“In this digital age, integrated marketing communications means more than it ever has,” says Emma Eichbaum, associate director, TNS New Zealand. “Cutting through isn’t any easier in a digital and mobile world, so content – timely, relevant content – remains king.”
It’s clear now that ‘digital’ isn’t the communications and targeting panacea it was hailed as. Twitter and Facebook alone don’t cut it for customer engagement and audiences still flock to television, radio, magazines and newspapers. Email accounts are now structured in terms of content – think Gmail’s ‘tabs’ – and at the same time, inboxes are flooded by blogs recommending ways to reduce the volume of emails in inboxes. The upshot is that cutting through is just as hard as it’s ever been. Customers still filter their communications as they always have – now it’s just across a broader range of channels. Marketers who realise this, and adopt omni-channel integrated communication approaches, are best poised to win the brand share battle.
Screen stacking is one of the biggest challenges and biggest opportunities facing marketers in today’s connected age. Screen stacking occurs when television watchers are also engaging with another screen during their viewing time, whether through a laptop, tablet or smartphone. TNS’s Connected Life 2014 survey – a global study of weekly internet users in 50 countries – found that on a typical day, 55 percent of weekly internet users watch television in the early evening, and of those 56 percent are also doing something online at the same time.
“The challenge for marketers is to ensure communications content cuts through the range of touch points consumers are engaging with,” says Eichbaum. “Effective communications content has the ability to form positive and enduring brand memories by conveying information in a way that is better than expected, reminding the consumer of the things they care about, and giving them information that is relevant to their current circumstances.” TNS calls this the ‘affective memory potential’ of ads and has developed ways to measure it on behalf of its clients. Marketers that achieve this will have the most impact on consumers’ desire for their brand over the longer term.
The opportunity then lies in being able to get customers to take some kind of action as a result of exposure to content, whether that action is searching for more information, posting a social media update or making an online purchase. It also raises interesting questions about the role of different media in supporting the overall message.
“If we know customers are watching TV whilst surfing the internet on their tablets in the evening, then reading the paper over their morning coffee, how do we synergise TV, internet and print to ensure our message gets through?” says Eichbaum. “By understanding cross-media synergies, marketers have the ability to reduce wastage and increase the efficiency of their media investment in getting messages across.”
TNS says marketers’ questions today should be less about how to reach a customer, and more about how to reach them at the time when the brand is most relevant to them. “In a communications context, we can rephrase the question as: ‘how do I leverage the power of the communications medium, at the time of its consumption, to ensure my message has greatest impact with the audience?’” says Eichbaum. “By giving full consideration to the consumer’s context, brands can be that much more targeted and therefore impactful with their audiences.”
Consumers have access to so much information that the amount of time spent on pre-purchase research is limited only by interest in the product category itself, or the amount of money they are planning to spend. Yet whilst time spent may be dictated to by level of interest, how they spend that time, the sources of information they turn to and the advice they take, is influenced greatly by the devices they own.
“Sustaining brand relevance means an increased focus on the consumer,” says Joe Webb, regional head of digital, TNS APAC. “It means enhancing and enabling their experience, delivering a consistent experience and message across all media and purchase channels to ensure brand messages are reinforced rather than diluted.”
To find out more about communications effectiveness in a connected world, contact Emma Eichbaum at TNS New Zealand on 09 524 3999 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow TNS New Zealand on LinkedIn. For more thought leadership pieces, visit: tnsglobal.com/intelligence-applied.
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