If a store suddenly called you to offer a 50-80% discount off their entire inventory would you say 'no way?'? It seems today that most consumers would be more likely to at least go to the store and stock up on the items you know you'll need. Now apply that same situation using media as the store and advertising as the inventory. The media companies are offering crazy discounts on advertising inventory ' not just the unsold placements but literally all inventory (print, online, OOH, broadcast, you name it). And the discounts are not simply based on reductions in circulation or viewers, but rather reductions against the base rate resulting in a significant increase in overall value. Case in point -- we just negotiated a six city radio buy for a client (spend under $300K) which included a 'value-add'? premiere event sponsorship (client's mascot in the actual event programming). A year ago that event sponsorship alone would have sold for $80K. While we're good negotiators, in my 20+ years in this industry I haven't seen anything like it. So I have to scratch my head as I watch companies in all industries cutting back instead of taking advantage of the media sale of a lifetime. Take a guess at what will happen the minute the media industry starts to see the light at the end of the tunnel? That's right, they will increase prices based on the simple laws of supply and demand. So if you are a company that knows your target audience and advertising objectives, why wouldn't you have your agency create next year's media plan right now to lock in lower rates? In other words, 'stock up'? on the media you know you'll need in the near future. While I'm no CFO, I can tell you if the CMO of my company came to me and explained that by spending a small fee for planning media now, the marketing budget could decrease next year while allowing the company to market like the larger competitors, guess what I'd say? So get planning'?¦..
With every step forward we should first take two steps back to see what we've learned. So as we look at digital marketing, let's first take two steps back. Step one, the start of the internet. As the first websites were being developed a brand new concept was introduced ' the idea of a 'content pool.'? Suddenly one 'pool'? of content could be sliced and diced and then generated dynamically based on what the reader wanted to see. It was no longer necessary to do flat page layouts. The unique value proposition (UVP) of internet publishing was established ' customized dynamic content ' and the internet exploded. Step two, the growth of social media. As web publishing technology became free and easy to use, and broadband became commonplace at home, consumers became web publishers. The definition of 'mass media'? changed. Wikipedia became the new encyclopedia and YouTube became the newest TV network. The UVP of digital publishing was established ' media by the masses for the masses ' and digital publishing exploded. So what have we learned? Once you remove the artificial barriers it becomes easy to establish the UVP for something and then watch it grow. So it stands to reason that if we remove the barriers that currently exist in digital marketing, we should be able to quickly identify the UVP and watch it grow. Why separate earned from paid media ' social from commercial content ' or advertising from search? Why can't we approach digital marketing with one 'budget pool'? to leverage one 'media pool'?? That's the true UVP of digital marketing ' one budget and one strategy can cut across all digital media channels to effectively engage your target. So I challenge you to take this approach. Establish one budget for digital marketing. It doesn't matter what percentage goes to PR versus search ' or how much effort is placed on social media versus display advertising. It is about maximizing the impact of those dollars based on how your target consumes (and publishes) digital content. If they start with search then make sure you have a solid SEO and SEM program (including mobile) in place first and then consider social. If they spend hours on Facebook and Twitter then join the conversation on their terms and then think about advertising. If you are a direct marketer create an affiliate program across the web, mobile and On Demand TV. In digital marketing, one plus one equals success.