2018 Media and Marketing Trends across Content, Data and Technology. PART 3: DATA

Data is the flavor of the month

Skidding around the door like a late, naughty school-kid, comes our third post on Data Trends for 2018. Get in here, you scallywag!

Data science and its marketing is a subject that is here to stay, which to us, is refreshing in an industry too often full of whimsy and subjectivity. Over the past few years, however, our industry has developed a twisted relationship with data. At times we’ve seen it as a silver bullet, overplaying our hand, measuring “things” just because they can be measured without objectively interpreting the meaning or impact of what we’re doing; hello, fan count! Then there’s the bright, new shiny stuff in the world of emerging data trends that is cooooool. But first, we need to wind our way through the woods of regulation to get there. So let’s talk first about what’s around the corner and then reward ourselves with the awesome shiny toys of the future.

Measurement in a mire

It’s well known that we have an ongoing issue in terms of measurement; for example, while research says that online video is the present and the future, the major players can’t align on industry-wide benchmarks as they relate to it. Sure, action is being taken – internal councils are being formed, third-party integration solutions and independent industry audits are being conducted… but a lot of it is simply sound and fury, given that the actions aren’t necessarily solving the brand owner’s problem. Industry bodies such as the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Media Ratings Council (MRC) have been active in trying to progress discussion but you only have to look at their recent Digital Video Impression Measurement Guidelines, released in October 2017 for public discussion, to see that we’re not making progress fast enough. When you don’t have major media players such as Facebook and Omnicom at the table, there’s a telling sign. Also – notice the narrowing of the title? Now, major players, such as Nestle and HP are going out on their own; we predict that others will follow and that solutions will come from the brands and media intelligence firms this time, rather than the platform players, establishing metrics that matter to their business rather than industry-agnostic measures of old.

Walled gardens rise as a butterfly effect takes hold

There’s no way of putting this mildly: the free ride for brands on digital media – particularly as it relates to data acquisition is well and truly over and the stakes are rising for publishers.  The EU’s General Data Protection Law (GDPR) brings consumer protection firmly into the limelight. What’s worrying is how many brands, agencies and developers have their eyes closed to it but to do so is dangerous from a reputation, legal and financial POV. Why? Read our previous post for background, with advice from MENA media legal eagle, Fiona Robertson.

A perhaps unintended consequence of the GDPR laws is the rise of the walled garden, aka closed platforms. Platforms will now have to work harder at providing truly compelling, free services in exchange for audiences to provide them with personal data. No way will they be giving customer data away for free anymore. While GDPR is designed to protect its audience, it means an increase in advertising investment from brands seeking personalized customer interaction and validated audience data from platforms. Expect brands to be a lot more discerning about their media spends, a lot more demanding when it comes to data quality and unfortunately… for the smaller publishers to suffer they don’t get their ducks in a row. Throw in the universal uptake of ad-blockers and the repeal of net neutrality (which we are still in denial about) and you can see just how well-protected these walled gardens will be.

We asked location tech firm, Blis’, Managing Director Puja Pannum to weigh in. “Understanding audiences and where to reach them is a marketer’s number one priority before their first dollar is spent, and with more and richer data, targeting capabilities naturally improve. While it’s an absolute priority to protect consumer data, it is also beneficial [for vendors] to be transparent with brands about ROI and footfall data. But to do that, it needs to go both ways,” said Puja. “Brands need to be as transparent and open about their analytics and data sources, like loyalty card data and Google analytics, as vendors are about ROI. Currently, this is the only missing element in end-to-end transparency, something players on both sides should be striving for. In 2018, promoting the sharing of these kinds of data will help brands and their chosen partners build campaigns on more data sources and benefit from a holistic view of what’s working versus what’s not.”

Human + machine gives birth to Digital Twins

One of the more interesting aspects to come from the fusion of Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning is the Digital Twin. A Digital Twin is a virtual replica of physical assets, processes and systems which uses data to enable understanding, learning, reasoning and prediction. The aviation, aerospace and automotive sectors are the leaders in this field, whereby real-time analytics of critical aspects (such as tyre pressure, temperature, distance and speed) have been used to optimize efficiencies.

Where Digital Twin technology starts to get really interesting is in the area of predictive modeling and future-proofing, where we’ll start to see not just the what but the why, generated by the emergence of the “Digital Thread”. The Digital Thread is the contextualization or connectedness of data, informed by the integration of large and multiple data flows, both real time and historical, leading to actionable information – such as establishment of digital twins being able to accurately predict a range of outcomes at scale.

Gartner predicts that by 2021 around half of large industrialized companies will be using Digital Twins. All this said, Digital Twin technology has been around for decades – were it not for Digital Twins, the Apollo 13 mission may well have been doomed – it was this practice that enabled them to mirror how they could rescue the mission when it ran into trouble. Without Digital Twin technology, there would be no Mars rover Curiosity! Take a look at the video below, to see how curiosity, technology, ingenuity and data join forces to make miracles!

Thanks for reading our 2018 trends across content, technology and data. Please feel to drop us a line and let us know what you’re thinking about in this realm and of course, we welcome your feedback too!

 

2018 Media and Marketing Trends across Content, Technology and Data. PART 2: TECHNOLOGY

Technology Empowers the Maker Generation

In the second of our three part series on 2018 trends, we now turn our gaze to technology. In this piece, we’re going to look at social trends produced by technology, rather than tech trends in and of themselves – there’s already squillions of posts out there on AR before VR, blockchain, mobile first approaches, addressable media, voice and mood recognition, data driven content and video content, just to name a few “trends”. Instead, we’ll be looking at social and cultural nuances directly influenced by technology, specifically as they relate to Generation Z, otherwise known as The Maker Generation.

Generation Z is fascinating and of great importance for a number of reasons. Firstly, in the Middle East Gen Z comprises half of the regional population – double that of the US or UK. Gen Z are our first true digital natives, born to digital-savvy parents – namely GenX –  into a world of advanced technological accessibility on a personal scale, with smartphones and social media for example prevalent in their lives since birth. This is the generation that will deal with “the singularity” and will need to assume the lead in addressing the social, moral, economic, ethical and political questions that the advent of such advances necessarily demand. Then there’s the small issue of looming environmental catastrophe that they must address. The reality and viewpoint of this generation will be so different to any other generation the world has seen – and we are already seeing signs of this emerging.

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at where things heading today, in 2018.

On Work.

Today’s young adult is different. Unlike their millennial counterparts, a hallmark of Gen Z is a realistic and practical worldview; young adults of today don’t have experience of a life before economic instability and certainly don’t expect opportunities to be handed to them, rather they know that they have to make their own opportunities and be financially responsible. Industriousness, the ability to multi-task, resourcefulness, collaboration and entrepreneurship are hallmarks of this generation. Accessible, crowdfunded tech and collaborative workspaces are emerging symbols of this new way of working: check out the beautiful work being produced by Pier 9, as one example, where one exhibition required that each piece be made available via Instructables and a Creative Commons license, inviting anyone to collaborate.

While some educators lament that, as a result of technology, the attention span of this generation has dwindled, others recognize that the education system itself must necessarily change to become more collaborative. This is the generation that can code, does schoolwork on the cloud and is highly visual due the digital nature of work and interaction.  “Gen Z have always known how to pinch and swipe. They have grown up with hi-def, surround sound, 3D and now 4D – 360 degree photography and film is their normal. Ultra slow motion and hi-speed video is their standard.” (Sparks & Honey, Pew Research, 2012).

On Play.

Where are our young rebels, our wild-eyed-yet-wet-behind-the-ears individuals demanding a brighter future and showing us the way through music, art and culture? They’re not hanging out, partying or protesting the way generations before have done. But that doesn’t mean for a second that this generation is apathetic, far from it. This generation is different.

According to a recent “Think With Google” study, only 15% of Gen Z prefer to connect in person versus 56% who would rather connect through SMS or messaging apps. According to the same study, nearly 3 in 10 teens say they text with people who they’re physically with at the time.

What does this say?

When you overlay this data with other behavioral and attitudinal data, we start to see a clearer picture; this generation sees themselves as collaborative change-agents, a group that will hack the world for the better. And while potentially more physically reclusive than generations that have come before them, in this region, they still want to stand out and online is where their party’s at. In fact, I would argue that online is where GenZ’s “id” – the part of the personality that demands gratification of needs and pleasures – finds its outlet. Looking at this through the theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you can begin to see how technology, particularly social technology is impacting the two top tiers – those being self-fulfillment and psychological needs.

On World View.

As you can see, interesting research is beginning to emerge on this generation. According to a study conducted by the Center of Generational Kinetics, personal safety is high on Gen Z’s agenda. They can articulate the impact that social media has on their sense of self worth. Nearly half (42%) report they’ve been bullied online. Being a generation focused on positive and inclusive social movement Gen Z won’t tolerate these actions and it will be interesting to see how they find ways to solve this issue. Youth research consultancy Sparks & Honey found that Gen Z’s outlook is about togetherness; they’re more mature and have greater humility as realists compared to Millennials. Other research indicates a keen sense of financial responsibility.

A creative, resourceful and hyper-connected generation is emerging; one which is vastly different to millennials. For brands to meaningfully engage with The Maker Generation, they must find ways to nurture and empower their ambitions, to listen, collaborate, engage in real-time and ultimately have the confidence to stand back and watch them fly.

 

 

Bravo Romeo’s 2018 Media and Marketing Trends across Content, Data and Technology. PART 1: CONTENT

Quality over Quantity. Effectiveness over Effusiveness.

If 2017 was the year of marketers pulling budgets and challenging the value of activities previously taken for granted, such as award participation and ad fraud; we think 2018 will be the year of media effectiveness.  Decision-makers will demand greater and more granular accountability in media spend, technology investments and content effectiveness.

Given the push for content effectiveness, thoughtful and well-researched content marketing initiatives will find their time in the sun, this year.

So first of all, for the uninitiated, what’s content marketing?

Content marketing is a strategic marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. While digital by provenance, content marketing is by its nature a practice which is media agnostic, taking the case of that old adage: right message, right time, right audience extremely literally and granularly. When applied correctly, content marketing should unify all marketing and communications efforts behind a unified content strategy, with realistic and relevant ROI measurement frameworks in place to analyze success and augment activity.

Why is it important?

Content is booming yet the audience attention is finite. In order to be heard, organizations need to be very careful about how they communicate.

As social and digital media has matured over the years, numerous (and often, major-player) marketers have become lazy about how they communicate, seeing social and digital channels as extensions of their traditional advertising approach. They’ve realized the potential reach of digital however have not necessarily respected the nuanced approach that’s required in order to achieve impact. Consequently, customers are bombarded with ads and messages which offer them little or no value. Given the suite of techniques and tools advertisers have at their disposal, such as super-refined audience segmentation techniques and location-based addressable media, customers can be engaged meaningfully when they’re in a certain mindset. It’s here the opportunity lies – but it’s on marketers to do their homework and have the right team that can bring such initiatives to fruition.

Where does success and failure lie?

(Clue: It’s much more more precious than money)

An agile and flexible content marketing strategy that is grounded in reality is key to success, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 benchmark report. Understanding that content marketing is not a quick-fix “silver bullet” but rather requires the all-too-precious investment of time and internal alignment is also clear.

Content IMage 1

 

Organizations fail where there’s a lack of strategy, time and internal alignment. 

Content Image 2

 

Content marketing has the capacity to resonate more powerfully with customers because it’s carefully tailored to their needs and interests. For brands that want to be heard, an investment in content is almost inevitable, with more than 40% of B2C and B2B marketers increasing their investment in the practice in 2017.

As is often the case in life, the greatest rewards are hard-fought for. So too with gaining the attention and desired action of your intended customer; a well-thought out, creative and resonant content marketing program is your best means of success.

Next up? Bravo Romeo’s 2018 Media and Marketing Trends across Content, Data and Technology. PART 2: DATA