This post was first published on Jack Myers’ MediaBizBloggers site.
Last week’s Monaco Media Forum with the theme “Mobilization” was a fascinating event filled with superstars of the media, advertising, VC and emerging technologies world. As usual with conferences of this magnitude, the most insightful conversations took place outside of the main event center.
It is pretty apparent that the advertising/media industry continues to optimize ways delivering relevant messages to people: Data warehouses, behavioral targeting, and contextual targeting – you name it. While the powerhouses of that industry shared the main stage, emerging technology providers and VC’s are starting to build new tools that focus more on the intent of people.
Advertising faces a race to the bottom: studies have shown that the least desirable customers click on ads and paying people specifically to look at advertising is likely to catch lower income people with time on their hands – not a good option for marketers. Sure, we’re getting better at delivering relevant messages to people but the success rates of our marketing efforts are fairly low and the privacy questions comes up more often. Which leads us to the question: Where are we going from here?
The Intention Economy
A more effective way of engaging with people is to build tools that engage both parties (customers and vendors) in ways that work for both. While CRM systems are very one-sided in their benefits, ask vendors to bear the burden of the whole engagement and don’t allow customers to engage on their own terms, VRM systems (Vendor Relationship Management) help customers to be equipped with tools that transform them from followers in the marketplace to leaders. Let me give you an example:
Location-based apps are the big craze in the emerging media world right now. I visit a place, check-in and the marketing tactic is to receive special offers from the place itself or competitors. The VRM idea would be different: It’s noon and I plan on going to lunch in 10 minutes. I declare my intent to restaurants within a specific radius, even specifying my budget and the size of my party. Restaurants have now the opportunity to engage with me during the next 10 minutes to send me specific offers, based on my intent. Clearly, brands have a real captive audience for a limited amount of time and don’t need to waste any advertising inventory with guesswork.
VRM used to be an intellectual framework, nothing more. The Monaco Media Forum convinced me that entrepreneurs are starting to buy into this concept and building the necessary tools to bring VRM to life. I saw apps and sites that are based on the VRM model, and I’m convinced that the end of data collection for advertisers (Foursquare, Facebook) is near. The future is bright and the future is based on intent.
Tags: Advertising, attention economy, behavioral targeting, emerging technologies, intention economy, media, mobiliztion, monaco media forum, Stakeholder Contribution, Stakeholder Satisfaction, vc, VRM
Listened to an interesting discussion last night at the Monaco Media Forum, featuring Alain Lévy, CEO of Weborama (France). Especially interesting since we tend to be too US-centric when discussing privacy issues and how data should be utilized.
A few thoughts that were discussed:
- Alain Lévy brought up the idea of “the right to be forgotten”, a new principle for the Social Web to be able to eliminate embarrassing or questionable content associated with us. ( The 5am picture).
- A few people brought up the idea that we need to develop a fair contract between advertisers and people, just like the implied TV contract (You enjoy this show for free and watch commercials in return).
- Some regard the current targeting techniques as “sneaky” and not a sustainable strategy.
While I think the idea of “the right to be forgotten” is interesting, I believe it would be too complicated, too complex and implies a flawless execution. (Good luck.) As much as I was delighted to see that all of us in the media/marketing world continue to discuss privacy and control issues, I was still surprised that nobody brought up the idea that users should own their own data. And I’m starting to have the feeling, any further discussions of privacy doesn’t change the core issue.
As I wrote before, sharing your data on your own terms, having complete control of your personal data would eliminate all the demands for regulations and new rules.It seems we’re making things more complicated than they should be. The “deal” that marketers always bring up when talking about targeting, is not a deal. Nobody ever negotiated with people, we just started to assume that people are okay with it. The majority of people don’t care about targeting, even worse for brands: they don’t care about advertising because we still try to play a guessing game. All the data we collect is distilled into assumptions of people. The assumption somebody else has of my identity is not the real me. We collect more data points about a person than any data aggregation technology when we talk to them for 1 minute. Would you base your marketing spend on that one minute?
The waste in advertising dollars on false assumptions will lead to a real contract. People will share their data and intentions with brands, leading to a much more efficient and effective marketplace. We can talk about privacy, regulations and laws all day long. It won’t change the structure of our business. A mind-blowing ROI will.