This reality, coupled with that fact that viewing patterns are shifting, is leading the industry down a very dangerous path, Reisman asserts. "By relying too heavily on data and technology while chasing scale for scale sake to drive revenues, we are killing the industry drip by drip," he says. "I'm sensing that agencies and ad tech vendors alike seem to have forgotten why we are all here in the first place; to help marketers develop and execute strategies that build consumer relationships and sell product."
What is the solution? To begin, it is taking a step back and considering the value of the brand affection of the consumer beyond the raw data and the technology that drives it. From the marketers' perspective, how do we discover which content, among the vast array of choices out there, best connects with their brands' most passionate, high potential consumers? And how do we narrow down the overabundance of choices even on a single media outlet?
"By flipping the current TV model on its head!" Reisman says. He offers the following strategic media recommendations:
- Stop buying content the way you are used to. Funneling money to content providers (e.g. networks) or specific content (such as shows) and "hoping" your most-likely prospects will be present and engaged is old school thinking. Historically, in a reach-based world this may have made sense, but today, not so much. These only act as surrogates for actual audiences because you are essentially seeking content that you infer may have a high concentration of your desired consumers. In fact, today there are more savvy ways to effectively target those consumers who you believe to be brand engaged and open to your brand's messaging. In this way you are no longer targeting "proxies" but actual, high potential consumers.
- Accept the fact that your brand targets are going to flow through numerous media platforms at will. You have absolutely no control over it and cannot model for that behavior. But you can prepare for this consumer journey by crafting your message in a way that connects to the prospective consumer segments you have, and then …
- Use a "customer first, identity-driven approach" that identifies consumers more likely to engage with your brand messages and tags those prospects. This way you can follow your high potential targets, regardless of which content they chose to engage with. Follow these tagged consumers throughout their customer journey in linear, digital, social and mobile media.
"That's why we developed our marketing and branding based model at LEAP," Reisman explained. "That is, to enable advertisers to first identify and tag their brand's engaged and emotionally connected consumers and then serve ads to those customers throughout the media ecosystem. It's identity-based marketing and where the market needs to go." Importantly, advertisers should be leveraging the vast array of data and technology at our disposal, but toward goals primarily aimed at connecting with consumers that matter most to our marketer clients, he adds.
As Cindy Davis, Executive Vice President, Consumer Experience, Disney | ABC Television Group stated recently, the next generation of viewers is different from previous generations and the survival of certain brands is at stake. Reisman agrees. "While change is difficult, the world has changed," he notes. "Brand marketers, agencies and media companies must all change our ways or we might just be left in dust."
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