More News From The Digital Divide

Another week, another study on how marketers are trying to keep pace with the changes in consumer media behavior.  This one comes from PulsePoint, a digital ad tech company, and finds that the same issues others have discovered over the last few years remain unsolved for the most part.  You can download a copy of the study here.  I think this quote sums up the key finding:

According to PulsePoint CMO Rose Ann Haran, “Consumers are moving freely across channels and devices, interacting with brands and content in real-time.  The digital industry is not flowing as easily with this liquid audience. Channel-centric technologies and processes are causing a divide between our marketing capabilities and our ability to truly engage the consumer in a real-time interactive manner.”

In other words, consumers are “fluid” and “channel-agnostic,” while the current state of digital marketing practices designed to reach them can be best described as being too “channel-centric.” It goes on to cite “overwhelming complexity” and a “lack of unified measurement” as key challenges in preventing the industry from being properly aligned with the consumer, and those challenges make it difficult to track consumers across channels.

My first reaction was “oh, boo hoo.”  Yes, those pesky consumers keep changing their habits and the ongoing game of attention hide-and-seek can be really frustrating.  But look at the opportunities that game has fostered, both in terms of new businesses that have emerged as well as new ways to engage consumers.  What this is really about is marketers’ inability to change their own business methods and models as rapidly as required.  Planning and buying are “silo-ed” in the words of the study.  There is a whiff of turf wars throughout, in my opinion – departments within agencies, agencies vs. one another, creative v. media – you know the drill.  Maybe you even live it!

Then there’s this: “Other factors driving the divide include a misalignment of priorities the industry sees as important to improving their digital marketing practices.”  It’s nice that research such as this is conducted regularly.  It’s an excellent mirror to those of us who are charged with staying in touch with and engaging consumers.  Now, let’s commit to doing something about it so the divide between marketing and those it’s meant to reach closes a lot more rapidly.

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