US Marketers, Agencies Urged to Confront Convergence

16 October 2007

PHOENIX, Arizona: Attendees at the Association of National Advertisers' annual conference were this weekend challenged to confront the fusion of an increasingly fragmented media environment with the profusion of developments in digital technology.

Introducing a new study, Marketing & Media Ecosystem 2010, ANA president/ceo Bob Liodice proclaimed: "The impact of new media is changing the way marketers interact, target and distribute their marketing message.

"As the marketplace shifts to a digital interactive environment, marketing organizations, agencies, and media companies need to transform existing marketing agendas and capabilities to succeed."

But cynics who've heard all these exhortations before - largely from the evangelists of digital media and their agency cousins - would do well to pay heed this time around.

Liodice's urging is based on new research jointly commissioned by the ANA, the AAAA, the IAB and management consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton.

BAH principal Andrea Rasmussen told delegates: "Now consumers not only talk back to marketers and interact with marketing messages, but they also reshape and distribute those messages through global communities. The mix of media channels has shifted from a one-way broadcast model to a set of dynamic two-way media forums."

Five key themes emerge from the study, based on responses from over 250 senior marketers:

  1. Marketing as Conversation
    Marketing is becoming less about sending a message to consumers and more about conversing and co-creating experiences with consumers. Marketers are calling on a new mix of media to further the communication of their messages. For example, close to half of marketers are planning to increase their PR budgets as a part of marketing.

  2. Insight into Foresight
    Technology enhances consumer insights and targeting capabilities, amplifying ability for perspective and accuracy. Eighty percent of marketers place 'high importance' on behavioral targeting.

  3. Media: The New "Creative"
    Distribution mechanisms and context now rival creative execution in importance. Marketers are investing in capabilities that bridge the gap between media, creative and brand strategy chain (eg, communications planning and "integrator" positions). Again, over 80% of participants agree communications planning capabilities will be critical in moving forward.

  4. Marketing + Math + Technology
    Data quality, quantity and accessibility have brought math to all aspects of marketing. Leaders are more likely to have the metrics and capabilities to judge the effects of new media.

  5. The Network Effect
    The move to digital media necessitates a higher level of collaboration and coordination across all players in the ecosystem. Almost 60% of participants believe that creative, strategic, and media capabilities should be rebundled - but there is no consensus as to which agency 'type' should lead. Further, traditional creative partnerships are taking a back seat to media partnerships - twice as many participants indicate that media company and media agency partnerships will become more important than traditional full service agency partnerships.
The study also identified specific digital capabilities, investments and attitudes across leaders. It argues that leaders disproportionately prioritize consumer insights and are characterized by their almost universal belief (over 95%) that strong consumer insights are critical and require data transparency and partnerships.

They lead in their deep understanding of how consumers leverage new media for community and entertainment and they utilize progressive quantitative tools, impose minimal organizational barriers and encourage a strong digital culture.

The eleven keys t

Data sourced from Association of National Advertisers (USA); additional content by WARC staff