Monday, September 22, 2008

(ME)dia - The Age Of Personalized Media Consumption

Do-It-Yourself, On-Demand Programming Shifts Power To The Consumer

By David Miranda

Today everybody is their own personal media mogul. We are all our own managing editor for our news (myCNN, myYahoo), TV programmers (Tivo), personalized music labels (iPods) and film festivals (YouTube), media distribution channels (MySpace) and commentators (blogs). We can even create our own virtual reality (Second Life).

Media consumption, which used to be time and device specific, is now time and device agnostic, i.e. consume anything, anytime, anywhere, on any device.

It is the age of (ME)dia.

This has made the lives of marketers miserable. How do you market to millions of MEs each with their own personalized media consumption patterns across many channels? The answer is not easily. Like scientists searching for a cure to a major epidemic, experiments on various cures to the problem are many but with mixed results. Each experiment is given its own name, i.e. behavioral targeting, search engine optimization, engagement, one-to-one and integrated marketing, etc., etc.

The findings - promising results, hopeful outcomes, no cure.

Why? Many times in the past, the problem in dealing with the new is trying to solve it with the old. When television was in its infancy, early programming was former radio shows in front of a camera. Why? Radio executives owned the new television networks. TV eventually found the right formula and prospered. There have been some examples in more recent history. AOL missed its chance to dominate the Internet and become eBay, MySpace, YouTube, and Google all wrapped into one. At its zenith, it had over 32 million subscribers.

The age of (ME)dia requires new thinking for new times. Past success is not an indicator of future success. Ask executives at broadcast television networks, local newspapers, yellow page directories, terrestial radio stations, retail books and record stores, etc.

The lesson is this - (ME)dia is here to stay. The consumer of media is in the driver's seat. Find new solutions not retreaded ones. Ambush marketing does not work anymore. More does not work anymore.

What does work? Get to know your target audience from the bottom up - not top down. Find your audience. Observe how they naturally aggregate.

(ME)dia-ize your strategy.