This month, M/C/C reached a new milestone – our 30th year in marketing communications. In that time, we’ve seen a number of advances. Amongst them, some of the broadest have included the design implications of personal computers, the birth of analytics in marketing and an entire evolution of how people receive information. Those changes are societal though. Everyone has seen the impacts firsthand. The business of advertising and public relations has progressed just as much one or two levels deeper as well, and that’s the part of our sausage-making that outsiders rarely get to see.
So, here are some snapshots of significant changes in our day-to-day work in the agency business over the past 30 years:
- Media Relations – In the past, agencies leveraged events to get face-to-face meetings with reporters for their clients. Now more than ever, when content is king, no agency relationship can magically create coverage for a client. The press will not include content in their articles if it is not informative and newsworthy.
- Social Media – Since its adoption by individual users, the Internet has served as a great democratizing force. Through social media sites, people have taken that power and run with it. In terms of marketing communications, buyers now have a voice. Your brand should not be only speaking TO those people. It should be speaking WITH them. Strategically managing your messaging and interaction on social platforms is critical.
- Media Buying – This area has changed tremendously and has become very sophisticated. There are numerous Demand Side Platform (DSPs) providers with programmatic ad buying software. These new software platforms allow agencies to purchase specific audience demographics that dramatically lower the Cost Per Thousand (CPM), as compared to traditional media buying processes.
- Metrics/Analytics – Yea! This has been one of the most dramatic and beneficial areas of change. Every digital marketing communications channel can be analyzed to determine the level of audience engagement and effectiveness. We can now provide insight to our clients that identify potential buyer actions that lead to sales decisions. As a result, we make continual adjustments and improvements to optimize each program and, ultimately, increase our clients’ sales.
- Video – While TV spots maintain some relevance, the real advancements with video have been online. Whether through YouTube, Vimeo and the like or delivered through clients’ websites, online video has become a magnet for buyer engagement. The reason isn’t surprising. Television has always been a mass market play. Online, things are more individualized, so brands can create video content that’s entertaining and more relevant to their audiences.
- Account Service – Our clients continue to expect out-of-this-world service, and we do our best to deliver. However, the ways in which we deliver that service have changed considerably. For example, we used to rely on a great deal of telephone calls, face-to-face meetings and…[gasp]…fax transmissions. Today, technology powers our daily communications with clients and vendors. Always led by our clients’ preferences, we conduct much of our business via email, text or video/conference calls.
- Websites – Websites were originally electronic brochures. Now the Web is the most important marketing communications platform for almost every brand in the world. Your website requires constant care with fresh content along with metrics to identify the content most relevant to buyers. Also, keep in mind that no website is an island. Your website should be part of a much larger, ongoing, iterative program to continually drive buyers to your site for new information.
- Research – Research programs have transitioned from focus groups to online qualitative studies. Online research is fast and efficient. The data collected can easily be “sliced and diced” to uncover specific buying behaviors and priorities that are nuggets of gold.
- Print Advertising – Print advertising has continually contracted and will continue its decline as it’s replaced by more cost-effective, engaging online advertising. Again, the Internet is the great democratizer, and media consumers have spoken.
- Payphones – I include this last change because I keep one of these antiques in my office to remind me how far we’ve come with communications.
In our 30 years at M/C/C, we’ve capitalized on many improvements to significantly increase our level of performance. In the next 30 years, I can only imagine where we’ll go.
Hold onto your hats because we are riding on a rocket. Enjoy the ride.