Time to get engaged
As I sit here and write this, I am filled with fear. In less than an hour I will be attached to a dentist's chair for a minor op on my jaw.
I am well past the days of needing a hand to hold but when my dear father offered this morning, he wasn't greeted with the immediate "Dad, I am a mother myself now, no thanks, I'll be fine". It was more like a nervous "it's cool, I'm sure I'll be fine" which translated in my head as "oh dear lord, please make this be quick and act cool Soph, act cool!"
Why is the above relevant to digital advertising you may be thinking? Well, the main thing I am focusing on is the fact that there will be a TV in this dentist's practice. No longer do I have to stare up my dentist's hairy nose or close my eyes tight and feel every jab amplified. Oh, no. It's one of these new funky places with all the mod cons and there will be a 50" screen to distract me above my swollen face and that made me think. Consumers don't just look to be communicated to, they look to be distracted, from modern life, worries, fears, everything.... I have no doubt that the worry and pain of my dental experience will be a little less with the help of MTV as anaesthetic!
Marketers are forever bombarded with the word "engage" but it is genuinely true. We need to create great content; advertisements that engage people, that are thought-provoking, that motivate, that absorb - inspire even. But the other half of the engagement equation is reaching consumers in an engaging environment where they are likely to feel receptive – whether it's looking for an escape, a way to pass dead time or a means to relax. Getting both aspects right is by no means easy though.
Let's face it. Consumer viewing habits have changed radically. The days of linear TV consumption, watching TV as the schedulers intended, seem almost rather quaint. But give people the chance to watch something great, and at a time when they have the space and time to appreciate it, and that's something else.
But what does this mean to advertisers? There will always be a place for commercial TV in ad schedules for major brands as an effective means to reach 70-80% of the viewing population , especially when the main broadcasters seem to be upping their game in terms of producing great TV series that capture public interest (Broadchurch, for instance). However, TV-On-Demand and Catch-Up-TV clearly provide an environment where it is much easier for consumers to skip ad breaks or not be served ads at all. For advertisers, this is making it harder than ever to reach the elusive 20-30% of people who are light TV viewers. Hence why new media channels and digital and social avenues are being embraced as a means to achieve this.
So, whilst I'm undergoing my dental nightmare, I may not be at the peak of receptiveness to ads in my anaesthetised state, but I will appreciate the benefit of being entertained at a time when I value it. It's similar to the ethos behind our own Gym TV at Zoom Media. Being the exclusive digital partner in many of our health club environments allows us to capture the attention of their members and, in turn, distract them from a gruelling work out or a hardcore gym session. The difference, though, is that because ads are relevant and tailored to them, they are extremely receptive to them. I guess if my dentist's TV played ads for pain killers to numb the agony, I may also be more interested! It's the perennial winning formula of right ad, right time, right place adding up to true engagement.
Sophie Burke is head of marketing at Zoom Media
This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk
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