Tag Archives: search

Delivery and Discovery

Amidst the noise and the cacophony of the new it’s sometimes worth looking for simplifying thoughts. For generations advertising has been a message delivery function. You decide what you want to say, you decide to who you want to say it, you identify the media consumption habits of the who and buy exposure in those media to deliver the what.  You measure its effect. That’s it.

Today message delivery remains important, there is no dimunition of the craft skills, on the contrary creating messaging that engages, and aggregating reach in environments that consumers care about is both harder and more important than it’s ever been. If you aspire to selling millions of units you just have to reach millions of people.

The flip side of delivery is discovery. The multiple billions of searches and social actions represent a complex puzzle that reveals a great deal about consumer behavior and intention. This presents a creative and media challenge  that can be summarised as “where should I be found? what should they find? what will they do with what they find?

Developing a discovery strategy is the real heart of the emerging marketing practices of search and social media.  It involves asset creation, optimization and distribution and is, in a general sense, a far more atomized approach than advertising with a far higher failure rate.

To operate such a practice at scale offers limited economies and requires more human inputs from both clients and their agencies and it’s probably true to say that vigorous supply side optimization on both sides over many years has hampered progress. The current economic unpleasantness is hardly helping as the emphasis of price over value has never been greater. The simple truth is that every brand needs more and more complex creative assets to push into the ecosystem, it needs more channel experts that understand discovery and more resources to apply to both. In the delivery business brand owners have received a recession dividend in reduced costs per thousand. The smartest ones will re-invest the delivery dividend in the assets and processes required to win in discovery.

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These things we should know

A few posts back (Forward to the past; August 16th). We made the observation that marketers are challenged by the concept of active leisure replacing the passive, and ad receptive, television paradigm.

It’s worth building on that to explore the behaviors that this activity promotes and how these can be leveraged by marketers. Given that so many of these activities involve the use of screens the  instinctive response by many is to equate those screens with media ‘real estate’ and debate how, where and at what cost to insert ads into that space. Sometimes this works and sometimes it does not.

Like all communications it’s somewhat useful to have a clear view of the outcome you are trying to stimulate and what that outcome could be worth to you. In this new world order, of the many evolutions of behavior that we observe perhaps four are more useful than others:

  1. Declared intention is an extraodinarily indicative consumer action. Marketing that drives declared intention – i.e. search queries – is of high value and accountability
  2. Personalization is the inevitable consequence of networked devices deployed in an on demand world. Marketers that offer the opportunity, reason and value for consumers to make ‘it’ their own have the opportunity to build higher value enagement. Furthermore they will capture actions that are effective proxies for sales.
  3. Collaboration is a function of the network effect. If engaged consumers collaborate and interact with content, with brands and, most importantly, with each other. Positive collaboration deepens relationships and increases share of conversation.
  4. Mobility has become more than access to untethered communications. Last year we described broadband as the operating system for life. If that’s true then the mobile device has become its ultimate peripheral and brands need to consider what it is that they can offer to persuade consumers to take them with them.

 This leads to some interesting implications for communications strategy, measurement and goal setting, and for the creation of creative assets. In terms of message distribution – the GroupM bit of the puzzle – we sense a greater clarity of purpose when we know that we are planning to outcomes and can create transactions with the owners of content and platforms that tie rewards to success rather than just exposure.

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Sudoku and Crossword puzzles – why media planning is more than a math problem

Sudoku is an exercise in trial and error and like all such exercises is vulnerable to a computing solution. Simply write a program that allows for all the variables and constraints and let it run. Simple, so simple in fact that people can do it in their heads. 

A crossword puzzle is more complicated, so complicated in fact that people can do it their heads. The difference is that any computing solution to a crossword is limited by the fact that the grid has to be filled with words that fit AND that answer the clues. Inherent in this is that filling the grid is not enough.

Search is Sudoku. View, click, action – it’s a math problem. Display media online, and in print and  on television is a different matter, a crossword puzzle if you like. As soon as the goal is anything other than inducing a purchase in 30 days or less it may still be possible to fill the grid but much harder to interpret all the clues that identify which components contributed to the desired action and when.

Is it possible that this has been the gating factor to Google NOT dominating the media landscape as they have dominated search? Could be. 


Filed under The world we work in