Gabfest on the Near Future of Marketing

The Future Computer
What media do I invest in?

With all the different types of media currently available to brand a company, I feel poised to ask if there is a best channel to spend on if at all. Breaking the types of media into three categories will make it easier to explain; owned, paid and earned.

Owned media is media in which you have a say in how it is presented. Some examples include your company website, a blog, or social media account by which you present your company.

Earned media is a result of customers becoming advocates for your brand either through word of mouth, going ‘viral’, or gaining buzz.

Paid media is pretty straight forward, but for those who don’t get see it, it works like this. It is media is which your company pays for in order to advertise your brand. This is the most common type of advertising that we see as of now, but that soon could change as I will explain further on.

As we have seen with the emergence of brands going ‘viral,’ earned media seems to be taking hold as a viable solution in gaining name. T-Mobile has done a fine job with creating content that the internet masses love. It has everything; a relatable experience, feelings of happiness, and the commonality between most viral videos, a loose thread somehow tying it to the company. Either way it is a well done video with lots of replay-ability (as I am writing this it is 10,000 views shy of 14 Million. 14 Million!!!!).

The T-Mobile video can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB3NPNM4xgo

But can something like this compete with time tested paid media. The answer seems to be a resounding yes by most big companies that can afford to put out something of quality. If they can produce a video that is watchable for more than one minute, it beats 75% of all videos out there. One problem that I see as a pitfall for small businesses is taking too big of a jump into earned media too quickly. A big company like BMW or T-Mobile can take the leap of such productions without wincing if it doesn’t gain notoriety. Earned media for a small companies means just that, earned. Not paid and then earned. By producing content that people want to share, you are providing a service, a free service that you trust will earn you money in the future. If it is just a onetime video, forget about doing it. Why waste the time and money in order to have a possibility of breaking people away from their habits for one minute. Although it may take longer, it is much easier for a small business to gain a following through lots of great content than through trying to make an internet hit. Think about the odds of becoming a celebrity, pretty far off. Those are about your odds every week, and if you want to play those odds you better be ready to lose (a lot).

What are the Odds?

Getting back on point paid media has been around since the beginning of advertising. It is the Nautilus, the living fossil that can survive the apocalypse. It has adapted and changed with the times, allowing for new types of paid media to exist and devouring others in times of need. Offshoots such as earned media were born from the lineage of paid media. I pose that as earned media gets traction as it seemingly has in the past year that paid media will begin to take on new forms, just as it has done in the past. Advertising on television, radio, and print will become more focused as we are better able to target potential customers. Companies will move to become more relatable, spending less time on information and increasing the use of stories. Paid media will still be the best way to get a message that you want across to a large customer base, and there will always be people willing to pay to have it shown to them. I believe that it is still beneficial for companies to invest in paid, earned, and owned media as it covers all fronts, however finding the perfect balance between the three is tricky. The best way is to start out with one form of media such as owned, which allows for control and a way to send out feelers. From there if there is money to spend perhaps paid media is the way to go, but for a budget strapped business earned media will allow them to flourish in the customer’s eye.

Native Advertising: What is it and who is doing it?

Native advertising has recently had its emergence due to customers feeling bombarded with messages to buy. It has become a way for a company to provide content to users without having them feel the pressure that normal advertising put on them. Think of it as a company hiring someone to write content that doesn’t really relate to the company but is interesting to read and in the format of the publishing site so it doesn’t look like an advertisement.

From a New York Times article “Edith Ramirez, the chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission, said, ‘By presenting ads that resemble editorial content, an advertiser risks implying, deceptively, that the information comes from a nonbiased source.’” I don’t see it that way, I see it as the publisher of the content taking the risk not the advertiser. And the executive editor of the New York Times, Jill Abramson, doesn’t see it as defacing the advertiser the advertiser either but as defacing the Times.

The article also states that the New York Times own staff will be the ones writing the advertisements for the companies and it will take on all the methods of editorial content (video, graphic, word). Hiring a few extra people, although how many is unknown at this point. I should point out that the newsroom will not be involved. This could be a tipping point for the Times, bringing in much needed revenue when paid advertising and print readership is spiraling downward.

Native Advertising

Native advertisings selling point is confusion among consumers. With the growing online readership for news and events the confusion will only become more apparent as every online publisher moves to gain a few extra dollars. The FTC recently published a survey stating that 73% of online publishers are already offering native advertising, and I sure haven’t noticed it.

The New York Times article can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/20/business/media/publishers-letter-explains-limits-on-branded-content-at-the-times.html?_r=0
Programmatic Ad Buying

It is hard to pigeon hole programmatic ad buying into a single definition. Due in part because it is evolving faster now than ever before, but mostly because no one seems to exactly know either. At its simplest form programmatic ad buying is bidding (real time) on the opportunity to show an advertisement to a specific audience when they are most likely to click it. By taking all the data that is available the “program” is able to figure out when the best time to show the ad is, hopefully resulting in a better ROI.
It seems great; a new trick up the marketer’s sleeve, and better related ads for potential customers. But I have seen in recent months the cookie war unfold in the UK making it so all UK based sites have to present an option in or out decision. This is a swift knife through the heart of some digital marketers in the UK getting only the trickle of people who accidently press the allow cookie option.

But will this be the end of a few thousand jobs, as programmatic ad buying spreads like a disease through the marketing community? Possibly, but probably not. With all this new customization of data available to the fingertips, we will be seeing more research into who the target market is. We will also see an influx in analysis type jobs, figuring out why those certain users clicked through when others didn’t. Although in Programmatic for Dummies, Tony Gabriner president of Adap.tv says “the inefficiencies in the handshake sales market are being exploited to a large degree by programmatic… [They] might have four people managing their programmatic business, and 35 or 40 on the non-programmatic, and the revenue split is 50-50.” For many companies programmatic is becoming a smashing hit, allowing for larger revenues from less workers. This shouldn’t be looked at as a possible loss of jobs rather they are being replaced with more, smaller agencies. I see programmatic being useful in the television setting, are we not all fed up with recurring commercial that don’t relate at all. I have even recently seen douching products advertised on Comedy Central. Why???!!! Why?????!!!!

Programmatic for Dummies can be found here: http://www.adweek.com/news-gallery/programmatic-dummies-153590#intro

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