If content is king, then marketers best understand how people are getting their content in 2013. Increasingly, the descriptive term for content consumption would be “helter-skelter” – or, in the words of Sir Paul McCartney describing his aspiration for the Beatles song by that title in 1968 — raw, dirty, raucous, disorderly, and confused.
A recent McKinsey & Company study applied 2013 science to what McCartney alluded to in music 45 years ago: a disorderly, confused, raw, and raucous shift in the way consumers track down and relate to content. “Thanks to powerful search tools, content of all kinds (and degrees of obscurity) are widely accessible,” McKinsey says.
The ability to enjoy unparalleled access to whatever “content” they personally seekout, puts consumers, not marketers, in control of content.
Big Data to the Rescue
For marketers, the trend to raucous content consumption suggests an obvious intersect with “big data,” which may be the only solution marketers have to keep up with consumer fragments gone rogue.
In its trends for 2013 headline, eMarketer put it this way: “Data-driven segmentation is more vital than ever to maximize reach and frequency with levels of precision and confidence.”
George Musi, head of Cross-Media Analytics, DG, echoed the sentiment on CreativeZone. “Audiences are dispersed across PCs, netbooks, smartphones, mobile, tablets, connected TVs, over-the-pop boxes or gaming consoles, video-on-demand systems and even internet-enabled cars. And they are viewing when and where they choose.”
Marketing guru Tom Doctoroff concluded in the Huffington Post blog, “… the plethora of digital communications – social networks, blogs, WeChat, short message texts, viral videos — has made things extremely confusing for both marketers and consumers. Messages can no longer be ‘controlled.’ Consumers can hijack brands.”
Indeed, a special brand of chaos is the norm today.
So, What’s a Marketer to Do?
An article from Direct Marketing News features suggestions from noted CMOs on how data we already have can be used to fight – and even exploit — fragmentation. Here’s a sampling of some recommended options:
• Personalization. As they fragment, personalize accordingly.
• Journey Mapping or tracking where your customers go and have been.
• Controlling customer preferences and permissions.
• Using both prescriptive and descriptive customer models.
• Employing Closed Loop marketing.
• Boosting interactivity to tweak brand engagement.
• “Show ‘em you know ‘em” by building comprehensive activity data for individuals.
• Exploring cross-screen addressability.
• Extending the marketing database to include unstructured data.
And, by the way, “unstructured data” is a particularly intriguing resource for marketers (if not the IT department). To find where yours might be hiding, Opinion Lab offers terrific suggestions for searching out this data, including:
• Unsilo the data you have.
• Look for data in unusual places (from employees, contact center conversations, etc.).
• Check out your online behavior data.
• Invest in analysts who can determine the reason behind data results.
• Create dashboards to distribute and help employees visualize data across the organization.
Finally, speaking of unstructured data, if you’re interested, please come back. I’ll cover more on this important topic in my next post.