"Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half"
Well, you thought you knew the most key marketing trends of 2012 and forward? There is still one you may have missed, although it is likely to become central in the next quarters to come ; and that is synchronization.
For most adverstisers so far, media spending was (and still is) a mater of advanced planification. There is a goal: increase products output and revenue imput thanks to a media budget that must be carefully sliced and allocated according to the plan. "This year, we will engage with a very creative agency, increase our investment of x% and we will be more focused on direct marketing" is the way the business works.
In ten years though, the internet may have turned this way of working as old fashion if not completely has-been. In fact, online marketing is so real-time and ROI driven that planning and executing according to the initial plan is now perceived as foolish. The notion of dynamic is inherent to the execution mode. Would I detect a better way to increase my ROI, my investment would immediately be reallocated accordingly.
It is surprising that these methods haven't been adapted to the non-internet media world, that still represents.... 90% of the media spending globally ! Some would say that a billboard campaign cannot feed-back in real-time -and that seems true : apparently a billboard cannot count the number of people who view its ad, and even less the time they spent viewing it. Same for the tv advertising: watchers cannot click and therefore it is difficult to measure the real impact that the ads have compared to each others.
But there are many reasons to think that if marketing is still so much blind, it is more a matter of incapacity to change its dynamic than a matter of missing information. Actually information is everywhere, it is even overwhelming. A marketing director receives an average of 50 reports directly related to his media spending every... week. Reports from his creative agency -strategic planning would demonstrate that the brand's consumer are more eager to watch sport tv that go on the internet-, from the Media agency -last campaign has been a success given that the target population reminds of it- from the retailers -sales have decreased over the past weeks- etc. etc. It is not possible to know how many people view an ad on a certain tube station, but it is now possible to know quite accurately how many people were in that station a certain day.
The thing is that it has become quite difficult to deal with all this imputs, it comes in heterogeneous format, at different times, covering different time-slots. It works in a completely opposite system than the media on the internet where there exist some tool that let any marketer access to info such as traffic, ROI, social traffic (of any kind), location, demographic and so on.
SYNCHRONIZATION may then shortly become the new frontier in a business that sizes a mere 3 trillions dollars in media spending. Making this happening is just a question of mind shifting. So far, the marketing is this only enterprise division that cannot really measure its ROI. This may end soon ; and that day John Wanamaker's quote won't be right anymore.