Every once in a while industry stakeholders like to question the very survival of the advertising business. Headlines such as ‘Advertising agencies are dying’ were seen as much in the 70s as they are seen today, even as the reasons have varied from the rise of technology to recession to the emergence of new kind of competition. However, the advertising business has not just survived it all but it is ‘alive and well’, remarked Michael Roth, Chairman & CEO, IPG.
Speaking at the opening keynote address at dmexco 2014, Mr Roth pointed out that the only reason the advertising business has survived the onslaught of new competition and the challenges that came with the rise of technology was embracing change. That, combined with the focus on what is happening in the marketplace, has kept the business relevant.
The industry has taken cognisance of the changing media landscape. It was not long ago that between three top networks, an advertiser could have reached the majority of his target audience. In the world of fragmented media that we live in today however, there are not only hundreds of cable networks but also a plethora of new platforms that boast sizeable numbers – 4.5 billion mobile phone users for instance. Digital media is growing rapidly. One in every three ad dollars is being spent in digital and this will only grow. Magna Global predicts that digital will outgrow TV by 2017. Everyone is watching this rapid growth and even though TV continues to grow, there would be a day when digital would begin overtaking TV.
In this background, Mr Roth reminded that the consumer is in control. Consumers are not only deciding when, where and how they will access content but also the messaging they want to participate in. He directed the audience’s attention towards the importance of technology innovation, the keywords in that being relevance, applicability and utility in terms of what the messaging is about.
Another important point he made was the end of the purchase funnel as the marketers had once known it. The ‘unique purchase journeys’ as Mr Roth puts it, is all about creating the right combination of experiential and real time to drive purchasing.
So, what’s next?
How can these trends be taken and brought to life. Mr Roth’s answer is in three key points – data, creativity and utility – with an overarching element of social good. These, he said, will dictate next generation marketing.
“Data will drive the consumer experience and the marketing of the future. We can now truly be held accountable for the work that we are delivering, and that is the holy grail of our business. We can measure and bring insights of what the consumers want, and generate growth,” Mr Roth said.
On the second element of creativity, he commented, “That is the trend that has helped our industry to survive every iteration of challenge and change so far. Never underestimate the importance of creativity. Today, we not only need creative individuals but also talent that understands the importance of messaging and how it relates to consumers.”
Utility reiterates value that consumers put a premium on today. It is important for brands to craft experiences that consumers want to use.
Overreaching all of these points is social good, a concept that is becoming important to the new age consumers much more than it was to their predecessors. “Individuals like to work with companies that embrace social good. Quality of life of the world is an important factor. When a brand is able to understand and deliver on this, results follow,” Mr Roth observed.
Confusion is good
At the epicentre of all of this is technology and marketing. The requirement of future marketing is digital conversant talent, strong communication planning, commitment to accountability and real cross discipline expertise. The more sophisticated these factors become, the more complicated the requirements are, giving rise to confusion. But confusion has always been one of the main reasons for advertising agencies to play an important role in a brand’s life.
“Someone has to make sense of it. Someone should have the expertise and insights to understand the world today and advise brands. This is the place we want to be in today and it is more exciting than it has ever been,” Mr Roth summed up.
Digital Market Asia is dmexco’s exclusive media partner for Asia.