When asked who is responsible for listening to consumers (marketing? branding? advertising?) Erik Erickson, Owner of Erickson McGee, LLC and former Vice President and Creative Director for Target, commented on a recent podcast featuring an panel of advertising experts that we are still in the early stages of figuring out how to listen. And that figuring out what to do with what we hear is the next big challenge.
Also on the panel was Moderator Andrew Eklund, CEO and Founding Partner at Ciceron, who set up the conversation by showing three charts describing the media environment that underscores the degree of difficulty that advertising marketers have with integrated communications.
The first chart showed media channels available in 1975. It featured a dozen or so data points – television, radio, newspaper, outdoor, direct mail, etc. – and corresponding arrows pointing at how they touch the consumer of the media. Very neat, organized and easy to look at any particular commodity.
Excellent example of a concise Informative Essay. And a good take on advertising and consumers.
The second chart showed the media channels available in 2008. With the addition of digital media, the number of data points and delivery arrows mushroomed. Imagine a chaotic web created by a hyperactive spider on mescaline. (That’s a powerful and dangerous mind altering substance, kids; leave it alone.) Also imagine the many nods of agreement displayed when this slide was presented.
The third chart showed the media channels available in 2010. With the addition of social media, the number of data points and delivery arrows was so dense that it was, indeed, a solid black box, every pixel filled with information. This got a few knowing, and nervous, chuckles.
After the charts, Eklund opened the discussion by stating that, with our evolving media environment, integrated communications is like a holy grail to advertising. Have we found it, he asked.
Paul Ratzky, Interactive Director and Vice President at Olson, observed that the concept of integrated communications keeps changing, because the integrator is shifting from the agency to the consumer, as people select their own pathways to any given commodity. This means that marketers now must follow their audience and deliver messages in the audience’s preferred channel, rather than trying to move the audience into the marketer’s channel of choice.
Glenn Karowski, Managing Director, The Business of Ideas, added that effective integrated communications is about conversation and relationships. And the key is to be a good listener.
Miss McCulla is a retired English teacher of 32 years. She has Mastery of the grammar and mechanics of English, and has taught expository, fiction writing, and rhetorical skills to hundreds of students and aspiring writers throughout her career. She has written/edited/self-published five books, and currently manages a writing blog called The Underground Tutor where she gathers essays, articles, entries, papers, manuals, profiles, criticisms, analyses of literature, just like those asked of students and writers in the university and publisher houses, and years of “teacher tips” and “general interest examples,” and passes them on to interested writers.
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