'Go big or go wide?' Once upon a time this was the big question that marketers would agonise over when planning a campaign. The question implied that there might be a good reason for assuming that there was any choice at all: that the best results might be achieved by focusing efforts on formulating an extremely creative campaign on the one hand or targeting the audience from a number of different channels to guarantee more exposure on the other.
For some brands, in some niche areas, the question is still valid - and the answer can be found in the brand objectives, considering whether the market should be precisely or broadly targeted, whether the campaign premise appeals to the interests of those consumers and where exactly those consumers are. Rolex
, for example, harnesses its exclusive market and produce highly targeted campaigns which reflect its values: quality and exclusivity. It works.
Few brands have that luxury. In this market, if you are an emerging brand or considering brand extension (all of them then, surely?) it is dangerous to sit back. The role of brands is changing, and with that change we must not just challenge the marketing decisions we make but also the very questions we pose.
The 'go big or go wide' question used to be an important one. It determined the course or even the foundation for every campaign. But it is a question we no longer have the privilege of asking, and those who continue to ration out their creativity to a particular channel, be it direct, experiential or social, will soon find that their cut-through is severely impeded.The age of the consumer
The complexity of this decision is intensified by our climate. We are now firmly ensconced in the age of the consumer, and consumers don't care about the technical or operational challenges that multi-channel marketing brings or the time and effort that goes into creative content; they want valuable brand stories and experiences, flexibility, and to be able to interact with brands on their terms.
Marketers who cling to the old ways are doing their clients and their agencies a critical disservice. Creativity and multichannel
, although once seen as diametrically opposed, are now in fact only effective when played together. Why spend months on luminous lightbulb-moment video content to seed it solely through YouTube, or on TV, or in a single event or installation?
On the flipside, the idea that creativity should be compromised in favour of a broadly targeted campaign is equally risible: there must be excellence in creative before any channel is considered. Talkability and respect
Although every creative idea must be social, it doesn't necessarily follow that everything social is creative: creativity leads to talkability and talkability generates value. Consumers are now marketers themselves, and they are more and more cynical about what they deem worthy enough to advocate. Treat them with respect and they will propagate your story; treat them poorly, or expect them to be grateful, and you must be prepared for an honest and heavily critical response.
With recent consumer confidence figures taking a dive, brands can no longer simply market their product; they must market their personality - be that as a pillar of society, bastion of well-being or preachers from the school of fun. The line between channels is eroding fast and consumers want to feel like they're the only one being talked to. Creative agencies in particular must embrace this and confront the linear model they have long relied on to develop an idea to market: tough cost-cutting choices will no longer wash. Come 2012, it will be a case of adapt, or die.Matthew Gidley is head of insight at MomentumImage: Gatorade - Social Media Control Centre