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Snackable notes from ad:tech 2007

If I were to assign statements to describe the vibe from the past two years of ad:tech, 2006 would be “God help us!” and 2007 would be “It is what it is.”Last year’s conference smelled a little like fear. Evolutions in consumer behavior and media were (are) threatening traditional marketing and, as a result, traditional agencies. Most sessions, while fascinating, felt inspired by a sort of industry-wide desperation. This year vibed more like acceptance. While there are still many unknowns and questions, a year had gone by to experiment, acclimate to a new environment, and redefine measurements for vague necessities like “engagement,” “experience,” and actual consumer behavior. (Except for the vendor exhibit hall, which was all kinds of “grab-the-consumer-by-the-eyeballs-and-squeeze” pandemonium.) Here are a few notes and scattered ideas from some of the sessions:

The State of the Industry

Creative agencies are hiring more media planners, and media shops are hiring more creative. There has to be a better integration of the medium and the message. On Radiohead’s online “you-pick-the-price” album release (read about that here):
  • 38% paid for the album
  • Average amount paid: $6
  • Doubled Radiohead’s net profits

Navigating the New Media Universe: Forging a Model of Interdependence

Premise of this talk was the shift from PUSH!, irritation-based marketing, to pull. This guy had a cool British accent.
“If you don’t believe in the shift, you’re going to lose market share to a new competition.”
“Media is the ultimate social lubricant.”
Forrester’s new marketing funnel:
Snackable notes from ad:tech 2007
Companies can no longer deliver on Big Ideas (marketing) alone, but must deliver exceptional experience at all points of interaction. Innovation is risky, but no matter what you win because you know more at the end.

Global Perspectives on the Digital Revolution

Ultimately, digital marketing has to manifest itself locally and in real life:
“Even as we’re so globalized, the future of digital marketing is specific local and community application.”
Don’t start marketing-strategy conversations with technologies. Start with business problems and let social media and technology follow. Case Study: Fiat 500 A new, low-end automobile launch in Europe. The goal was to get people excited by involving them in tricking it out. Fiat built a social community, Fiat500.com, where people could actually go in and help design the car. They had a direct line into the car’s development, and offered ideas and feedback along the way.
“By the time most people bought the car, they knew everything about it.”
It also changed consumer/dealer relationships because people sought them out just to test-drive it on launch.
“Being able to participate made this launch red hot, it was almost like we were launching a new Ferrari or something.”

Media and Enterainment

Balance intrusiveness of advertising with the intimacy of the channel. For example: You can be fairly brazen in a billboard and it won’t be that intrusive. But coming over to someone’s home to sell them tupperware sucks, no matter how nice you are about it. Context vs exposure are two different strategies. Brand Equity cares more about context. Acquisition cares more about exposure.
“Viral distribution has a built-in intelligence and targeting system. You’ll only send something to a friend if they’ll care about it. Viral distribution, in that regard, is hugely powerful.”
Technology enables versioning of creative for market segments. But, small and segmented measurement of brand equity is hard to come by.

Designing Media Engagement to Drive Performance & ROI

“Top Line growth” means bringing customers where they want to be, even if they don’t know it. Behavioral research is hugely important. When comparing advertising recall, awareness of brand information and emotional reaction – emotional reaction had the highest correlation to purchases.
Snackable notes from ad:tech 2007
OMD did a study on the effectiveness of engagement. (Download a PDF of the study here: “Linking Media Engagement to Sales“)
“We found that more engaging vehicles claimed a higher ad response, according to common syndicated measured.”
A more engaging medium = more engaging advertising. People who love [Whatever TV show] paid more attention to its ads. Exposure’s relation to ad succes and engagement’s relation to ad success, separately, have no correlation. When engagement was added to GRP (exposure), ad response went up. There was a 15 – 20% increase in sales. Media engagement and copywriting quality had higher effects on ROI than exposure. Engagement metrics vary across vehicles (for example: web metrics could be combo of visits/day, pages visited, time spent on site, blog comments, etc…while TV metrics would be different).

The Consumer Experience in a Multi-Platform World

(Sidenote: There were entirely too many references in ad:tech to “The Multi-Platform World.” It was annoying.) Three points on Yahoo’s gossip site, omg!:
  • Each piece of content (photos, video, articles, etc) can be individually shared and commented on.
  • Put users front and center – comments are not buried
  • Access Hollywood became a content partner with Yahoo. They are strictly regulated by NBC’s Nightly News guidelines (surprising, right?). They got around the regulations by letting Yahoo facilitate commenting on their content.
... And that’s up to lunchtime on the second day. Hope you liked it. Also, for a good laugh and a different perspective on the conference, check out Ron Shevlin’s post “Random Thoughts From Ad:Tech.”

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