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  • khulumamedia 4:18 pm on September 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    THE 1981 MANAGEMENT ADVERTISING REPORT: DANGER PAY FOR DENIM CLAD DREAMERS? 

    They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but the cover of the 1981 Management Advertising Report tells the whole story. In fact, many of the cartoons on the cover would make great scripts for an episode of the hit TV series Mad Men.

    SCN_0002

    1980 had been a boom year for the advertising industry, building on the momentum of 1979 and further fuelled by strong GNP growth and corresponding real growth in adspend of around 6,5%. At this stage, there was still no hint of the double-digit inflation which would become a hallmark of South African isolation. But with opportunity comes ambition (or avarice depending on your perspective) and it was a year of pitching, account switching and agency breakaways.

    Perhaps the most acrimonious of these breakaways was the highly publicised broedertwis between KMP (Klerck Marais & Potgieter) and The Agency, where KMP Chairman Hennie Klerck won an unprecedented interdict against former KMP directors (Johan Huyser & Gerry de Ridder) in the Pretoria Supreme Court, preventing the latter from poaching KMP clients and staff.

    But as David Ogilvy once noted, “Never buy an advertising agency. You can’t buy the clients and you can’t buy the staff, so it was also a year of “people switching and ridiculous job offers to ridiculously qualified people. Part of the problem, it seems was the salaries pulled down by advertising people in 1980 and Management posed the question whether ad-agency executives really were worth their salt?

    “’Why’, your average hard-nosed marketing manager asks himself, ‘should some long-haired denim clad dreamer, barely out of his teens, earn what I earn after sweating my guts out for 20 years? Worse, why should I fit the bill’.

    Blog 2 talent

    I realise that building statues to past leaders in South Africa is not a popular pastime these days but we should at least give Nic Tredoux (President AAPA – Association of Accredited Practitioners in 1980) a medal for his response.

    “We are accused of paying our people too much … But to the accusers I say ‘Leave your safe jobs and pension schemes and try your luck in the advertising agency business, with its insecurity of tenure, and see if you still think the money is too much. Most advertising people, especially those in the front line are on danger pay.

    “Advertising agency people are a peculiar breed. They thrive on ego and insecurity. It stimulates their adrenaline

    Four decades later, unfortunately it seems that advertisers and agencies, often both victims of relentless procurement price-cutting protocols, are still locked in the same debate. Advertisers expect agencies to take on business at margins, or on terms of payment, that they themselves would reject out of hand. Agencies, on the other hand have done very little if anything at all, to build the professional reputation of the advertising industry and in particular, the media discipline. Commitment to training, despite incentives built into the revised Transformation Charter, remains questionable. Today, just as in the past, when it comes to agencies and agency executives, advertisers are getting what they pay for.

    In 2017 the industry continues to haemorrhage creative and media talent to other more lucrative disciplines, not least of all to the digital industry and to marketers themselves. We may still live by the sword in the advertising industry but unfortunately, we die by procurement officers red pen and “Danger Pay is a fond memory played out into the beer glasses in the last few remaining advertising watering holes.

    In 1980 though, advertising executives were riding the crest of the economic prosperity wave (of course we need to recognise that back then, the distribution of wealth meant that prosperity was a very relative term) and they were re-positioning themselves to provide effective media and creative insights into what was becoming a progressively more complex communication market.

    Part of this complexity was the growth in new commercial media options.

    The illusion of independence in the “homelands” of Bophuthatswana and Transkei, was being maintained by newcomers Radio Bop and Capital Radio but the state-controlled SABC hegemony in radio was also being challenged in the Reef by new kids on the block Channel 702. The first building block in what would later become the Kirsh publishing empire, Primedia.

    Considering the quantum shift in the nation’s destiny and economic trajectory, and in particular the significance of Gauteng as the commercial hub for South Africa, when we compare the latest 2017 ES-RAMS data with an AMPS study conducted in the PWV market (as Gauteng was known then) in 1980, one can’t help wondering whether regional radio isn’t overdue for a major overhaul.

    radio gauteng

    Politics was also shaping the print media landscape. Marius Jooste’s Perskor Group had become embroiled in what would become known as the Information Scandal or Muldergate, and had been expelled from the ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation) for bogus circulation claims. In addition to secretly funding The Citizen as its mouthpiece, government had cracked down on freedom of the press and in particular on The Post and The World. The Rand Daily Mail (Published by SAAN – South African Associated Newspapers or Tiso Blackstar Group in its latest incarnation) was still trying valiantly but unsuccessfully, to find a bridge between liberal white readers and an alternative ‘black voice’ but that ‘black voice’ would be increasingly manifested in the form of a new title, The Sowetan.

    So, the scene was set for arguably the biggest advertising development since of the launch of commercial TV in 1978.

    In January 1982, the SABC was to launch TV2 and a little later that year TV3. These two stations were to broadcast in five of the Nguni-Sotho languages (Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana and North & South Sotho) and were positioned to unlock the massive commercial potential represented by black consumers.

    Incredibly though, far from embracing this development, the advertising industry questioned the potential contribution of a TV station which recognised the need to broadcast in the indigenous black languages.

    SCN_0077

    Reading the introduction to this article in the 1981 report, is a very uncomfortable experience in 2017 and, sadly, it speaks volumes about the degree to which marketers and advertisers in Apartheid South Africa, had become disconnected from the vast majority of their consumers.

    “Come January next year, an unspecified number of black householders in the same room as an unspecified number of family and friends will switch on for the start of TV2/3 to watch a little publicised selection of programmes broadcast in four different African languages as well as some 600 different TV commercials, all in the vernacular, many of which won’t work.

    “And in numerous agencies throughout the country, in boardrooms, in production houses, in group discussion sessions and out on location, the talk is black television; either something to leap at with a grappling hook, or keep away from with a barge pole.

    At the centre of this was the SABC’s insistence that TV2/3 would only carry commercials “in the vernacular”, despite representation from the Association of Marketers (ASOM) for commercials to be broadcast in English and Afrikaans. The publishers of Management weren’t going to be biting the hand that was feeding them in 1981.

    “First of all the funny side; the fact that commercials cannot be in English or Afrikaans (the lingua franca of 78,6% of all Sowetans according to AMPS ’79) but must be in both Nguni & Sotho languages and product descriptions must be in the vernacular.

    “The vernacular? The best way of describing this piece of insistence of the SABC is by example: if you are BBDO and doing a commercial for TV2 for Willards chips, you cannot call the product “e’chipi” which is what any African who was ever eaten them calls them, but rather “e sliced off piece of potato fried in oil”.

    Management wraps up this rather sordid little scenario by noting that “believe it or not, [this is the] hassle BBDO was having with the SABC shortly before our going to print. I don’t think that even in his most condescending moments, Cecil John Rhodes himself could have been more patronising.

    It wasn’t just the issue of vernacular languages that was dampening the enthusiasm of advertisers however, and many frontline marketers were actually questioning whether there were potentially enough black viewers to make the station viable.

    “Fantastic. Except where are all the black-owned TV sets hiding? A few people. A very few people, are actually asking this question. Nick Green of Markinor is one. Owen Mundell of Grey is another. ‘They ain’t there’ reckons Mundell.

    Quoting AMPS ’79 as source, Markinor MD Nick Green reported that blacks owned only 89,000 TV sets and estimated a total potential audience of between 500,000 and 600,000. In 2017, 88% of black households have at least one TV set and 78% of all adult TV viewers are black. Of those viewers, 3 out of every 4, consider one of the vernacular languages to be the language used most often in the home.

    Perhaps Management was right after all. Why should clients have “foot the bill for that kind of insight. I’m not so sure about the long-haired, denim-clad dreamer analogy though. On reflection ostrich-feathered, grey-shoed, dozers with their heads buried in the sands might have been more accurate.

    Next time you ponder why the industry needed a transformation charter in the first place, just remember what we are transforming from. It makes what we are hopefully transforming into so much more motivating and rewarding.

    Maybe then we’ll finally get paid what we’re worth.

    This is the second in a series of reviews covering key trends and issues outlined in Advertising Industry Reports over the past 4 decades and a more complete narrative can be found on my Facebook Page MullerMedia

    https://www.facebook.com/MullerMedia-181129081939554/

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  • khulumamedia 12:30 pm on September 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    May 1980 Management Advertising Report: Nothing new under the Sun 

    I honestly don’t know what possessed me to keep them for 40 years, but I’ve been browsing through some early annual reports on the South African advertising industry. I thought it might of interest to identify some of the key issues fueling each report and I’ll be working through these annual reports over the coming weeks.

    You’ll be able to find a more detailed narrative on my Muller Media Facebook Page

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1640370296015418.1073741831.181129081939554&type=1&l=954f5de9c9

    Reading the 1980 Management Advertising Report report is like watching the original 1954 version of Ishirō Honda’s Godzilla and discovering that it’s the same as Gareth Edwards’ 2014 movie of the same name, but without the special effects. In reflecting on those early years in advertising, I can’t help believing that Ecclesiastes is absolutely on the money.

    What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

    There is nothing new under the advertising sun, and inventing new buzzwords and memes is not really the same as actually creating shape-shifting communication perspectives. After all, advertorials and native content are both siblings from the same creatively deprived lexicon.

    Let me also say, before things go pear-shaped, I’m not an historian or an investigative journalist, so ultimately the value of recording these reports will come from the collective weight of industry insight and anecdotal comment. Please comment. Please tweet. Please correct the inaccuracies and share your own recollections of those times. Whatever takes your fancy. Let’s try and recapture some of the zeitgeist of that time.

    What then, were the big issue issues fueling the advertising industry narrative in 1980?

    Well the role and contribution of global agency networks was then, as it remains today, very much in the spotlight. In 1980 though, the advertising industry was still very much focused on isolationist life on Survivor Island (aka Apartheid Island). So, you just have to love the chutzpah of this Think Global – Act Local observation, even though in 1980 the phrase hadn’t really even reached our shores yet. No prizes for guessing who said

    “An international agency connection works both ways. From them we can learn the latest developments, from us they can learn Afrikaans.”

    Pitching for new business has always been one of the hottest topics in the advertising industry. I mean after all, half the episodes in Mad Men centre around new business pitches. Even back in 1980 though, clients were already starting to see through the whole manic pitching process and the Mad Men had to take a back seat.

    “Six agencies pitched for your account. Five of them lunched us at the Three Ships. One fed us sandwiches in the boardroom and spoke about what they do for clients. They won.”

    In 1980, the ever-present lament from clients about the lack of financial discipline in agencies and the excesses of the creative psyche reverberated through the boardrooms of the advertising industry. Of course, as Kenny Everett said everything was always done “in the best possible good taste” but it’s hard to suppress a reminiscent smile over this observation about life in the early days of TV in South Africa.

    “No! Actually they filmed it in Hawaii. They reckoned it was the closest thing to Plettenberg Bay they could find.”

    This was what my boss at the time, brilliantly excessive Bates-Wells Mad Man Eddie Anderson, called “dragging clients kicking and screaming to success.”

    Unquestionably though, the topic which dominated the conversation in Management Advertising Review 1980, was the crumbling commission system and its impact on agency accreditation.

    The NPU (National Press Union) had de facto been “accrediting” agencies as far back as 1912 when the members took a resolution to “recognise” only 4 advertising agents in South Africa; including the Central News Agency (Yes, the same CNA that today doesn’t know whether it’s in the business of selling books or biltong, let alone creating advertising). But, the commission system in South Africa actually traces back to 1890 when the NPU met to regulate pricing and combat the scourge of ‘advertising agentswho had “bargained for ad-rates as low as a penny per inch and still deducted exorbitant commissions.

    Clearly buying low and selling high has always been, and remains, a popular a media-procurement practice in South Africa.

    In 1980, the advertising and media industry was being energised by the prospect that the recent advent of commercial TV would push total annual adspend in South Africa through the R500m ceiling for the first time. The prospect of such huge sums being invested in TV advertising (“Lintas recently boasted placing R1m TV billings in a month) had really set the cat amongst the comfortably roosting pigeons. Of course, by 2017 that wouldn’t be enough to make the list of individual Top10 Advertisers.

    The balance of power was shifting as the emerging TV powerhouse SABC, also began to lay out the terms of “recognition” for accredited advertising agencies, who wanted to qualify for the 15% agency commission plus the additional 1,5% early settlement discount. Such “recognition” did not require any proven skill in advertising and essentially, it consisted of little more than the provision of financial guarantees to cover the cost of advertising exposure purchased by those agencies on behalf of 3rd party advertisers.

    This financial arrangement would be covered in an agreement with the Association of Accredited Practitioners in Advertising (AAPA), offering a centralised guarantee for all “accredited” AAPA agencies through the Media Indemnity Company (MIC). This differentiation between “accredited agencies” and “non-accredited” advertisers, was not universally embraced by all industry stakeholders. Management reports …

    “[The AAPA] is a trade association regarded by its more enthusiastic supporters as all that stands between order and anarchy in the advertising industry and by its possibly fewer (but increasingly vociferous) antagonists as a cosy little cartel which rips off its client advertisers on the one hand, and the media in which the ads actually appear, on the other”.

    But the SABC terms of recognition went one step further; essentially offering the full 15% commission plus 1,5% early settlement to all advertisers, whether they were AAPA members or not, provided they could offer the appropriate financial guarantees. In practice, what this meant was that for the first time, even marketers could place advertising directly with media owners and qualify for the full 16,5% commission (discount or rebate depending on your perspective). Derek Dissel (MD BBDO) summed it up succinctly when he noted that “basically anybody who is not an unrehabilitated insolvent can be recognised provided they had “an insurance company or other sugar-daddy to put up guarantees.

    At the time, the AAPA Code of Practice also mandated that “no agency shall place advertisements on behalf of an unaccredited agency. Despite this, and although the emergence of “Media Independents” was still some years away, the practice of placement for split commissions was widespread. Management reports that “the size of the split that an unaccredited agency can receive depends on how shrewdly they can negotiate and how desperate the accredited agency is for the revenue.The typical fee for ‘placement’ was 6,5% for the ‘placing agency’ and 10% for the unaccredited agency.”

    Commenting at the time John Holloway (Transvaal President of the Society of Marketers) clarified the position of advertisers

    “We are dissatisfied with the system. We are not happy with the service we are getting. I sincerely believe it is not the fault of the advertising people, it is the fault of the system. We are caught up in a system which was devised many years ago to tide us over. Today, we are paying the penalty for not heeding the free enterprise system.

    From the agency perspectives, incoming AAPA Chairman Nic Tredoux responds

    “I am petrified that the system may swing from a quality basis to one based on price. The infrastructure just couldn’t afford it. I want to see the ethos of the great creative full-service agency kept alive and this can’t be done [if marketers] are allowed to deal with media on the same basis as agencies”.

    SCN_0032

    So even in 1980 we were beginning to face the reality that the commission system, if not the full-service agency business model, was well and truly broken.

    It’s quite extraordinary to realise that despite this early insight from marketers, it’s taken almost 40 years for the industry to catch up with the implications. The K2 Intelligence Study, conducted on behalf of the ANA (Association National Advertisers) in North America and published in 2016 found that

    “there was a fundamental disconnect in the advertising industry about the basic nature of the advertiser/agency relationship that evidence was found of a pervasive receipt of non-disclosed rebates, not returned to advertisers.

    As I noted earlier. Buying low and selling high has been part of the media procurement process in South Africa since 1890. Ironically though, it’s the media-owners themselves who are being saddled with the burden of compensation rather than the agencies.

    In November 2011, the Competition Commission investigated the commission system as applied to the now renamed Media Credit Co-Ordinators (MCC), which provides guarantees for “accredited or recognized” agencies, and concluded that the practice restricted competition among the competing companies. MCC accredited agencies were still being offered a 16.5% discount for payments made within 45 days of the statement date, while non-members were offered 15%. The Commission concluded that this effectively amounts to “price fixing and the fixing of trading conditions in contravention of the Competition Act.”

    Which Media-Owner has been fined and who will be fined for “price fixing” in future is beyond the scope of this review but it doesn’t really take the wisdom of Solomon to note that there is nothing new under the sun.

    It is nice to have it confirmed in Ecclesiastes though.

     
  • khulumamedia 1:43 pm on May 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    SEM, Me, and Bobby McGee 

    The highlight of my media career is undoubtedly being called a “media anarchist” in 2008 when I pointed out to the industry that once you start splitting the 10 LSM segments, you de facto create more LSM segments. 17 LSM segments by last count in AMPS 2015AB.

    Of course, there are still people who insist there were only 10 LSMs but, by and large, these are essentially the same people who throw away perfectly good food because of the “Best Before” stamp on the packaging.

    So, when it was announced that the Establishment Survey (ES) SEM model consisted of only 10 segments, I did feel a little disappointed. Not quite like I was being dragged screaming off a United Airlines flight but certainly a bit like I’d been downgraded from business class.

    As we have seen from my previous blog, even for a Media Twit like me, reweighting from AMPS-LSM to the new SEM (Socio Economic Measure) is doable if you have a pin, a piece of string and a ruler, and you like playing “Where’s Wally”. Its predictable and it lacks targeted granularity though, so as with LSM, the key to using SEM is to create clusters that best reflect your point of focus.

    Well, you can only begin to imagine my excitement when I discovered that not only can the SEM model also be segmented into 17 segments but that you can create as many segments as you want. Up to 100 in fact.

    Yes! That’s what that mysterious “SEM Actual Value” coding line is for in Telmar.

    SEM is not so much a pre-packaged segmentation tool, as it is a continuum. As media planners (I’m still a media-planner even though the phrase lacks the cachet of being a channel-strategist), we can determine precisely where on the continuum we want to focus our communication. Of course, reliability of sample sizes is questionable but ultimately, it’s insights we’re after in media these days, not nth degree factual observations. Well, at least that’s what I’m told by the big-data converts.

    For instance, we can target the Top End of the market (Top 23% – SEM score 78-100). Or we can target the Top End of the market (Top 14% – SEM score 87-10). Or we can target the Top End of the market (Top 10% – score 91-10 or SEM 10).

    You see where the problem lies? There is no convention. Your Top End and my Top End may be completely different. Indeed, we can choose to segment that market into whichever configuration suits our purpose. Now, I’m not normally a betting man (too many years as an Arsenal supporter) but I’m willing to bet that SABC TV,  DSTV and ETV will all have a very different SEM segmentation offering. As will KayaFM, 702 and PowerFM.

    It’s a bit like “Black Diamonds 2”. Everyone will be free to use the SEM data as they see fit. Yes, it’s the democracy of data-usage but I’m with Bobby McGee on this one; “freedom’s just another word for nothin left to lose”.

    It’s not enough for ES to dump this new data-template on the market without detailed explanations and guidelines. For instance, if this is a better representation of South Africa’s Gini-coefficient then why is it a continuum? Why isn’t the shift quantum? A perfect continuum on a “have and have-not” scale doesn’t seem to mirror disproportionate distribution of economic wealth. What clustering conventions would best represent the reality of Mzansi’s Gini-defined economic circumstances?

    ES needs to engage with the media industry and start training and workshopping with data-users. The ES stakeholders need to explain what the differences are between AMPS and ES (and LSM and SEM); not statistical and research-based differences, but actual hands on application in a live planning situation. And they need to do this before the reweighted ES-TAMS data goes live in June.

    It’s simply not enough to launch and then just walk away.

    Let’s get back to clustering the data. If the Muller LSM Cluster Model[1] works as a usable segmentation tool (and it does), then can it be used to position SEM in the recognizable media landscape?

    ES LSM uses the same defining variables as AMPS but there has been some re-weighting of the populations, so the Muller Cluster Model is constructed slightly differently in ES.

    • Traditional Market: LSM 1,2,3 (6,2% Pop)
    • Transitional Market: LSM 4,5 (35,7% Pop)
    • Middle Market: LSM 6 (33,6% Pop)
    • Upper Middle B: LSM 7,8 (16,0% Pop)
    • Upper Middle A: LSM 9 (5,5% Pop)
    • Elite: LSM 10 (3,0%)

    By creating midpoint splits for SEM, in the same way that LSM was split in AMPS, we can juxtapose ES-SEM against ES-LSM. The “arch” is reassuringly familiar and we can discern some apparent correlations between the competing segmentation tools. LSM10 and SEM10 for instance are easily located at the “top end” of the market continuum.

    There are also some significant points of difference, particularly at the “bottom-end” of the market e.g. LSM3 & SEM3 or LSM 4 & SEM 4.

    BLOG3 G1

    If you want to use the SEM data as a segmentation continuum, be my guest, but migrating from existing LSM segmentation practices to SEM, is extremely difficult. If you want a landscape that is more familiar, something that positions your old segmentation parameters in ES, then clustering proves a much more workable solution.

    The following parameters provide a day-to-day usable framework.

    • Traditional Market
      • ES LSM 1,2,3 (6,2 % Pop)/ ES SEM 1 (12,6% Pop)
    • Transitional Market
      • ES LSM 4,5 (35,7% Pop)/ ES SEM 2,3,4 (40,8% Pop)
    • Middle Market
      • ES LSM 6 (33,6% Pop)/ ES SEM 5,6L (14,6% Pop)
    • Upper Middle B
      • ES LSM 7,8 (16,0% Pop)/ ES SEM 6H,7,8 (20,1% Pop)
    • Upper Middle A
      • ES LSM 9 (5,5% Pop)/ ES SEM 9,10L (8,7% Pop)
    • Elite
      • ES LSM 10 (3,0% Pop)/ SEM 10H (3,3% Pop)

    In addition, when creating broader target parameters, if you use the “1-up:1-down” rule of thumb then discernible and differentiating media consumption patterns will emerge. So, target Middle & Transitional (SEM6L-SEM2) or Middle & Upper Middle B (SEM5 – SEM8) but don’t try and target Transitional through to Upper Middle B for instance; there is simply no cohesive media consumption pattern.

    BLOG3 G2

    I have no doubt that the statistical bean-counters will take exception to this solution but I in turn make no apology for being a Media Twit, whose job it is to develop coherent and usable marketing and media insights for advertisers.

    You want statistical perfection, then buy an algorithm.

    Of course, if we had Product consumption and Brand information multi-based into ES, then none of this would be necessary, because we would be able to immediately locate our targeted brand consumers on the new ES landscape.

    But that’s another journey entirely and although the song says, “I’d trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday”, right now it is all about what we’re going to do today.

    [1] Marketing in South Africa – Simpson & Lappeman http://www.vanschaiknet.com/book/view/392

     
  • khulumamedia 6:14 am on April 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Where’s Wally? and SEMs – A game for people with two belly buttons? 

    Well now that wasn’t so bad. I’ve asked the first Twit question and we’re over the first ES obstacle. Nobody has sent me for counselling with Robert Ruud, or stopped following me on Twitter. So, let’s press on with the mission. Bear in mind though, that this sequence of blogs isn’t a Q&A session. It’s a Q session because like most media folks in Mzansi who have two belly-buttons (one from your mother and the other from AMPS), when it comes to the practical application of ES data, I don’t know my A from my Q.

    As I indicated in my previous blog, I don’t know why we as a consumer-nation are collectively worth 11% less than in the good old AMPS days. Maybe we can point to the revised ES sampling framework or changes in research methodology. Maybe it’s just the stark reality of 26% official unemployment in Zupta-World. But that’s not the stuff we Media Twits need to bother with right now.

    Unlike the 2BBs, with their umbilical connection to AMPS, we Digital Natives stride confidently into the brave new ES world, ready to apply the data without fussing about the detail.

    Just in case you’re wondering how Africa’s oldest surviving media planner (@Mzansimedia – that’s me) gets to be a Digital Native, let me just say that if Rachel Dolezal can pose as a black person because “race is just a social construct”, then I can pose as a Digital Native because being digital is just a media construct.

    To cross the river of indecision from AMPS-World to ES-World, we need a bridge though. Something that is both familiar and relatively simplistic. Useless as they may be for target market segmentation in the modern media world, LSMS can provide not so much a bridge, but at least two stepping stones.

    The first step is to establish whether AMPS-LSM and ES-LSM behave the same. Yes, I know that all comparisons between AMPS-LSM and ES are inspired, if not by Satan, then at least by Dennis the Menace, but in the functional media world we are compelled to compare apples with oranges every day. I mean how else can we measure the relative contribution of a 30s TVC with a FPFC in magazines?

    ES-LSM uses the same variables as were previously used to define AMPS-LSM but the ES sampling framework provides a very different picture of the distribution of those households. Yes, there is the familiar bell-shaped curve peaking at LSM 6 but each individual LSM segment shows significant variation in attributed households, and if we combine this with variations in claimed HH income (see previous ‘Brave New World’ blog) then the “LSM value landscape” becomes very different.

    For instance, in AMPS the LSM10 segment represented 20,9% of total monthly HH income, whereas in ES it represents only 12,2%. ES-LSM6 on the other hand now represents 26,8% of monthly HH income value, which is significantly higher than the 15,2% in AMPS. So, if you’re going to transition from AMPS LSM to ES SEM, it helps first to reweight and position your previous LSM target market parameters onto the ES weightings.

    where's wally 1

    Of course, if there was product and brand information in ES, or multi-based onto ES, then we wouldn’t need to do any of this. But there isn’t, so on we go. Once you’ve found your old LSM-self in the ES-LSM model you can take the next step and try to create matching SEM target market parameters. It’s kind of like Where’s Wally for media grown-ups.

    There are significant changes in the variables that are used to develop the SEM model. A detailed discussion of these variables is reserved for another blog. Suffice to say that the overall number of variables has been decreased to 14 and that there is a strong focus on structural items (such as roof & flooring materials), a relatively lower reliance on durables (such as washing machines and microwave ovens) and no reliance on technology items (such as mobile phones).

    Despite these differences, courtesy of Decimal Dan, we see a reassuringly familiar shape when we look at a correspondence map of the ES LSM & SEM segments. If you don’t know who Decimal Dan is, then ask your dad; or if you’re a Digital Native, ask your granddad.

    where's wally 2

    At a glance, we can see the gradation from Rural, through Urban to Metropolitan communities. There are significant differences in Av. HH Income between the individual cells, but the progressive growth in earning (and presumably spending) power is clearly in evidence. So perhaps looking at HH income or personal income levels might provide another sound stepping stone to transfer AMPS-LSM insights into the SEM framework?

    Of course, AMPS-LSM 10 (6% of households) and SEM (7% of households) still represent the top end of the market but few, if any, planners target individual SEM (or LSM) cells. So, one of the biggest challenges is to create (or re-create) target market ranges or clusters using SEM. This exercise will become increasingly relevant when the ES-weighted TAMS data goes live in June, because let’s face it, most media plans centre on effective TV planning and buying.

    For those familiar with the Muller Cluster Model it is interesting to note that SEM1 corresponds with the Traditional Market (the old LSM 1,2&3) and that SEM2 and SEM3 correspond with The Transitional Market (the old LSM 4&5). Not in terms of size and value, but in terms of relative positioning. If you were using AMPS-LSM 7&8 to target the Upper Middle B market segment, then maybe you need to use SEM 6,7&8 to recreate the same percentile segment.

    So, there we have it. Everything is different but everything looks reassuringly familiar. Go forth and compare apples with oranges because in Media-Twit Land, we don’t look for the right answer, because it doesn’t exist. Rather ask the questions that are relevant to your product category or brand and come up with solutions, or more specifically SEM solutions that answer your questions. Maybe in five years there’ll be established SEM benchmarks, but right now we are all, rightly or wrongly, creating the individual insights that will in time become the collective wisdom of the brave new media world.

    Of course, if you only have one belly-button then you can ignore this blog. Go to SEM. Go directly to SEM. Do not pass ‘Go’. Do not collect 200. But that’s not Where’s Wally. That’s a different board game entirely.

     
  • khulumamedia 3:05 pm on April 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    ES: Taking the Brave New World for granted? 

    Writing in Brave New World, Aldous Huxley noted that “most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted”. Whether you have taken AMPS for granted for the past 40 years, and you think the media industry has reached the end of an era, or you feel that the launch of Establishment Survey (ES) signals entry into that brave new world, we all need to accept two facts:
    1. AMPS 2015 was indeed the last AMPS
    2. The ES 2016 database is live and the data needs to be analysed and used
    It is with bated breath that I’ve been waiting to see which of the big industry players will be first to market, using actual data from ES to start informing media selling, planning and buying decisions. To my surprise though, and we can blame it on the Easter Bunny who has effectively closed the Mzansi media factory for the month of April, nobody has had anything to say since the launch of ES.
    It’s like watching the start of the of the old Monty Python Twit Race. If you’re too young to recall it, here’s the YouTube link and if you’re old enough to recognise yourself or a colleague, please note that name and addresses have been changed to protect really nice media people.

    We’re all waiting to see who’ll be out the blocks first and who’s going to make a twit of themselves first.
    Well, my grandchildren have taught me a lot about being openly inquisitive and asking awkward questions without shame (Grandpa why is your tummy so squishy? What happened to your hair? Grandpa why we do have to support Arsenal?). So as I, like the rest of the media industry, start to unpack the data in ES, I’m unashamedly going to ask questions for which I don’t have the answers. Even if it does make me look like a twit!
    I’ve actually tried to ask some of these questions of the various stakeholders, but unfortunately, whilst everyone is keen to take ownership of the data, not everyone is keen to take ownership of the explanations. You know the kind of conversation …
    Me: Why?
    Tom: Ask Dick
    Dick: Ask Harry
    Harry: Tom who?
    This will be the first piece in my series of questions about ES and some of the new insights which will govern our media thinking in the post-AMPS landscape. I don’t have the answers but I have some understanding of the implications.
    Now, we’ve all been told that we must not compare ES with AMPS. The two databases are vastly different in terms of sampling framework and methodology, and no trending is possible; but telling media planners not to compare AMPS and ES is like telling the Brits that they shouldn’t compare life in the UK before and after Brexit, because the economic and social parameters have changed.
    This may be the correct stance for researchers and statistical purists, but the rest of us squaddies out here in the media-trenches have to try and explain why the concepts and numbers that we’ve used in the past will no longer apply in 2017 and 2018.
    Let’s begin interrogating the new ES data by looking at the size and value of the reported consumer market. Households and household incomes is a good starting point. Well, if you think that being downgraded by S&P and Fitch is bad news for the economy, it’s interesting to note that ES got there first.
    The reported number of households in ES (July-Dec 2016) has increased by 2% to 15,9m but average household income (HHI) has declined by 12% to R9,885. AMPS2015 (Jan-Dec 2015) reported average HHI at R11,276. This has the effect of “down-grading” the total reported monthly income (and presumably the average spending power) by billions of Rands each month.
    Now it may be argued that this is the new economic reality in Jacob Zuma’s Mzansi, and it’s all just relative, but if future media campaigns are to be directed at maximising ROI, not just buying cheap exposure against increased consumer universes, then this places a tremendous premium on understanding the commercial viability, not just the population size, of target market segments.
    Ideally, this evaluation should be done at a product category or brand level because it’s at this consumer level that we get a sense of the market “self-segmenting” on established purchase behaviour. Unfortunately, ES does not provide marketers with that level of scrutiny, so we need to rely on externally constructed and superimposed models, such as LSMS and the new ES Socio-Economic Measure (SEM) to review that value.
    How to build a bridge from AMPS LSM to ES SEM is the subject of a different set of awkward questions (and no doubt one that will see me again sitting on the research naughty step for attempting to compare data across surveys) but, for the purposes of discussing household income, the 10-point scale inherent in the LSM and SEM models, serves as a simple facilitator and illustrates both the need for, and the complexity of,  setting revised macro market-segmentation parameters.

    lsm & sems picture

    The chart above reflects that total HH Income value (Number of households x Av HHI) of the RSA market. The implication is quite clear. Beyond the “Elite” in LSM10 (6,2% of adult population) and SEM10 (6,8%), the ES data shows a much flatter distribution pattern for “household purchasing power” on a monthly basis; and the much celebrated LSM6 is looking a lot more like a phantom pregnancy than the “preggy-bump” that was supposed to deliver the next heir to the consumer throne.
    It’s not enough to just migrate the old LSM segmentation parameters from AMPS to ES. It is crucial that each and every marketer totally recalibrate all existing segmentation models to reflect this new market reality. For instance, the implication of this distribution pattern, for increasing the use of indigenous languages in advertising and media is staggering, and this will be particularly relevant when TV planning and buying has to adjust to the ES-weighted TAMS data due to go live in June.
    We can of course hang on to AMPS 2015AB and the old population estimates and segmentation models, if we feel the sampling framework was more appropriate for assessing the economically and commercially active population, but we need to question the value of market data collected in 2015 for projecting media audiences in 2017 and 2018.
    So there it is in a nutshell. Twit question #1.
    Does the overall consumer market have 11-12% less to spend each month than it did in 2015 and, if this is the new reality, how do we apply this insight to adjust previous market segmentation models?
    Maybe Aldous Huxley was right and “most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted”; but we also know for sure that marketers in South Africa and Africa have an almost infinite capacity to adapt positively to change.
    It could be the end of an era or a brave new world, but as marketers and media strategists we have to make the choice. And we have to make the choice now.

     
  • khulumamedia 5:26 pm on February 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    The Media Dollar 

    ‪A dollar from the media tree‬
    Fell somewhere really quite close to me
    I picked it up and studied it
    With intent
    and quite religiously!
    It had a number
    I was told
    Was printed just for me
    A number
    So it seems
    Would really set me free.
    But as I looked
    The more I saw
    It really was quite plain to see
    Twas just another dollar
    From the media money tree!

     
  • khulumamedia 3:23 pm on February 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    The ABCs: A Defence against Dark Publishing Arts? 

    The recent release of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) figures for Q4 2016 is about as nail-biting as watching a rerun of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. After all, you already know the outcome. Right? The good guys survive and the bad guys don’t.

    So, when for the price of entry to the first ever ABC data-release webinar, you get to see many of the predictable downward trended bar-charts, you can’t help wondering if you haven’t seen it all before. And you have. Audited circulations for printed publications are declining here in South Africa and globally.

    That’s hardly news to publishers and media strategists!

    It’s important to remember though, that increases or decreases in circulation are not exclusively a mirror of consumer commitment to a title, they are often a reflection of cost effective publisher management. The latest figures confirm there’s been a 3,2% decline in the number of ABC newspaper titles and a corresponding 4,6% decline in newspaper circulation year on year for the same period. Magazines have experienced a slightly steeper decline with 5,3% fewer titles and a 3% decline in circulation year on year.

    You don’t need to be Hermione Granger to figure out that if you publish fewer titles then overall, there will be a decline in circulation in the category.

    Of course, some sectors and some titles do better that others. Daily newspaper circulations have declined at a much faster rate year on year (-12,6%) than weekly newspapers (-6,4%) and although Consumer Magazines have mirrored the performance of daily newspapers (-12,5% decline), Custom Magazines (+2,6%) and B2B Magazines (+1,3%) buck the overall magazine trend.

    All this poses the question, “what are the attributes of a circulation winning print format”? Intuitively one might revert to an analysis of traditional benchmarks such as “subscription levels” for answers.

    If we compare the “big-loser” Daily Newspapers with the “big winner” Custom Magazines, we find an interesting dynamic. Daily Newspapers generate 96% of their audited circulation from Single Copy Sales (68%) and subscriptions (28%). Custom magazines, on other hand, generate 23% of their circulation from subscriptions and 76% from free distribution.

    So, is the real difference between “winning” and “losing” in the ABC circulation stakes simply a question of giving away your publication rather than trying to sell it? And if free distribution is the answer to declining circulations, then why hasn’t it propped up the performance of Consumer Magazines? Where Daily Newspapers report 28% of ABC circulation in subscriptions, Consumer Magazines report 24% in free distribution and yet both their circulations decline at the same rate.

    The wisdom of “if you build it they will come” or more specifically “if you print it they will read” doesn’t seem always to apply and it’s not just a question of readers migrating to digital content platform. That’s a given. Mullers 3rd Law of Media Motion states that …

    • for every media action there is an equal and opposite media re-action

    Everybody who puts down the magazine or newspaper they’re reading is probably picking up their mobile or tablet to engage with the same content online. A title like Sowetan, which shows an 8,5% decline in circulation YoY, shows a 20% increase in page-visits over the same period. That’s why the Publisher Research Council has made the bold move away from measuring “AMPS readership” towards measuring platform agnostic reading behaviour in the PAMS currency due for release later this year.

    Perhaps then, we need to revisit the old conundrum which, in a quantitative media-procurement world, has seemingly been abandoned. What is the value of the editorial environment in which an advertisement appears? What credibility does an ABC certificate infer to any given title?

    Does a title like Financial Mail with a 100% “Paid” circulation of 12,162 but which reports a 20% circulation decline YoY, have more, or less credibility than a title like Forbes Africa, with a circulation of 20,707 (+18% YoY) but which only reports on 9,977 (48%) “Paid” circulation? Does cover price equal content credibility?

    In 2015 the Oxford Dictionary “word of the year” was “Emoji”. A nice word that conjures up images of smiling faces and thumbs-up. The year before that, the word of the year was “Selfie”. Another happy word. After all, who ever published a grumpy selfie?

    In 2016 the Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year is “Post-truth”.

    We live in a world of #FakeNews and “Alternative Facts”. A world where consumer trust in published content and commercial messaging is plumbing new depths. The Guardian recently reported that over 50% of retail advertising offers over Black Friday had inflated the “was” price to create false point of reference for shoppers. Native advertising, the great white editorial light has proved to be little more than a spectral illusion designed to lure unsuspecting readers into transactional enslavement. Advertorial by any other name would smell as sweet.

    If we always just look at the bar charts and trends in the ABC data, then that’s all we’ll ever see. Sometimes in media though, we get the best answers from numbers when they just simply don’t add up! If we interrogate the data and we ask the right questions then, although the Audit Bureau of Circulations isn’t Hogwarts, an ABC certificate may become a very effective magical spell in the Defence Against the Dark Publishing Arts.

     

     
  • khulumamedia 10:02 pm on October 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Community Media – Victims or Entrepreneurs? 

    After attending the recent GCIS Colloquium (yes it really is a word) on Media Transformation and Diversity I was asked

    “what is the one factor, common to all communities, that marketers and advertisers take into consideration when deciding whether to place an advertisement in community media”?

    Here’s the answer.

    Is there one factor which makes community media attractive to advertisers?

    The simple answer is that there is no one factor that is common to all communities. Each community has a unique bonding agent which binds it together. It could be language; it could be age; it could be gender or sexual orientation.

    Community media owners need to stop thinking about legislative definitions of what constitutes a community medium and start thinking like marketers.

    All too often, community is defined in a very restricted way to mean geographical location; the “community of Alexandra” for instance. This leads to a massive oversimplification of the communication process because within one geographical community there are many attitudinal, behavioural and economic communities.

    Increasingly what successful marketers are looking at is how the community spontaneously segments itself; not what conventional research parameters are super-imposed on a community. People who fly drones for a hobby are a community, just as people who attend poetry-readings or support Kaizer Chiefs are a community.

    In segmenting the market, advertisers more typically refer to communities as ‘target-market segments’ and would be looking for ROMI (Return on Media Investment) from any advertising activity directed at these segments. In response to this, community media-owners need to analyse the commercial viability of the community their medium represents and isolate those facets which are commercially attractive to advertisers.

    So, for example, if the community offering is defined by “old-age’ then it might be pitched to advertisers of Health and Retirement Insurance or Anti-ageing creams.

    Each and every advertiser targets different market segments. Community media-owners need to position their medium in such a manner that it stands out from the alternative options. If you are selling a geographic community, then you need to build a case for the ‘commercial attractiveness’ of that community and demonstrate why that community requires regional up-weighting over and above the inevitable exposure generated by national advertising.

    If a community medium can’t demonstrate that it has bigger fish in its pond, then media planners won’t invest in an extra fishing rod.

    Why are mainstream media & national coverage preferred?

    The global business model for advertising has over the past two decades been relentlessly driven by a procurement mindset which emphasizes high levels of national reach, discounts and cost-efficiency. Big national audience numbers at the cheapest price. Most agencies are hugely incentivized to buy media space this way and, given the rise of programmatic planning and buying, this is going to get a lot worse for the smaller players before it gets better.

    Advertising algorithms are formulated to buy big audiences cheaply. That’s their purpose in life.

    Unfortunately, buying volume rarely equates to buying quality and therein lies the opportunity for community media; or should I say those community media that offer quality content.

    The most consistent mistake made by all media owners is to try and prove they are ‘viable’ as an advertising platform. It’s not enough. You have to prove that you are ‘more viable’ than the other media options available to advertisers.

    So not only do you have to sell your community to the advertisers, but you have to sell the fact that you are the best means of reaching that community; that you are the best means of getting a commercial response from that community or market segment. You have to sell that fact effectively, authoritatively and consistently.

    One of the biggest myths in media is that every medium is entitled to its ‘fair share’ of the advertising pie. The Inconvenient Truth is that some people are better at selling advertising than others. When it comes to media placement, it’s not just about what media planners are prepared to buy, it’s about what media owners are able to sell.

    So how should we sell small community media?

    Community media need to think in terms of business ecosystems not survival of the fittest in a last man standing competition. No single medium owns the community or the individual within the community, therefore in order to sell the community, media-owners have to work together. This is not just a ‘nice to have’ option; small community based media (including geographical communities) need to form into a Community Media Collective (CMC) or face the reality that their media offering will gradually expire.

    Community media-owners will extract more commercial value by co-operating with other media owners at a community level than by competing with them. First you must all sell your community before you can sell your medium. When it comes to community media, the old marketing adage “it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond” actually offers very poor advice. First you make the pond bigger and then you can work on being the biggest fish!

    First prize has always been being the Big Fish in a Big Pond.

    Think of your ‘community’ as an atom. At the centre of the atom is the ‘Nucleus’; the central energy force that holds the Atom (community) together. Each community will have a different energy source. Age. Political affiliation. Gender orientation. Language. Geographical proximity. From a media perspective the energy that holds it all together is ‘communication’. The exchange of information. Content.

    community-atom

    The nucleus of the community is made up of two elements; Protons (let’s call them “your medium”) and Neutrons (let’s call them “competing media”). It’s the balance between these media types (Protons and Neutrons) that holds the Atom (community) together and ensures that the Electrons (the actual members of the community) are still bound to that community. If any single element or medium in the homeostatic system seeks to overwhelm the balance, then the entire Atom (community) will be destabilized and the community will be destroyed.

    Your Proton doesn’t “win” the Nucleus by overwhelming the Neutrons. It simply destroys the Atom. If you don’t believe me than ask Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

    Community media owners need to recognize their common destiny and their common purpose; which is to keep the Atom (community) alive. No one medium can lay claim to “owning” the consumer these days. Media exposure is ubiquitous. Community print, community radio and TV, mobile and OOH media all need to mobilize themselves into an aggregated communication offering which is dedicated to growing the size and commercial value of the pond.

    All media owners need to sell their content platforms holistically because advertisers have come to realize that no single medium can offer any single community the complete picture.

    There’s no such thing as a ‘fair share’ of advertising support any more than there is a fair share of goals in a football match. You get the goals you work for and you let in the goals the other guys work for.

    Community media need to stop behaving like victims and starting thinking like entrepreneurs.

     
  • khulumamedia 11:15 am on October 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Measure People not Ships 

    A few months back I joined the bi-annual media pilgrimage to Bryanston Country Club to attend the launch of the final AMPS report and to witness the end of an era.

    For someone who has literally lived and worked with AMPS from cradle to grave, the morning was understandably an emotional one. As marketers though, we need to remove the emotion from the discussion and rationally acknowledge that AMPS had fallen into the trap of trying to please everyone, or rather, AMPS had fallen into the trap of trying not to upset anyone.

    Of course the best way to upset everyone is to initiate change. AMPS worked in the past right, so why bother to change it? The answer is simply that AMPS had to Adapt or Die (with apologies to Tannie Evita) because the way people consume media has changed; and we’re not just talking about changes in technology but changes in the way people relate to the content which that technology delivers.

    To a large degree the problem lies with the term ‘Media Planning’. The problem is that Media Planning implies the place to commence the process, is the medium itself. Research the medium reliably and add all the media numbers together, and you get a result. It’s essentially a throwback to that old chestnut from Marshall McLuhan; The Medium is the Message.

    And so AMPS continued on its mission to measure SHIPS (readerSHIP, viewerSHIP and listenerSHIP) and ignoring the growing imperative to measure people’s behaviour.

    In a world where technology, particularly mobile technology, has ensured that media distribution is ubiquitous however, we are increasingly coming to understand that The Message is the Message and that The Message is Content.

    Increasingly the role of the media planner is not just to maximise the total number of people exposed to the campaign but to maximise the relevance and impact of content delivery at each and every point of contact with the consumer.

    When we look at it from this perspective, we realise that classifying newspapers and magazines, or cinema and television, as separate media channels is an obsolete way of planning. We need to look at this from the consumer’s perspective. Some consumers read (call them reader imperatives). Some consumers listen (listening imperatives). And some consumers are watching imperatives. But the vast majority of consumers do a bit of everything and each behaviour pattern contributes a unique component to the communication Gestalt.

    As planners we need to analyse the consumers content preferences and the media behaviour they exhibit in order to access their priority content. This allows us to break down the media silos that keep our strategic thinking mired in the past and to overcome the challenges of fusing digital and traditional media in any campaign.

    If I am a reader, with a specific content interest in the content, does it make a difference to me whether I read that content in a printed publication or a digital edition on my computer? It is not the fact that the source of my content is printed or delivered via my mobile phone that is significant, it is the content itself. Technology is merely a delivery mechanism which facilitates my reading, it isn’t a separate medium.

    That’s why there should no more be separate media communication strategy for digital than there should be one for electricity.

    The problem is that AMPS was insisting on the need to continue measuring readership, rather than platform agnostic reading as a behaviour. This is clearly illustrated in the old AMPS definition of readership which means that you personally read or paged through all or part of a copy of a publication irrespective of whose copy it was. Even the phrase ‘paged-through’ is suggestive of paper and is essentially a measurement of ink on fingers.

    In the new ES (Establishment Survey) which has gone into field this month, the definition of reading behaviour has been revised to mean that you personally read or looked at any  magazines/ newspapers, articles or websites irrespective of whether they were paper copies, or read online on a computer, cellphone or tablet.

    Much has been made in recent years about declines in circulation and, although there is in fact no direct correlation between readership and circulation, a corresponding decline in AMPS readership of both newspaper and magazines. The real problem is not that AMPS readership of printed publications has showed a decline but that AMPS has simply not been measuring platform agnostic reading of published content.

    The inconvenient truth is that there are more people reading than ever before and the published word is as powerful as ever.

    So as it transpires I went to Bryanston Country Club not to see the end of an era but to herald in the start of a new, more holistic, era where we have finally stopped measuring readership and started to understanding reading.

     
  • khulumamedia 5:24 pm on March 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s the end of Media Planning as we know it … and you can blame Aki Anastasiou 

    I’ve been thinking really hard about whether to update my book Media Planning – Art or Science? But if I do update it, what should I call it?
    The problem centres on an internal dialogue about whether the term Media Planning still has any meaning. In fact, I wonder whether media planning has an effective role to play in advertising and communication anymore and whether we aren’t training people for a job that will most certainly not exist beyond the Groot Digital Migration. Mind you, at the pace at which Minister Muthambi is moving, I’ll probably have ceased to exist myself. I mean the last Groot Migration took place in ox-waggons but even they were moving at a faster pace than our Faith, despite the fact that they stopped for a braai every night.
    Now the demise of media planning would create a significant problem for me because my Twitter handle @Mzansimedia describes me as “Africa’s oldest surviving media planner” not Africa’s oldest surviving unemployed media planner. And we all know how important Twitter is because if you can Tweet it you can write it! I mean at this stage I have posted 3480 Tweets. That’s 487,200 characters. At an average 10 characters per word, that is 48,720 words. OK, make that 20 characters because of grammatical interference and the fact that these days we have to accommodate big words like programmatic and optimization, which makes 24,360 words. That’s two chapters right there.
    But I digress. The point is that if Media Planning doesn’t exist, what should l call my book?
    Stumped for meaningful solutions I took myself off to listen to the self-styled Geek God Aki Anastasiou address AMASA on the recent global CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. Really fascinating! But as I went from one OMG insight to another, from holograms to self-driving cars, it occurred to me that to leave that forum and commence writing a book which had a separate chapter on Cinema and another on Television, separate chapters on Newspapers and Magazines, and even separate chapters on Radio and Mobile, would be the unthinking act of a supreme Luddite.
    The problem with Media Planning is it implies the place to commence the process, the solution to the communication challenge, is the medium itself. Get the right balance of reach and frequency, add all the media numbers together and you get a result. It’s essentially a throwback to that old chestnut from Marshall McLuhan … The Medium is the Message. If the medium is the indeed the message then the answer must be to just get more media exposure. Preferably for less money of course.
    In a world where media distribution is ubiquitous however, we are increasingly coming to understand that …
    The Message is the Message and that The Message is Content.
    Increasingly the role of the former media planner is to map out the optimal distribution of content across media platforms, whether intuitively or through programmatic planning, not just to maximise the total number of people exposed to the campaign but in order to maximise the relevance and impact of content delivery at each and every point of contact with the consumer.
    When we look at it from this perspective, we realise that classifying newspapers and magazines, or cinema and television, as separate media channels is an obsolete way of planning. We need to look at this from the consumer’s perspective. Some consumers read (call them reader imperatives). Some consumers listen (listening imperatives). And some consumers are watching imperatives. But the vast majority of consumers do everything. They read. They watch. They listen. They interact.
    As planners we need to analyse the consumers content preferences and the media behaviour they exhibit in order to access their priority content. This allows us to break down the media silos that keep our strategic thinking mired in the past and to overcome the challenges of fusing digital and traditional media in any campaign.

    media planning to content mappingIf I am listening, does it make any difference whether I “listen” on a radio or on my mobile phone? If I am a “reader”, with a specific content interest in the news, does it make a difference whether I read the news in a printed newspaper or a digital edition on my computer? It is not the fact that the source of my news is newsprint or the App on my mobile phone that is significant, it is the content itself. And the commercial content placement opportunity that this knowledge creates. Of course new technology allows me to go beyond consuming content and to actually create content. I don’t just read, watch and listen to the news. I have the power to create news. With UGC I am the news.
    The mobile phone is merely a delivery mechanism which facilitates my reading … or my listening … or my watching. It isn’t a separate medium. That’s why there should no more be a chapter in my new book on digital than there should be a chapter on electricity.
    When I rewrite my book there won’t be a chapter on radio. There’ll be a chapter on Listening. No chapter on newspapers. But a chapter on Reading and within that chapter, sections on newspapers, magazines, the internet and mobile. No television chapter but the book will unpack all forms of Watching from television, through cinema and taxi TV, to digital OOH and smartphones.
    That’s why I’m going to be calling my book Content Mapping – Art or Science?
    And I’ll be changing my Twitter handle to @Mzansimedia – Africa’s newest Content Cartographer.

     
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