WILL THE UP FRONTS EVER BE THE SAME?
In the very time it takes to read this post, Amazon would have exceeded forecasts, Walmart would have countered with an acquisition or low cost delivery option, and between them, a trillion dollars of revenue would be hung up in Seattle and Bentonville. In fact, everything they do today, every move they make, is just a stark reminder that if it ain’t digital, it ain’t gettin’ funded.
The vitality and critical nature of digital (v. traditional) media cannot be overstated. Moreover, every single day, traditional agencies and lagging media shops are finding out that plans not dominated by search and lower funnel customer acquisition are about as relevant as Myspace. Conversely, top down media, typically found on plans defined by proverbial carpet bombing and heavy TV up fronts, becomes more and more marginalized as the holy grail of 1:1 marketing moves across the land like a locust storm.
Sure, the networks will trot out the stars for their New York up fronts this month. And sure, the price of a 30-second Super Bowl spot (Q1/C1/S1) will be up 5%, but advertisers take caution. As we strive for hyper targeted connections, with the promise of true 1:1 marketing that delivers the ripest fruit at the bottom of the tree, what about critical mass? How do we calculate the lost potential to move fringe buyers? Doesn’t an idea virus need more than a single host to thrive? And don’t brands, this second and more than ever, need to be inclusive?
You need to be idea-driven but consumer-guided. And media planning is no different than brand planning in this regard… double digit KPIs are the product of mass coercion fueled by subtle seduction, not a few sure things. And doesn’t that take a more acute understanding of how people behave and why they do what they do?
A funnel is designed to come to a point, but the real point is this: As you go down the media rabbit hole, the question shouldn’t just be what are we gaining, but what are we leaving behind?