It is no secret that digital technologies have forever altered the world of media. What once was a stable world ruled by the tried and true ‘traditionals’ – television, print, and radio – has now been overthrown by a vast array of digital platforms. And though these digital platforms present opportunities never before imaginable in the world of marketing, brands are struggling to cope with the radical transformation happening around them.
While new digital capabilities are certainly alluring, their actual effectiveness can be difficult to tie to concrete measures of success, and brands are hesitant to throw precious marketing dollars at unproven methods. What’s more, experts aren’t offering up collective guidance on the issue. Opinion leaders are quick to agree that the advertising landscape has ventured into revolutionary territory, but yet they argue fiercely about what this change means for the world of business. Thus, brands are finding themselves stuck in limbo, unable to decide exactly how much faith – and ultimately, money – to put into new marketing methods.
Within this confusion, the underlying issue is that no one knows how to adapt the old definition of marketing to the new media landscape. In a recent article, Randall Rothenberg called for a redefinition of marketing when he said, “The old way, the traditional way, is obsolete. There’s no place to go but toward the new. Deciphering the truth from the chaos will be hard. But it’s a necessary task. Advertising needs to be redefined; let’s get at it.” But the issue is – that’s where the advice ends. There is a call for action to redefine advertising, but there is no plan of action detailing how to do it. There is no solution, no ‘aha!’ moment, no key for brands to follow.
So why are brands left hanging on the edge of their seat with no proposed resolve? Because there is no mass strategy for navigating this new marketing scene. What is “right” for one brand may certainly not be a winning strategy for another. In this world of endless options but limited consensus, the only real solution is for brands to figure out what works best for them, on an individual level. This ever-evolving marketing landscape thus requires that advertising be redefined for each individual brand on its own.
This sounds easier said than done, but with the right tools it doesn’t have to be. Brands will need personalized resources to accomplish the definition overhaul, and custom research is an excellent resource for this purpose. Custom research provides brands with choices – instead of taking stabs in the dark with trial and error, they could allow quality research to light the way. Instead of wading through industry noise, they could cut straight to brand-relevant information. Instead of relying on opinions, they could rely on data.
This makes custom research an invaluable tool in this sphere because it provides brands with the ability to craft relevant insights, personalize marketing strategies and inform campaigns accordingly. A segmentation study, for example, could inform brands on the current attitudes and behaviors of target customers. A path-to-purchase study could demonstrate how target consumers execute certain purchases in this increasingly multichannel world. And a concept test could help brands make informed choices about refining messaging, ad copy and positioning among target customers before campaign materials go public.
With the help of custom research, navigating the evolving marketing landscape will no longer be a daunting task; it will be an opportunity.