Thursday, October 04, 2007

How To Scale Creative In An Economy of Niches

It seems more and more people are starting to become aware of the problem.

This week it was Dave Morgan, Chairman of Tacoda, who wrote
a piece called "Why So Little Relevance?"

In his column, Mr. Morgan was wondering why, with all the sophisticated ways we now have of targeting the right ad to the right person at the right time, we still so rarely see ads that are truly relevant to you, the viewer?

Back in July, Joe Marchese wrote a piece called "Targeting To What End?" Joe raised the same sort of questions. Yes, we can now target more precisely, Joe argued, but what are we going to put in front of those that we target?

Joe, as usual, is right. The video advertising that's currently available has not been designed to be targeted as precisely as technology now allows.

And the fact is, it may never be. Mr. Morgan offers some suggestions from scaled platforms, to creating advertising that can be assembled in a modular fashion, to advertisers practicing restraint from "their senseless bombardment of consumers with irrelevant ads."

And while we know that the last suggestion will never happen, I'm afraid that the first two sidestep the actual problem.

The cost of creating great advertising.

The current economics of commercial production can only be justified through large audience size and repeat exposures. Neither of which will be part of the niche audiences now forming online.

Sure, advertisers can pay less for production. One can always pay less. But paying less does mean advertising of a lesser quality. To some, that's acceptable. But to most, it will become tiresome quickly.

And while there are those that argue that technology has now democratized the tools so that anyone can make a commercial, they are only right to a point.

The cost of the tools to make a great commercial are within anyone's reach.

But, the talent isn't.

And it will show in the final product.

The remaining option is also one that comes to us through technology. And that is to be paid for creating the content on a results basis. No, I don't mean sales when I talk about results. What I mean by results is how engaging or involving the creative is. This is something that is in the control of those that are actually making the commercial.

As well as something that can be measured today on digital platforms as time spent.

The more time viewers spend with the commercial, the more the commercial is worth to the advertiser. And hence, the more the agency and production company should get paid for creating it.

Ironically, in this case our targeting capabilities can actually be put to use. After all, if we can now target the right ad to the right person at the right time, the ad should prove to be extremely relevant to all who come in contact with it.

If an agency can't involve viewers under those situations, then heck, they should be penalized.

And those that can create involvement should be rewarded.

In other words, if you want advertising to become more relevant, we first need to make it become more relevant to the bottom line.

No, not the advertiser's bottom line (sales).

But the agency's.

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