We have moved into a world of 360° customer and communication management and this is impacting on how we structure our media plans.
Media planning is rapidly converging into a cross-pollination of conversation opportunities targeting consumers in the right place and time, with the right message and content, while using the appropriate media channel.
Media platforms and channels (both traditional or digital) can no longer be seen as silos, but have rather become integrated conversation managers that merge into each other. Traditional media isn’t consumed in a single-minded manner with a single-minded consumer focus. TV, radio and out of home advertising is consumed on the go while travelling, or viewed or listened to, off mobile and digital platforms whilst consumers multi-task throughout their day. They’re also spending higher proportions of their day out of home and on the go.
This convergence aligns with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and processes which manage and capture every interaction a product or business has with a client, placing the customer at the heart of the business. Just like CRM, media planning should become consumer (or customer) centric rather than media centric. The big data that fuels this new way of thinking and which provides insights into consumer behaviour and preferences, should ideally stem from the so-called ‘back room CRM systems’.
CRM’s marketing capabilities have evolved from simple customer profiling and history of customer activity, to innovative cloud, mobile tools, social media management, and service enhancements. It is further evolving into intuitive social CRM, AI and holistic profiling. The power of customer data has and will always be the foundation to good marketing and media strategy. Customer data also provides valuable information on lifestyles, media consumption and preferences. The evolution of media planning has until recently run in parallel to this. The intelligent interpretation of the big data that CRM systems deliver, provide essential human truths and insights that need to be harnessed and channelled into advertising and media strategies.
Rich and meaningful insights
The rich and meaningful insights that come from customer data, and that fuel customer relationships, provide the opportunity to communicate and grow brands in a seamless way. We have moved into a world of 360° customer and communication management and this is impacting on how we structure our media plans. After all, how we talk, and listen, to customers is fundamental to good and lasting relationships. The way current and prospective consumers and customers are targeted and interact with brand communication is no longer a linear one. The multiple touchpoints that emerge from the interpretation of media research and customised data allow media planners to chart an engineered journey based on campaign objectives.
The integration of media and the role each media channel is chosen to perform therefore needs to be determined from the consumers’ perspective. Predictive research surveys are a reliable source and guide to begin a media strategy, however consumers are not programmed to engage with media. They do so based on where they are, what they’re doing at the time, and whether they’re in the right frame of mind to open a conversation with a brand. It is therefore the brands role to make sure it is placed within the path of media usage when consumers are likely to respond.
These convergent trends are a good case for out of home advertising. The insights from aggregated analysis of consumer CRM data, married with how they consume and trust different media, when and at what time of the day and for how long, are key considerations in building a structured Out of Home media plan. Broadcast messages targeting consumer segments using out of home media, for example billboard or static messages in key environments, engender trust and drive interest and online searches.
The conversation journey
This begins the conversation journey. Relevant content, delivered when appropriate from static or digital OOH formats, continues the communication funnel. Place-based out of home media now allow a brand to ‘own’ a consumers’ head-space by surrounding them with subtle cues and touchpoints that not only provide solid brand-building, but encourage interaction and further curiosity for search. Out of Home environments and media within those environments provide brands with a myriad of opportunities to reach, impact and engage with consumers.
One can follow segments of consumers throughout their day from when they leave home, create awareness with high amplification billboards, and then further connect with them through wifi enabled areas in commuter, entertainment or shopping locations driven off strategic Out of Home platforms within their environment and onto mobile applications and through to the point of sale.
Out of home continues to increase its global share of the advertising market, having proven to provide the most cost-effective solutions to reach and engage with relevant consumers in the digital era. Its ability to reach a broad base of consumers from the masses to niched environments will continue to ensure its growth, provided strategists understand who they are targeting, and why. The customer is king, and queen, even more now in the digital era, and unless understood can make or break a brand.
The latest Tiger’s Milk out of home campaign, launched by In Touch Media’s client The Harbour House Group, clearly understands their customer needs and wants. “Eat. Drink. Jol” is the mantra for their eclectic lifestyle restaurant and pub environment campaign. This demonstrates a clear, simplistic understanding of the psyche and expectation that consumers have when out on the town and parting with their well-earned cash. Albert Einstein’s quote sums it up: “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
Lyn Jones is regional manager of In Touch Media in Gauteng. Previously, Jones was the marketing and research manager for JCDecaux in sub-Saharan Africa (formerly Continental Outdoor Media), a position she held for nearly 12 years. She has also played a role in the development, registration, and research methodology for the OMC ( a non-profit organisation for the OOH industry) and Road Survey.