[Posted by Shar VanBoskirk]
Within the last two weeks I’ve participated in digital workshops for two different globally recognizable CPG companies, each focused on promoting awareness and use of interactive channels among their brand managers. And I’ll tell you, after all we know about the cost effectiveness of interactive marketing and the pervasive use of internet technologies by consumers. Interactive is still a bitter pill for the brand marketers to swallow. Now don’t get me wrong, these firms were definitely bought into the theory of interactive (I mean, they were hosting several day workshops just to promote its use within their companies). My take was beyond the theory, interactive is just a tough, tough business for these types of firms to execute. Specifically:
Its hard to stop with the TV. You know that I believe television maintains a crucial role in the marketing mix even as we add more and more interactive channels to it. Yet, there is also no denying that the role of television as marketing channel is drastically changing. Accommodating this change is tough for brand advertisers who have been doing TV and doing it really well (both of the firms I met with are the number one companies in their respective industries in the world) for 30 odd years.
So, coming out of these meetings, my question is: What is the killer app that will move brand marketers to really embrace interactive? Is there one? Is it online video? Social media? Is it not an application, but rather a market condition that will act as this catalyst? An economic recession? Perhaps additional technology developments? Or continued competitive movement in the space? I think it is probably all of these forces continuing to push at all marketers that will foment gradual change – not a sudden switchover — among enterprise brand marketers. In the meanwhile, I think smaller, local manufacturers with smaller teams, a shorter legacy, and less to lose have an advantage over the big guys as they can easier flex to accommodate new media.