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Details, details, details…

We marketers/ ad people have been devoting an awful lot of space on our blogs talking about engaging the community, understanding your customer, engaging in conversations, and all things social media. We’ve rightfully preached about transparency, authenticity, listening. But do we do the same with our direct customers, our clients?

As agency folks we typically work on more than one account, or brand, in our careers (or at one agency) and the expectation for each is that you are immersed in it. You understand the brand ID, the USP, the P&L, the sales cycle, the customer profile, the SWOT, you know, the whole enchilada of the product & the advertising. But what we often fail to do (as client services or creatives), is remember to understand the person we’re pitching or presenting to. How else to explain using a Sony laptop in a pitch for Dell? Or asking Bill Gates what’s on his iPod? Or talking about golf with the woman who just had a baby? Or bringing in a Starbucks when meeting with the Second Cup? [purely hypothetical situations of course...] Do we think the client won’t notice? They do. And it doesn’t help build the trust necessary to help them connect with their customers. If we don’t practice what we preach, why should they listen to us?

We need to be the shining examples of listening and communication… and the devil is always in the details. You wouldn’t let your PPT out the door with the wrong logo in it would you?

[photo credit: dotpolka on Flickr]

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The ‘third screen’

The “third screen” is all the rage with media buying companies and content publishers these days. And why not, it provides advertisers another outlet to push products (and of course pay commissions to media companies for placement). But do they work? Are consumers just dying to watch their favourite TV show on their cell phone (and the accompanying commercials)?

Not so much it would appear.

Entertainment purveyors may be scrambling to package their content into mobisodes, video downloads and podcasts, but a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll found that teens and young adults — the generation most likely to be the early adopters of this new technology — have yet to fully embrace it.

About half of young adults and 4 in 10 teenagers said they were uninterested in watching television shows or movies on computers, cellphones or hand-held devices such as video iPods, the poll found.

While more than 2 out of 5 teens and young adults indicated they were open to viewing this kind of content online, only 14% of teenagers said they wanted to watch television on a cellphone, and 17% said they would view programs on an iPod.

With that in mind, the new bbTV just doesn’t make sense to me. Blackberries, unlike cell phones or iPods, are a business tool. Most BB owners did not purchase the unit themselves, but rather it is part of their job and is paid for by their employer. Which begs the question – are employers willing to shell out the fee per month so their employees can watch TV clips with company property? I can see it now, a boring meeting, the blackberries come out… and the staff starts watching TV… as if it isn’t bad enough that you can’t seem to get through a meeting these days without someone answering a (most likely) non-urgent email.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for innovative media, but not at the expense of common sense. Which leads me to a future post regarding media planning… stay tuned.

[photo credit: AMagill on Flickr]

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Now about integration…

I’ve been thinking a lot about integration recently. What it means, how to achieve it, is it really possible, the gamut. Well as it happens, the thoughts crystallized during a lunch convo with a friend of mine, Philip this week (btw, his is a terrific blog which should really be updated more frequently… :)). A recurring theme of a few posts on his blog is that integration is a bad thing. And I was a bit baffled as to why. But I figured it out — his issue is with the way agencies do integration.

Badly, to be blunt. Agencies, at least the large ones, aren’t very into specialization outside of the traditional areas – media buying, TV, DM… They try and force fit integration into their service offerings but without understanding or embracing the beauty of specialization. Using the expertise and unique aspects of each channel aren’t really on the radar. So instead of truly maximizing a campaign and targeting your consumers in a way which engages and dazzles them by being an organic addition to their lives, the agencies will hand a TV campaign or a DM campaign over to the interactive side of the shop and say “put this on the web”. And, lately… “put this on Google”. I can feel that pain.

On the flip side, I was coming at integration from the perspective of actually doing just that but without adding in the “we’ve always done it that way” thinking of the big shops. Embracing specialization and diversity – not only of messages, or creative but diversity of purposes. And from that viewpoint integration is a necessity. The web is becoming an integral part of every day existence. It’s surpassing TV in reach. It can do so much for enabling conversations and spreading ideas, empowering consumers, and helping to build brands, better products and ROI. But this doesn’t happen by itself. It takes ideas, people who have them, and people who know how to execute them. It takes specialists in the medium. And they should have a seat at the table from the get-go.

Final thoughts:

integration = good

integration without specialization = bad and a waste of money ultimately

[image credit: ronsens on Flickr]

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