THE YEAR OF THE ?
Article by Paul Fisher. First published in B&T, January 22, 2010
As we settle back in to the start of yet another year and shake off the now distant memories of 2009, the inevitable "What will 2010 be the year of?" question will be reverberating online and around water coolers of Australia and the world. So here's my contribution.
First of all I'm backing the "artist" that was formally known as 'convergence, integration, cross platform and multi channel' will emerge in 2010 bigger, better and sexier (if that's possible) than ever before. It will perform under a new more mysterious (and therefore sexy) but somewhat shorter moniker of media-meshing. I expect media publishers, media and creative agencies and marketers will all eagerly watch its increasingly slick, sophisticated, expertly choreographed performances.
Digital media meshing will allow the industry to touch audiences and communities across many screens, channels; and times of day in various ways to entertain, inform, engage, communicate with and ultimately influence those audiences. Of course in return those same audiences and communities will happily inform, entertain, educate and influence the very same media publishers and brands.
To cope with this increase in media meshing, marketers, agencies and publishers alike will need to adapt their structures, their processes and operations, their remuneration frameworks and their project management skills through 2010. There is clearly no shortage of big ideas to support media meshing – Australian creative is winning awards globally - the challenge will be in the increasingly complex implementation of these ideas across multiple channels with multiple consumer touch points. So for media organisations in 2010, the mantras will be simpler, faster and easier.
2010 will of course also be the year that online video advertising breaks free from its shackles of small formats, lumbering broadband speeds and pre-roll TVC only executions. I expect it to burst large and loud from various creative placements to absorb us as we consume ever increasing GBs of short, medium, long and any other form we haven't yet seen, of video content online. Especially in Tasmania where the NBN is leading the broadband revolution.
This will also be the year of mobile. Yes I can hear you from here - every year someone claims it will be the year of mobile, but I'm focused here on so-called smartphones. This year the iphone and iphone apps will continue to dominate consumer attention – so marketers and their agencies will be focused on figuring out how to execute great mobile campaigns and how to mesh mobile with online, TV and other channels.
The multi-billion dollar FMCG and retail industry sectors will lift their slumbering online heads and flood interactive advertising channels with their 'brand dollars' as they finally learn how to influence their online search strategies with online display advertising. I expect hundreds of millions of advertising dollars will be diverted from free TV, newsprint and below the line activities into increasingly more intelligent and dynamic search engine marketing and optimisation, rich media and video display formats, email, online branded content and social media. My rationale for thinking this is simple - that's where FMCG and retail consumers are spending most of their time creating the most powerful influences on their family, friends and social networks, so it's where the brands need to be.
In spite of (or perhaps because of) making the most significant advances in technological development, with rich interface tools and standardised simple metrics, Audience measurement will finally take a back seat. In its place will be advertising effectiveness measurement. I'm not talking here about a TARP, circulation or even readership. Our focus won't be on how many did my advertising reach, but more importantly how effective was my advertising (in achieving my objectives)?
2010 will herald major developments in the organisation of and interface with data. That will be a welcome development too as we are not short of data in the digital age, in fact we are drowning in it. What we need are some clever tools to help us organise the data we have and present it in a logical and simple format to inform our media choices. I liken this challenge the that of today's fighter pilots – they have in their cockpits some 200+ instruments feeding them data from the various aircraft and weapons systems but they principally rely on the vital indicators of their position, speed, height and fuel. So what are the essential data indicators on our media "cockpit displays" that we need in front of us at all times?
I'm expecting a new and as yet unnamed identity to come to the fore in 2010 to replace behavioural targeting as we know it. Not only will behavioural targeting get a new name, but it will also score a full makeover in a similar manner to digital meshing replacing convergence. This new behaviour targeting entity will emerge from the shadows of its negative media image and become a tried, tested and trusted application for consumers and advertisers alike. It will help cut out the wastage, the irrelevance, the unwanted interruptions to make way for the chosen, highly valuable content. It will allow access to advertising, products, services and offers that appeal to each consumer's personal interests, are relevant to their individual needs and wants and ultimately enrich their lives and possibly the lives of those in their social network.
Finally – perhaps most importantly? I'm hoping and expecting the adjectives often used of "old" or "traditional" versus "new" to describe media will become for the marketing industry the equivalent of a mullet hair style - used only by those stuck in a time warp of their own making!
So here's to 2010 being the year of interactive media being even simpler, faster, easier and more effective.