Unleash The Power Of Digital Out Of Home In Pakistan

These are signs of changing times and they are everywhere. Banks, retail stores, exhibitions, malls, airports, restaurants — digital signage is being mounted at all these places. Enter the world where flat screens offer high-quality, value-added marketing content.

Digital signage is a broad term used to describe the integration of a variety of technologies, including software, that culminate in a single end result — a unique and powerful communications medium that provides unparalleled opportunities for marketers to capture audience’s attention, educate and inform, build brands, improve customer experiences and drive sales through the use of digitally powered signs (such as plasma display panels, liquid crystal displays (LCDs), kiosk stations (such as ATMs, computer monitors and normal televisions) to replace and enhance traditional media such as posters, outdoor billboards, etc. The concept has been around for some time, but now digital signage is fully coming into its own since the days of the dot matrix display boards, the first usage of this technology.


Digital signage is now a viable and affordable alternative to traditional printed signage because the prices of display hardware have tumbled. Thus this new medium of Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) (also known as out-of-home advertising, in-store TV, captive audience TV, digital signage or dynamic digital display) looks set to offer advertisers one of the most targeted and powerful ways of reaching consumers. The type of content on this type of signage can vary. Pakistani marketers looking to improving the effectiveness of their marketing communication are fast replacing the static point-of-sale signage, especially in today’s multimedia world, where it doesn’t have the POP! it used to.

Aside from content such as TV ads, messaging on DOOH can also provide a website address, mobile number or even an IVR, which, when dialled, provides a pre-recorded message specific to the ad display location for exhibit, product or other information. DOOH can also be made interactive with sensors, touch-screens and other interactive devices which can be installed alongside these displays, allowing content to respond when consumers pass by. This enables the customer to fully engage in the communications experience, and this also provides valuable marketing data.

Dynamic dimensions

There are several dimensions of this technology, including comprehensive control over how, when and where your messages are delivered, based on the location or time of the day. This is called narrowcasting. Narrowcasting involves streaming specific data to specific audiences as opposed to traditional broadcasting, which targets a great swath of general viewers.

Digital advertising makes it possible to present messages on multiple DOOH displays through eye-catching dynamic content targeted by demographic, psychographic and geographic specifications, besides other customer-defined business rules such as the time of day, store zone, etc. Since the content can be changed or updated at any time from a remote computer containing the solution’s administration software, the displays are designed to show product information to consumers with the hope of encouraging sales that would not normally occur according to consumer’s traditional shopping patterns e.g., on a given day, different ads for a clothing store might be presented to reach the young people between 18-25 year olds through displays at bus shelters, coffee shops, on campus, in food courts, petrol stations, bank machines and in malls, depending on the time of the day they are likely to be there in large numbers.

This kind of specific targeting allows a marketer to communicate their message to the audience at critical junctures and cuts down the total spending on ads. The greatest strength, however, of digital signage lies in its immediacy. Digital signage enables “speed to messaging”, “faster time to market” and communications flexibility when content creation, composition, management, transport and presentation are all done digitally.

This allows the cost-effective re-purposing of ads across media platforms, since digital signage networks are largely automated and remotely controlled. This enables the launching of new communications campaigns with zero courier costs, no on-site personnel requirements and total security. Thus digital signs can literally be reprogrammed with the latest advertising campaign, price change or public message at the click of a mouse button. One mouse click and thousands of screens update automatically.

This also has the benefit of eliminating out-of-date messages to increase relevancy of messages for the consumer – no more posters or messages from last month’s campaign fluttering around. In the future, these signs will also be able to influence inventory and supply chain by promoting products that are in an over-supply and cutting off promotions of products that are out of stock at that location. Targeted, informative content that changes behaviour, such is the power that every marketer dreams of.

Also, since DOOH presents digital messages at the point-of-purchase, it brings “the power of place” (how our surroundings shape our thoughts, emotions, and actions) to life. There is currently no other medium which makes it possible to deliver compelling content at the right location at the right time for maximum impact, for example it is a known fact that over 75 per cent of buying decisions are made at the point of purchase (Source: POPAI). Setting up a digital signage at a shopping mall or retail outlet can influence purchasing right where it’s about to happen. This is what sets digital signage apart from traditional media. It allows you to run purpose-built, meaningful content that can be managed to meet the consumer experience.

DOOH also has been reported to increase customer dwell time. Dwell time is the period during which a dynamic process remains halted in order that another process may occur, e.g. a person stops to glance over at a range of biscuits in a super market. Retail studies have shown that the longer the dwell time, the higher the number of sales.
The use of DOOH has also been reported to enhance the customer experience through value-added ‘edutainment’. In waiting rooms, e.g., such as the doctor’s office, pharmacies, railway stations or banks, these displays reduce perceived wait time. People really enjoy watching the educational programming on these displays and believe that the time spent was less than it really was improving customer satisfaction.


Setting up a basic signage is as simple as plugging a DVD player and a DVD with your ad into a display console and putting it up in a shop. However, for a proper DOOH, the components needed for a digital signage system include: an authoring console equipped with content management software, allowing the playback of content in a variety of playback formats, a server to which finished content is uploaded and from where it is distributed to the different displays of the network, a distribution infrastructure consisting of a data network or fibre optic or CAT5 cable which broadcasts media from the server to the displays and digital signage displays which can be plasma displays, LCD monitors, CRT monitors or kiosk stations.

The distribution infrastructure is perhaps the most important part of digital signage, and choosing the correct distribution technology is a crucial element of any digital signage project. To date, the most common distribution infrastructure in Pakistan has been the data network platform, most commonly seen in the top retail stores of the country.

A data network platform uses a computer network infrastructure in order to transmit content in the form of compressed multimedia files (such as MPEG files) from the management station to the central server and from there to the computer connected to the display device. The central server handles distribution to multiple displays and the display-end computer decompresses the file for display on the display device. This solution requires a dedicated CPU in every single display device deployed.

While offering better approaches and new paradigms of message targeting, DOOH is typically sold on a rental basis. Thus the technology’s inherent capabilities for message targeting combined with attractive rates make DOOH attractive, providing high return on marketing investment. And the best part of it all is that marketers can maximize display value with measurable effectiveness, tallying sales data to the message that was being run on these screens.


The greatest interest in digital signage today is from the banking, telecom and retail sectors, although it does have other uses in healthcare, education and other displays of information, e.g. an average retail store has a footfall of over 500 people per day who can watch these ads and the preliminary results of studies by local major players show that a dynamic content’s impact is higher than that of static media on these locations. So it’s no surprise that the potential for this technology is huge.

Telecom franchises number well over 1600 alone, there are over 5000 high-end retail shops where this technology can be deployed and high-end banking branches number well over 4500.

As one of the suppliers and pioneers in this field, 3M Pakistan is currently assessing the potential of bringing this technology into Pakistan. They’ve already launched one of the components of DOOH amongst their range of products, Vikuiti, which is a range of projection display components. Vikuiti has been tested at over 50 locations in Pakistan so far and have been proven to be an excellent choice, surpassing the metrics of reach, frequency and recall over static media. Within one year of its introduction Vikuiti has already hit the targeted numbers for this market and is growing fast, slowly converting the POS market in Pakistan.

According to Dr Hugh Philips, a cognitive psychologist, human beings “select” or “de-select” what they notice based on the relevance of what is presented. That being the case, motion video and animation coming and going on a dynamic display has a high probability of being seen, and relevant or interesting messages can then fulfil the objectives. The numbers are already promising. Viewers are five to 10 times more likely to notice and recall dynamic media than static media (Source: POPAI).

It’s a high-definition world, and today’s time-starved consumers demand more from their experiences, thus using digital signage can make for happier and more energised customers. With its superior ability to target specific messages towards defined audiences and get noticed, digital signage offers unparalleled opportunities to anyone wanting to capture the ever fragmented audiences’ attention, educate and inform people, build brands and drive sales and profitability.

The advantages of digital signage

• Reaches defined audiences
• Targeted messaging
> Target your messages by screen, location, time or day
> Enables tactical marketing by audience segment
• Captures audience attention
> Increases message impact through eye-catching dynamic
> Enhances the customer’s experience through value-added
> Increases customer dwell time and reduces perceived wait time
• Speed and immediacy of message change
> Reduces time and cost to produce and deploy new messages
> Eliminates out-of-date messages to increase relevancy of
• Ensures local compliance with auditable playback
> Automated playback with no human interaction
> Compare proof-of-play reports to sales data
• Maximises display value with measurable effectiveness
> Creates content schedules containing multiple messages
per signage asset
> Easily tests different message executions and assesses the
impact of each

Published: Dawn Newspaper, Sci-Tech

For More Information on MI Digital’s Digital Signage Solutions, please visit www.midigital.co


Digital Marketing Workshop At Karachi Mariott Hotel, 17th March 2010

It’s finally here. I’ve decided to take the plunge.

I’m offering a comprehensive one-day workshop on Digital marketing for the people involved in marketing & branding. The workshop, which will feature proven techniques for engaging customers at every step of the purchase funnel will be held on March 17th from 9 AM – 5PM and will be hosted at the Mariott Hotel in Karachi, Pakistan. It’s the perfect solution for ongoing training and continuous professional development requirements for all levels of staff, from trainees to senior execs and heavyweights.

Course description

This workshop will provide a fast track understanding of Pakistan’s digital landscape and the elements involved in developing strategies as well as the high level considerations when implementing digital campaigns.

The workshop will look at trends in Pakistan’s digital landscape, what the impact of these trends are on consumers and their media consumption, industry best practices and standards as well as new and innovative uses of the technology in advertising. The workshop also addresses the issues and challenges facing agencies and marketers in adapting their organization to the new digital landscape.

The discussion group format will enable participants to be exposed to the latest in digital marketing as well share experiences and exploring common areas of concern or confusion in the adoption of digital tools.

Why This Workshop

The ad inventory that has been sold for the last 50 years no longer works and marketers have started to figure that out. With declining returns on traditional media campaigns, marketers are increasingly looking for ways to get more out of their budgets in a media landscape that fragments more every year. Digital offers possibilities to do that.

In this workshop you will learn why:

1. Digital Is Not About ‘The Internet’

2. Digital Marketing Is Not About ‘Online Banners’, ‘SEO’, ‘Social Media’, ‘SMS Marketing,’ and so forth

3. Digital Is About Behaviors, Not Technology

4. Digital Marketing Is About Stories & Values, Not Channels Per Se…

5. Why Every Screen, Interface or Object Is An Opportunity For Dialogue, Interaction, Response & Collaboration.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course participants will:

  • Have a sound understanding of the general principles of digital marketing.
  • Be conversant with relevant technologies, devices and opportunities for digital communications campaigns.
  • Have increased confidence and inspiration for the development of strategic and creative digital communication campaigns
  • Understand how to integrate digital into the overall marketing mix.

The e-brochure is posted below:

Digital Marketing Workshop Brochure

For registration please contact Mr. Arsalaan Haleem at arsalaan@corporatetrainings.biz. The course fee is Rs. 8500 ($100) only.

For the first time, instead of focusing on just one set of digital tools, this workshop will show the participants how they can engage their customers using the multitude of tools that digital offers at the different stages of the customer’s purchase cycle, whilst at the same time keep tabs on the bottom line.The workshop will also focus on how to integrate the digital experience into traditional marketing campaigns.

Here’s a Peek into what’s going to be presented at the conference:

Digital Workshop Journey

For comments or questions, do let me know. Looking forward to meeting you there.

From The Archives (2008) – Marketing 2.0

Marketing 2.0
Published Dawn, Aurora, Jul 2008

by Umair Mohsin

What is the future of advertising? Simply there isn’t any. At least not as we know it. Trever Edwards, the vice president of Nike in October, 2007, sounded the death knell for the traditional ways of how we advertise, when he said “We’re not in the business of keeping the media companies alive, we’re in the business of connecting with consumers”.

Worldwide, the trends are the same. In the US, the country’s third-largest advertiser (General Motors) is getting ready to shift fully half of its $3 billion budget into digital and one-to-one marketing within the next 3 years. P&G Canada, has vowed to boost online spending from 3% of its media budget to as much as 20% for the company’s fiscal year that starts July 1. How soon before P&G Pakistan will follow suit? Research shows that 65% of all marketing spend in Asia in 2007 had no effect on the consumer. Yet still 70% of all Asian marketers are not tracking the effectiveness of their spending, many simply because they don’t know how to.

Yet as more and more consumers integrate digital technology into their daily lives, they are also increasingly exercising control of how they view, interact with and filter advertising in a multichannel world.  Already the integration of technology (multi-screen media consumption) is changing how we look at consumers. No longer are marketers describing consumption of content as being off-line and online or traditional and new but where and how the media is being consumed. The demarcation lines between old and new media have officially been eliminated. TV is increasingly being described as “lean back” interaction, as users are typically relaxing in the living room environment with a remote control in one hand. This is in contrast to the similarly slick marketing devised descriptor of the more active, personal computer-oriented “lean forward” experience of a keyboard, mouse and monitor especially used with gaming & consoles. The third form of media consumption is ‘On-The-Go’ with services such as Mobile TV provided by Telenor, digital outdoor & POS (such as 3M Vikuiti in Pakistan) or gaming gadgets like Sony PSP leading the way. It doesn’t end here however. Technology does not change any form of content or its inherent linearity but it is shifting how we control the viewing of that content. DVRs are allowing users to time shift content. iTV such as PTCL Smart already allows on-demand media and interaction directly. Thus even in Pakistan, we have the hyper-fragmentation of the audience and more and more advertising will now have to become integrated across multiple platforms of the ‘Digital Lifestyle’ if it is to work. This is the underpinning of the rise of Marketing 2.0.

Simply put if the web 2.0 is the network as a platform, spanning across all connected devices like PCs, mobiles, gaming consoles, etc, than Marketing 2.0 is about those platforms that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of these platforms. This is very different from the old school forms of marketing, especially since the old schools were not of an interactive nature.

The oldest marketing model was Transactional (communicate what it is and what it does) in its nature. The value was created by what the company was offering and consumers were passive buyers waiting to be targeted with offers. The role of the marketer was ‘to define & create value for firms’, whilst interaction with customers then meant researches or surveys of consumer’s habits.

In the second chapter of marketing, we were bombarded with the ‘Relationship marketing’ model whereby ‘maximizing the lifetime value of the consumer’ was the end goal of marketing. Firms focused to attract, develop and retain the most profitable consumer segments over the maximum number of years.

The new marketing 2.0 model is very different. With the rise of technology and gadgets, consumers have now became Pro-sumers, active participants in the marketing’s value creation. The 2.0 version is about creating ‘Tribes’ or Identification (Who you are) through experiences. This has been brought about through a confluence of a number of trends like participation (from consumer to creator), personalization & collaboration (from pushing content to pulling content), democratization of market access (from a few big advertisers to a lot of little ones) and richer online apps (from desktop apps to the internet cloud & rich media). The role of marketing 2.0 is ‘to engage customers in defining and co-creating value’ through Active Dialogue. Value is ‘maximizing the co-created experiences’.

What it means for marketers is that consumers are no longer at the end of the marketing process. They now refuse to just consume what the marketers throw at them and want to be an inherently part of the marketing process – being part of the conversation. Infact many consumers are becoming vendors themselves of products and even of media in some cases – the role of the traditional agency. Even in Pakistan, opinion formers are popping up in the most unexpected of places with blogs especially becoming very powerful in shaping consumer responses (google ‘PTCL Broadband’ or ‘Link Dot Net Problems’ for an idea). Borders between advertising and PR is blurring.

New marketing buzzwords like Engagement & Excitement are already following on the heels of this revolution, becoming the new mantra, whilst traditional metrics such as Reach & Frequency can no longer cater to measuring the quality of engagement and excitement that is now needed for marketing to these attention deficient consumers. With the beginning of the end of mass media, Advertisers already are starting to demand more individual-specific and involvement based measurements, putting increasing pressure on the traditional mass-market model. Already in Pakistan, the Marcom Mix is shifting from Exposure To Engagement through new formats such as branded entertainment featuring reality based shows (Princess of Pantene, Lux Style Awards, etc), branded adver-games (GilletteChampions.com), branded portals (Tapal’s chillkaro.com), branded talk shows (Nido Taare Humaray), branded game shows, On-ground activations and more. In light of this trend, I predict that the majority of advertising revenue will shift from impression-based formats to impact-based formats within the next five years.

With hyper-fragmentation, the PPC (Price Per Contact) Cost is also rising over time, so more and more marketers are demanding optimized media and sales based results. Expect the 2.0 terms like ROI, Cost Per Lead, Cost Per Conversion, Sales Funnel Consideration and Stickiness to enter our marketers jargon soon.

One of the keys to successful marketing in the 2.0 age is hooking into the Zeitgeist e.g. in Pakistan, over the last 12 months, Facebook has been the fastest growing search term on Google, a testament to the numbers of users from Pakistan joining the ‘Social Networking’ revolution, whilst the 2nd & 3rd Top most searched terms this year have been Urdu (showing how much people would value content in their language online) & Yahoo! respectively. The 6th most searched term is ‘games’ and 8th is wall-papers. Goal.com is the 97th most popular site in Pakistan, lending credence to the revival of soccer in Pakistan. I don’t know how many marketers have noticed these insights. With the way things are going however, in the near future it’s not difficult to imagine, the marketer managing the impact of his campaign through a “dashboard” that delivers real-time metrics and analysis across all of their advertising platforms. Gone are the days of “hoping” advertising works. Marketing 2.0 is and will be a world where the marketer has full control of the effectiveness of their marketing spends.

The next 5 years will hold more change for the advertising industry than the previous 50 did. Increasingly empowered consumers, more self-reliant advertisers and ever-evolving technologies will redefine how advertising is sold, created, consumed and tracked. There is no question that the future of advertising & marketing will look radically different from its past. As advertising budgets shift to new formats and shape the future advertising market, control of marketing revenues and power will hinge on four key market drivers: attention, creativity, measures and advertising inventories. Whether agencies in Pakistan will be able to cope, I do not know.

Traditional advertising players – broadcasters, distributors and advertising agencies – will get squeezed unless they can successfully implement consumer, business model and business design innovation to incorporate these new realities of life – the trends toward creative populism, personalized measurements, interactivity, open inventory platforms and greater consumer control. This means that many of the skills and capabilities that were the mainstay of success in the past will need refinement, transformation or even outright replacement.

The printing press did for communication what the Internet is doing for marketing. Both changed the medium of mass communication and both revolutionized the way things get done. Digital technology is slowly but surely reaching critical mass in Pakistan and already we are beginning to see a merging of the “old” and the “new” ways. The push for control of attention, creativity, measurements and inventory will reshape the advertising value chain and shift the balance of power. For both incumbents and new players, it is imperative to plan for multiple consumer futures, craft agile strategies and build new capabilities before advertising as we know it disappears. Here’s some food for thought for those who still want to cling to the old ways of advertising. Our kids are already growing up with the ability to watch pretty much what they want when they want. As they get older, do you think they’re going to accept anything less than that?

Dalda Instore Digital Activation

Dalda Logo

Dalda Foods Pvt. Ltd. has recently engaged with their customers through an Instore Activation. Tuesday handled everything from ideation to the execution of the activity.

Dalda customers buying 10 KG/ Liters of their products got a chance to play ‘Dalda’s Wheel of Fortune’ and win great prizes like passes to the Dalda’s Iftar being held at the Maritime Museum in Karachi whilst in Lahore & Islamabad Dalda customers could win the Dalda Cooking Kit. Customers also had a chance to win Olive Oil Bottles and Dalda Dastarkhwan Magazine.

The activity is being conducted in 15 modern trade outlets in the three metros namely all Makro outlets, Imtiaz Store, Al-Fateh, Hyperstar, MySuperStore, etc from the 10th of August to the 31st of August.

This is what you’ll see when you approach the game after buying Dalda products from the store.

First the brand ambassador will tell you about the activity, the prizes and how to play the game.

She’ll tell you about the three prizes you can win if you purchase a 10 Liters / KG products. In Karachi, the highest prize is the Dalda Iftar Coupon (worth Rs. 600).

In Lahore / Islamabad the highest prize is the ‘Dalda Cooking Kit’.

She’ll also tell you that you can win prizes other prizes too such as DKD or Olive Oil Bottles.

After this, simply press the Dalda Logo on the Touch Screen and press ‘Start’. You have three turns /chances to win prizes.

Dalda Wheel Of Fortune

Head on down to the store today. Happy Winning. 🙂

Youve Won

The Future Of The Media Agency

PHD on the Future of the Media Agency

June 25, 2009

-By Mark Holden

Source: http://www.adweek.com/aw/content_display/data-center/research/e3i4993a5c32cf65e0308acb68d773e6ab8

Making predictions for what’s going to happen in media next week is hard, let alone undergo the ambitious challenge of trying to second guess the next five years. However, we believe our vision, which is based on rigorous research, conversations with key influencers and the collation of pertinent data and statistics, is not far-fetched. In fact, most of the predictions we make are grounded in today’s reality; we are building the foundations now for a future-proof media agency in five years. So, take a trip into the future with us, use your imagination and tell us what you think.

Fast-Forward to the Future

It’s 2014. You’re walking into a global media agency that you last visited five years ago. The first thing you notice is that it does not appear to be organized too differently from how you remember it, apart from the fact that much of the buying process now looks like it is automated. There are client teams scattered around the agency, composed of a range of different specialists: a couple of TV buyers, a radio buyer, an online buyer and duo of planners. So far, so similar. However, on closer inspection you realize that there are some key differences. For a start, the TV buyers no longer call themselves TV buyers but instead are AV (audiovisual) buyers and their remit covers TV and online. They also seem to be talking about targeting and consumer behavior data much more than they did in the past.

You overhear a client-planning meeting and you realize that most planners aren’t even called planners anymore. They’re MIMs — marketing investment managers. It looks like their role is now to advise the client on all aspects of his marketing strategy, from whether the brand should change its packaging to whether he should launch a new variant or product. Their role has clearly evolved significantly over the last five years. They seem to be much more multi-skilled and referring to a host of different research experts in the brainstorming meetings from consumer psychologists to neuroexperts to social anthropologists to new product development managers.

Some client teams appear to be populated by product placement specialists, who are on the lookout for opportunities in events and linear broadcast content, as well as ad-funded games and ad-funded widgets. There are a couple of software developers too, who are creating ad-funded applications and experiences on social networking sites. Other teams also have creatives from a sister creative agency, who now work beside the planners and buyers. All these specialists work in the agency’s content creation department. It’s much, much bigger than it was in 2009 and has become a mini quasi-creative agency in itself.

Other client teams have mobile planners and buyers and there’s a new breed of digital marketer. They are calling themselves DRM’s, or digital relationship managers, and are in the business of building and maintaining huge databases of consumers. Apparently they’re a great source of ideas for planners, and clients even ask to audit these databases as part of the pitch process.

Long gone are the days when all the media agency did was plan and buy a campaign.

How Did We Get Here?

First, we thought hard about how the consumer will be using technology in five years. After all, technology is the biggest driver of change in the evolution of the media landscape. If we can accurately predict what technology will catch on with consumers, then this will lead us to what the media agency will look like in the future.

At Home

Expect a technological infrastructure at home that will enable consumers to instantaneously download several types of content simultaneously in high definition with no lag time. We predict that in five years mainstream audiences in most developed markets will be able to download 100+ Mbps per second. To put this in context, in 2008 a typical home-achieved download speed was between 0.8 – 3.5 Mbps. Consequently, consumers will be streaming instead of broadcasting content. And they will be able to access multiple channels, games and applications on one screen simultaneously. Similarly, there will be huge advancements in storage technology, which will enable consumers to store much more content for access at their convenience. Connectivity speeds and bandwidth capacity will also have advanced beyond recognition. Already we are seeing improvements in this arena with the investment of companies such as Verizon and AT&T in fiber optic networks.

The home will be more connected to the consumer than ever before. Through handheld devices like the mobile phone, consumers will be able to link to their hard drive at home, which in turn will link to home appliances and their car.

On the Move

We can safely say by 2014 that there will be seismic advances in battery power and storage capacity of handheld devices. Already we are seeing vast improvements in these areas. Wireless Internet access will also have improved beyond recognition. In five years it will no longer be about 3G but 4G, otherwise known as WiMax or WiFi on steroids. Not only will this be eight times faster than 3G, but it will also be considerably cheaper.

We’ll keep seeing our handheld devices getting smaller, thinner and lighter. There will be a sharp increase in the amount of HIP’s, or highly intuitive products, that will incorporate the latest advancements in voice recognition, electronic ink and scroll-out displays, touch screens, image recognition (augmented reality) and correlation-based software.

For example, in five years mobile phones will have satellite navigation and correlation-based information so users know where they are and what’s around them, enabling them to search for anything relevant. And search will be much more dynamic too; results will be tailored to our exact needs with, for instance, information presented as videos, tables, charts, animations and databases. Early examples of this can be seen with MSN’s Bing and Google Squared.

Which Technology Will ‘Liberate’ the Consumer?

Predicting what technology will really captivate consumers and change the media market is not always easy. While technologists love complex technology with all the bells and whistles, consumers just want apps that make their lives easier. Whether consumers know it or not, they are on a quest to be everywhere, with everyone, with everything, at every moment. Any piece of technology that has ever been successful has, in some way, moved the consumer one step further on this journey.

The surprise success of SMS texting technology is a prime example of this. Technologists rubbished the primitive, limited, text-only technology, but consumers couldn’t move their fingers quick enough around their mobile keypads, rapidly inventing a text short-hand language.

Why did this basic black-and-white messaging system of only 160 characters resonate so strongly with the consumer? Because it offered them a quantum leap in communication: near-instantaneous, non-verbal communication on the move. You could say that SMS text messaging liberated consumers. We believe the level of success of a technology is directly related to the level to which it liberates the consumer.

But which technologies will prove most liberating in five years’ time? If we can answer this question, we can determine what the media landscape will look like in 2014. In our opinion, the most liberating technologies will be those that blur traditional boundaries, such as the mobile phone and the PC or the TV and the Internet. The most successful media and media technology will be those that reflect the fluidity of human nature, which is not fixed into separate compartments.

‘Blurs’ and What They Mean for the Media Agency of the Future

We’ve identified five “blurs” that will shape the media landscape in 2014. Beside each one we’ve explained how the merging of traditional boundaries will affect how a media agency operates.

Blur 1: TV and Online

By 2014, a high percentage of homes in developed markets will be watching content streamed over the Internet, as opposed to being broadcast over the airwaves. We’ll also reach the tipping point when all major TV channels, and production houses, stream and make all their content available online. It’s happening already in major markets, particularly America. Just look at Hulu.com (the Internet content system created by NBC and Fox and other networks and studios). And even the stalwarts are playing – ABC has embraced the merging of TV and online and even launched its own branded news channel on YouTube in May (www.youtube.com/ABCNews).

With sites like YouTube uploading thousands of new videos every day, consumers are getting used to consuming broadcast content online and soon – when the TV and the computer finally merge in the living room – they will be able to sit at home using TV-based search to find the content they want, when they want. This will be driven forward by the convergence that we are about to witness within the TV market: the replacement for the plasma screen you bought last year will incorporate a hard-drive (an Intel chip) and an Ethernet cable. And we will be able to stream content directly into the TV or over the top of broadcast content in the form of applications that enhance the viewing experience. Imagine sports stats, wiki-information about the program, actors, place or even on-the-fly blogging about the content. It is coming.

What Does This Mean for the Media Agency?

Naturally, this will lead to a merging of TV and online buying and measurement. This is already happening. Nielsen launched its TV/Internet Convergence Panel in late 2008.

Media agencies will have to merge TV buying with online buying to create an AV (audiovisual) buying department – or simply expand their online departments and shrink, and ultimately close, their TV buying departments. Traditional TV buyers will see their roles change and remits widen. This movement to streaming content will give marketers the opportunity to achieve an unprecedented level of interaction with consumers. This will mean that TV buyers will play a much more important role in targeting, ad serving and ongoing campaign management. Expect to see behavioral targeting TV planning. This will allow for an even more advanced form of targeting and interaction than we are currently seeing with cable-based addressable TV.

Blur 2: Mobile Phones and the PC

Think for a minute about the iPhone. It seems to have slipped from a future decade into ours, seamlessly bringing a host of applications we are more used to seeing on our PC to our handheld device. But by 2014, the mainstream audience will be using mobile devices with intuitive, touch-based controls, paper-effect or e-ink screens, image recognition (augmented reality), high-definition resolution and a constant connection to the Internet. We’re already seeing other players like Sony Ericsson, LG and Samsung launching touch phones, and the technology will only continue to improve – rapidly.

By 2014, the development of mobile phone applications will also be revolutionary. Software for mobile phones like the now-fledgling Google Android and other new entrants will, in five years’ time, be commonplace. Android is open source, which means that anyone can create mobile applications for it. For example, developers can come up with new ideas based on the latest innovations to make functions like texting, using the camera or making calls a richer experience for users. Google Wave — a new platform that converges e-mail, instant messenger, wiki-software and microblogging – will dramatically reorganize how we communicate. This will enable other companies to build their own software from this platform. By 2014, it is highly likely that brands will create their own versions that will be free – de-positioning Microsoft Outlook. Consumers will be able to create a phone tailored exactly to their interests and needs. They will also be able to make use of location-based services such as Google’s Latitude, which will be much more sophisticated in five years. As a result, users will be able to, for instance, be alerted when their friends are in the vicinity — or their favorite brands. All these new applications will provide a wealth of new advertising and ad-funded opportunities.

What Does This Mean for the Media Agency?

Mobile marketing will go from being a niche media channel to being a high-reach and high-segmentation channel. We know that mobile phone users typically choose ad-funded content in favor of content they have to pay for, which bodes well for advertiser opportunities. Although there will naturally be some crossover between mobile and fixed-line Internet, the different opportunities on mobile, such as geo-targeting, will lead to mobile specialists working within media agencies. At the very least, we will see one or two digital planners/buyers who specialize in mobile planning and buying. At the very most, we will see the launch of independent specialist media agencies that do nothing else except plan and buy mobile marketing campaigns.

Blur 3: Entertainment and Advertising

With the increase in the number of TV stations around the world, we have witnessed a huge surge in the amount of advertising inventory available. This has placed, and will continue to place, growing pressure on the creative industries for quality content. But, with the explosion in the number of channels and the resulting drop in audience figures, many production teams have seen their budgets slashed as TV stations grapple with falling advertising revenues. This is where advertisers have a perfect opportunity to step in and lend a helping hand, both by creating more quality content, through branded content, and driving up program makers’ revenues, through product placement. In many markets, regulators are continuing to relax the current rules on product placement, which will only serve to increase this channel’s importance.

Online and on interactive TV platforms we have also seen a growth in marketing campaigns which bring brands to life through applications such as games. The early forays into this area have seen an increased level of engagement, resulting in dramatic increases in brand preference scores, albeit for smaller audiences. Internet gaming enables games to reach much larger audiences, but to date the cost has been prohibitive. However, this is set to change with some of the major games producers starting to embrace the ad-funded model. For example, in January 2008 Electronic Arts was able to launch its first free online video game, Battle Heroes, due to ad-funding. The major tipping point for advertising within games is predicted to arrive between late 2009 and early 2010, when a new streaming high-definition gaming site launches called OnLive. OnLive is set to dramatically reorganize the gaming sector by allowing users to play the highest quality games without buying. And because it is live, advertisers will be able to place ads into games by region with as much ease as placing an online banner campaign. We are also expecting to see game designers no longer hard-coding in cars and other products and instead having them as caching opportunities. Thus, Mercedes can insert different models by region, even after the game has been launched. So, by 2014 ad-funded gaming will be commonplace.

Another major growth area is ad-funded apps — an app being tech-speak for an online application that can be downloaded onto a social networking site. Ad-funded apps have already been created on social networking sites like Facebook and mobile platforms such as the iPhone. We believe it will not be long before we see widgets become brands in their own right. There are signs of this happening now. One example is RadicalBuy, a classified sales site on Facebook where users can buy and sell items from/to their friends, as well as selling their friends’ items for commission.

What Does This Mean for the Media Agency?

Creating content will become a much bigger and more important part of a media agency’s remit. At present, all of the major networks have content creation departments but, by 2014, these will be sizeable revenue generators. In fact, these departments will grow to become mini quasi-creative agencies, taking on more creative tasks and working alongside or even in competition with creative agencies. Media agencies will offer their clients a channel-led, full-service approach.

They will be staffed by a vast array of specialists, from product placement experts to software developers. The latter will be tasked with creating innovative digital assets and have close relationships with third-party software houses, working with them to create ad-funded applications. Software was heralded as “the new media” at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show. By 2014 this will no longer be a “new” concept, but rather an accepted part of the media mix. Pioneering media agencies will also be seeking to share in the value created from these new branded products.

Blur 4: Consumer and Publisher

It is now hackneyed to say that the consumer is the new journalist. There are now approximately 20 million independent Weblogs, and most Google searches list user-generated content (UGC) on the first page. Bloggers are increasingly becoming media owners in their own right with a growing number influencing the influencers: a recent survey of 5,000 journalists found that 75 percent used blogs for research and many newspapers actually referencing blogs in copy. This has huge implications for brands, which can be damaged or boosted by the opinions of the satisfied or disgruntled.

Over the next five years blogs will become increasingly sophisticated with higher quality content, links to other sites, RSS feeds, online applications, video and images. Some blogs are already doing this, such as http://www.eventful.com, which combines an RSS feed of forthcoming gigs overlaid onto Google Maps and then integrated with free music downloads from other sites. And sites such as Stumble and Digg index the high-ranking blogs. The influence of these blogging opinion formers will continue and those most active in the blogging sphere – teenagers – will also be a key consumer group in terms of spending in five years’ time. This represents an opportunity and a threat for advertisers.

By 2014, bloggers will also increasingly be looking to profit from their opinions. It is easy to imagine a situation whereby pioneering bloggers create their content, embed it with Google AdWords and post it as an RSS feed, receiving advertising revenue from the resulting clicks on ads. This will lead to the advent of “super influencers” – high-quality bloggers whose content is liberated and propagated by many. Understanding this ecosystem is going to become more and more important, particularly for high-value product categories where consumers undergo significant research before making a decision about, for example, cars and holidays.

What Does This Mean for the Media Agency?

Understanding how to influence the influencers will be crucial. As the IPA Future Foundation Report predicted in its study on agency requirements in 2016, communications agencies will have to become adept at online reputation management. For example, if a hotel client receives negative reviews on a hotel recommendation site, such as TripAdvisor.com, it will be the agency’s role to first alert the brand to this criticism and then advise on appropriate action to regain credibility. This could, for instance, be a posting from the CEO apologizing for any mistakes made and pledging to correct them as soon as possible. This has predominantly been the domain of the PR agencies, but there is no reason why media agencies cannot deliver this skill set.

Blur 5: Online and Real-Life Experience

Over the next five years we will see the “Y Generation” (the 16-30-year-olds of 2014) increasingly blur their online identities with their offline social lives. This age group is completely at ease with creating identities online, whether it is via an avatar, blog or social networking site. For younger kids, it is all they have known, with sites such as Webkinz and Disney’s Club Penguin currently proving popular. These social networking sites will continue to link to mobile phones in the future, tapping into the benefits of location-based data and opening up a whole new world where users can see where contacts are on a map of their area while interfacing with them through an avatar.

What Does This Mean for the Media Agency?

The implications will be similar to those outlined in Blur 3 and again expand the creative remit of media agencies. Agencies will employ software developers that understand these communities and can create engaging branded experiences for them. There are a few new consultancies starting to offer these services, but this will become mainstream by 2014.

Can we make any other predictions about what the media agency of 2014 will be like? Yes, we certainly can.

Prediction 1: By 2014, clients can expect the same level of control, accountability and transparency that they currently enjoy for direct media, for all media.

We can confidently say that clients will continue to challenge agencies to demonstrate the ROI of all communications. By 2014, clients can expect to see improved software systems that provide a similar level of control, accountability and transparency as they currently enjoy for direct media. This process will be accelerated by new players that offer clients total accountability of their marketing spend, such as Google TV, which not only serves relevant ads to viewers but can track every penny of an ad campaign. Over the next five years, agencies will follow Google’s lead and will have successfully developed models that allow clients to see the payback of all media. Debate is currently raging about how to do this effectively, but everyone agrees that well-maintained customer data is vital to any solution.

Prediction 2: The media agency will take the lead in driving forward this new age of accountability and transparency.

Media agencies are in a prime position to take the lead because they have vast databases storing historical learnings from thousands of previous campaigns spanning a vast range of media channels, from which predictive models can be created. Expect to see powerful channel planning systems in place in five years’ time. But why, you might ask, are media agencies in a better position than their creative, digital or direct counterparts to spearhead this specialism? Because media agencies tend to have longer and more senior relationships with clients and, so, a bigger bank of primary data from which they can build these databases and build connections. Also, more than any other type of agency, media agencies have had to transform and modernize for the changing media environment: they couldn’t differentiate themselves by creative work so they were forced to up their game in other areas — data being a key area. Additionally, they are the only type of agency that can truly claim to be channel-neutral in their approach.

Prediction 3: Econometric modelling will be cheaper and more widely available to clients.

Savvy media agencies continue to build the infrastructure to capture data because they know that this gives them the power to understand what drives consumers. Increasingly, agencies will combine all of their network learnings into dynamic software systems in order to create predictive models that can be updated with real-time information. Through economies of scale, this will lead to agencies reducing the price for econometric modelling (currently expensive) and running more tactical and cheaper models that can be made available to more clients.

Prediction 4: Agencies will automate wherever possible.

More and more of what media agencies do will become streamlined, optimized and automated by better software. Media agencies will do what Google already does and create automated media planning and buying software. Clients will have the option of operating this software themselves. In fact, PHD has already launched a first stage version of this software called “Director,” which allows the client to “direct” direct response campaigns. However, we predict that most clients will have no interest in operating this software and continue to handover the task of planning and buying campaigns to their agencies. Automation will also have an effect on digital, where the pressure to keep down costs will be relieved through more automated systems for campaign management.

What automation will mean for planning/strategy

The role of planning/strategy in five years’ time deserves special attention because we believe this function will undergo the biggest transformation. With all of this automation, strategists and planners will be freed up to deliver a much more sophisticated and evolved form of planning. This is just as well because, in five years’ time, planners will be faced with an even greater number of potential channels and ways of influencing a target audience.

In 2014, planners/strategists will be seen as “marketing investment managers” (MIMs). They will be valuable resources that clients can tap for ideas on all aspects of their business. Clients will ask planners/strategists questions such as: Should we spend more or less on advertising? Should we change our packaging? Should we create a new variant? Should we enter a partnership? Should we launch a new product?

It’s true that media agencies before now have not invested enough in strategy. This is why small strategy shops sprung up in the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, investing in strategy-supporting resources is now a priority for global networks. In five years’ time, we believe there will be a number of new resources to support planners/strategists so they can fulfill this wider role, such as:

* Psychological-based research: to better understand how communications affect cognition. PHD is already a big investor in fMRI scanning, which we have invested in since 2005 with the launch of our global planning product, Neuroplanning. Other players have made similar investments. By 2014, leading communications agencies will have neuroexperts and consumer psychologists working in-house.

* Marketing investment planning software: This tool will be created by combining analysis of historical client activity with secondary source research such as TGI and MRI, providing a powerful new channel-planning tool. Omnicom Media Group’s BrandScience has already started doing this.

* Scenario planning tools based on computational marketing (also known as game theory): This takes into account how a host of factors affect a market (such as distribution, climate and word of mouth) and derive planning insights that are not evident from traditional planning techniques. Weather forecasters, for example, are currently using similar approaches. This will enable clients to scenario plan different strategies and see the effects on sales. This will give clients that invest in them an unrivalled competitive advantage. PHD is already working with Fleetwell Analytics to develop this area.

* NPD resources: Agencies such as Bartle Bogle Hegarty have already launched NPD departments, but these will be much more common by 2014. They will be hubs where new marketing ideas can be explored.

* Digital relationship managers (DRMs): These managers will be found in the digital department and will prove an invaluable resource to planners. They will build and maintain databases of consumers who can be tapped into for new ideas and who can be used to gauge the influence of a brand. These consumers will contribute ideas and feedback in return for exclusive information and free products and will be segmented according to their interests. DRMs will provide such a competitive advantage that clients will ask to audit agencies’ databases as part of the pitch process.


That is our vision of the media agency in 2014. We believe technology will play the central role in shaping the media landscape in five years’ time, particularly technology that blurs the lines between traditional boundaries. And we will continue to monitor technology and seek to understand the next-step effects for media. Above all, the consumer and how he or she chooses to use technology will drive us.

Nevertheless, whatever happens, we believe that the media agency must be at the center of any change, taking the lead in driving forward this new age of accountability, creativity and strategy.

At PHD we urge you to stay ahead of the curve — the view’s a little different there.

Mark Holden is one of PHD Worldwide’s thought leaders and managing partner of PHD Australia, an Omnicom Group company.

Global Entertainment and Media Practice

Marcel Fenez, global leader of the entertainment & media practice, talks about why there’s nowhere to hide from the migration to digital, and how the economic crisis is accelerating this process.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

To add to this, a new study from market research firm TNS and digital marketing firm Eyeblaster concludes that the digital era is blurring the line between channels designed for branding and those that trigger consumer action. The study, based on a worldwide survey of 400 marketing executives involved in branding, advertising and media buying and selling, was conducted in March.

“The common misconception among marketers is that brands are built offline and response is driven online,” the study contends. However, data from the survey suggests that “all media channels share a dual role: brand and response.”

With digital creeping across the media landscape the line between online and offline is becoming very blurred. It’s no longer either/or with respect to branding versus response. All channels will do both.

The PWC Outlook supports this trend and findings.

Here’s to a great digital future. 🙂

KungFu Panda – Awesome Marketing Lesson

Po: Ooh, so um, I should… stop talking?
Shifu: If you can.

Brand management in the traditional marketing world was a top down, internally focused, political and money based approach. Now, due to the elimination of production & distribution costs, technology is allowing the growth of communities on a massive scale and this increased fragmentation of the consumer is governing that a new order of marketing take shape.

Marketers in Pakistan however are unwilling to risk the plunge of allowing consumers to control their communication messages. Despite the growing frequency of desperation of brands using the traditional approaches, to the extent of even breaking their role as good corporate citizens of the country (as this answer to the recent comment on Engro Pakistan using public property such as ‘Unity Round About” in Quetta ‘ (an act of Forced Marketing) which was posted on Marketing 360’, a Yahoo! group shows:

“…Your ethical concerns are true but in these times firms are desperate in breaking the clutter and will exploit any opportunity they get. Soon you may see walls being painted with advertisements by these big groups. In Karachi I have seen Pepsi painting on walls giving their owners a meager monthly rental…” – Munawar.)
marketers are still trying the push approach towards consumers, insisting on increasing the advertising budgets rather than innovating in new approaches. The way to increase Brand Scores on ‘Attribute A’ is still more ‘Share of Voice’.

Yet increasingly the consumer in Pakistan is becoming ‘Consistently Connected’ (35 Million + Mobile Users and 21 Million Internet Users (Source: International Social Media Research Wave 3)) and the increasingly fragmentation of the consumer due to the 83+ channels and 12+ radio stations has resulted in the fact that the one message fit all is going to die soon, if it’s not already dead.

Marketers take a note out of the Kungfu Panda Movie by Dream Works released in 2008. Oogway’s lesson to Shifu is very applicable to the marketing world of now.

Kungfu Panda
Shifu & Oogway

Oogway: My friend, the panda will never fulfill his destiny, nor you yours until you let go of the illusion of control.
Shifu: Illusion?
Oogway: Yes.
[points at peach tree]
Oogway: Look at this tree, Shifu: I cannot make it blossom when it suits me nor make it bear fruit before its time.
Shifu: But there are things we *can* control: I can control when the fruit will fall, I can control where to plant the seed: that is no illusion, Master!
Oogway: Ah, yes. But no matter what you do, that seed will grow to be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple or an orange, but you will get a peach.
Shifu: But a peach cannot defeat Tai Lung!
Oogway: Maybe it can, if you are willing to guide, to nurture it, to believe in it.
Shifu: But how? How? I need your help, master.
Oogway: No, you just need to believe. Promise me, Shifu, promise me you will believe.

Yes! objectives vary, but increasingly the way to reach the Pakistani consumers (esp. for brand building) now is through non-traditional media. A combination of Activations & Digital can  [perhaps] be more expensive, but does offer real & measured results. Why should advertising money be wasted on e.g. a moneyed individual being communicated to about a third-tier product when other more focused alternatives are available. Alternatively, Facebook Pakistan has 500,000+ of the most moneyed class of the country, shouldn’t the local marketers try to connect to them about what they want and value especially since this class doesn’t indulge as much in traditional media as the other classes of this country.

This is increasingly becoming the new marketing reality and the way forward to leverage and tap into the zeitgeist will be to create communities around your brands. One way could be to appeal to the passionistas, the people who score high on NPS (Net Promoter Scores).

This is not a new philosophy. Just a less understood one. Seth Godin In His Book ‘Tribe Management’ has been emphasizing on the same philosophy for years now:

It starts with permission, the understanding that the real asset most organizations can build isn’t an amorphous brand but is in fact the privilege of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who want to get them.

It adds to that the fact that what people really want is the ability to connect to each other, not to companies. So the permission is used to build a tribe, to build people who want to hear from the company because it helps them connect, it helps them find each other, it gives them a story to tell and something to talk about.

But this is not the only lesson to be learnt. Don’t forget the most basic lesson of them all:
Po: [breathing heavily] I know you’re trying to be all mystical and Kung Fu-ey, but could you tell me where we’re going?

Kungfu Panda
Kungfu Panda

Remember, one often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.

Go On! Prepare For Marketing Awesomeness!

Integrating Digital Into Your Marketing

I was reading an article on ‘Brandweek’s CMO’s Not Happy With Digital today and this line caught my attention.

“What I’m hearing anecdotally is there are now sometimes half a dozen digital agencies and suppliers specializing in social media and search,” Seid said. “We don’t have anyone managing, integrating and demanding best practices in those areas.” Seid envisions a “digital CMO” taking responsibility for managing those disciplines. Said Seid: “That will be the CMO of the future.”

A digital marketing strategy requires a good understanding of the capabilities, resources and ability to differentiate your product and service through the integration of the digital channel, not just one off campaign in a selected medium. To be successful you require an understanding of how technology and marketing can effectively work together and have to encompass cultural, social & technological norms of the masses.

I think with Tuesday we’re on the right track, since we work with media agnostic ideas / content and execute them across different media. Single Idea – Multiple Digital Platforms – The Holy Grail of Integrated Marketing.

No wonder i’m excited.