The State Of Marketing And The Missed Opportunities

Mitch JoelPosted by

How many brands are really marketing themselves properly these days?

If there is one gripe about the current state of advertising, it would be this: with all that has evolved in the past two decades – from new platforms to channels to technology to content to newer opportunities – the base of communications is still highly derivative of past metrics. These are vanity metrics. An “impression” isn’t what a brand does to make a connection with a consumer, but rather a simple and singular numeric representation of how many times a message appeared. It’s not semantics. Each and every day, the feeds are full of marketing-related stories that glorify the lack of knowledge that either a brand or an agency has. Many brands and agencies are considered relics. Many question the very need for a brand to exist (have you read The New Yorker article, Twilight Of The Brands?). Many question the very need for advertising agencies to exist (have you read the MediaPost article, And Now…Dying Agency Model Must Transform Itself Into Special Ops Military Groups?).

The anger is real… but somewhat displaced. 

It’s an industry-wide issue. It is brands, agencies and the professionals who do the work (it’s not one or the other). It’s a broad stroke of a paint brush, but take a look at some of the following data from recent articles, and decide just how modernized your brand is from a marketing perspective, and just how primed you are to capitalize on where consumers are spending the bulk of their time and effort. This week, MarketingDive published an article titled, Why marketers can’t ignore mobile – and how they can integrate it into their strategies. While it may be simplistic to claim that marketers are ignoring mobile, it’s clear that most initiatives are driven by trying to figure out a better advertising mousetrap on mobile. The real focus should be on the overall mobile experience of the brand. Is the mobile experience simply a watered-down version of the website, or is that mobile experience unique, native and powerful? Why does this matter? From the article:

  • Global mobile data traffic grew 74% in 2015, reaching 3.7 exabytes per month.
  • Mobile data traffic has grown 4,000-fold over the past 10 years.
  • Mobile data has grown almost 400-million-fold over the past 15 years.

Mobile goes beyond impressions and reach.

Whether you like term “mobile” or not, consumers have become completely untethered. Their technology is not just on them, it is a part of them. When someone does a search from a mobile device, the context is fundamentally different from the traditional Web-browser based searches that marketers have dealt with to date. Think With Google published the article, How To Build Your Mobile-Centric Search Strategy, that offered this gem:

Mobile makes up 88% of all “near me” searches, with those mobile searches growing at 146% year over year.

This is a change in consumer behavior and purchase decision. This is not, “let me search, do some research, ask around on social media, and then think about a decision.” That decision tree has completely collapsed. If this data point holds water – and there is no reason to suspect otherwise – it’s very telling of how “in the moment” consumers are. A mobile experience that forces them to pinch the screen, get less information than they are accustomed to or, simply, not have the same mobile functionality that they are getting from other apps and experiences is detrimental to the brand. If mobile is the consumer’s primary device (as PCs have become relegated to an accessory device for mobile), and mobile makes up 88% of all “near me” searches, the dynamics of “thinking global, but acting local” to only change marketing, but how to run a successful brand.

Putting your money where your mouth is.

Both brand and agencies have talked a good talk for many years. This is usually around areas of business transformation and embracing digital as one of the main ways that a consumer discovers and interacts with a brand. Two days ago, this was validated in the eMarketer news item, Agency Clients More Interested in Digital Advertising. There is no fatigue in terms of digital advertising. Whether brands see this as a cheaper way to capture attention, or a smarter way to target consumers, the tides have shifted. And, based on the survey data from this eMarketer article, the money is being invested in digital:

“91% of agency executives in North America said they plan to significantly or somewhat increase spending in 2016 on digital for their clients. To compare, 79.6% of senior marketers plan to increase spending on digital.”

What makes this that much more compelling is that last week, eMarketer ran another news item: Digital Ad Spending to Surpass TV Next Year. From the article: “Next year will mark a major milestone for ad spending, as total digital surpasses TV for the first time, according to eMarketer’s newest quarterly ad spending forecast. In 2017, TV ad spending will total $72.01 billion, or 35.8% of total media ad spending in the US. Meanwhile, total digital ad spending in 2017 will equal $77.37 billion, or 38.4% of total ad spending.” If this spending continues, TV’s share of ad spending will fall below one-third by 2020. Ultimately, we’re seeing both the slowing down of TV ad spending (the industry’s 800 pound gorilla) and many analysts lowering their projections form what they had anticipated. This doesn’t mean that digital is eating TV. It does mean that digital is eating everything – in one form or another. 

It’s a good time to be in marketing, if you’re following the consumers, the money and how to connect the two. Are you?