7 considerations when deciding the most appropriate budget mix for traditional and emerging communication content forms and contact vehicles?

February 24, 2008 at 12:56 am | Posted in Digital thinking, Evangelism, Integration | Leave a comment

Content or Contact mix decisions should not be arbitrary. There is no one rule and decisions should be made on a brand specific basis. Below are some considerations that may help you determine your brands right mix.

1. Where does the money come from to fund internet?

The Brazilian market is still using internet primarily for building awareness, advocacy and affinity. Markets where Digital has taken a stronger hold generally potentialize it´s benefits throughout the whole purchase decision process. Hence, although digital is a powerful affinity driving tool, in other markets digital is dragging money up from below-the-line more than shifting traditional media funds.

2. Purchasing process disruption forcing an integrated communications digital presence

The traditional path-to-purchase process is broken for many categories. Consumers are changing their expectations and the way that they consume content. Being able to connect with content in a self-service manner has dramatically shortened decision making cycles. Internet on-demand content, social networking and communications are facilitating quicker decisions that demand a constant multi- dimensional marketing presence.

3. Belgium and India (Brazil is five countries in one).

Lack of online critical mass / poor internet penetration can no longer be an excuse for inertia in shifting funds for many influential targets. With weekly internet penetration now ranges from 83% (AB Men 18-24) to zero depending on the target and the state. For most high value consumers, penetrations are well above many in markets considered developed.

4. Perceived or real risk?

Resistance to shifting money to digital is more a result of perceived risk rather that real risk. For many brands, innovation is fundamental, but lack of digital knowledge (driven by many years of digital separation) has created a large gap between perceived and real innovation risk. Often a huge gap exists between the innovation the brand requires and the risk the decision stakeholders are willing to take. This dramatically affects our abilities to get innovative ideas approved.

5. Is internet more effective and efficient that my traditional communication?

30sec video content (and many other traditional content forms) distributed via mass media is still an extremely power and persuasive form of communication content.

It is commonly believed that interactivity is one of the most effective content engagement mechanics, but while digital still has limited reach, it is yet to be proven if interactive is both more effective and more efficient at building affinity with your consumer.

For most integrated marketing campaigns with a central consumer insight focused core idea, digital can be an effective central destination to link each contact channel and drive communication synergies.

6. Which brands need to act urgently?

For many categories that do not have a disrupted path-to-purchase, we may need to first prove that alternate forms of content are both more efficient and effective before shifting investment. E.g. most package consumer goods, mass marketers skewing to broad audiences (that don´t have a specific need for segmentation).

That being said, if your focus is building Brand affinity to AB <40 targets, their expectation of how you connect with them has irreversibly changed. You definitely need to balance your traditional communications content with more conversational content forms.

Here are some other obvious extreme categories where path is disrupted and a constant aggressive presence addressing all parts of the decision path is required:

  • High Innovation Demand Products: Soft drinks, Snack foods, fashion, music, mobile phones
  • Anything where business model is inherently digital: some Commerce, Banking, ticket purchases, software,
  • Info / WOM opinion rich decision process: Travel, Car purchase, house purchase, PC, technology,
  • Any other product that can be sold via eCommerce and is easily and cheaply shipped: Books, movies, fast food etc

7. Responsible Innovation (Beware of expectation bubbles)

Ad hoc projects without a strategic vision often burn bridges and retard sustainable integration. Before investing in innovation, we should clarify the success metrics and align our efforts with an integrated strategic vision. Tactical actions should be evaluated in the context of how it will enhance our consumers Brand affinity and ultimately convert to sustainable demand. Ideally, programs should be based on a brands innovation needs and target content insights. They should be a sustainable process of incrementally building capabilities by setting clear success metrics, testing, learning and quickly reapplying.

Cheers, BC

The largest barrier to digital growth – demons of the past, digital silos & evangelism

February 17, 2008 at 3:44 am | Posted in Digital thinking, Evangelism, Infrastructure, Innovation, Integration, Segmentation, Strategic planning, Traditional | Leave a comment

Many digital evangelists claim the problem is that everyone else doesn´t get it!! They are partly right, but at the same time they are blind to their own ignorance and weaknesses.

The most successful digital minds are one that can either cross both the traditional and emerging worlds or partner with a mentor that can help them focus and articulate their value.

 90% of what digital evangelists claim that they are inventing – has actually already been done in the traditional world. Like naïve teenagers, they discover something (e.g. a remake of a Rolling Stones song), thinking it new, give it a name of their own and adopt it as their own groundbreaking innovation.

The problem is that digital evangelists not only disrespect historical marketing theory, but they have deliberately kept anyone (e.g. a grey hair mentor) in the dark and at arms-length. In fact, they have been guilty in many respects of ‘Reinventing the wheel’ because of the barriers that they have placed have stopped them learning from the elders of the ‘communications tribe’. In these times, where digital thinking transcends the digital mediums, it may be in the digital evangelists to be a bit more humble and sign a peace treaty.

Sure, the traditional establishment hasn´t made it easy for this seemingly disruptive splinter group. The demons of past battles still haunt the minds of digital journeymen. Likewise, the partying and arrogance prior to the digital bubble bursting and premature claims that ‘everyone associated with traditional communication are irrelevant and dying’, have left deep seated rift between the traditional and emerging communication worlds.

When an industry is growing, it makes sense to separate and concentrate efforts in a silo to achieve a sense of critical mass.  The problem is, as the pie grows, particularly in an extremely dynamic environment where training always plays a back seat to delivery, if you don´t reintegrate, there simply aren´t enough people to do the required work.

It is time that the ‘digital thoroughbreds’ start feeling a little more self-confident and start adopting and recruiting ‘digital immigrants’ people to do the work so that they can move forward and do what they do best – attack the critical problems facing communication: innovate and build conversation infrastructure. There is no doubt that digital thinkers will rule, but in this new world built upon collaboration and co-opetition, let´s hope that we all can find a way to heal the wounds, collectively swallow our pride and act as the mature leaders that our clients and customers need.

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