Cross-Industry Study: Marketing Must Move to Digital-Focused Business System

October 12, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Agency Business | B2B | Creative & Formats | Media & Entertainment | Out-of-Home | Radio | Television

A new cross-industry study details how marketers and their agencies must change as the convergence of media and technology, combined with the fragmentation and personalization of media, changes the connection between marketers and end users.

“Marketing & Media Ecosystem 2010” (MME2010) – a joint study between the ANA (Association of National Advertisers), IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), AAAA (American Association of Advertising Agencies), and Booz Allen Hamilton – identifies the priorities, capabilities and partnerships required across the marketer-agency-media value chain to optimize now and prepare for the future.

“Now, consumers not only talk back to marketers and interact with marketing messages, but they also reshape and distribute those messages through global communities. The mix of media channels has shifted from a one-way broadcast model to a set of dynamic two-way media forums,” said Booz Allen Hamilton Principal Andrea Rasmussen.

According to the MME2010 study’s findings:

  • All senior marketing executives surveyed recognize the importance of creating a digitally focused culture, but less than one in four agree that their organizations are currently digitally savvy.
  • Furthermore, over 90% of respondents said they plan to increase marketing spend in digital.
  • Yet many identified significant barriers: insufficient metrics (62%), lack of organization support (51%) or lack of experience (59%) in the new media.


Five key themes emerged from study:

  1. Marketing as conversation: Marketing is becoming less about sending a message to consumers and more about conversing and co-creating experiences with consumers. Marketers are calling on a new mix of media to further the communication of their messages. For example, close to half of marketers are planning to increase their PR budgets as a part of marketing.
  2. Insight into foresight: Technology enhances consumer insights and targeting capabilities, amplifying perspective and accuracy: 80% of marketers place high importance on behavioral targeting.
  3. Media the new “creative”: Distribution mechanisms and context rival creative execution in importance. Marketers are investing in capabilities that bridge the gaps among media, creative and brand strategy. Again, over 80% of participants agree that communications planning capabilities will be critical henceforth.
  4. Marketing + math + technology: Data quality, quantity and accessibility have brought math to all aspects of marketing. Leaders are more likely to have the metrics and capabilities to judge the effects of new media.
  5. The network effect: The move to digital media necessitates a higher level of collaboration and coordination across all players in the ecosystem:
    • Almost 60% of survey participants say creative, strategic, and media capabilities should be rebundled. However, there is no consensus as to which agency “type” should lead.
    • Furthermore, traditional creative partnerships are taking a back seat to media partnerships: Twice as many participants indicate that media company and media agency partnerships will become more important than traditional full-service agency partnerships.

The study also identified specific digital capabilities, investments and attitudes among “leaders”: Leaders disproportionately prioritize consumer insights and are characterized by their almost universal belief (over 95%) that strong consumer insights are critical and require data transparency and partnerships.

Leader “Keys to Success” proposed by MME2010:

  • Make your consumer an advocate: Shift marketing objectives from sending a message to facilitating conversations with and between consumers. Understand user-generated content and how consumers use your brand. Vest your brand with meaning. Be authentic.
  • Elevate media and communications: Develop an internal ‘integrator’ position (e.g., communications planner). Appoint senior media leadership, incorporate media early in the strategic planning process, and integrate media with marketing.
  • Expand consumer insights capabilities: Leverage one-to-one consumer interactions (including ethnography) and digital channels that provide real-time behaviors and patterns. Understand how consumers use media for entertainment, community and information. Lean on partners to provide additional data and insight. Embed them across the organization.
  • Apply rigor – refine and iterate your marketing mix: Build partnerships with digital agencies, media agencies and media companies to track ad placement, versioning and effectiveness. Digital media brings a new level of transparency and efficiency to the optimization of the marketing mix.
  • Bring digital out of the back room: Digital and interactive are no longer ‘niche’ capabilities. They are part of the requisite skill set for all marketers. Recruit and train accordingly.
  • Don’t stop at technology: Align the organization, hire the right talent, and initiate a progressive culture. Identify and address organizational barriers.
  • Learn globally: Develop structures to share best practices in new media. Watch technology patterns, social trends and consumer technology adoption rates in leading geographies.
  • Institutionalize experimentation and media innovation: Encourage experimentation and support ideas for incremental improvement. Formalize experimental spend efforts. At the very least, have a default budget framework such as allocating approximately 5% into experimental media.
  • Establish an increasing number of marketer, media and technology partnerships. Staff accordingly. Place bets across the media and technology landscape.
  • Manage complexity via partnerships: Know the difference between those capabilities to keep in-house and those better managed by external partners. Know when an idea is scaleable, or a competitive advantage, and should be resourced internally.
  • Question marketing models: Identify clear brand objectives, evaluate multi-channel (e.g., relationships, event, in-store, email) marketing options to meet objectives, and develop business cases.

About the study: The “Marketing Media & Ecosystem 2010” study is based on responses from over 250 marketers as well as in-depth interviews with over seventy-five leading marketers, agencies, and media company senior executives (CMO, CEO and VP). Participants represented 165 unique companies representing B2B, B2C, and mixed businesses across sectors (media/publishing, auto/manufacturing, tech/telco, financial services/travel, consumer goods, healthcare/pharma and other). The study was fielded by Guideline, Inc.

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