More consumer control forces shift in spending

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There's a spending sea change rising as marketers grapple with a changing environment in which the consumer is in control.

More than 89% of respondents to an exclusive survey conducted jointly by Advertising Age and the American Marketing Association said they have changed their media mix to respond to new technologies and the beneficiaries are the Internet, direct and event marketing, branded entertainment and cable TV.

The biggest loser of this shift is network TV, with 66% saying they were spending a smaller amount of their budgets on the medium. Print was a distant second, with 36% of respondents spending less.

"Everybody understands the consumer has a lot more choices," said Lee Ann Daly, exec VP-marketing for ESPN, in an interview.

Nearly all of the 104 respondents-judges of the AMA's Effie Awards surveyed last month-agreed or strongly agreed that the broadening range of media choices from the Internet to TiVo to MP3 players gives consumers more control over their media environment than ever before. But more than half-53%-disagreed or strongly disagreed that all these changes have killed the mass-marketing model, while 45% strongly agreed or agreed.

Howard Draft, CEO Interpublic Group of Cos.' marketing-services firm Draft, Chicago, said the split represents how some marketers depend on traditional channels while others don't. "If you're McDonald's ... you're going to still [use mass media] to drive sales and build the brand," said Mr. Draft, who didn't participate in the survey. "If you're Dell ... you're going to use the more targeted media."


Still, there's no question that things are changing in response to the shift in power. More than 45% of respondents said they are shifting 10% or more of their budgets into strategies and tactics that take account of increasing consumer control. Another 37% say they have spent small portions of their budgets experimenting with new directions. Fully 94% said they are spending more on Internet marketing. Some 63% are spending more on event marketing.

Holding steadier is outdoor, with 80% saying they are spending the same or more on the medium, and radio, with 74% of respondents saying they are maintaining or growing spending in the medium.

Branded entertainment is getting a bigger share of 64% of respondents' budgets, but there was little consensus over who is the best guide for marketers to navigate this space.

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