MNeely | Adweek
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MNeely

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consumer in their quest for information, perhaps even leading to a sale. Yippee! But it's not organic alone. Let's go back to theme of my media-freakish day. It's a combination of the four C's that will increasingly dictate the rule of the media land, how things "stack up," if you will: control, convenience, customization and community.

We know that control, convenience, customization and community in combination are what drive more rapid consumer acceptance. Think iPod.

Consumers have control over their musical destiny and are no longer tethered to the radio. They can take this newfound freedom anywhere. They customize their own playlist, creating a personal musical "badge" or identity. And they are part of a larger iTunes/iPod community. That is why it took only two years for a quarter of teens to own an iPod. It took 13 years for a quarter of U.S. adults to own a cell phone.

Therefore, we think the key to success in the future will be to capitalize on what drives consumers to invite marketing into their lives. What drives marketing in the future will leverage this 4-C construct and create consumer "pull" for our marketing messages versus "push" of our ideals and advertising snippets onto a nonreceptive victim. Unfortunately, this is especially challenging for low-interest, commodity products and services.

The ability to glimpse into our media future also requires abandoning how we categorize communication vehicles. We can no longer view the advertising world as media types, because "media" as we know it are essentially delivery systems, like television, radio, out-of-home and the like. We must readjust our focus on content regardless of how it is delivered, as most forms of future marketing and communication will cross delivery platforms. We no longer stack media in "silos" (print, TV, etc.) on the left side of the flowchart, but as sight, sound and motion.

We also must rededicate our attention to consumers, not just as a large, amorphous purchasing group, but as individual media consumers. What aligns our customer base might have little to do with demographics and everything to do with the audience's particular life stages. A "target audience" could be a traditional demographic, a mindset, a peer-to-peer network of strangers. The old definitions no longer apply.

The implications to our current economic models are vast. Targeting by subsegments and affinity groups requires multiple and specific creative executions. Measurement of most new media is unavailable, unbelievable or inconsistent. Most new-media concepts will require a leap of faith and the foreknowledge and expectation of multiple failures for every success.

Be it traditional or new media, the process is the same: weigh whether the concept is organic to the consumer's experience with the medium so that your brand will be invited into the consumer's life, and give it a once-over with the four C's to see if it has legs. If the least you can do is change that left side of your flowchart, it'll change your way of thinking. And you too can be stacked.