The unforeseeable, rapid evolution of media : An unprecedented strategic challenge
It’s no secret that we’ve seen rapid, radical changes in media habits in recent years, and by all indications these habits will continue to evolve very quickly.
While various end scenarios are foreseeable, it’s impossible to predict the future, especially given the current pandemic. What was true yesterday isn’t necessarily still true today, so how should marketing strategists find their bearings? How can you design a solid 360 plan in 2022 when trends in media are changing practically every day?
In this volatile context, here are 7 practical tips to help you make the right decisions, despite the unpredictability of the current context.
Develop each plan as if it were the first!
This manner of tackling every new project has already been part of best practices for a while now, but today it’s become essential. Avoid repeating strategies or campaigns. Don’t apply last year’s postmortem recommendations without re-examining them in light of the current context.
In 360 media, the success of your campaign last year will not be a gauge for your success in 2022. On the contrary, reusing data from a past strategic plan could set you on a path to obsolescence.
One of my colleagues at Adviso often says, “You can’t make new decisions based on old data.”
This idea has even greater truth value and has become even more crucial in a world where the data life cycle we rely on is becoming shorter and shorter. Finding the right insights is a complex, sometimes laborious endeavour that in many cases represents the cornerstone of your media strategy. This means the data you find inspiration in must be absolutely relevant before being impactful!
You should also be suspicious of wanting to confirm your priors from the get-go! Ensure you possess enough data to overturn your desire to be right. 😊
Also, be sure to question the reliability of your research results. This is particularly fundamental in a world under siege by a pandemic, where consumption habits change based on unstable parameters that need to be integrated into your analyses.
Finally, the time and resources invested to reinvigorate your point of view with fresh insights will largely be rewarded (or compensated) by the development of better-adapted strategies, which will therefore be more efficient!
How can you attain sufficient reach when mass media are becoming increasingly fragmented? How can you buy TV or radio spots in 2022 when their digital components offer more refined audience targeting, yet less predictable reach?
It’s likely that, in the coming years, advertisers who are best able to understand their consumers and reach them on their journey (without being spread too thin over multiple points of contact or cannibalizing their own audiences) will be the ones to achieve high-performance ROIs. They may even be able to outwit the best benchmarks.
In other words, it’s the strategists that find the right balance between mass and granular audiences in a 360 strategy who will achieve high-performance reach/frequency. This means you must at all costs rid yourself of the obsession of reaching the mass with a single media, and instead focus on multiplying your tactics to reach the largest number of people in key contexts and during unifying moments.
Getting back to basics and considering the synergy of your teams
Expertise varies, and insightful expertise is necessary to create 360 strategies. That said, no one person can claim to have a deep understanding of every opportunity available in the industry today. This means managers that are able to develop interdepartmental connections (whether obvious, essential or unusual) will be indispensable strategic assets to media teams, particularly when it comes to the plethora of omnichannel strategies.
In 2022, 360 synergy will be more necessary than ever before!
There are so many formats available, and media opportunities are infinite. With the evolution of platforms, available data and different types of purchasing, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture and, therefore, the unifying strategic thread of your campaigns. So what is the first question you should ask yourself?
First and foremost, you need to identify the media and creative mix that will respond to your client’s business challenges and objectives.
You need to keep in mind, for example, that video is still video, whether it’s online, offline, on-demand or linear.
You should also watch out for formats and platforms that have a cool factor and are really popular!
Sometimes, a highly consulted format by the target clientele may prove to be completely ineffective, depending on the advertiser’s product or service. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and demonstrate discernment and a critical point of view when it comes to popular formats or platforms.
You should also be critical of viewers’ ability to take an interest in your content. For example, would a podcast about insurance be interesting? When I’m playing a game on Twitch, am I really looking at the ads? If you do look at them, do you really actually think about them?
Of course it’s good to be innovative, but not by sacrificing the relevance of your strategy!
Timing is everything!
Knowing the best time of the year to deploy an ad campaign based on sales history or Google search trends isn’t enough. You also have to pay special attention to key moments (of the week or of the day) in which your target audiences are most likely to effect the desired action or take an interest in the message you would like to communicate to them.
This might seem like a simple idea. However, a good number of advertisers don’t think about their viewers’ predisposition before placing their ads. In the meantime, those who manage to attract the public’s attention at the right moment will stand out from the competition thanks to the effectiveness and discrimination shown by their strategies.
As your media partners will tell you, the quality of a publisher, their network and their content are fundamental elements that will have a considerable impact on the brand image presented, in addition to orienting your selection of ad placements.
Here are a few things to pay close attention to, and which act as quality guarantees, when it comes time to choose ad placements:
- Quality of the publisher and their network
- Quality of the content and visual environment
- Visibility of ads
- Receptivity to ads
- The state the audience is in when they see your ads
- Amount of time spent in selected environments
- Quality of the time spent in selected environments
No brief? No worries!
Whether meeting for coffee or for virtual cocktails, create opportunities to get together!
Take a chance and invite people to talk, share news or learn about new offerings from your partners person-to-person—you’ll soon see that they’ll be happy to renew contact and take a break from their usual routine. You’re not the only one who needs to socialize!
Talk to your business partners and co-workers about your projects, exchange ideas and multiply informal brainstorming sessions. It could provide inspiration and additional motivation during this time of isolation. In addition to getting out of your bubble, these discussions could also enable you to stay up to date on industry news.
As far as friendship goes, you’ve certainly developed closer connections with people in the industry or colleagues other than your partners, with whom you can occasionally have conversations, discuss your experiences, or confide or share your fears. These important relationships can provide a good dose of comfort and perhaps even shed new light on professional issues and challenges you’re facing on a daily basis.
Who knows where the spark that will ignite your next big idea will come from?
In these uncertain times, don’t get caught with your pants down!
Always have a plan A, B and C during the pandemic.
School and gym closures; cancellations of amateur sports; business closures; customs complications; shoots on hiatus; lack of media inventory, resources or time; repeated bouts of confinement… Unfortunately, all these elements need to be considered when creating your future media plans.
By this point in 2022, you can no longer say you couldn’t see it coming, so don’t hesitate to communicate any doubts you may have, establish several different scenarios with your partners and inform your clients of any obstacles or issues that might arise. Exploring various options with all project stakeholders you’re working with remains essential, so that everyone can be part of the solution when the unforeseen arises! Clients must also be sensitized to the fact that having to return to strategic activities several times over and creating several different scenarios is a feat of intellectual gymnastics that is more laborious and, therefore, requires more time and more resources.
In another line of thinking, the unforeseen can also present last-minute media opportunities. So don’t hesitate to set aside a portion of your budget particularly for this purpose and/or to maintain some room to manoeuvre in the transfer and optimization of tactics.
Agility should drive your state of mind. Being agile and flexible means you can take advantage of unexpected opportunities to continue being creative, always on the lookout for new formats and unusual media initiatives.
Naturally, your strategies are based on data, but you need to learn how to look beyond the data to understand today’s media consumption. Find synergies between online and offline business opportunities and a balance between quantitative and qualitative data. Combine media strengths into a set of activities that will deliver expected results. It will be imperative to continually listen to the consumer to capture and decode the signals that reveal their transforming states of mind and desires.
More than ever before, we’re convinced that 360 media practices are needed to reach the hearts of consumers and surprise them. Don’t forget, the past cannot systematically guarantee the future. The future is for us to invent, day after day. What a challenge!
And on this note, I’d like to wish you a happy planning experience! Keep your chin up and don’t forget to have fun!