Wednesdays of Mekate: Interactive marketing is not a medium its a discipline.

Yeap, I have been working on Interactive Marketing for a few years now, at some point in time as an advertiser, at others in some ad agencies and now in Google, and I must confess there is something that, even though I’ve always thought, I now have the need to speak it out loud:

Interactive Marketing IS NOT A MEDIUM! It is a discipline!
Now you, yes all of you, who also work in this industry, be honest: Aren’t you sick and tired of having the big majority of advertisers underestimate what today is, and tomorrow will be even more, the main vehicle to connect and interact with consumers? Why is it the vast majority of marketing and advertising professionals still don’t understand that the consumer has profoundly changed the way they behave and interact and that they don’t do things the old way (like 5 years ago)?

Ok this time I do not want to go into this discussion, let’s leave it for another post.
For now what I’d like to do is share 4 simple points why I argue that Interactive Marketing is in fact a discipline:

1. Strategic thinking: Sure we’ll still use media planning tools and software to estimate the size of audiences and other concepts like reach, but this will definitely not be enough. We cannot limit ourselves to simple media flowchart anymore. To really be relevant in the new world consumers today live in we must be as strategic and creative as great advertisers with the likes of David Ogilvy, Lester Wundermand or Leo Burnett used to be. Can you imagine the things they could have done had they had the communication platforms we have available today?

2. Firsthand experience and becoming part of the conversation: One common trait between great adverting and marketing professionals is that they never settle with the regular statistical reports that so many organizations provide today, but they rather spent a lot of their time engaging in direct conversations with real consumers in the real world at places like super markets, malls, parks, etc. asking tough questions, researching and testing, finding out what motivated and what limited consumers regarding their preferences and purchase decisions. Now a days, us who work in this profession have the enormous advantage of having multiple platforms like YouTube, FaceBook, MySpace, Orkut or Hi5 who which we can subscribe and through which we can engage again in real conversations with people who actually do purchase our brand, so we can listen to them, observe their behaviour and learn what moves thems, what they think of our grand, How it makes them feel and even what their future interests might be. In the words of Mitch Joel: “Its like having your own free personal Focus Group!”

3. Time investment: Of course joining the conversation will require a lot of time, commitment and discipline form your side, but really…Is it not absolutely worth it, if that is going to give us and firsthand inside look at the way consumers see us? A few days ago a friend of mine who also works in advertising asked me how I could come up with so much “free time” to write my blogs, read other people’s blogs, e-books and books, plus be active in FaceBook, YouTube and Twitter, all at the same time. My answer was simple: I don’t have any free time to do it, I rather see it as being and important part of my job and a key activity to promote my professional and personal development, the only thing is that I enjoy it so much that it hardly feels like work. And I’m
pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels and thinks like this. Well I’ve even heard of airlines hiring people just to monitor and be active in Facebook!

4. Metrics: Never before has it been so important and accessible to measure, track and analyze the results of everything we do with our marketing communications. And I’m not talking just about on-line media, but about every effort, because in fact every action in any media can and should have an impact in other efforts within the same campaign. We can no longer treat each media and tactic as isolated actions where TV works just to create brand awareness and has nothing to do with generating traffic to your website. What would you say to a campaign where this to mediums were completely synchronized and your DRTV call to action was to Google the brand’s site instead of showing for 2 seconds a small super with a long URL worthy of the best riddle in the world. “But metrics is something that we’ve been doing with ad tracking and Nielsen for the longest time!” you might say, but is that really enough? What good is a series of cold reports if one does not has the discipline to analyze and understand how each result affects directly other results?

So there you have it, my 4 points why I say that Interactive Marketing is in fact not a medium but a discipline. I’m sure there are lots of people who agree and some other who will not, whatever is your position, welcome to this conversation.

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An important note.

The comments, opinions and recommendations posted in this personal blog are my personal thoughts, and doesn't necesarily reflect those of my employer.