Monday, December 1, 2008

OnlineSpin: On Media And Marketing: The Buying Side Of Laughing and Crying

Last week Kendall wrote "I Should Be Marketing -- But, Just Call Me 'Agency."'

Greg Alvarez wrote in response, "Once you have a broad knowledge about all things involving marketing (advertising is under its umbrella, the same as media, whether you like it or not) -- you definitely will defend that you are a marketer, not a media buyer, SEOer, planner, creative, copywriter, et al.

I have been [told] 'you are my SEO,' 'you are my webmaster,' 'you are my consultant,' 'you are my email marketer' -- and so on and on.

In every situation I always replied, 'I am not your SEO, I am a marketer,' 'I am not your webmaster, I am a marketer," 'I am not your consultant, I am a marketer.'...

This has evolved into, actually, being introduced in this way: 'let me introduce Greg, he is a marketer with his own agency.'

I believe there are several marketers out there with a broad knowledge that can be seen as a marketer or an agency by itself (some female friends tell me, 'you are yourself a walking agency.')."

Jim Kras wrote, "Being a specialist is great work if you can get it. A plumber or engineer, etc.

When the buzz words are 'holistic' or 'integrated' and channels become agnostic -- don't you need... to be armed with many skills and tools to be a total marketer?

It's interesting as the paradigm shifts back to integration and bundled services.

I wonder what the next trend of specialists will pop up? In the modern marketing era it's gone from web dev to SEO to social media.

But at the end of the day it all comes down to the basics: the 4Ps and a flexible strategy.

Funny how that always comes back to that, no matter the medium, platform or the channel?

Great article. Thanks."

Monday, December 1, 2008
On Media And Marketing: The Buying Side Of Laughing and Crying
By Kendall Allen

As we guide our businesses in today's market, and new relationships are forged between media and marketing, branding and performance, science and art, age-old conversations on media and consumer marketing practices have gotten much more interesting. There is just more to consider -- no matter how singular your objective. And, with a more expansive take on conventions and practices, passions ignite.

Banner 'Death-Chatter' as Catalyst for Convo Last week, some friends and I had one of those arguments on whether the proclamation that the banner might, or should, die, was hyperbole. The perennial inflammatory prediction made its way into our collective headspace via some published industry opinion, which in fact was buttressed by an array of attributed points of view. I personally feel the article just had a provocative title, but was reasonably sound.

In any case, the debate among friends and industry peers in various circles throughout the week got into the usual territory on whether banners should or should not go the way of dinosaurs; whether the article was reckless; how budgets should be allocated to service business and marketing objectives today; whether we as digerati are obligated to set aside old new media for new new media; whether there were so many media options that we might suffocate our very purpose as marketers. And of course we got into what kind of media is good for accomplishing what. All great explorations to have.

Of course BAD banners don't work, and NO banner will work in isolation. It is my opinion that today's mix blends advertising as appropriate into well-developed marketing programs for demand generation and other values. And within these scenarios, there is an interplay of practice and method that powers the best marketing.

So, as questions persist on where to put your money -- advertising or marketing; branding or performance; media or creative -- and as we ponder how to cleverly balance science and art, quantitative and qualitative, the imperative is clear: Today's market and options really require that we take a more sophisticated, less cut-and-dry, non-lazy path and figure out how to dial it in and stay on our toes. The onus is on us to eschew complacency.

Media and Its Mad, Many Skills And then, we have this question of which media is good for what. On this topic, most of us have very specific opinions we love to debate and illustrate. We are pointed on aptitude, very clear on the various "skills" assigned to the media and marketing we consume and deploy:

  • Good advertising makes you laugh or cry.
  • Search marketing is performance; it converts.
  • Experiential is all about branding.
  • Direct response is soulless and all about the science.
  • Your media must work as hard as your creative. And so on...

    I was thinking about the week's dialogues and this whole media aptitude thing on my long drive home for Thanksgiving, from New York City to the Heartland. Then I flashed on one of my recent consumer experiences. I had been stopped in my tracks by a bizarre commercial with a very forlorn Laurie Metcalf speaking on behalf of

    What was bizarre, of course, was not the truly dire cause, or the emotional triggers pressed to call for my action, but the insertion of this goofy comedic figure -- looking so damned sad -- into my living room. I waited for her to make a doughy face; I flashed back to the Sally Struthers spots of my youth. I was riveted by the footage of children. It was such a mingling of things for me as consumer and marketer -- I did not quite know what to feel. But, I certainly went straight to the Web site. And, I would have called the 800 number, if my laptop hadn't been right there. It was this strange out-of-body experience -- where an old convention, tripped by a non sequitur and odd associations, stirred action and conversion.

    Recalling this whacked commercial experience in light of my recent conversations on media aptitude, I found myself pulling apart the code.

  • Could there be a relationship between outdoor advertising and citizen activism and journalism?
  • Could a search listing make me cry?
  • What if mobile marketing were suddenly as cool and on-the-spot targeted as it is in Japan?
  • If I laugh AND I cry, will I buy more?

    Just for fun, I imagined all kinds of ludicrous scenarios:

  • You are at the Super Bowl, and a message for a "conservation" cause you advocate, supported by a water brand you know, comes across the screen. An open letter is being drafted live. You are invited to text in your digital signature and entered to win a spot on a key expedition related to said cause, led by a troop of brand advocates in your area.

  • A woman who loves opera and is looking for community, conducts a Google search for "opera conventions," but accidentally keys in "opera convents" -- and suddenly the last lonely notes of "Dialogues of the Carmelites" seep from her computer speakers. (Look it up. The story is devastatingly sad.) She cries. She goes to Amazon to find this work.

  • A guy joins a social network for San Francisco singles who love food and wine. He is walking down the street and gets a mobile alert: "What's up tonight? Impromptu gathering at Culinary Institute for SF singles. Come at 7pm - and get 25% off Italian cooking classes and the chance to meet the woman of your foodie dreams. Tonight!" And he meets her, yes he does.

  • You're getting your rare whiskey brand bottle engraved at a holiday kiosk in Time Warner Center. Leather chairs and a crackling simulated fire are your immersive experience. Grainy black-and-white footage is playing on a screen -- men recounting their favorite late-night conversations with their fathers over whiskey. You shed a tear. Suddenly Abe Vigoda is onscreen telling his tale. You laugh. You cry. You laugh. You buy a case.

    Though these scenarios are the stir-crazy stuff of an 8-hour drive, the principle that drives them -- flexibility while we build consumer programs -- holds true. Our media and marketing conventions will always benefit from a little what-if. If Roseanne's sister can fluster me to action in my own living room, who's to say that Fish can't loosen my purse strings?

    Kendall Allen is senior vice president of Digital Marketing Services at MKTG, headquartered in New York City. Previously she was managing director of Incognito Digital, LLC, an independent digital media agency and creative studio. She also held top posts at iCrossing and Fathom Online.

    Online Spin for Monday, December 1, 2008:

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