What's the point?

Technology and media are funny bedfellows. As the world of content has transformed from the analogue to the all-pervasive digital world, I'm struck by the number of marketers who're constantly anxious about being seen to be on top of the latest trends in marketing - with a rare, final consideration to what audiences and consumers desire. Being seen to be using the latest augmented reality mobile app in a campaign has almost become more important than the value and purpose of the content and benefit to the consumer; novelty at the expense of engaging narrative.The result is that the message is often diluted at the expense of creating gimmicks, with a clumsy call-to-action bolted on at the end. Worse yet, bleeding-edge technology is only touching a tiny proportion of the wrong consumer-base - when was the last time you saw anyone pull out her smartphone to unlock an AR component at a bus-stop, or use her NFC-enabled smartphone to unlock an ad on a train?

The point is, great marketing was - and always will be, about great, engaging stories and content. It doesn't matter what the medium is, or what the mechanics of distribution or engagement are. If the right story is presented to the right people, told the right way, using the right channels at the right time, something amazing can and often will happen. This is central to my belief as an enabler of marketing. From our TV commercials and trailers to our viral campaigns and corporate comms, we've tried to communicate engaging, relevant stories and messages that are appropriate to the channel - and speaks to the consumer in a relevant way that becomes memorable, providing a focus for conversation or dialogue with the client's brand or service. It's the difference between understanding the PURPOSE of marketing communication and communication for the sake of it. It was always ever thus, with the bland, by-the-numbers dross filed away into long-forgotten obscurity, and the master-practitioners creating the most memorable and effective work. There's just lots more of it happening across more channels to a more segmented audience.

The last decade or so has seen the rise and flux of digital marketing, particularly with social media, married with the ease with which all manner of multimedia content can be created, distributed and consumed - and more importantly, for the first time in marketing, accurately measured. (Now that efficacy can be calibrated, I like to think that sends a shudder down the spine of charlatan marketers everywhere.)

Pessimists would say that there's now more opportunity to create bland, gimmicky marketing that people will ignore. I believe that the opportunity to create really targeted, personalised and engaging content has never been greater. Better yet, it's now completely measurable on so many channels- and for those of us who're in the business of creating effective, slick marketing collateral, I think there's never been a better time to be creating engaging content.

Posted by: Jeff Zie, GM & Head of Digital, freeform.London    

Posted in CMA blog
6thNov 2013

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