Now WebTV! How companies will find their consumers?

By Vinicius da Costa posted 09-14-2010 10:10

A dream-come-true to consumers, a nightmare for business, specially brand managers, marketing and finance professionals. The communication media is changing so dramatically and so fast that businesses are still trying to figure out what to do in this new environment to increase, or at least keep visibility to their products. But on the other side, media corporations are also having a hard time to figure out their cost structure and have reported they’ve been losing money in many of these new channels. In the past the world was much simpler and therefore, much more predictable. People would read newspaper; you'd place your ads in the newspaper; the newspaper company would sell papers and ads to cover costs and generate revenue. Then radio and TV came along increasing the complexity but still relatively simple and manageable. Then cable and Internet, completely messing up in years everything we've known for decades. TV became Internet, which became radio, which became cable, that became newspaper, that became internet, which became TV and on and on. People got the power to watch, listen or read what they want, when they want, where they want. There is little allegiance. People will swing around based on friends' tweets or links posted in Facebook, tag trends, etc. It's no longer a routine like: I'll watch that morning news show or read that newspaper and at night I'll watch that sitcom. I wake up with my iPad and what I'll read, listen or watch is completely contingent upon the different inputs I receive when I first turn it on. And I rarely watch TV or focus on a single source of information. And since I don't follow a pattern anymore, how brands will track me as a consumer? How will companies let me know of their new products? And on the other side, how media vehicles are going to charge for the different channels? Trying to make sense of all different options and trying to map consumption pattern to target marketing investments became a very complex science, supported by intricate algorithms. The good news is that it is no different than it was before: the winners will be those companies which can understand their consumer habits and where to find them. What makes it challenging is the fact the virtual space is exponentially bigger — and still in expansion towards the infinite, like a parallel universe — compared to the traditional environment we had years ago. Now WebTV is trending up. An upgrade from TiVo. No need to find the shows you want to record so you can watch them when you want. You just find the shows and watch them whenever you want. No need to subscribe for 300 channels when you actually watch 5 of them. No need to adapt your lifestyle to the TV schedule. Your lifestyle will determine your TV schedule. In this new world I believe marketing will be primarily triggered by behavior events. Depending on a number of variables such as the time of the day, the movie you rented on-demand, your age, gender, medical history, etc, your gadgets will present you a specific ad. For instance, it's Saturday night, 11pm and you are reading a romantic eBook; it may run an eHarmony, or your favorite football team latest game on-demand, or an ice cream delivery commercial — I’ve been through similar situations a couple of decades ago and can guarantee either one would have helped a lot. Consumers today also have more power to advertise themselves. More than ever companies will have to focus on quality and innovation to WOW the consumer, and then they will do the rest by communicating that to their social network. However, a good social media strategy will also be required. Eventually the field will level. The time is now for companies to seize the opportunity. The ones which can learn faster how to manage this new environment and simplify its apparent complexity will rise. Others will have to catch up, but then it can be too late in this ever expanding universe of opportunities. --- Vinicius da Costa is Associate Director, Collaboration and Social Media Solutions at Kraft Foods. This text represents his personal opinion and does not represent the views of Kraft Foods, Inc.

#socialmedia #trends #webtv #iPad #consumers #facebook