Recent studies conducted by Digiday for Vizu as reported by eMarketer show that marketers are looking to increase spend. In fact 64% of respondents said they will increase paid social media ad spends. This research demonstrates modest growing importance of social media ad spend with the full spectrum of marketing budgets but it’s instructive to view this latest research with an eye on the future.
IBM’s 2012 Global CEO Study, ‘Leading Through Connections,’ projects a 256% increase in social media spend with a 61% decline in traditional media spend. In fact, social media spend comes in 2nd on the list of customer interaction tools projected over the next 3-5 years. In fact, it’s a mistake to view any one piece of the marketing spend in isolation but rather observe the changing mix that reflects shifts in consumer and technology.
Ultimately I believe the consumer purchasing journey is a forever shape-shifting dynamic and that what matters most is not where brands spending their advertising budgets but rather their ability to remain nimble enough to keep up with their customers.
This capacity necessitates a painful shift away from dependence on pre-existing business models, profits centers and media plans towards investments in social listening tools, emerging technologies and al the internal restructuring this implies. What is clear, however, is that the new dialogue between brands and consumers, hopefully moderated by ad agencies, will become increasingly fractured across media channels, specific topics and niches audiences. While this makes the marketer’s job more difficult, it also provides the opportunity to speak more directly to a growing number of specific audiences who, sufficiently motivated, will happily share the responsibility for promoting your brand.
Guest post from Gary Schwartz who keeps us up to date with the latest in the world of mobile from the 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
To sum up Mobile World Congress 2013, I will borrow from Peter Marx, head of business development at Qualcomm Labs. Peter talks about an tendency for PTA or (for those in the know) Premature Technology Arousal in the mobile industry.
Much of the MWC 2013 floor area at the new Fira Gran Via venue exhibited PTA or Premature Technology Arousal. Solutions that are excited about being solutions. Solutions that are too early. Solutions that are missing reach and frequency. Things that are just not simple enough to drive adoption.
Even before 70 thousand executives hit the show floor, there were signs of “PTA”. From the Near Field Communications (NFC) show name tags that tried to emulate plastic (but that few used because you still needed to show the plastic) to tapping on Coke dispensers with cloud-base wallets that are many quarters away for mainstream adoption.
Booth after booth in this 1.01 million square feet techno-playground displayed incredible solutions and screens. But the real story to follow was how each solution quietly added value to a given business ecosystem. There was an invisible hand playing connect the dots. Here are a few examples:
The Invisible Google Hand: Google was almost absent – unlike the MWC of 2011 and 2012 where Google groupies ran from partner booth to partner booth in search of cute Android pins. But Google was most definitely on the floor. This year the company is wisely playing “powered by Google”. They are the dark silent type. Turn left or right in every hall, Android is the fuel this industry is consuming.
The same holds for Qualcomm. They are the chip manufacture that is quietly taking the lion’s share of the revenue on each global handset. (Intel just cannot seem to create a competitive landscape.) Qualcomm Labs is building in consumer identity and credentials onto its “platform” hoping to not only power the connected device but also own the big data behind the user. When Qualcomm demos a vision of a home of the near future, they power many of the moving pieces.
The Samsung Show: While Qualcomm’s chip and Google’s OS were the main stories in Barcelona, another key and not so silent player is Samsung. (So much so that my hotel concierge asked me if I was attending that “Samsung” show that was in town.) The word that floated above the white new-age Samsung booth was “innovation” but the innovation is not just the 3D camera or the ubiquity of the new S-Pen. The innovation was in their business model connecting their screen across the consumer journey. The 3D camera sells their tablet and television. The S-Pen and its SDK allows for ergonomic continuity across their new tablets and tablets.
Mozilla is other important story in Barcelona. Using the Firefox browser on lower-end ZTE devices to run the camera, map and . . . oh yes, the browser was a definite tech-turn on. Moving the developer and more importantly the consumer out of the (Apple-invented and dominated) app store into the real world super-app is an inevitable step and fundamental to our mobile evolution. The quicker the industry can move away for relying exclusively on industrial design and the app storefront as the sales tool, the faster we will grow.
2014 Screen Wars: The most important leitmotif was the screen. Not only the proliferation of devices with new form factor and application, but the realization that it is in the connecting of these screens that the we can accelerate business models. Samsung, ZTE, Motorola, Nokia all address the consumer journey across all screens and throughout their day. Nearly all marketing VPs had spent their last few months and budget trying to tell this consumer story.
Again while many products had indecent “PTA”, the most important insight was not what was happening on the screen but what companies were doing to connect them seamlessly. The new battle ground this year moving into MWC 2014 will be centered around who can best manage big data, wallet credentials and identity between the screens.
For more from Gary Schwartz, click here.
I noticed the article by Rance Crain in Forbes this week in which he questioned whether the end of purpose driven ad is nigh because “none of it worked.” While Crain lays out the case “for” and “against” I would like to add some thoughts to the debate.
First, there is an implicit presumption that purpose-driven ads are a fad that will come and go like any cyclical marketing trend. I contend we cannot turn back purpose driven ads any more than we can turn back the internet, social media or smart phones. The reason is that these new technologies have shifted marketing from a monologue to a dialogue in which marketers need to listen, draw in customers and share the ownership of their brands.
One might still argue that the purpose driven ads may disappear as the economy improves and we drift back to the excessive mindset that led to the global ecomonic meltdown in 2008. This, however, would ignore the density of research to the contrary including Edelman’s 2012 GoodPurpose Report, Havas Media’s Meaningful Brands Report, and TBWA’s Global Millennial study. These reports reveal that global consumers expect brands play a more meaningful role in social impact and that this expectation is on the rise because today’s customer is better informed, media-savvy and more distrustful than ever after the global economic crisis of 2008. What’s more, Millennials demonstrate a fundamental expectation that brands must contribute to society if they are to maintain their social licence to operate.
Crain implies, however, that many purpose driven ads by large brands like P&G are mere tactics to win consumer support either at the mandate of the CEO or simply to curry favor with consumers. Yet with so many cases of causewashing and greenwashing and with such militant consumer pushback against disingenuous brands these days, I don’t believe the CEO’s or CMO’s of such successful corporations are either that cynical or uninformed. Rather, these companies are genuinely struggling to upgrade the practices and mindsets based on old profit centers, business models and traditional media, and start to genuinely tell the story of what they stay for in ways that connect with customers.
“You see many brands doing good with cause-related marketing, but honestly, if the cause they are involved in is not fundamental to their brand, what good does it do? Brands are like humans. You can see quickly if they’re faking it.”
Without an authentic alignment between who a brand is and how it markets itself, no matter of stated good intentions will resonate with employees or consumers. What’s more, a brand must go beyond merely stating its good intentions and demonstrate its authentic commitment to them. Only then will wary customers become true brand advocates that share the story and mission of brand with others.
My final thought addresses the issue that purpose driven ads should be judged by how quickly they get results. This presumption ignores the fact that brands must now invest in relationships with customer rather than facilitate transactions. This is no small task, especially on the scale of a company like P&G, and appropriate time should be given to allow large and influential brands to re-to0l their internal structures, systems and roles to reflect the new social business marketplace and its marketing drivers.
I do agree with Crain that an important phase may be ending but its not the era of purpose driven ads. Rather it’s the end of superficial attempts to hijack purpose to merely serve the bottom line. As such its the beginning of purposeful marketing in which brands tell authentic and meaningful stories about the good they are doing to ways that genuinely inspire greater customer goodwill, loyalty and sales.
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Simon Mainwaring is founder of We First, a social branding consulting firm that helps companies, non-profits and individuals use social media to build communities, profits and positive impact.