7 Trends Destined to Shape Media This Year

Doug Ray is president of Carat Global, a media planning & buying specialist. Find him on Twitter @drayny. 

Amid the explosion of emerging tech, content and devices, what’s really shaping the media industry and business outcomes? Here are seven observations about the state of media today that will have the biggest implications for the media industry tomorrow.

Multichannel is not integrated

Marketers are still defining “integrated” as using multiple media channels to distribute consistent content. Unfortunately, that does not mean true integration. Our industry still has work to do in moving toward fully integrated, ecosystem planning, and it needs to leverage the inherent value of each channel to create a robust brand experience that amplifies an idea or benefit and moves people along their decision journey.

Content and commerce are (finally) converging

Marketers are leveraging new technology to drive convergence, bringing consumers closer to the point of transaction through media. The marriage of content and commerce will continue to be a major driver of change and make media even more important to business outcomes in the future.

Social influencers are on the rise

Social media can be found woven throughout the most effective marketing campaigns today, indicating the growing importance of earned media. While viral videos or Facebook applications are certainly interesting, the best campaigns are those that leverage the power of influencers and their own social networks.

Search is a powerful insight engine

Today, people turn to Google and Bing for information on almost everything. With all that consumer interaction, search provides robust real-time insights.  Take the recent Cannes Lion-winning “Kleenex Catches Colds” campaign.  The success of this effort was based on knowledge gathered by bidding on Google keywords associated with cold and flu outbreaks in the U.K. as a means to geographically align media placements where these outbreaks were occurring.  Sales leaped double digits as a result.

Cultural references create brand relevance

Leveraging an explicit link to popular culture is a powerful means to create broader brand relevance.  Oreo’s now famous “Daily Twist” campaign celebrated the culture of the day, every day, by creating 100 ads for their 100th anniversary. To create this type of relevance, marketers must define the connected cultures they are speaking to, understand what they care about and how they engage with media.

Mobile is still finding its way

Apps and games continue to dominate the most celebrated mobile marketing programs. However, the best mobile campaigns are those that seamlessly integrate mobile devices or technology into the broader campaign. This includes expanding existing video, display and search efforts to mobile platforms and enabling richer brand experiences through cross-channel – TV plus mobile – integration.

The ‘candid camera’ commercial

Leveraging a stunt or special event that’s captured and used as a commercial or viral video has been a growing trend in campaigns across a variety of sectors and categories. The use of “real people” in “real-life situations” can create greater impact and more persuasion, as we saw with Bundaberg Rum’s “Road to Recovery” and Coca-Cola’s “Small World Machines.”

From branded entertainment and social media conversations to searchable information online, the future of media will revolve around content in its many shapes and forms.  The successful marketers will be those who find creative ways to use it through media.

Image by Shaza Sha via Flickr 


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