The box is already open — time to think beyond it


First and foremost, I would like to wish everyone very happy holidays and a joyous new year. 

2012 was a rollercoaster ride in media, and 2013 looks to be more of the same. Change, diversification, and specialisation will continue to rule the industry for the foreseeable future.

Advertisers of all sizes are looking for the best combination of resources to maximise their business. It is not your grandmother’s marketing mix anymore. Those willing to adapt to the market and evolve will win. 

In looking at how advertisers are adapting themselves, I can think of no better example than the proliferation of product placement and live reads on TV scripted programming. This is somewhat of a look to the past, for sure, but it is rampant in prime time today.

And this makes a lot of sense. Just like the newspaper industry has faced an uphill challenge as digital offerings have required change, broadcast faces a similar dilemma with not only digital growth, but technology, as well.

The use of DVRs has led advertisers and marketers to adapt. Hulu and other digital services have created a different viewing experience, as well. Commercials are just not being seen like they were in the past, with the delayed viewing habits of users. What better way around this than to build your product into the actual programme people are watching?

In the last few weeks I have seen everything from the Surface Tablet, to Android phones, to Ford prominently placed into programming and written into the script of the shows. It is a blatant commercial, but what choice do the advertisers have? They are adapting. They are spending money in different ways. 

Amazon’s recent announcement of moving towards a real-time bidding (RTB) model will cause further challenges to an already challenged advertising industry. More on that in a future blog.

You must adapt. You have to look at your offerings and determine if they serve the needs of the market. You can no longer force advertisers to spend on what you want them to spend money on. They are too smart. Adaptability is a choice. 

For example, GateHouse Media has created a robust digital services company called Propel Marketing. This is innovation at its best and one of the best of breed in the industry today. 

So as the calendar flips to 2013, are you and your business ready to meet the needs of your advertisers? Have you created the right solutions to drive results? This is not strictly an argument to think digitally, as print is still a very critical part of media spend.

But the box has been opened, so time to think outside of it. 2011 and 2012 thinking will not get you to 2013 and beyond. 

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