Paid media work is never boring. The five “crisi-tunities” (“crisis-opportunities”) I’ve listed below are some of the latest upheavals to the media space that keep us from getting complacent, and provide massive opportunities to make our mark in creative communications.

1. We’re Trading Places

Under constant pressure to develop new revenue streams, the participants in the traditional media transaction have opted to literally get into each other’s business. For example, to execute the Forbes “BrandVoice” product, the advertiser drifts into the role of the publisher—by virtue of creating the original ‘editorial’ content. The publisher becomes the media buyer—as they usually procure visitors outside their readership to provide a guaranteed amount of traffic to the advertiser’s content. And the media buyer plays the role of seller—as they can leverage their internal media trading desk to create a low-cost network for clicks and visitors. The eventual winners in this game will make bold, strategic decisions to diversify their contributions in the communications space.

2. What’s Old is New-ish

Much of the latest discussion around Web 2.0/Web 3.0, likely to drive up interest from clients and  venture capitalists, overstates the level of innovation that we’re experiencing. For example, native advertising and sponsored content formed the foundation of advertising at the dawn of TV. Instantaneous self-publishing and DIY digital presence for consumers on Facebook and Twitter have their roots in newsgroups and Geocities. But the lessons learned from previous iterations of these platforms could significantly boost their future effectiveness and our ability to creatively evolve them to influence consumer behaviors.

3. Vendors Go Direct

Until recently, the agency had secured its place in the communications ecosystem by being (1) the primary source of creative ideas, and (2) the primary negotiator with dozens of vendors vying for marketing dollars. An increasing volume of news from the creative space and the paid media space clearly puts the agency on shakier footing. To become indispensable again, agencies must solve for some the new challenges facing advertisers – (1) the steady fragmentation of media consumption across publishers, devices and formats, (2) the increasing relative value of word of mouth, and (3) the application of new marketing technology.

4. Media Measurement is still in its Infancy

As imprecise media mix modeling is increasingly forced to share the stage with “real-time” stats from Facebook, Google, or multi-touch attribution startups in order to properly assign ROI to various media channels, the ensuing chaos keeps most CMOs from making precise investment decisions. Add to that the tremendous inertia created by media execs’ loyalty to measurement-challenged TV advertising, and the chances for education and evolution appear bleak. However, we have a tremendous opportunity to connect with a newer generation of brand managers who may welcome an ROI-driven analysis to cut through the clutter.

5. Small Steps to Big Data

While re-targeting site visitors—first party data—within 30 days has become a staple of most advertisers’ direct response media plans, justified with conversion rates up to 10x those of other tactics, the manipulation of 3rd party data for more precise targeting has produced largely underwhelming results. Consumer privacy concerns, cookie deletion, Safari/Mozilla cookie blocking features, pricing issues, and a generally fragile infrastructure for pairing 3rd party data with ad impressions have combined to slow the growth curve for data providers, DMPs and some analytics vendors. More sophisticated applications of predictive data sets—including social and transactional data—is the area for immediate focus for the next 24 months.

What “crisi-tunities” have you started to prepare for?

Image credit: ecneralx

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