As the 2010 draws to a close, smart businesses are taking a moment to step back and take in the big picture of how they spent their year. For more than a few folks in marketing, this time is being used to evaluate their successes and failures mixing it up with competitors across print, broadcast media, and online communities, networks, feeds and directories.
If you’re a marketer and you’re not ADD already, you’d better start fragmenting your attention now because the people you’re trying to reach certainly are, at least with respect to the way they consume their media. According to Nielsen, 60% of television viewers are simultaneously using the internet on their computers. I count myself among that 60% often, and the odds are good that you’re right there with me (if so, mute the TV now and focus on this article!).
While it’s almost impossible to gauge exactly how people are dividing their attention between their computer, tablet or smartphone and their TV, the point is that people are dividing it. This audience behavior can be overwhelming for marketers who want to embrace new media, but aren’t sure how to target campaigns and measure ROI. As Simon Mainwaring points out in his excellent article, What happens when everything is social media?:
Each media, whether its the iPad, mobile phone, television, movie, VOD, Xbox, game console, tablet or Hulu, has its own ‘use case’ (why someone is selecting that device) that has to be cross-referenced with the others and then measured as a whole. Only then can you know if your marketing spend is having any impact on share of conversation, brand awareness or sales.
Effective brands must now define themselves in prospects’ minds as the aggregate of the content and conversations about them (controlled and earned coverage). To truly communicate the value of your brand, you can no longer dominate one medium at the expense of the others. Chances are good that your prospects are just too distracted to effectively absorb your value proposition through a single channel.
How then, should marketers deal with this fragmentation of attention in 2011? Don’t start this year’s plan by budgeting media. Start instead by defining or reexamining your brand’s core value proposition. Refine it until it’s elegant (you’d be surprised at how many brands never take the time to define their unique value proposition in the first place!). Be able to tell prospects what you can do for them simply and effectively. Once you’ve defined your brand’s message, consider how best to communicate that message, and choose your media based on the capabilities that each brings to the table.
Traditional, one-to-many channels are refined and well understood. But they’re now sharing the stage with a more engaging and less controllable channel in the internet. Online, marketing objectives are won and lost by how brands contribute to the ongoing conversation, not only about themselves, but about their areas of expertise and influence.
This year, it will be vital to approach each channel based on its ability to reach and engage prospects, and to develop a plan that takes advantage of the unique strengths of each. When most of your prospects are engaging multiple media, simultaneously, mastery of a single channel will no long be enough to succeed. Quality marketing in a magazine looks very different from quality marketing on twitter, and with each year, fewer prospects have the time or attention to give to content that doesn’t match its medium.
To your marketing success in 2011!