Mobile devices, for example, are not just a powerful way to reach audiences, they are also playful and personal. “Consumers like it when advertisers use the full potential of these devices,” said Dave McCaughan, global strategic planning director of McCann Truth Central while sharing the findings of McCann's report on mobile personality types. “People want to be wowed.”
However, people expect brands that advertise through mobile to be well informed about who they are, where they are and what they want. Furthermore, while not every piece of marketing has to save the planet, it should have a purpose, pointed out McCaughan's co-presenter Greg Armshaw, McCann's chief technology catalyst. “Marketers also need to be sensitive when it comes to dealing with data. While many don't mind sharing shopper data to get personalised communications, but if you go anywhere near medical health or finance that's a big, big concern.”
To be more personal however, marketers have to abandon the traditional frame of hard, cold rationality, said John Zeigler, chairman and CEO of DDB Group Asia-Pacific, India and Japan. Zeigler and his fellow panelists, Dr Damian Collins, director and principal of Forethought Research and Professor Mike Ewing of Monash University, proposed an overhaul of market research techniques established more than 50 years ago.
"Marketing theory started in the wrong place,” said Ewing. “The origins of marketing were grounded in the rational and not the emotional. Which means our tools are based on knowledge from 40 years ago.”
China, however, is starting fresh and has the opportunity to build its marketing practice based on new understandings. “I believe many Western brands are entering China with the wrong premise,” Zeigler said.
Marketing must shift from brand-centric to people-centric conversations, said Joseph Baladi, head of consulting, Leo Burnett Institute of Behaviour, striking a similar note in an earlier presentation. “It's people and consumer expectations that drive brands.”
But to get to that point, marketers need real-time data, and lots of it, said Steven Plimsoll, CTO and CIO of Mindshare Worldwide. “Marketing research reports are so slow to arrive that they are about as useful as getting a credit card fraud alert, six months late, in a Powerpoint deck,” he said. Today's technology is capable of monitoring hundreds of data feeds in real-time. The rest is up to human intelligence to bring the intel to life by adaptive and responsive marketing.
Lack of accurate data, however, is a problem holding back online advertising in China, agreed a panel on 'How to Build Up a Healthy Online Advertising Market'. Brillian Zhou, senior media director for Yum Brands pointed out that since 1998, China has lacked a transparent measurement system and that accurate data on digital campaigns is a common obstacle. A 'win-win' situation requires transparency, education and understanding across the board, agreed the panel.
Perhaps the way forward is to engage the fans you have to help you gain more, as proposed by Asit Gupta, co-founder of word-of-mouth agency, Advocacy. But only truly engaged fans, not a “two-second click on Facebook” will help a brand, he said. “Find true advocates, don't collect zombie fans. Passive likes are useless.”