Rise of digital media platforms
At the heart of this shift is the rise of digital media platforms, which have given consumers more choice and a stronger voice. The age of engagement was embraced by brands when they established their messaging was generating a response and that was a better sign of marketing performance ROI became somewhat easier to establish. We changed from media delivery measures to media response measures, but we are still talking about proxy measures of performance. To a point, they have limited value to marketers whose goal is to move needles, often in terms of sales, be they measured in volume or value.
There are signs that consumers are starting to lose interest in these media platforms. It’s anecdotal in parts, it’s limited in scope but there is a trend that shows people want to regain control. In the more mature markets, time spent watching videos online is flat at best and engagement with social media platforms is dropping by 10%. The resistance against connectivity is building up.
So what will follow engagement, even if it still has years to run?
Stories and initiatives will play a key role
The answer is utility, the ability for a brand to make consumers’ lives easier and more fruitful, above and beyond what its products and services procure. It requires them to think long and hard about what their consumers require, even if they don’t necessarily know it themselves. It’s about how a brand can be more meaningful, not because of its products, but because it understands its consumers intimately and acts with a sense of mission. This requires reams of data and evidence but also the human touch. Stories and initiatives will play a key role in this and there are several examples of such moves today.
Content will be a prime channel
Content will be a prime channel to develop such meaningful relationships and technology will allow these to be extraordinarily personal.
OMD Predicts 2014 brought this concept to the fore through the prism of innovation, content and technology. This is just the beginning and we expect this to gain in significance.
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