Getting the message heard in an increasingly digital world



Marketeers are facing an increasingly complex combination of media fragmentation, new technologies, personalisation and consumer power in a more digitalised environment, a new study has found.

The study by Booz Allen Hamilton in co-operation with the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) identified some major opportunities for marketeers within the new digital marketing environment, but stressed that implementing the opportunities will require a complete marketing transformation.
“We have identified the critical areas where marketeers must work harder for closer media integration in the digital sphere  – consumer insight, media mix and channel management, marketing organisation, culture, talent, ecosystem interconnectivity and partnerships,” said Gabriel Chahine, vice-president at Booz Allen.

“Some leading organisations have already begun to demonstrate the kind of change required, but there is no uniform model or template for all organisations. Instead, experimentation, innovation and discovery are necessary challenges.

“The convergence of media and technology, combined with the fragmentation and personalisation of media, is affecting the connection between marketeers and consumers in unprecedented ways,” Chahine said. “The mix of media channels has shifted from being one-way to a set of dynamic two-way media forums.

Consumers not only talk back to marketeers and interact with marketing messages, but also reshape and distribute those messages through global communities.”
Across the study, Booz Allen and ANA surveyed more than 250 marketeers, including 75 industry leaders – ranging from operational marketeers to agency and media executives, digital strategists, chief revenue officers, CMOs and CEOs.

Through their responses, the ways in which the media environment is reshaping the marketing ecosystem was identified, while highlighting the priorities, capabilities and partnerships that will be increasingly required across the marketeer-agency-media value chain.

Marketing As Conversation

Marketing is less about sending messages to consumers and more about conversing and sharing experiences with them. To do this, marketeers are calling on a new mix of media to further the communication of their messages, by deepening direct relationships with consumers and engaging with them in diverse ways, including on product sites, branded and unbranded community sites,
interactive television, online test groups, mobile texts and blogs.
“To understand a consumer, the key is to listen and to observe,” said Chahine. “This is what drives consumer insights. Eighty per cent of marketeers said consumer insights are more important now and that they will become more important in the future, as media becomes digital.”

Media As The New Creative

Message distribution in marketing in terms of timing, context and relevance, is considered as important as creative output, with the digital sphere increasingly important.

Media strategy and planning now have a raised profile within marketing organisations and departments, and approximately 20 per cent of marketeers in this study have invested in internal communications planning functions.
“A flexible approach to media planning and buying will spread quickly throughout organisations. More than half of the participants agreed media sourcing will look like the equities market in five years; they expect media to be bought, sold, and adjusted on a real-time and constant basis,” said Chahine.

“Marketing departments want capabilities that link media, creative and the brand strategy chain, part of which is communications planning and ‘integrator’ roles for a full media mix,” he added. 


Marketing + Math

Data has been flooding into marketing and with improved data quality, quantity and accessibility – maths has become a fundamental element of marketing.

Marketeers are now much more likely to have the metrics and capabilities to judge the effects of new media with advertising strategies, campaigns and distribution increasingly based on predictive mathematical formula.
“In addition to having more data and more insights, marketeers are building tools to project behaviours,” said Chahine. “Marketing models based on spend are no longer sufficient and predictive modelling tools are now the future for marketeers.
Among the financial services or travel companies surveyed, 40 per cent are using behavioural targeting as an input into marketing mix allocation and almost a quarter of marketeers surveyed are adding people in marketing and media analysis roles – highlighting the intrinsic role that data now plays in marketing.”

Mind The Gap

Most marketeers still allocate only five to 10 per cent of their funds to digital media – despite the shift towards the digital environment. In some industries such as telecommunications and technology, there is a noticeable shift towards mature digital planning.

“Marketeers across all sectors are increasingly making digital media a priority as it present numerous opportunities to engage consumers, generate data, and establish relationships,” he said.

“Seventy-five per cent of the survey’s participants use online advertising as part of their marketing mix and a quarter of the survey participants are using social networking, video posts and blogs. The one point everyone agrees on is that digital spending will continue to increase.”

The Digitally Savvy Organisation

All those surveyed agreed becoming highly capable in marketing in the digital environment is both a challenge and a priority, despite the fact many organisations still have a long way to go. Marketeers highlighted several barriers to being “digitally savvy” with reasons from lack of senior organisational support and lack of experience in new media and the lack of digital talent.

“The pressing issue, like in many industries is that of talent and building the right team for the future of the organisation,” said Chahine. “Many organisations are finding it difficult to find management talent that understands digital media. What we are seeing therefore, is a shift towards training those already inside the organisation and sharing best practices across the board.”

The move to digital media necessitates a higher level of collaboration and co-ordination across all players in the ecosystem.

Almost 60 per cent of participants believe creative, strategic, and media capabilities should be rebundled, but there is uncertainty on the appropriate type of agency to play the lead role.

Many participants in the survey said media-agency partnerships will become more important than traditional full service agency partnerships, in an increasingly digital age.
“Marketeers must increasingly act as integrators, co-ordinating ideas and execution across all marketing channels. Some organisations may have more than 20 points of contact with various agencies – a creative agency, a media buying agency, a digital agency and a PR company etc.

“Marketeers agree today’s agency model needs to change, although there is disagreement about the agency model of the future,” added Chahine.



The Numbers


24%: Of the marketeers surveyed consider their organisations as “digitally savvy”


64%: Agree departments should be organised around consumer segments instead of brands


51%: Cite lack of organisational support as a barrier to their use of new media


0%:0 Will decrease spending in digital media


Tips For Success


Make your consumer an advocate

Shift marketing objectives from sending a message to facilitating conversations with and between consumers. Understand user-generated content and how consumers use your brand. Vest your brand with meaning and be authentic. 

Elevate Media And Communications

Develop an internal “integrator” position (for instance, communications planner). Appoint senior media leadership, incorporate media early in the strategic planning process and integrate media with marketing.


Expand Consumer Insight Capabilities

Leverage one-to-one consumer interactions and digital channels that provide real-time behaviors and patterns. Understand how consumers use media for entertainment, community and information. Lean on partners to provide additional data and insight. 


Apply rigor and refine and iterate your marketing mix

Build partnerships with digital agencies, media agencies and media companies to track ad placement, versioning and effectiveness. 


Bring digital out of the back roomDigital and interactive are no longer niche capabilities. They are part of the requisite skill set for marketeers.


Don’t stop at technologyAlign the organisation, hire the right talent and initiate a progressive culture. Learn globally.

Watch technology patterns, social trends and consumer technology adoption rates in other countries.


experimentation and media innovationEncourage experimentation and support ideas for incremental improvement. Formalise experimental spend efforts.


Manage complexity via partnershipsKnow the difference between those capabilities to keep in-house and those better managed by external partners. Know when an idea is scalable and should be resourced internally.


Question marketing modelsIdentify clear brand objectives, evaluate multi-channel (for instance, relationships, event, in-store, e-mail) marketing options to meet objectives.