The Media Yearbook: The Media Yearbook, the only one of its kind in Africa, offers an important and independent overview of the media industry in 2015 as well as giving important insight and perspective into global trends and forecasting for 2016. Here Gordon Patterson gives an overview on how to turn perceived threats into opportunities and thrive in a rapidly changing, challenging world.
We live in challenging and unforgiving, but equally rewarding, times. The advertising and marketing industries, in particular, are having to rethink their preconceptions about human behaviour.
The rules have changed. Gone are the days of homogenous and predictable target markets. People’s needs, feelings, views and associations change constantly.As marketing prospects, people have never been so different.
We need to change our desire for structure and predictability and live in the scary, crazy moment.
Solutions will unfold as marketing teams navigate each journey. Objectives will be achieved (or not) on a micro scale, while brand vision provides the direction.
It’s interesting how past threats have transformed into opportunities:
Most disruptions in society result from changes in communication technology. Current advances allow for news to be interrogated, amplified and shared.
Like any technological development, it can add value or destroy, undermine and corrupt.
The more widespread the technology, the more users and contributors, the higher the risk that objectivity and accuracy are compromised.
Bigger must be better
Previously, larger brands once seemed appealing to consumers and intimidating to competitors. Today, scale no longer impresses.
Most local advertising and media agencies had some form of international association. But, agency survival relied heavily on the skill of the local leadership.
Recently, however, many “distant relatives” have moved in. Time will tell how successful this will be. Large brands and companies tend to move slowly, fuelled by consensus rather than belief or insight.
Local brands have become a sizeable thorn in the side of many global brands, as sales and profits confirm. Their ability to build on local relationships and keen insights can’t be matched by multinational entities seeking uniformity.
Ironically, often global systems designed to provide brand uniqueness (and efficiency) create parity, stripping away the unique traits.
Technology and digital
Technological development, a strangely human trait, expresses our desire to be more, do more and share and experience more. It creates time efficiency through control.
The contradiction, however, is that technology often allows people to do less, think less, and remember less.
“Digital” encompasses everything and all media contact points. It can convert mass media to “me media” and prime time to “my time”.
Inarguably, it will continue exponentially reshaping everything, it’s success lying in its ability to satisfy our evolving needs.
This year, 2016, will hopefully see SABC digital migration. The explosion of choice will enable marketers to message manage far more granularly. Plus, increased content in many languages will assist in sustaining cultural diversity.
Digital terrestrial television (DTT) means many channels will need good content to draw audiences.
Increased choice fragments audiences. Reach will become increasingly difficult to deliver and prohibitively expensive. Holding audiences and creating engagement will become paramount.
Solutions being explored include IPTV, increased leverage of branded content (including native advertising) and video-on-demand options.
Marketers need to better understand who their customers are and what makes them tick.
From a “digital” perspective, in offering users more choice, technology has also given them the choice to avoid/block advertising.
The financial consequence could be a levelling of the communication platform playing field, particularly, print.
Traditional media’s importance in delivering immediacy, driving interest and engagement online, will certainly increase.
Successful programmatic campaigns require a combination approach rather than a single solution. Cheap has a place but is not the only solution.
A year ago we were concerned with the imminent demise of our primary research source, AMPS (All Media Products and Services).
In 2016, the new Establishment Survey will ensure the participation of all stakeholders as well as a refocused marketing association to drive brand and product research.
People have and always will buy products. Ratings, clicks, browsers etc. are a useful tool for benchmarking and comparison but sales drives business and people are responsible for sales, not ratings.
By prioritising and understanding customers and potential customers, we can use media both effectively and efficiently, not just find cheap media opportunities from an ROI perspective.
Advertising remains the cutting edge of capitalism. Through technology, the mechanism to promote brands and products has evolved.
Increased commercial clutter means that consumers screen out what’s irrelevant.
The comfort offered by large brands is being challenged. Consumers are better informed about products. Increasingly, customers want to be seen as individuals rather than herd members.
It’s probably never been harder to mislead a consumer nor easier to lose a sale.
Communication and choice
Technology has removed location barriers to information – we can work, read, study, shop and explore what’s happening globally from anywhere.
Is this good? Well, everything in moderation.
Face-to-face human interaction is essential in developing personality and cognitive processing.
Finally, often the cutting edge of technology is also the bleeding edge of business. Careful timing is required to ensure that the appropriate technology is available when a credible share of the market is ready to embrace it.
This story was first published in The Media Yearbook.
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