Last Wednesday, 3M launched the fourth generation of its Visual Attention Service (VAS) scanning tool, which includes new video capabilities. According to 3M’s release, VAS is viewed by marketers as an “alternative to eye tracking that enhances the visual impact of professional design across advertising, marketing, and digital and print media.” Read the release.
Kelly Canavan, Marketing Manager of 3M’s Commercial Graphics Division, discussed the announcement and 3M’s approach to the business of advertising.
AdExchanger.com: Can you talk a little bit about 3M’s strategy in addressing opportunities in digital, in particular, and advertising and marketing, in general?
KC: 3M tries to find [new] businesses that are adjacent with existing 3M businesses. Once it decides whether it will get into a space, the company asks itself: Will it create products for that space as a supplier?; or, will it do things itself?
What we're doing related to the [digital advertising] space is, we have entered into digital out-of-home.
Our initial approach to digital out-of-home is as a supplier. As it relates to advertising and marketing, our first step was to get into the business of providing the software and networks that allow people to advertise and do marketing in physical environments like retail stores, hotels and such.
What we’ve realized is that there are some critical needs to take digital out-of-home (DOOH) over the hump. It's a tiny fraction of the advertising world right now –and, DOOH may be a bit more important when it comes to merchandising.
Just to be clear about the difference: advertising in DOOH is where the insurance company, GEICO, plays an ad in a grocery store. You can't buy GEICO at the store, of course. But if P&G advertises in the grocery store, you can buy things from P&G in the store - merchandising.
DOOH is getting more of a foothold in the merchandising category. Yet, there are different worlds of people who are focused on advertising versus merchandising in DOOH. The market today, though, uses advertising and in-store media without really making that distinction.
It’s evidence of the nascent nature of this little slice of marketing that still hasn't really defined itself.