By Bridget Gourlay
Predicting the future is always a risky affair, but in the world of marketing keeping your finger on the pulse of where and how to advertise is crucial.
TBWA Group CEO David Walden says there has been a ‘seismic change’ in marketing with the advent of social networking, the digital age and the change in when and how people watch TV, with programmes being available on network websites, able to be watched any time of the day or night for weeks after they’ve aired.
“The world’s changed. It used to be that clever marketers would whack an ad on TV, on a billboard, in the paper and wait for people to respond. People are now taking on board messages when they want it. Now we still create a campaign, we use some traditional forms of advertising, but we’re also sensitive that there are a lot of other ways to get your message out there.”
Mr Walden says companies and products need to be tuned to ‘receive’ rather than ‘transmit’ when interacting with their public. He cites Cadbury changing to palm oil last year as an example of where social networking hit back.
“People got up in arms on websites and Facebook groups were formed. My company has tools where we listen to the dialogue of social media platforms; we monitor the conversations about our brands. We know what percentages are negative, positive and neutral.
“People used to talk about word of mouth. These days I think it’s about word of mouse.”
So has twitter killed the television star? Not exactly.
Mr Walder says that far from getting rid of traditional forms of media advertising, products simply need to be marketed on a combination of old and new media.
University of Auckland’s business school marketing head Professor Rod Brodie agrees. He cites Dove as an example of a company that has shifted from a ‘market to’ philosophy to ‘market with and among’.
“Dove soap is a big multinational with a clear brand. They’ve done a lot of traditional, very targeted advertising campaigns, but now with the internet there’s been a shift and so now there’s encouraged online engagement.”
On the Dove website, there are blogs and discussion topics about life and beauty from style gurus and life coaches, and Dove customers can sign in and comment on these issues.
Another change are the spaces where advertising takes place. Supermarket trolley handle bars, bus stops and toilet doors are now commonplace for ads, but wouldn’t have existed a few decades ago.
Professor Brodie says creators will have to keep thinking about where else they can advertise.
“Increasingly, agencies will be using their imagination, in making ads and campaigns so they reach their target audience. Traditional media can be very crude in doing that.”
So no writing on the moon or holograms yet, but time will tell…