What will the digital space look like in 2008?

There has been a good amount of buzz in the blogs over the release of the Avenue A/Razorfish 2008 Digital Outlook Report.  I spent some time reading through the massive (150+ pages last night) deck last night and there are some great nuggets.  Here are what jumped out to me:

  • Is Digital Really Mainstream?:  “Many consider 2007 to be the year digital settled into the marketing mainstream.  If that’s the case, it’s a confused and misguided mainstream (page 3)”
  • The Move Beyond Media Buying:  “The digital media business is no longer simply about buying ad space.  It’s a discipline focused on distributing experiences–through social networks, videos, widgets and applications (page 19)”
  • Experimentation Needs to be a Constant: “Companies should set aside budget specifically for looking at emerging technologies…this is where brands can experiment and learn from trends such as viral ideas in social media or prototypes for new interaction designs (page 41)”
  • Different Forms of Communication for Different Interactions: “Users actively seek specific communication methods based on the nature of their relationship (friends vs family) and for the value placed on that relationship.  Text is to the point and direct….phone conversations are for non-users of communication (page 55)”
  • Branded Entertainment and Online Video Meet: “Integrated advertising is not the only way online video marketing can engage consumers with brand messages.  With Branded Entertainment, marketers can supply compelling content that is both entertaining and engages views with their brands’ core values”

The last point is one that I have particular passion.   I’ve actually been working with a company called Placevine that has realized the value of this sort of opportunity.  If your company is interested in the coming collision between online video and brands, you should really check out Placevine and see what they can do for you

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2 Responses to What will the digital space look like in 2008?

  1. Robby Wells says:

    I believe all of these are just great, and in many ways, none of them are really unique to 2008. I think I have heard you say ‘Experimentation needs to be a constant’ for the last 5 years now 🙂

    Online media exploded because it fits nicely into many sophisticated marketers’ existing systems. “Our TV buyers can also buy our digital media.” “We can plug these digital media impressions into our forecasting tools.” “We can somehow get an ROI that we can all agree upon from our digital media.” But the direction we all feel we need to go – distributed experiences – doesn’t fit within those models quite as well.

    We can show all sorts of positive impact branded content has on attitudinal measures and purchase intent, but stubborn old marketers (and young scared marketers) will always gravitate towards the safe route – guaranteed ROI based on historical insights. If your job is on the line, who would blame them? Based on this, I am often amazed that big advertisers have given the greenlight to half of the cool, successful stuff that’s been done.

    It is for this reason that we have placed so much importance on clearly identifying the role of branded entertainment / content for a brand – for the brand broadly, and as part of each initiative. Right now, brands that engage in comms planning are accustomed to identifying the roles of each channel in their mix, but branded content via multi-channel distributed experiences is often disregarded strategically, is an afterthought, or even worse, thought of as a Facebook app! We have data that shows the impact of branded content, so it is a total miss if brands are not appropriately planning for it advance, and of course, measuring it as well.

    Without a clear path to precise ROI or historical ROIs from ‘distributed experiences’ for marketers to rely on, it is the new breed of agency/marketer’s job to be very clear on why these distributed experiences are strategically sound, the role they play in the marketing mix, and what sort of measures should be expected. I know this all sounds like common sense, but it simply does not happen like it should. ‘Facebook because it is getting a lot of buzz’ should no longer be acceptable rationale. I know for a fact that in many cases that very scary rationale has worked. I only wonder what proven tactic was overlooked for Facebook.

    So yes, I agree with the vision for 2008, but marketers need to approach this space with the same amount of strategic vigor that they put towards other efforts, or we will be looking at the same 150+ page report next year.

  2. Dave Knox says:

    Great points and I agree all together. We’ve said it a million times but “no one was ever fired for buying another TV spot.” We need to change that mentality because frankly today, more people should be fired for JUST buying TV or print.

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