It is not just that 154 million Americans access the Internet, but that more than two-thirds of active Internet users are accessing via broadband and spending more than 30 hours per month online. They are living in an iPod-infused world with virtual communities such as MySpace and Friendster; they are blogging, podcasting, vodcasting, and creating and publishing their own content. They are taking control of their media.
It was the Internet that first taught consumers that they could have what they want, when they want it; but that expectation now applies to all media. The time has come for marketers to remix the mix, instead of shifting their budgets or carving from here or there to fund new media.
Along with the remix come the following new schools of thought:
Integrated marketing around the new consumer. Since the consumers are now in control of their media, marketers have to integrate messages around them. Marketers must understand consumption, methods of consumption, multitasking—all while marketing to a new attention span. Marketers also need to know how consumers are connected throughout the day.
Relationship marketing as part of the media mix. Marketers must tear down the walls between relationship marketing and advertising. While relationships have been considered "direct" and separate from advertising, in today's landscape, relationships do rule, and reaching existing customers should be viewed as media.
Let the right medium lead. The notion that TV leads the mix doesn't apply to today's consumer or today's landscape. It is still the killer reach vehicle, but it is not capable of creating the experiences and community interactions that so many consumers crave. For many audiences, interactivity gives them what they want through the Internet, mobile devices and other interactive devices. Therefore, interactivity needs to be the central and driving medium marketers use to engage and convert these audiences.
Today's sophisticated consumer requires marketers that will do more than advertise to them. They want to be informed, entertained and communicated with; they want to be part of the process. To be successful with this new consumer in the new media landscape means marketers must think outside the box, ask the right questions, create the right experiences and, most important, understand that the media mix isn't what it used to be.
Michael Koziol is exec VP-North America nurun | ant farm interactive. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.