A Call To Creatives From Every Discipline: Converge Now!

The ongoing debate over who should lead the next iteration of marketing creativity has grown exhaustingly tiresome.  Anyone who still spends their energy debating the relative merits of digital or traditional creativity is wasting precious time.  Today, the only true going-forward solution must be convergence.

The metrics-orientation and experience-centric mindset of digitally-trained creatives must mash up with the video-centric expertise of traditionally-trained creatives to create something wholly new to truly drive sales in today’s marketplace.  Right now, neither has the upper hand.  Neither can claim sole ownership or any real competitive advantage.  The only way forward is collaboration and cooperation as we forge something truly relevant for these instant access, highly-distracted times.

Matt Kaplan, the Chief Strategy Officer for VisibleGains, presents one of the most cogent arguments for this notion in this terrific article from MediaPost last week.  His post outlines a number of practical ways that our use of video must evolve to serve the realities of today’s fragmented messaging market and diverse target audiences.  Matt’s B2B discipline and sensitivity to the buyer-led world rings clearly through many of his points, yet his overall message speaks to a far broader audience of marketing creatives.

Simply put, video has been and will remain an incredible engagement medium.  But anyone who believes that begins and ends with broad awareness messaging platform of television commercials shortchanges the real opportunity presented by that medium today.  People respond viscerally to video–no surprise in a culture that far prefers the immediate sensation of a multi-sensory engagement over the intellectual reasoning of the written word.  More importantly, Google values video as a powerful driver of search rankings, so marketers that expand their use of video into more specialized communications benefit on exponential levels.

The Video As Sledgehammer Medium Party is Over
The Video As Sledgehammer Medium Party is Over

If we continue to treat video as a broad sledgehammer, we miss the many layered opportunities for deeper, more persuasive engagement.  Video can serve as a laser, targeted and tailored to engage various types of prospects along their path to commitment.  Tapping into the vast data engine of the web and developing more targeted messages against various personas, can lead to a use of video that is both more expansive and more specific.

To date, most digital companies have yet to escape their origins as an updated take on classic direct response marketing.  Similarly, the majority of traditional agencies still seem hamstrung as they cling to a dangerously singular faith in broad reach awareness-focused brand messaging.  Neither approach addresses the complete picture and leverages the new possibilities of modern media consumption.

But we can move to something new.  We can consider multiple targets for our video messages and expand our production shoots to gather content far more in tune with how and where buying decisions are made.  By expanding what we shoot and how we edit and repurpose it for a wider variety of uses and target opportunities, we can take video into new worlds of unprecedented persuasion based on deep consumer empathy and customized messaging.

This is where advertising’s future lies, in the converged middle, where laser-targeted video messages impact far more people far more effectively, despite the broad scatter of disaggregated and fragmented audiences.

Kaplan’s suggestions provide an initial, rudimentary roadmap.  If we expand our current concept of video-based advertising creativity to adopt new possibilities, the best of both disciplines can come together to create something entirely new.  And exciting.  And effective.

If we open up our minds to new ways to innovate the medium, reinventing both uses and expectations, we can soar far beyond the limits of partisanship over yesterday’s debates. It is a scary time in advertising these days, but change can also be a time of unprecedented growth.

Convergence is an imperative.  Expanded thinking is critical.  Today, if you’re not learning, you’re dying.  It really is as simple as that.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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