Does Your Agency Speak to The Right Three Audiences?

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NOELLE WEAVER: Last week IBM Business Consulting released a whitepaper titled “The End Of Television As We Know It.”

It’s a good paper that brings up a lot of interesting facts and provides an overview of what the industry can expect in the next 5-6 years. The topics it hits include where content is headed, the growing importance of the level of consumer involvement with different types of media, and how marketers

are being forced to radically alter their business models taking into account their audiences' growing wireless lifestyle and thirst for mobile content.

The most interesting point in the paper addresses the growing audience divide caused by the development of new technology. While there have always been ‘early adopters’ who feed off the latest gadgets, we’re seeing a deeper curve in adoption these days. The paper goes on to argue that in order to sell products, marketers and their agencies must recognize that there is no longer one mass audience; instead, they need to acknowledge a growing bi-modality among consumers:

“Those who are mainly passive viewers and those who demand a more interactive media experience.”

Unlike past years, when we’ve seen the "masses" eventually adapt to the technology, we are now seeing a growing divide between those who use it and consider it a part of their everyday lifestyle [mostly teens], those who drive technology and feel a sense of ownership over their media experiences [20-30 year olds] and those who are content with their traditional TV experiences and uninspired to drastically change their viewing habits.

Several friends commented to me on how they think the big agencies, used to working from a single brief, will have trouble figuring out how to create ads for multiple audiences. I couldn’t help but think about an interview with Peter Chane of Google Video that I had just read in this month’s Wired magazine. The question was asked, “So is Google Video going to be the savior of the 30-second spot?”

His reply:

“That’s a TV concept. We don’t have 30-second spots. We have 30-second videos.”

We not only need to learn to speak to multiple audiences, we need to think about how to tell the same story three different ways. And that, I believe, is the real difference agencies will have to adapt to.
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