Who Really Likes Lines Anyway?

This just in from Ketchum’s Center for Media Research: their third annual U.S. Media Myths & Realities survey points toward a wholesale melding of media.  Specifically, content once owned by a specific medium now migrates to nearly all platforms, creating a participatory and fragmented media landscape.

Not Sure This Research Required a Doctorate...
Not Sure This Research Required a Doctorate...

If you’ve been on the net, well, ever, you will be excused for greeting this news with a resounding “duh.”  After all, we experience this every day.  The survey further states that consumers frequently lend more credence to the experiences of their online peers than advertiser’s product descriptions.  In our participatory media landscape, the audience has the same influence, if not more, as advertisers.

Again, the word for all of this is ‘convergence.’  Pushing one-way, self-centered soliloquies at your consumers no longer works, even if we convinced ourselves they ever did.  We must incorporate interaction into every message and we need to do it meaningfully.  Or at least charmingly.

As agencies and clients begrudgingly begin accepting the emerging reality that neither push nor pull marketing models are enough on their own, the move to perpetual motion becomes an inevitability.  And the ramifications of that reach pretty wide.  Old agency ‘set it and forget it’ attitudes will need to be excised with a flamethrower and we will need to demand credit for the considerable web capabilities many of us already have.  Moreover, traditional PR disciplines like message shaping, influence management and word of mouth must move up in the marketing heirarchy and agencies will be well-advised to value and onboard these disciplines.

At long last, new consumer behavior and communications realities have exposed the intrinsic prejudice of labelling marketing disciplines as either ‘above the line’ or ‘below the line.’  Because to consumers, there is no line.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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