Marketing has become a return on investment-driven activity. Marketing people the world over moan about financial controllers nit-picking with them, leaving no room for creative ideas. In some cases, it may be true that controllers don't understand enough about marketing to be able to make the right calls. But essentially, controllers should be advertisers' and marketers' best friends. A marketing initiative is neither useful nor successful unless it pays for itself and more.
That's why connected marketing is becoming increasingly attentive to the accountability of the business. Particularly so, because in many cases, connected marketers can now prove the effectiveness of their work - and often more thoroughly and precisely than other forms of marketing communication. Some of the case studies in other chapters of this book provide compelling proof of this fact.
Dave Evans, of US-based agency GSD&M, says: 'The next big thing in this field will be when a world-class marketer, such as Procter & Gamble, demonstrates conclusively that [connected marketing] really works.That is when the TV upfronts will fall. Attention will no longer be a commodity'72 Ed Keller agrees: 'I think one of the big challenges that needs to be overcome is "What's the measure by which we know whether it's successful or whether it isn't."And I think without that measure, we will stay in the shy and narrow stage. And whenever that measure does get developed, it will help set the course'73
Procter & Gamble's Tremor is already showing some exciting results. So the future is beginning.
Integrated communication has been an advertising buzzword for years. But the fact is, companies can still organize advertising, PR, events, Internet campaigns, etc. as stand-alone activities. And many still do. In lots of departments and agencies, there is still too much ego involved to really get together and cooperate.According to Jon Berry:'What events are arguing for is a highly integrated marketing approach. A lot of ad agencies that I come in contact with are still fairly fragmented. They have an Internet marketing group, or a web advertising group on one hand, and a TV advertising group on the other.'74
Connected marketing does not work as a stand-alone activity, as this chapter and indeed book helps prove. When creating viral advertising films, you need a viral marketing specialist, an ad agency and a production house, a web agency, a technology partner, and the PR team all around the same table.When you want to know and engage with your influencers, you have to involve your web people, CRM experts, the market research department and your PR people. And in both cases, they really have to work together - across disciplines, across departments, across companies. If they don't, the whole initiative won't work.
And things get worse when more complex projects such as alternate reality games are on the agenda. They really do require a degree of collaboration that should not be underestimated.
As mentioned already,Tremor shows that the way connected (and other) marketers interact and deal with children and teens, must be addressed. Marketing consultant Rhona Berenstein says: 'Youth marketers claim they're tapping into a pool of outspoken enthusiasts who are invited to evaluate products and services, and share their opinions (positive or negative) with their pals. But if you're an average 14-year-old who's offered a first-look at a movie trailer, or a videogame, or a free make-up sample - all of which are promoted as "the newest and coolest" - where and when, exactly, is your rational, analytic mind going to kick in?'75
Protecting the rights and innocence of children in these marketing efforts is an important issue that needs to be looked at and dealt with sooner rather than later. Otherwise, and rightly so, the public is likely to turn against certain connected marketing practices to the detriment of the entire field.
The brand marketers' mindset
The most demanding challenge for practitioners of connected marketing is how to change brand marketers' perceptions about what the future will look like.The connected marketing approach requires new skills and competencies - an attitudinal change about how brands approach clients, customers and consumers is required. And massive changes like these never occur easily.
The faster companies realize that they must find new ways of connecting with their target audience, in exchanges that provide meaningful conversational content, the better equipped they will be for building successful brands in the future.A rather holistic approach has recently been dubbed 'Open Source Marketing', and it's about involving marketing influencers early in the marketing plan.76 The Blowfly case study by Liam Mulhall in Chapter 4 shows how one company has built its entire business on this principle. And Procter & Gamble, Bacardi, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Toyota and Ford, among other major brands, have all started to take on the challenge. That proves that connected marketing is here to stay.
So we'll close this chapter with the rallying cry of the connected marketer:'Let's connect and collaborate!'
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