As 2017 comes to a close and MediaFuel celebrates its 15th anniversary, we decided to sit down with our Principal Visionary and founder, Jeff Kivett, to ask him about what he’s seen over his fifteen years of running an agency. It turns out that while much has changed in terms of the delivery and response tracking of a message in the digital marketing age, the message itself remains the same. Read on…
Q: How has marketing strategy evolved over the last 15 years?
A: The digital age has redefined our business. We’re not an “ad agency” anymore; we’re a digital marketing agency. The channels that are available to us now for message delivery allow us to be very precise in our communication strategy. When we create a campaign, we can see exactly who we’re converting, how we’re converting them and when.
It wasn’t that long ago that radio, television, billboard and print ads were our best and only options. Tracking was nearly impossible; even if you could see how many hits you got, you couldn’t see who they were.
So the days of the “shotgun” versus “rifle” approach to marketing are gone, as is the strategy of throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks. Now, we can decide exactly when, where, and how we want to communicate and with whom, down to a very specific segment. We can test our results and refine our campaigns in minutes. It’s a pretty exciting time to be in marketing.
Q: What trends in marketing communication have come and gone?
A: Remember QR codes? They were really hot for about a minute. It was intriguing at the time, but they were just too much work for the consumer to use. We tested QR with several campaigns. On one particular campaign, we sent over 100,000 out and got less than 1% click rate. It just didn’t make sense to continue using them.
Conversely, when smart phones first came out, no one was interested in doing anything for mobile devices. The first IPhone advertisement aired during the Oscars in 2007, but it was several years until marketers started to seriously consider the fact that consumers were making purchasing decisions based on information they were getting from their mobile devices. They finally realized they needed to make their websites and communications responsive (in other words compatible) with all of the ways consumers viewed them.
Q: How has the approach to content changed over the years?
A: Content is now, in a word, interactive. It can’t be static– it has to be stimulating and challenge the consumer to engage. There was a time when adding video to a campaign was an exercise in frustration for a prospect, because it required special plugins or apps. Now, video and virtual reality (VR) are not only simple to include in a campaign, but they’re expected.
However, content itself is still, as they say, king. The message, regardless of its delivery method, has to be directed to the right audience, and still has to tug at the heartstrings of prospective customers and call them to action. That will never change.
Q: Are there cyclical patterns in marketing that you see recurring?
A: Design styles change just like fashion does– whether it’s retro, grunge, cluttered or clean and simple with lots of white space. It’s always fun to reinvent a style that’s been forgotten, or put a new twist on a classic design.
Q: What trends do you predict in the next 15 years?
A: Well, I don’t know that any of us could have predicted where we are now, so the sky’s the limit. I believe that web-based marketing will become even more interactive, and VR will become the standard. More and more things will become automated. Move over, George Jetson…
Q: How will these trends affect digital marketing agencies?
Agencies will have to be innovative in their thinking and invest in ways to provide those experiences. They can’t cling to the “tried and true” in the digital age, and they can’t afford to be late adopters of new digital techniques. Much like the technology field itself, it’s a race to the finish line. We have to keep pushing to find new ways to combine technology with user experience in a way that will consistently turn prospects into promoters for our clients.
MediaFuel is a digital marketing agency based just north of Indianapolis, in Fishers, Indiana, specializing in strategic and innovative message communication through video, VR, website design and content creation.