ship role and build the vi­sion of where you want to go. In this new world con­sumers are al­ways on, they’re con­nected, only one click away from writ­ing a re­view, shar­ing their thoughts and opin­ions, or lik­ing con­tent. With well over 50 per­cent of in­ter­net traf­fic com­ing through mo­bile de­vices, we need to un­der­stand that con­sumers are al­ways ready to re­spond so we need to work in a re­spon­sive, real-time ba­sis. This does al­low us un­prece­dented visibility of con­sumer opin­ion but we need to have an al­ways-on fo­cus to har­ness this. The move to be­ing al­ways-on is one of the big­gest shifts that has oc­curred over the last few years, but we need to be mov­ing to al­ways-on cam­paigns. Tak­ing an in­te­grated dig­i­tal ap­proach means you can be testing and op­ti­mis­ing cam­paigns in the mar­ket to max­imise your re­sults. Do­ing this, you can in­crease per­for­mance af­ter a cam­paign launch by a fac­tor of 50 to 200 per­cent. This is where an in­te­grated ap­proach to plan­ning, cre­ative and me­dia re­ally pays div­i­dends.

So­cial Me­dia

So­cial Me­dia can be used to drive con­ver­sa­tions around per­sona pain points and pro­mote your con­tent of­fers in rel­e­vant groups and con­ver­sa­tions. How well are you and your team con­nected into the places your per­sonas hang out in?


Re­view your key­words – have you in­cluded terms your per­sonas are us­ing when they’re try­ing to find so­lu­tions to their pain points or dur­ing key stages in their buyer jour­neys?


Are you mak­ing the best use of the footer of your busi­ness email? This is an ideal place to put mid­dle of the fun­nel con­tent of­fers.

Video Con­tent

Your video may sell the siz­zle, but does it ask for the or­der? Do you have the means for the vis­i­tor to act and take the next step in the buyer jour­ney?

In the past, ad­ver­tis­ing agen­cies strug­gled to un­der­stand what was hap­pen­ing to their busi­ness and flailed around in the dig­i­tal space al­low­ing smart young en­trepreneurs to found dig­i­tal agen­cies to help lead clients to dig­i­tal safety. But times have changed.

It will soon make no more sense to have a dig­i­tal agency than to have a bill­board agency or a ra­dio agency. Al­most ev­ery ad­ver­tis­ing agency works in dig­i­tal as a mat­ter of course and dig­i­tal agen­cies are try­ing to close the void from the other side by in­creas­ingly claim­ing com­pe­tency in tra­di­tional ar­eas (gen­er­ally with lit­tle ev­i­dence). This means that where dig­i­tal agen­cies be­come as com­pe­tent as tra­di­tional agen­cies in all ar­eas they be­come a tra­di­tional agency.

Dig­i­tal, or in­ter­ac­tive, or on­line, or new me­dia or cy­ber is not one beast. It is made up of a num­ber of chan­nels that have both en­hanced and com­pli­cated our at­tempts to mar­ket our clients’ busi­ness to con­sumers. They re­quire new skills and knowl­edge but not, I would sug­gest, com­plete tech­ni­cal mas­tery. Per­son­ally, I do not know how to code HTML but nei­ther can I use Avid, Pho­to­shop or a Red cam­era. I have no idea which but­tons to press on a sound en­gi­neer’s desk, but I reckon I know enough to work to­gether with some­one who does to get the de­sired re­sult. Shane from Franklin Road may dis­agree.

In 2013 I was in­vited to be the New Zealand judge on the Cy­ber (Dig­i­tal) cat­e­gory at the Cannes ‘Fes­ti­val of Cre­ativ­ity’. As one of the few non dig­i­ta­la­gency ju­rors I felt as skit­tish as a cat at a dog show but I thought it a good op­por­tu­nity to go un­der­cover and see what dif­fer­ences there were be­tween dig­i­tal and ad­ver­tis­ing cre­atives.

Af­ter sev­eral days of ar­gu­ing over idea, ex­e­cu­tion and when we should next have a cof­fee break, I think I’d avoided stand­ing out as a dig­i­tal lud­dite apart from my fail­ure to laugh at in-jokes about flash an­i­ma­tion and my in­sis­tence on shav­ing ev­ery other day. As a jury we chose two Grands Prix, one of which was a se­ries of in­ter­net films called ‘The Beauty In­side’ for the clients In­tel and Toshiba. I thought it was a great piece of work; a re­ally clever idea that was in­no­va­tive, tech­ni­cally in­ter­est­ing, rel­e­vant to the prod­uct and beau­ti­fully ex­e­cuted.

As we leant back in our ex­cru­ci­at­ingly painful con­fer­ence cen­tre chairs, bask­ing in the haze of fi­nally reach­ing a con­clu­sion most peo­ple were happy with, I de­cided to do a lit­tle prob­ing. I fig­ured it was too late to throw me off the jury so I in­no­cently sug­gested to my col­leagues that the films we were judg­ing as a cy­ber jury were be­ing judged pretty much the same as the ones be­ing judged down the hall by the film jury and they were be­ing judged in the same way.

The ba­sis for my ar­gu­ment was that con­sumers view any mar­ket­ing con­tent pretty much the same whether it be served to them via TV, their lap­top, the cinema or their smart phone. i.e. the medium used has rel­a­tively lit­tle ef­fect on the im­pact of the con­tent shown, and if it was a great TV ad it would gen­er­ally make a great on­line film and vice versa. In fact, the short for­mat of TV ads could have been de­signed for in­ter­net view­ers with their ner­vous gold­fish at­ten­tion spans. There­fore dig­i­tal is not a fun­da­men­tally sep­a­rate dis­ci­pline, just one that needs ad­just­ments of the craft that ad­ver­tis­ers have been us­ing for decades.

I steeled my­self for an ag­gres­sive re­sponse and eyed up the exit. A quick sprint and a jump over the bal­cony and I would be safe in the tepid wa­ters of the Mediter­ranean. How­ever, some­what to my sur­prise and, if hon­est, mild dis­ap­point­ment, my fel­low ju­rors agreed that filmic con­tent, whether for TV or on­line, was ba­si­cally the same thing and we should stop be­hav­ing like they were dif­fer­ent.

Fur­ther sup­port came when two days later the 2013 Cannes Film Jury an­nounced the win­ner of their own Grand Prix: The Beauty In­side for In­tel and Toshiba.

So two ju­ries, one of dig­i­tal judges and one of ad­ver­tis­ing judges, had in­de­pen­dently come to the same con­clu­sion. The cam­paign may have been de­signed to work on­line yet it was cre­ated by an ad­ver­tis­ing agency, Pereira and O’Dell from San Fran­cisco.

At the press con­fer­ence my fel­low judge James Hil­ton, founder of one of the world’s lead­ing dig­i­tal agen­cies, AKQA, noted: ‘We see films be­ing voted for in Cy­ber - what this shows is dig­i­tal is ev­ery­where and

it’s kind of re­dun­dant to talk about things in terms of dig­i­tal.’

Dig­i­tal is not a weird ad­junct for cloven­hoved spe­cial­ists. It is an in­te­gral part of what we do. We are all dig­i­tal­ists now. Let’s play nicely.

Lis­ten in at ten past nine to­mor­row morn­ing for your chance to win $100,000 in cash.”

Yep, it’s ra­dio sur­vey pe­riod and the mad­ness has be­gun. For many years now, the ra­dio sur­vey has been con­ducted twice a year, re­leased in April (T1) and Oc­to­ber (T2), which has re­sulted in height­ened pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­ity from the ra­dio sta­tions with any­thing and ev­ery­thing thrown at at­tract­ing lis­ten­ers.

But that is all about to change, hope­fully for the good and the fu­ture of the in­dus­try. There will be no of­fi­cial T1 sur­vey con­ducted in Q1 this year as agreed by the two large ra­dio net­works and in­de­pen­dent sta­tions. The T2 sur­vey that runs Au­gust to Septem­ber is planned to go ahead and will most likely act as a con­trol mea­sure for a po­ten­tially new ra­dio au­di­ence mea­sure­ment sys­tem.

Me­di­aWorks an­nounced pre-Christ­mas that it would be un­der­tak­ing an in­de­pen­dent re­view of the mea­sure­ment sys­tem, cit­ing the cur­rent tech­nol­ogy as old and a need to re­main rel­e­vant in an in­creas­ingly data-driven me­dia land­scape. Al­ter­na­tively, NZME has em­barked on their own re­view of the cur­rent mea­sure­ment sys­tem and has also fi­nanced a T1 sur­vey in­de­pen­dently. It’s ex­pected that the con­sul­tants em­ployed by both ra­dio net­works will present their find­ings to­gether.

Whilst Om­ni­com Me­dia Group agen­cies ap­plaud this well over­due re­view, it is a shame that the ra­dio in­dus­try hasn’t worked more closely to­gether to re­view and source new and im­proved meth­ods of mea­sure­ment from other mar­kets. What is en­cour­ag­ing though is the speed at which the ra­dio in­dus­try wants to move, with re­view find­ings pre­sented back to the ra­dio in­dus­try in Q1, hope­fully re­sult­ing in con­sen­sus and swift ac­tion. The cur­rent di­ary sys­tem is dated and now car­ries lit­tle value for agen­cies. Ra­dio pro­gram­mers also crave a mea­sure­ment sys­tem that is more ac­cu­rate in or­der to gauge their per­for­mance in the mar­ket. Although we, as an in­dus­try, have grand am­bi­tions to cre­ate ro­bust mea­sure­ment sys­tems, we can’t lose sight of the size of our mar­ket and the lim­i­ta­tions that come with a small mar­ket, namely cap­i­tal in­vest­ment. We don’t ex­pect the ra­dio in­dus­try to im­ple­ment a bul­let­proof mea­sure­ment sys­tem, as I don’t be­lieve one ex­ists.

How­ever, a hy­brid ap­proach sim­i­lar to other mar­kets (UK and Australia) whereby a di­ary and on­line sur­vey co-ex­ist would be a good place to start. The sur­vey needs to move away from a con­fined pe­riod and move to­wards a sys­tem sim­i­lar to that em­ployed by Ra­dio NZ, which sur­veys across 40 weeks of the year (Fe­bru­ary-Novem­ber). Re­call would im­prove, which would re­sult in data that is more ac­cu­rate and re­flec­tive of ra­dio con­sump­tion across the coun­try.

Elec­tronic mea­sure­ment has been sug­gested as an al­ter­na­tive, how­ever, this may be a leap too far for our mar­ket in the short-term, which could re­sult in lower re­ported au­di­ences dur­ing the tran­si­tion pe­riod and a higher cost to im­ple­ment. This would set the ra­dio in­dus­try back af­ter a buoy­ant few years in terms of ad rev­enue. Should the ra­dio in­dus­try ex­plore elec­tronic mea­sure­ment, there could be some up­sides that are wor­thy of ex­plo­ration, such as an au­di­ence cur­rency sim­i­lar to TV, ac­cu­rate lis­ten­ing mea­sure­ment via minute-by-minute au­di­ence data and more con­tin­u­ous data. Elec­tronic mea­sure­ment would be in­ter­est­ing and a step closer to pro­gram­matic ra­dio trad­ing, how­ever, I be­lieve a tran­si­tion to­wards a weighted di­ary and on­line mea­sure­ment sys­tem would best fit this mar­ket in the short-term. We would need to see the con­struct of the sur­vey panel that is more rep­re­sen­ta­tive across on­line and di­ary to cap­ture bet­ter in­sights from which to plan and trade against.

The fre­quency of sur­vey data re­leases would need to in­crease. In-depth quar­terly pre­sen­ta­tions to the mar­ket at a min­i­mum, but ac­cess to con­tin­u­ous data from an agency point of view would be ideal, es­pe­cially now given the greater amount of data avail­able to agen­cies.

How we mea­sure au­di­ence en­gage­ment across plat­forms would present an op­por­tu­nity for the likes of Pan­dora and Spo­tify to be con­sid­ered within the sur­vey and have a say in the fu­ture of ra­dio mea­sure­ment. From my point of view, they should be in part­ner­ship with the ra­dio net­works as part of this re­view. Dig­i­tal ra­dio is grow­ing and the blur­ring of what ra­dio ac­tu­ally rep­re­sents will con­tinue to be chal­lenged. The abil­ity to un­der­stand how con­sumers are en­gag­ing with ra­dio brands and shows in so­cial feeds would be an in­ter­est­ing ad­di­tion to the new mea­sure­ment sys­tem. Per­haps it’s not a short-term so­lu­tion, but cer­tainly a con­sid­er­a­tion for the fu­ture.

We now op­er­ate in a data-rich en­vi­ron­ment and me­dia ven­dors must keep pace with the de­mands of our mar­ket and global mar­ket trends. We are ex­cited by the re­view, which will hope­fully lead to a more ro­bust mea­sure­ment sys­tem from which agen­cies can bet­ter un­der­stand and plan against ra­dio au­di­ences, pro­vid­ing more ac­cu­racy across the year. Let’s hope we see com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the ra­dio in­dus­try soon, out­lin­ing the fu­ture of ra­dio au­di­ence mea­sure­ment.

No doubt there’ll still be room for ra­dio pro­mo­tions.

Idon’t know about you, but ev­ery­where I look lately I see the words ‘big data’, ‘con­tent is king’, ‘so­cial me­dia is the new black’ and an in­fi­nite num­ber of other gen­er­al­i­sa­tions about how our me­dia con­sump­tion and be­hav­iour is be­ing moulded by tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions.

Th­ese in­no­va­tions have taught us to speak in 140 char­ac­ters or less, share what we’re hav­ing for din­ner with a bunch of vir­tual strangers and con­sume pic­tures rather than words, prefer­ably 45 sec­onds or less (thanks YouTube). In the process, they have also en­cour­aged us to be al­ways on, al­ways con­nected and have led to a pan­demic of that ar­che­typal 21st cen­tury dis­ease, FOMO.

‘But wait a minute,’ I hear you say, mag in one hand, lap­top open and smart­phone at the ready should some­one ur­gently need to txt you. All this tech­nol­ogy is a good thing, es­pe­cially for mar­keters. We now have omni-chan­nel op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­gage prospects and cus­tomers alike. We can connect and sell in so many dif­fer­ent ways. It’s nir­vana, isn’t it?

I don’t dis­agree. But when I look at my fam­ily and friends I see a very dif­fer­ent pic­ture. I see peo­ple try­ing to get on with life and work­ing out ways to min­imise the com­pli­ca­tions in their ev­ery­day en­vi­ron­ment, com­pli­ca­tions caused by the tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions afore­men­tioned.

As con­sumers, each of us has the most pow­er­ful tools of all at our dis­posal: op­pos­able thumbs and in­de­pen­dent thought. With th­ese tools we have the power to switch off, change over and delete. To my knowl­edge there hasn’t been a tech­nol­ogy yet that can beat it.

My col­leagues and I have been pon­der­ing this fact for some time now and it has be­come abun­dantly clear that con­tent can only be king when it is ac­com­pa­nied by a well-thought-through strat­egy. The best con­tent in the world is no good if no one sees it. It’s no good if they see it and don’t un­der­stand it. It’s no good if they watch it and don’t get it. Con­tent needs to be timely, rel­e­vant and en­gag­ing. It needs to have a pur­pose and a place in the over­all mar­ket­ing mix. It needs to be de­vel­oped as a re­sult of a clear, well-thought­through strat­egy and de­liv­ered through a com­pre­hen­sive plan.

If we re­mem­ber th­ese three ba­sic things we should all see bet­ter re­sults: 1. R el­e­vance. Is what you’re show­ing me and where you’re show­ing it to me rel­e­vant to me at that time (of the day, of the year, in my life). If not I will dis­en­gage im­me­di­ately, and even worse I might pub­licly vil­ify your ef­fort. This is not Field of Dreams. You can­not build it and hope that they will come; Kevin Cost­ner will not save you. I can­not stress this point enough. Too many times re­ally great con­tent dies on the vine be­cause all the en­ergy and ef­fort (bud­get) was spent on build­ing and lit­tle ef­fort was put to­wards dis­sem­i­nat­ing to, or at­tract­ing the very peo­ple we want to see it and en­gage with it. 3. I t is not a set-and-for­get world any­more, if it ever was. Op­ti­mise, op­ti­mise, op­ti­mise. En­sure you have al­lowed enough bud­get to watch the watch­ers, fol­low the stats and tweak, edit or com­pletely with­draw – what­ever is nec­es­sary. A re­cent con­ver­sa­tion with a client made me think. We had pro­duced some video con­tent for them, which seemed to be work­ing well. We had fol­lowed rules one and two above but there was still an is­sue. The data was show­ing us that the ma­jor­ity of views stopped at the same point in the video. On closer in­spec­tion this was more or less when the client’s logo ap­peared. En­ter rule three.

As di­rect mar­keters it’s in our DNA to tar­get, to find the peo­ple we want to talk to and at best have a one-to-one con­ver­sa­tion. This is no easy task and I ap­plaud the many brands out there that are work­ing hard to bet­ter un­der­stand who their core mar­ket is and where they are. Some are even tak­ing the time to build mech­a­nisms to have mean­ing­ful value ex­changes over a long pe­riod of time as they play the long game.

So I say yes to big data and yes to faster, bet­ter tech­nol­ogy and yes to the power of the con­sumer to make choices. But it’s up to us to use the first two wisely if we wish the third to work in our favour.

Only a few years ago, apps were a new con­cept. Now they’re ev­ery­where. And with busi­nesses like Kiwi start-up Putti, which al­lows you to build your own app with no cod­ing knowl­edge re­quired, the mar­ket is only go­ing to be­come more crowded. This raises some tricky is­sues when it comes to trade­mark pro­tec­tion.

Trade­marks are badges of ori­gin for your com­pany’s goods or ser­vices. Trade­mark reg­is­tra­tion does not pro­tect your soft­ware code or the func­tion of your app, though some of th­ese el­e­ments may at­tract copy­right pro­tec­tion. Trade­marks are the words, lo­gos or other signs that in­di­cate to con­sumers what your app is called, and where it came from.

When you pre­pare to launch a new app, re­gard­less of the type of prod­uct or ser­vice it re­lates to, it’s al­ways pru­dent to ob­tain an avail­abil­ity search from an IP ex­pert. This will tell you what reg­is­tered and un­reg­is­tered trade­marks are al­ready in your mar­ket that could pose a risk to your use or reg­is­tra­tion of the pro­posed trade­mark.

Be­cause of the global na­ture of apps, it can be dif­fi­cult to as­sess th­ese risks. This is be­cause it is rel­a­tively easy to cre­ate an app, give it a name, and make it avail­able world­wide on Google’s Play store or the Ap­ple App Store. From that day forth, it will show up in search re­sults for that ti­tle. On the face of it, if some­one else has al­ready cre­ated an app with the same name or icon you plan to use, this poses a po­ten­tial legal risk.

If an app’s cre­ator has at­tained a rep­u­ta­tion in your coun­try for the name, icon or other trade­mark they use for their app, then your use of the same or a sim­i­lar trade­mark may con­fuse or de­ceive con­sumers, and you may be li­able un­der the Fair Trad­ing Act or com­mon law. If the owner has reg­is­tered their trade­mark in the coun­try or coun­tries where you in­tend to mar­ket your app, you may also be li­able for trade­mark in­fringe­ment.

The con­se­quences of in­fring­ing some­one else’s rights in their app can be se­vere. The lead­ing app mar­ket­places have take-down pro­ce­dures in place, mean­ing that if an­other trade­mark owner makes an al­le­ga­tion of in­fringe­ment, your app might be re­moved from the mar­ket­place very quickly. The owner of an in­fringed app could also seek an in­junc­tion or dam­ages from you. If your app is your sole prod­uct, or a vi­tal tool for your cus­tomers, this could be dis­as­trous. Given how quickly apps can spread to con­sumers world­wide, the reper­cus­sions of hav­ing to change your name or trade­mark af­ter launch should be avoided if at all pos­si­ble.

But what if the owner of an ex­ist­ing app has not in­vested any time or money in pro­mo­tion, and only a hand­ful of con­sumers have ever down­loaded the app – and none in your coun­try of in­ter­est?

With­out a valid trade­mark reg­is­tra­tion or a rep­u­ta­tion in your mar­ket, the risk posed by such an app may be very low or non-ex­is­tent. It’s im­por­tant to know what rights you may have to de­fend your­self against an al­le­ga­tion of in­fringe­ment. Ob­tain­ing trade­mark reg­is­tra­tion for your app name and any lo­gos you in­tend to use is likely to strengthen your po­si­tion, and will also make it eas­ier to stop oth­ers us­ing your trade­marks in the fu­ture.

You also need to con­sider some of the unique con­straints of apps. For in­stance, a cus­tomer’s first ac­cess to your app is likely to be on a small mo­bile screen, with its name com­pacted or ab­bre­vi­ated, and a small square for your icon. This re­duces the op­por­tu­nity to dis­tin­guish your brand by use of your usual house mark and brand get-up, and may in­crease the risk of con­fu­sion with sim­i­lar names or icons.

The risks of launch­ing a new app will be dif­fer­ent for ev­ery busi­ness and can de­pend in part on whether the app is an ex­ten­sion of your ex­ist­ing busi­ness un­der a trade­mark for which you al­ready have a rep­u­ta­tion, or whether you are a new busi­ness for which the app is go­ing to be your pri­mary of­fer­ing to con­sumers. In all cases, it is best to know the risks be­fore you go in.

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