We have seen a marked shuffling of media priorities over the past decade. Media has become more and more democratised over the years. And new questions crop up ever so often. Like this one. How do you hold the interest of a young person on TV, when they are used to DVRs and streaming video? Does the audience read anymore? If not, all the blogs, discussion groups, social media and online magazines must be doing something horribly wrong.
Before we delve into the question of digital marketing, we need to examine the effect of these new technologies. Journalists and TV presenters have become less relevant over the years as opinions, for better or for worst, are generated by consumers of Media than monolithic news and entertainment broadcasters. There is a growing audience that doesn’t merely absorb messages passively but also contributes to the narrative. The audience chooses the messaging it prefers and not just the messaging that is being pelted at them.
This is a double-edged sword. The current discussion on Twitter and its plans for the future may be all the rage, but there are opportunities that should not be overlooked. On the bright side, it has become easier for brands to engage the consumer in their messaging. On the other hand, controlling the narrative is slowly creeping out of bounds for the marketing community.
You will notice that this is no longer a discussion on ‘digital marketing’. Rather, it is a commentary on the changing attitude of the populace. Digital marketing is not some chimaera from the future. It is here and has somehow assimilated into society and incipiently altered consumer behaviour. Marketing in general, not any particular slice of it, needs to pay attention.
Let’s dispense with the bad tidings for the moment and focus on where this wave is pushing us. As marketers, we tend to address the consumer and speak to a demographic, or to those who would like to be in that demographic. Now here’s how things are changing. A forty-year-old married person with kids consumer is just as likely to drink a cola as the young adult it is targeted to. So would a gaggle of old ladies at a rummy club. But do they want to hear the same messaging? Perhaps not. And here is where the opportunities for messaging become eminently complex.
While many professionals of the creative persuasion have rolled their eyes at the proliferation of data-based advertising, there is more than a glimmer of hope.
We have the means to speak to different audiences now. To measure out appropriate amounts of empathy, humour, sass, and panache according to the audience we want to reach. Traditionally, for brands, the consumer has always been this monolithic faceless buyer interested in one thing and one thing alone. The brand promise that we dole out. The one thing that the Average Joe consumer wants to hear. This is no longer the era of one-to-many advertising message broadcast. It is no longer the era of radios and TV’s broadcasting to a universal mind. It is the era of conversation and interchange.
Envision the opportunities. Speaking to each individual in their own language, to their particular needs and expectations. Opening up new avenues of discussion, forays into new markets, and different demographics, each with its own image of the brand’s entity. And all in the silos that the consumer has created for themselves. Your brand can be young or old, man or woman, urban or rural, thoughtful, or playful, all at the same time without a schism in the broader structure.
Today’s consumers will not stand to be ‘targeted’ by brands. They are the ones doing the targeting. This consumer chooses his watering hole and loiters with the herd that she has chosen as her own. Brands have to meet her there and cajole her with what she wants. An old adage in advertising says, ‘Don’t tell them what your product is. Tell them what it will do for them.’ This becomes more and more true by the day. The consumer does not care for what you put into your product. They want to know, ‘What’s in it for me?’
So, tell them. This is the crux of creativity for the future. It is for the consumer and not for the brand. It is to be in the milieu of the consumer’s natural habitat, in the place she feels secure, and entertained, with like-minded others who share common interests. That is the rock on which you build your brand’s church.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of BestMediaInfo.com and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)