It has been a long hiatus. A new role at ABI has kept me busy in the past six months. During that time, I wrote a couple of pieces for AdExchanger that took me away from this blog, but I have had an itch to write a new opinion post.
As a digital marketer who is now responsible for a large TV budget, I decided to write about the current state of the TV advertising industry. It’s not surprising that someone with my background would be critical of a medium that has hardly evolved in the past 70 years, but I feel I can provide a different perspective. Besides, there’s little point in me discussing some hot topics of the digital marketing industry. Marc Prichard is already doing a tremendous job at demanding transparency and fair practice in the digital space, and he definitely has more pull than I have. There are also people with the caliber of Scott Galloway and Elizabeth Warren arguing for the need to break up and regulate “big tech.” They have eloquent and extensive arguments; there’s little I can add there.
I see three idiosyncrasies as clear signs that the TV industry is desperate to reinvent itself to avoid disruption or obsolescence. While not extensive or equally applicable to all the players in the market, these signs serve to make a larger point:
- Audiences are traded like crude oil
- Semantic innovation
- Fluctuating moral compasses
In this analysis, I don’t want to only point out what’s wrong. I also want to offer some thoughts on how the TV industry could evolve to live a new golden age and truly oppose players like Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, and Google, who are not afraid of short-term losses, sit on piles of cash, will likely spend north of $30 billion in content, and pride themselves of being “category disruptors.”
For the past ten years working in digital marketing, the world has been divided into Branding and Performance Marketing. Branding is full of large budgets and not much accountability for their results. Performance Marketing (or Direct Response) has ugly creatives but gets beautiful, carefully documented returns.
Advertising has not always been lik…
Great marketing is about making consumers enjoy the experience they have with your brand. Every consumer touchpoint should be a delightful brand experience, even when carrying a commercial message. This is how you positively impact everyday customer behavior and purchasing decisions. If we want people to change how they behave, we have to change their experiences. In spite of this knowledge, brand marketing is often tied to vanity metrics that don’t drive any real behavior change, and performance marketing is not much better than the cheesy infomercial you see on late-night TV.
But marketers want to do better: no one sets out to do a mediocre job. The industry is continuously innovating to deliver better brand experiences and drive impact, but the results are often inconsistent, making it difficult to know what new practices to adopt.
This post explores some of the current efforts made to provide a better brand experience. Through this careful exploration, we’ll discuss why it’s so hard to raise the bar and look to the future to see how to break out of stale marketing cycles.
Last week I was invited to a roundtable with other CPG industry experts, and we were asked if we thought the competition for CPG companies was going to intensify or decrease over the next 12 to 24 months. My answer was similar to the other experts’, but I gave different reasons than many of them. After a few days pondering about the answer I gave, I realized that I was way off base. While other experts reasonably argued that competition would increase due to the pressure retailers create by promoting private label brands, I justified my answer saying that the raise of eCommerce would force CPG companies to develop skills and knowledge not currently in their repertoire, forcing them to compete in a field mostly foreign to them. Now I realize I was completely off. Let me explain why.