“Never before in history has innovation offered the promise of so much to so many in so short a time.” - Bill Gates
Although Mr. Microsoft’s words referred to today’s pace of technological innovation in general, they’re especially relevant in the specific context of new media opportunities. No other period in history has seen the emergence of as many distinctly new media options as the one we find ourselves in today.
But most major advertisers have been reluctant to leave the comfortable embrace of traditional media (TV, radio, newspaper, magazines, etc.). Sure… they’ve talked about and dabbled in new media, but their budgets have remained firmly entrenched in the old stand-bys. However, recent survey data shows that the major players may finally be ready to “put their money where their mouths are.”
According to the 2007 Media Investment Survey conducted by the American Advertising Federation (AAF)—on whose national board I serve—nearly three-quarters of respondents are reserving up to 20% of their media investment budgets for experimentation in the new media ecosystem. In fact, 52% say… “I am more likely to anticipate, prepare for, and get out in front of changes in the media landscape.”
Many recent developments in new media were long-anticipated (TV programs on the internet, text messaging, social media). However, the pace of innovation is such that there several also caught the industry by surprise, including:
- The rush to Second Life-type virtual community space
- The rise of YouTube
- The popularity of mash-ups or Web applications that have more than one source
"Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement."
- William Pollard
All these new options are a boon for the creative output of the advertising industry. In fact, a full 87.4% of respondents believe that media innovations inspire creativity, and they’re willing to invest their budgets to harness that creativity.
When asked about approaches to media planning in the coming year, respondents ranked “I am always open to new ways to use traditional media” highest (at 78 percent), followed by “the right media mix almost always includes a balance of traditional and nontraditional media” (at 75.5 percent), and “the search for new media properties to grow my brand never stops” (at 57.7 percent).
The AAF survey makes it abundantly clear that there will never again be “business as usual” regarding media options available to the advertising and marketing industry. The pace of change is such that those that are not in a constant state of experimentation and will fast find themselves at a severe competitive disadvantage.
The AAF Media Investment Survey 2007 included nearly 1,000 advertising industry leaders, spread across agency (38 percent), media (26.9 percent), advertiser/client (13.6 percent) and other (21.4 percent, composed mostly of suppliers and academics) sectors, with the majority being at the director (19 percent), owner (18 percent) or manager (17.6 percent) level. Nearly 31 percent of participants are part of a team that makes the final media investment decision for their company. A full summary of the survey results can be found here (PowerPoint document, 891k).
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