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.
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.
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 Planusa.org.
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.
Just for fun, I imagined all kinds of ludicrous scenarios:
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?
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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: