The Insider with Paul Gunning
Guest columnist Paul Gunning, CEO of Tribal DDB Worldwide, extols the virtues of marketing at speed. He says that the world of marketing has changed and sped up exponentially, and that marketers who cannot keep up might not remain competitive for long.
Real-time marketing is set to dominate almost every facet of our industry. Consumers are not only moving quickly across platforms (between MySpace, Facebook, and Google+), but on to new devices with startling speed (think one million iPhone 4Ss sold in a single day). It’s now imperative to find methods to connect with consumers in real-time, and that means we need to invent ways of doing our jobs faster than ever.
It’s obvious today that our goals of yesteryear were somewhat linear: Utilizing research; coming up with insights on behavior that we could leverage with a solid strategy; showcasing the concept with award-winning creative; and parsing the results a quarter or two after the campaign ended.
How things have changed. While we’re still probing research and drawing findings from focus groups, we are simultaneously monitoring consumer sentiment and performance in real time. Using technologically advanced tools such as Radian6 and Sysomos, we’re witnessing the brand conversation as it happens, and reacting to our consumers by crafting advertising around those insights.
That advertising is being conceived and crafted faster than ever. And while technology is a key enabler, underpinning the shift in pace is also a shift in culture. We are compelled to move faster because we know we have to.
What used to take weeks is now delivered in days, if not hours. The danger then is that speed might cause us to stumble – but we must ensure against mistakes when it comes to our clients’ brand value. We’re now developing the confidence required to produce high-caliber work in a shorter period of time. You must trust yourself and your team to deliver.
And it’s not just about producing the work: The media environment in which it may run is also dominated by real-time information. Take the trading desks: The notion that we can target with amazing accuracy, auction the price in the blink of an eye, and flight the creative to match needs is one of the most intriguing recent advances in the advertising industry. If you’re not practicing in this environment yet, or at least considering how the agency functions must change when these platforms reach the required scale, I’m not sure you’ll be competitive. Keep in mind, while the internet inventory is the first in, all media – including TV – will follow.
Next we must consider the 24/7 consumer mindset. DVRs, apps, and gaming consoles are all important in this real-time atmosphere. But the smartphone, and, more specifically, the smartphone in a retail environment (with its message flexibility and the allure of geo-location), is what will make the world change at a scale I’m intrigued by.
Knowing a customer is nearby, and having an opportunity to beam into their car or pocket with a qualified message, is irresistible to advertisers. Once in store, product comparisons, how-to guides, and a multitude of interactive experiences come to life, all revealing what consumers are actually doing and how advertisers can cater their messaging to them contextually.
Real-time information is omnipresent in every section of the marketing funnel, in every function of the advertising agency, and in the consumer’s media usage patterns. What are you doing to harness these trends? How are you recasting your role? Is it an opportunity or will it just frustrate your enterprise? Think about it – but not too long. You only have seconds to spare.
"The smartphone in a retail environment is what will make the world change at a scale I’m intrigued by."
- Published January 2012