here’s my retort to Ian Bates, Vice-Chair – DMA Agencies Council’s recent post on PitchCreative:
Human marketing anyone? Yes Please!
The problem is – as far as the end consumer is concerned, Direct isn’t the answer.
Sadly, there are still too many players in the marketing universe who think our job is just about telling the audience that the brand or product you have is for them.
Putting data to effect doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing anything more than telling your audience something – just shaping your message to different constituents. Sound familiar?
If you’re not careful, you’re still in the realm of one-way communication. Success lies in helping your audience – not leading or directing them. If they have to be led, it needs to be their choice – not yours.
Let’s now turn to the whole ‘direct’ Vs ‘digital’ debate: To suggest that digital agencies chose to define themselves by a channel shows a lack of understanding of what it is that the successful agencies of the digital moniker deliver for their clients – time after time. ‘Effective Digital’ is not being about channel but about meeting the audience with a message they want to hear, through a media through which they want to hear from a brand.
The truth of the matter is that you don’t need to think ‘direct’ to meet a consumer on individual terms – as long as you are able to come up with a decent idea.
Direct can be a lonely place. Big ideas, however, hit the customers’ sweet spot and allow them to find commonality with their fellow man.
Ultimately, the world of communications is ever changing and its inevitable that those who’ll be most successful and effective in truly engaging with the end consumer are those who pay most attention and have someone responsible for keeping agency output in-line with what the end consumer WANTS and EXPECTS: a “Champion” of the End User, so to speak.
In delivering success in this respect, the importance of listening as the balance of power in communications shifts from being top-down to bottom-up is ever prevalent.
If you think about an advert – nobody really reads an advert, do they? They read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an advert.
That’s where good interactive communication and activation comes in, and that’s why those who learned their trade through their advertising legacy are arguably proving to be most effective at delivering campaigns that truly engage with audiences in the digital sphere.
For all the speed of change in terms of channels and consumption, there has not been the same level of change in consumer behaviour – in raw human nature.
In a digital world as much as it was in the analogue days of our past – the key to success rests in understanding the basics of human consumption and communication.
In order to most effectively influence a group of people, you don’t target them and pick them off one-by-one – you engage with them, willingly on their part.
To deliver effective campaigns in contemporary consumer environments – often digital by circumstance and consumer preference – is thus to engage members of the selective audience as willing participants through the process of development and execution – whether that be a broad corporate website or short-term communication or acquisition campaign.
If everyone knows what the brand should stand for from the outset then we’re ticking the first box on the checklist for success.
If the brand promise can be channeled through the work and successfully answer to the truths of the real world around it then we’re working well on the next level.
If the work finds common ground and common language upon which to engage with the audience, and reflects the real world – then we’re resonating well on the next step towards success.
And if the work ultimately delivers a form of 2-way dialogue between the brand and its audience, with nobody feeling out of their comfort zone – then we’re successfully talking to the masses, one at a time.
This is where the big ideas stand out in the contemporary marketing sphere: through the best Creative excellence and innovation with each execution, and with the help of “Champions” of the End User.