Overcoming Media Fragmentation

Delivering and measuring successful marketing efforts is more challenging today than ever before. Consumers are interacting with dozens of media formats, hundreds of television channels, and thousands of marketing impressions per day, many at the same time. With so much media interaction, consumers are on advertising overload, and paying less attention to marketing efforts. In some cases they are even using technology to skip over ads. These challenges are making it increasingly more difficult for marketers to reach customers, capture their attention, and earn their loyalty. Every day the current media landscape is growing increasingly more fragmented. Marketers have more choices than in the past. Some media offer up much smaller audience groups, thereby requiring retailers to make better choices as to where to spend their limited resources. With such diverse options, retailers are required to mix and match new and old media types to obtain all the pieces of their target audience. A number of marketers are increasing budgets to accommodate the increasing cost of certain types in an attempt to ensure their efforts reach the desired audience. This, combined with the decline in response from other media, results in the challenge of pinpointing the right media to reach each customer.
One of our retail grocer clients identified the fragmentation of communications as a definite challenge. Newspaper readership is down. TV viewership is down. One TV station alone cannot provide the reach marketers need today. In fact, in a 2005 holiday study conducted by BIGresearch, 35.4 percent of respondents (despite having a favorite retail TV commercial) said that commercials had no impact on motivating them to shop, because they were already shopping at that store. Today consumers are using media simultaneously, creating further fragmentation, which should be taken into careful consideration when planning a campaign. Another study conducted by BIGresearch found that 25.7 percent of people who use online media in the foreground watch TV in the background; the same was true for 22.4 percent of people who read newspapers and 12.8 percent of people who read magazines. It is a bold new media world out there, and consumers are moving with the times. Our research shows us that marketers must do the same if they want to remain connected with their most valuable top-tier customers. So, how do marketers overcome the challenges of media fragmentation? To engage high-value customers in long-term relationships, they must deliver relevance and break through the media clutter. Your messages must be more compelling. Because of fragmentation, the massive amount of communication consumers are getting, and time pressures, customers are tuning out a lot more messages. They are becoming more selective, and marketers must rise to the occasion by doing a better job of making messages relevant. We work with many national retailers advising them which combination of services, i.e., text messaging and voice messaging, would be the most effective for their media mix. That often requires a willingness to think outside the box concerning alternative media channels. Retailers are very open to testing and trying new marketing approaches, especially when they improve the whole customer experience. Building that mix as a single cohesive group, rather than in independent silos, is also key to delivering a powerful, consistent message. Another retail client said it is critical that email, mail, voice marketing, store signage, and customer service all have a single message. That is true multichannel marketing. Any two media in combination are more effective than any single medium. There are dozens of formats...hundreds of channels...thousands of impressions...erosion of trust. The executive vice president of the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association believes that media will become more fragmented, making it more difficult to locate and capture customers' attention. Those achieving success and leading the competition are using strategically targeted media such as direct mail, email, voice marketing, and text messaging. Are you among them? About the Author Joe Dacey is account director, strategic marketing services, for SmartReply. He builds and maintains client relationships and develops innovative voice marketing and creative strategies. Mr. Dacey can be reached at 804-556-5147. Please visit www.smartreply.com
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