Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Five things I learned at Ad Tech Sydney

This year I thought AdTech Sydney was good. Not brilliant. Just good. Good because the things I heard there confirmed my thinking – something which is important when you are working in a small and isolated market like New Zealand. And good because organisations seem to have gotten over themselves and are happy to share what they are up to in the social space – the good, the bad and the downright ugly.
So here goes - the five key learnings I took from Ad Tech were:
1.       Brand stories need to be cohesive even when fragmented:  according to Jeff Julian from www.monkeysac.com your consumers won’t see your campaign in its entirety, or – for that matter – as a story at all. They’ll dip in and out piecing the story together based on their own media touchpoints and social connections and most likely in a different order from that intended by the creative or media agency.
Making sure you have the right creative assets for each channel is critical. It never was acceptable to treat your TVC as a piece of video content, or cut up your magazine ads to create an online banner, but in today’s social environment it’s unforgiveable.  
Ensuring each channel stays true to the creative vision will enable your message to be received when consumed in a fragmented way. And if you do need channel selection take priority over creative vision ensure you understand why this decision is being made.
2.       When it comes to Social Media, timing is everything: Andreas Panayi of FTI Consulting (www.fticonsulting.com) presented a study of how 144 businesses operate in the social space. While 83% of businesses had social policy in place only 56% had a plan in place to manage issues breaking or escalating in the social space.
Scary – especially given 38% of social media crisis arise due to poor brand experiences, influencer relations, community censorship or just a plain and simple failure to respond – things that are completely within the brands control.
If you are managing a social presence, then ensure you have license to respond quickly. With 38% of crisis breaking on either Twitter or Facebook – even the slightest delay can be the difference between resolution and escalation. Which brings me to the next thing I learned…   
3.       The jury is still out on who manages social media: the answer to this is “it depends”. Speaker Ben Kimber (@benkimber) felt strongly that all social media activity should be managed in house – particularly if there was customer service involved. Yeah – like that’s never been outsourced before.
To me the more decisive factor is resource. If you need to be in the social space but can’t resource this internally, then outsource you must.
And what about brands that are more about experience than customer service? Coke, Lynx, Skittles to name just a few. I don’t know for sure, but I’d be willing to bet that their agencies are pretty heavily involved in their social presence.
4.       Socially enable everything: put as much focus on creating discoverable content as you do on finding ways to deliver content. How the content is found and consumed is what gives it power. Information sent – and so endorsed – by a friend, or discovered yourself through search, will always have more credibility than something you see in an ad – even if it is the same content.
Rob Norman (@robnorman) of http://www.groupm.com/ also made the point that the conversion rates from reach to engagement are so low that it’s absolutely critical for brands to work harder at turning engagement into advocacy.
5.       Life’s a game, play it: Create a game with a sense of purpose and before you know it you’ll have your customers doing exactly what you want them to do – and enjoying the experience to boot. They don’t have to be ‘gamers’ to take part - a good game can appeal to even the most conservative audience. An example of this is www.mint.com – gamifying your finances – or “Epic Win” (http://www.rexbox.co.uk/epicwin/) which turns your everyday to do list into a game.
According to @chriserb from www.easports.com, get it right and the rewards for your business are significant – increased engagement and loyalty and a lower propensity to shop around.
Looking through my notes, this list could have been so much longer – so stay tuned for more from AdTech over the coming weeks.

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