It’s Friday morning and I’m heading home from Ad Week 2011. I had some great conversations with folks from media companies, ad agencies and brands. Each conversations spurred different thoughts of how I will apply what I heard when I get back to Redmond and need to contextualize the content into my world which is Microsoft. Lot’s of talk of mobile and social, no surprise there. I did find it somewhat amusing when I sat in on a Ad Age panel where two ad men (that’s what they call themselves) reminisced about the good of days when an ad was and ad was an ad. No confusion about is it social, is it viral, will people share it, tweet it, view it?? I also was struck by what a disconnect still exists between the NY ad world and Silicon Valley. While New Yorkers certainly know and love Facebook and Twitter I was hard pressed to find folks that had actually been out to the Bay area and immersed themselves in that culture. There is certainly still a line that exists between Madison Avenue and Silicon Valley – which surprises me. New York is still talks in TRPs and San Fran is about CPCs. These worlds need to come closer together to find value in each others offerings.
At the end of my panel on Thursday I was asked by a reporter from Dubai what I think the next three biggest things are for marketers. I thought it was a pretty good question and would make a good blog post so here is what I told her;
- New Markets of Time – I stole this phrase from a great presentation I saw given by the VP of Marketing at ESPN. The evolution of mobile usage with smart phones and tablets have opened up a whole new opportunity for media. Where we all used to stand at bus stops, ride on trains, fly on planes and stand at kids ballgames with nothing else to do but watch we now have devices that entertain and inform wherever we go. This is a new market of time that used to not exist for media opportunities. Now people shop 24/7 and retailers should understand how to better communicate value to their customers while they are standing in that grocery line. What’s more ESPN was able to measure across their 4 screen strategy to understand that these new distribution channels (ipad and smart phone apps) do not cannibalize their TV viewing time but in fact increase usage time of their moderate to heavy users. Where before a consumer would turn on ESPN when they got home to check scores, now they check scores during the commute or in the grocery line, but they will still tune it at home. This is key to understand because it will determine how content providers should be thinking about their content distribution.
- Content is fluid – I was asked by someone how Microsoft thinks about the 30 second spot and I told them that I hope we don’t think about a 30 second spot anymore. What we should be thinking about is how to create great content that tells compelling stories and let that content take whatever format fits the channel. It may be cut into 15 and 30 second spots for TV, but have long form video for YouTube and Facebook to entertain. Maybe it’s a series of customer testimonials that get posted on our .com site but also run in vignettes on XBox Live. I want to think of content as great stories and great entertainment rather than fitting it into the model of a media format. A great example of this is what Mercedes Benz is doing. They have a series of compelling customer testimonials around car safety and how the technology in a Mercedes Benz can actually stop an accident before it occurs. These stories take several forms, including; 30 second spots for TV, web content on MercedesBenz.com as and video display as part of their media strategy.
- Consumer data footprint across 4 screens – This I didn’t hear much of at Ad Week but am personally very interested in. Consumer like never before are leaving vast amounts of data across all four screens through credit card purchase, rewards cards, set top box viewing, web browser, app usage and c-commerce shopping and buying. Today much of this data is disperse and doesn’t talk to each other. The real value is when you overlay all the data together to have an optimal picture of an individual consumer. Mobile payments systems are promising to bring this data together to make the best consumer experience possible by linking couponing, rewards cards, past purchase behavior and even budgeting constraints to the shopping experience. If I could be marketed to by a brand more efficiently it’s likely I would be open to push messages. For example; I walk into Nordstrom and Nordstrom knows I am a purchaser of Sam Edelman shoes and frequent their tbd department (all true). It makes sense that I would be interested in new items or discounted items within these departments but I probably would be much less interested in a mens furnishings sale. That’s hyper targeting me as a individual consumer based on data I have already given the merchant.
These are just a few of the areas I think are going to emerge as great topics for discussion as we continue our innovation planning.