Change is nothing new to a media buyer. For instance, ever since social media started its meteoric rise in popularity, advertising has never been the same. Creative and media agencies were forced to adjust their strategies due to a new user platform. Suddenly, GRPs and reach were less important, as buzzwords like “engagement,” “content,” and “community” found their way into planning decks.
Marketing’s “four Ps” model was coined in the 1960s in order to encourage distinctive selling points for brands or products. The Ps stand for product, price, promotion and place. In 2010, a Mashable article suggested that social media was adding a fifth “P” to marketing: people.
Six years later, it is safe to say that adding the fifth “P” was accurate. In fact, it is no longer just marketing departments and advertising agencies who are catering to “people.” New brands are also changing the traditional business model in order to put users first. We are seeing a huge wave of fast-growing companies who focus on experiences as opposed to tangible things. Uber is one of those companies. Other include Farfetch, Spring, One Fine Stay and Airbnb.
A recent Ad Age article references a very interesting connection from the 2010 Mashable article: “If modern brands are built around service and experiences – and not products – then media buying and planning needs to mimic this.” In other words, some new brands are removing the “product” from the equation entirely.
According to the Ad Age article, the main way that media buying and planning will change is through the path to purchase. It proposes that the tried-and-true purchase funnel no longer relates to the new ecosystem. Traditional bottom-of-the-funnel tactics such as re-targeting are geared to selling physical products. In selling customer experiences, however, advertisers need to bring value at each stage of the journey, not just the moment before sale.
The article also questions traditional top-of-the-funnel tactics, which are typically used to increase user consideration. “…Today’s consumers don’t consider a massive number of brands at the beginning of the journey; instead, they make their purchase decisions deeper in the funnel, through bonding, advocacy and loyalty.” This means that for selling experiences instead of products, awareness needs to be already high in order to make it into the consideration set.
Lastly, the article claims that awareness and reach tactics are almost irrelevant. “…Awareness and reach are the leftovers of the old-school media mix model that allocates marketing spend at a gross level, without taking into account the specific goals of individual touchpoints along the customer journey.” Instead, it suggests focusing on continuously targeted “micro-actions.” The co-founder of Airbnb states, “…it is better to have a hundred people who love you than a million people who kinda like you.”
While discounting traditional concepts like the purchase funnel and reach tactics are bold recommendations, they are worth considering when promoting an experience-driven industry such as travel, tourism and hospitality.
Luckily, media planners are accustomed to change.