Believe It or Not, Planning During Tough Times Can Be Fun

Embrace the Challenges -- and Opportunities -- Next Year Has to Offer

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Jennifer Modarelli
Jennifer Modarelli
It is 2011 planning season and things are looking, well, fun. Bet you didn't see that coming. But with clients going into their third year of needing to do more with less, we as marketers have to think harder, plan better and help our clients find the diamonds in the rough that move the needle. We have to do this on tight budgets. We have to work smarter than ever while dreaming bigger than ever. That's an exciting challenge, and I relish it!

Next year will be a great year for thinking big and delivering even bigger. The new and emerging communication platforms offer a whole new level of opportunities for us and our clients. I am not just talking Facebook strategies or mobile applications; I am talking about better understanding the user experience for the ever-increasing opportunities our clients have to engage in digital dialogue with their customers.

Media like mobile and tablet are no longer considered "experimental." Brands and businesses must plan and fund for just-emerging and future new media accordingly or risk being at a competitive disadvantage. With the adoption of Internet-enabled TVs, the soon-to-be ubiquitous gesture-based interfaces, and the pace of innovation, the digital dialogue brands can have with their consumers will evolve even more rapidly. As a digital agency, we need to guide our clients to develop and manage content and programs that transcend the device.

For example, I interact daily with an average of 12 digital interfaces: my alarm clock, phone, computer, i-Pad, Zune, TV, printer, the car's computer interface and GPS, my jawbone ... you get the picture. If you include my two children's devices, my household can interact with well over 22 devices, each with its unique interface and purpose. Over two-thirds of these devices are actively connected to the Web.

Now add the human element of the day interacting with my kids, co-workers, and clients. You get the picture I have a lot of information to deal with, but I have a myriad of platforms at my disposal to help me get things done. Brands need to take notice of the opportunities they have to help me (and you) accomplish all of these tasks in the easiest and fastest way possible.

Now granted, I am technically an "early adopter," and I work in the digital space, but I feel a sea change coming that will require brand managers to demand different thinking and strategies from their agencies. They will need strategies that not only cross platforms, but cross devices and time. They will need strategies that will accommodate the individual's growing power to dialogue with brands through a variety of devices.

I predict that in 2011 small agencies will be the best positioned to take the lead in defining best practices and methodologies for these new brand dialogue opportunities. Our larger agency counterparts will be busy struggling to be agile, not to mention affordable, across all the emerging platforms.

How will you take the lead in the evolving digital world?

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