IS BIGGER BETTER?
Size matters. At least that’s what many media plans would have us believe. But is bigger always better?
Historically, marketing campaigns were built for scale using only paid media such as TV, newsprint, radio and magazines. These media channels were often selected based on the number of targeted people that can be reached with an advertisers message. In other words, advertising budgets were allocated to a mix of media that will deliver an ad to as many targeted people as possible.
International research firm Millward Brown have extensively studied the optimal media mix. They’ve produced numerous reports detailing the improvement in metrics like purchase intent, brand awareness and message recall when brands use a media-multiplier approach. This is valuable information for marketers, but I’m afraid it’s incomplete because it excludes media from earned and owned sources.
Paid media plays an important role in creating brand awareness. However, the size of the audience receiving your message only matters if they believe what you have to say.
TRUST IS BEST
Earning trust is a critical component to influence buying behavior. Ads from paid media sources are the least trustworthy source of information to consumers. Conversely, earned and owned media sources are considered the most trustworthy. Logic suggests that a complete media mix includes allocating budget to develop content for each of paid, earned and owned media sources.
Nielson’s recent Global Trust In Advertising Report highlights this point. From 56 countries around the world, respondents overwhelmingly proclaimed that earned media is the most trusted form brand messaging and information. Conversely, messages delivered from paid media are the least trustworthy.
“92 percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising—an increase of 18 percent since 2007. Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging, with 70 percent of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust messages on this platform, an increase of 15 percent in four years.”
The goal for brands shouldn’t be to just scale their message, but rather to scale it’s trustfulness. In order to do this, you must shift your perception of media and the role you play in it.
RETHINK THE MEANING OF MEDIA
It used to be that broadcasters produced and distributed media. The better their content, the more audience they would attract. Advertisers would then rent the attention of that audience and place ads in front of them.
Ads that you pay for on traditional media channels often include a call to action. These calls to action often direct consumers to more trustworthy sources of information on your website, Facebook page or Twitter account.
Consumers rely heavily on the internet to aid in purchase decisions. In contrast to traditional media, online content can be produced by any individual with a smartphone, camera or computer. The online media that you produce can take multiple forms. It can be text, images, video, audio or any combination thereof. This makes you a multi-media producer.
As a media producer, the content you create can be catalogued and archived (SEO) online. For every place you publish content, you’ve got your own media channel.
As a media producer with your own media channel, your content can be shared. Each piece of content can be shared online. By sharing your content with social networks you distribute your content. This makes you a media broadcaster.
As a multimedia producer with your own channel(s) and broadcasting ability, you can become a part of your consumer’s media ecosystem. The more consistent and relevant your content is to your customers, the more they will grow in number. This means you can build your own audience.
Today, multi-media is better defined as a combination of paid, earned and owned messages that promote the trustfulness of a brand and influence consumer decisions.
NEW & IMPROVED! OPTIMAL MULTIMEDIA MARKETING
The aforementioned research from Millward Brown does offer a good framework for a successful multimedia campaign. By considering multimedia in terms of trust first then scale, I think that this framework can serve as a guide for your future transmedia marketing plans.
1. Magnify. Yes, that still means a combination of monologue style traditional messages but it also means finding ways to direct consumers to your website and social platforms for more intimate dialogue and interaction. You can also scale some of those social conversations in the form of creative ads on traditional platforms.
2. Reach. Since the audiences of traditional, owned and earned media are not all the same, allocating your resources to utilize all of these forms of media can extend the message’s exposure to reach more people.
3. Resonance. Using cheaper mediums to prolong the effect of a more expensive one. This not only includes adding radio (cheap) to TV (more expensive), but also adding archived and socially sharable objects to your website, blog or social platforms. In traditional media, when the money runs out, the campaign is over. However, your owned and earned media live on indefinitely. Every time your digital content is discovered, consumed and shared by a prospect or customer, it brings the campaign back to life.
4. Creative. In order for the media-multiplier effect to work well, the creative elements should all be linked together. Use each medium to tell a chapter of the whole story. Connect these chapters with similar imagery, colors, jingles, characters, tone or slogans.
What do you think about changing the meaning of multimedia from a mix of mass media to a mix of paid, earned and owned? Are there holes in this 4 part framework? Do you have any examples where this framework has worked in the past?
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