For decades, scientists the world over have been concerned with what exists beyond our earth, solar system and Milky Way Galaxy. Sending our messages via satellites on various frequencies in the hopes of finding alternate forms of life in the outer limits of the unknown Universe.
But, what if ‘little green men’ actually responded to the countless messages scientists have been sending out? Would we be ready; would we know how to respond?
If we ask these questions of space exploration, should we not ask the same of the messages we as advertisers send out?
To bring this analogy home, before the digital tidal wave hit the unsuspecting shores of traditional media, businesses and brands would place advertisements in the typical ‘holy trinity’ of TV, radio and print or outdoor. Advertisers would hope for the best with a hit or miss strategy, targeting the masses and hoping for the right people, to be in the right place at the right time.
The message would be disseminated to the audience but with no way for that same audience to engage the brand in two-way communication. In essence, there was no ‘conversation’ and no way to build a community of likeminded individuals sharing thoughts, opinions and ideas.
When digital and online media gained momentum, it hit the world with considerable impact. Social media platforms like Mxit, Facebook and Twitter all gave businesses and brands new ways to reach millions of people.
The difference though, was that ‘the people’ now had the opportunity to reply.
To borrow Disney phraseology, it was a “whole new world”.
An unprecedented opportunity and challenge was afforded to brands to not only advertise but also create and stimulate conversations, thus enabling them to monitor their reputations, inform and educate consumers but most importantly, to engage them in meaningful online conversation.
These online platforms also brought measurability to the impact, reach and frequency of messaging. The Prosumer (producer + consumer) was born.
Brands and businesses sent a message out into the world and for the first time, there was a real response. Real engagement. Good, bad or ugly.
But without someone to translate, manage and understand the consumer response online, the potential for a cataclysmic catastrophe was rife.
That’s where specialist agencies come in. They understand the consumer response and more importantly, how to engage and manage it to benefit the brand.
Working with traditional media, imagine the impact integrated marketing strategies can have. The digital journey, has only just begun.
Wayne Levine is MD of NXT\ Digital Innovation, a specialist agency.