Monday, October 02, 2006

Media companies. Engage with yourselves!

Interruptive advertising, of the kind we most graphically see on TV, but which also populate our magazines (and fill our coffers) is offering rapidly dwindling RoI for a whole host of reasons.
The most critical is that people are fed up with the tone, hype, bullshit of ads - and are collectively switching off from them.

That has a message for the way we present editorial copy too - but that's another story.

What I want to discuss here is the 'new engagement marketing tools' (and whether or not you think they are actually new or just new variations on old themes ain't that important) and how publishers have to strive to offer these to advertisers.

Engagement marketing tools
( listed by Communities Dominate Brands - see recommended blogs)
1. Entertainment, info-tainment, Edu-tainment initiatives
2. Information Service brands for edited choice*
3. Audience activation via SMS text messaging, IM etc
4. Participation in discussions threads via blos, chat etc
5. Gaming, including sponsored gaming and adver-games
6. Real time community information
7. Previews offered to the community
8. Embedded sponsorship rather than 'passive' sponsorship
9. Managing multiple communication channels to that each target member is reached by his/her preferred channel
10. Activate through influencers and 'Alpha Users' **
11. Good will through volunteer evangelists
12. Word of mouth, viral marketing and 'buzz' to promote.

*Good news for consumer channels?
** See blog entry on Alpha Users vs Target readers below.

And if we don't get cracking and establish an expertise and a lead in this stuff - is there a risk that advertisers will just bypass us and our channels - and do this stuff for themselves? Direct to communities they find or help build? Almost certainly.

So ask yourself, what is your company doing to focus (really focus, not just set up a ghetto) to move this forward? How are you placing engaging communities at centre stage?

And how are you engaging with your customers, users or even your own colleagues? If you can't crack the community thing within the company, are you really ready to go external with it?

Does your company have a blog where all its customers are welcome to contribute ideas?
Boeing does - it's getting them to design aeroplanes.
Ford does. They are creating evangelists from having good conversations with consumers.

Maybe all publishers should have a blog where your communities are invited to tell you what they actually want from you? or MyIdealMobileContent etc?

If a community can design an aircraft, perhaps we could trust them to have some great ideas about media content/direction?

Sorry, that's a bit long and lots of different ideas perhaps. Your comments, as always, welcome. Your contributions, likewise (see top of page).

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?