Thanks very much to all of you for joining me today. [Talk about the content from Thursday and how it relates.] I’m excited today to have the chance to show you some of our latest research on how interactive marketing tools can help you pull the ideas you heard about yesterday into a cohesive whole. But before we get to that, I want to ask you to cast your minds back to 1993.
I ask because the web was created in 1993. It’s easy to forget how magical it all seemed back then; it wasn’t the ‘web,’ it was the ‘world wide web,’ and the fact that we could share information around the globe was truly amazing. We didn’t call those blue underlined words ‘links,’ they were ‘hyperlinks’ and the opened up the world of ‘hypermedia.’ It really was a remarkable technology, and it really has changed almost everything about our lives and our businesses.
For instance, it’s changed how we communicate. Back then if you wanted to write a message to someone, it meant picking up piece of paper and a pen, stamping an envelope and heading to the post office. Today, of course, we no longer wait by the mailbox to get messages from our friends; instead we look for the little red flag on our Facebook homepage that tells us there’s a message waiting.
The web also changed the way we consume content – and if you’re in the content business, it’s probably turned your world upside down. 18 years ago, the #1 hit single was ‘I will always love you,’ by Whitney Houston, from The Bodyguard soundtrack. I won’t embarrass any of you by asking who owned this musical travesty, but I will point out that if you did own it, it was almost certainly on cassette tape because that was the dominant musical format of the time. Today, of course, you’re more likely to listen to Lady Gaga on your iPod.
And of course it’s changed how we deliver customer service. In the old days, during a flight delay for instance customers relied upon their flight attendants for information. (And yes, those really are Pan Am flight attendants, because in the early 90’s Pan Am still existed!) Today, customer service often happens through interactive channels like Twitter.
In fact, just about the only thing that hasn’t changed since the advent of the web is how we as companies build our brands. In 1993, if you wanted to introduce a new brand or strengthen an old one, chances are you’d create a 30-second idea and buy some prime-time TV spots. And today, almost two decades later, chances are you’d do the same exact thing. The TVs have gotten nicer – it’s not an old clunker anymore, but a wide-screen flat-panel LCD HDTV – but the branding model has remained exactly the same.
This is the branding model most companies used two decades ago, and this is still how most companies build their brands today. They look at TV as the undisputed king of media, the undisputed core of their brand programs; they develop a 30-second version of what their brand means, and then they ask the radio folks and the print folks and the Internet folks to try to match that vision in their own platforms.
And it’s not exactly a model that makes very good use of what the Internet can offer us. That’s why, in our last published ad forecast, while interactive marketing took 12% of all ad spending in the US, marketers in brand-focused industries were putting as little as 2% of their budgets online. Everything about our lives and our businesses has entered the age of interactivity – how we communicate, how we sell products, how we deliver customer service – but the way we build our brands remains rooted in an era of handwritten letters and cassette tapes.
So what I want to tell you today is that it’s time for our branding programs to catch up to the rest of our businesses; it’s time for us to start using the brand-building potential of online tools. Because interactive marketing is ready to lead your brand.
The first, and perhaps the most important, is that the Internet now offers us scale we’ve simply never seen before. The commonly-held belief that TV offers unrivalled scale used to be true. But no longer: Today, more than 80% of all Americans are online, and people spend as much time online as they spend watching TV. And the biggest web sites can rival the biggest TV shows for reach; in fact, in February of this year, the MSN homepage reached more users each and every day than all but a handful of prime time programs.
First thing customers do to learn more about brands is go online – most important source of brand info
The third reason interactive marketing is ready to lead our brand is that it’s the marketing channel your customers trust the most. You already know they trust each other and that social media spreads peer influence farther and faster than ever before; and our research shows that every year in the US there are *billions* of peer influence impressions. But did you know your web site is more trusted than your TV ads, your print ads, or any other form of traditional advertising? If you want customers to trust what you’re saying, you need to say it online.
The fourth reason interactive marketing is ready to lead your brand is that offers you new ways to tell stories. We all remember the tiny little 468x60 ad banners from a decade ago, but times have changed. Current standard ad banner is 2.3x bigger than old one, and there are standard units that get much bigger. And on our own sites we have almost unlimited space to tell our stories. But of course it’s much more than just size: video, interactivity all add to our creative palette. Today, the internet is without question the richest storytelling channel available to brand marketers.
So how do you do that? Well, my new research is recommending that you build an interactive brand ecosystem.
Because this it the old model, but we can see it’s become unbalanced – by consumers’ shifting behaviors, and by the continued evolution and strength of interactive tools. But this isn’t a story about getting rid of TV, or about choosing one platform over another. Rather, it’s about creating a more intelligent and effective way of making all our brand channels work together. Today, if you’re going to build a deep and effective brand, you need to focus instead on building...
A multilayered interactive brand ecosystem. You need to take advantage of the depth of the interactive channels, and make your own website the deepest and most important place for your customers to engage with you brand and with your big ideas. You must intelligently distribute your brand’s content and interactions into secondary channels like social media and mobile media. And then you must use paid media – like online display ads and especially TV spots – to extend to reach of your campaigns. Engage in owned media, distribute through social and mobile media, and reach with paid media. Let’s walk through those one by one.
Engagement starts at core, and flows to social/mobile media. Social/mobile channels push users among themselves. Then you take the big idea from the core and put it into the paid media, and paid media pushes users back into the engagement at the core.
This is what Smirnoff’s ecosystem looked like
Nearly every company we talk to today uses one of these two models – either way, IM is a team that sits apart from the rest of the organization. Good as a baby step because it collects knowledge in one place, but ultimately troublesome because it’s hard to disseminate that knowledge if you’re sitting apart from the org.
Majority have 4 or fewer IMers.
#1 challenge: single view of customer across channels and marketing functions
Interactive needs to lead conversations about communicating to your customers – and it can’t do that unless interactive skills are part of each team. The long-term goal for the future is that we’ll ALL become interactive marketers. The distributed model is a key step in that direction
You need to customize this map – and your CI and MR teams can help you do it
The Interactive Brand Ecosystem: Putting Digital At The Heart Of Your Brand Campaigns - Forrester