Who Will Champion Digital?

Who Will Champion Digital?The digital “torch” is ablaze, yet it remains unclaimed. Will it be you or your company that grabs it?

If you’re willing to champion the idea that opportunity for brands has arrived in the digital space, grab the torch now and run.

Whether the ultimate winners end up being agencies, ad networks or a hybrid remains to be seen. But, after reading yesterday’s article in AdAge by Abbey Klassen and Michaeal Learmonth, “Taking Online-Ad Measurement Beyond the Click,” it appears that many in the digital space are still siding with the theory that traditional media holds more opportunity for brand marketers concerned about “attitudinal” metrics.

In the article, digital sounds like a wasteland for understanding consumer attitudes. Trouble is, in all ways, the favored metrics to which traditional brand awareness marketers subscribe is available through digital.

You want to survey your audience by phone or written word about your brand? You can use the same survey methods that you use in traditional media.

You prefer to learn from a focus group representative of your target audience? Gather the focus group of interactive users who represent your audience and start learning – just like you would for a group of TV watchers.

You believe your in-store sales data is a key metric for informing brand decisions? Why wouldn’t you? You can use this data for digital just as you do for traditional.

Prefer a Nielsen survey that estimates the millions of users watching a program from a control group of a few thousand? Have at it. Of course, here’s the key difference – you can use actual hard data on the millions of users rather than estimates and guesses of traditional media.

For some reason CTR and time spent – just the beginning of interactive data insights – is not seen as an important or useful metric to the brand marketer according to the article. It would seem proof of engagement with the brand has value from here. After all, in traditional media, there is no equivalent to the hard data of CTR and time spent (and other data points) save the shared sales data.

Savvy digital media agencies and ad networks looking to expand their services to the direct advertisers should be salivating. And, on the other side of the fence, interactively-inclined CMOs and up-and-coming digital marketers will maintain and/or rapidly ascend, respectively.

“Traditional digital media agencies” need to begin to make bold moves in their meetings with clients and educate, provide insight and change minds: digital has arrived and its timed to integrate it fully into any company’s marketing plans with appropriate budget allocations. There are no excuses. Recent declines in TV upfronts, for example, are harbingers of the decreasing, traditional opportunity.

At the same time, on the client side, those with interactive shortcomings need to reach out to thought leaders and experts and ramp to a digital future. And, for ad networks and digital agencies already running in digital, they can gain the advantage and close the gap for marketers by providing the missing insights – and move beyond past business models of arbitrage and delivering on direct response goals.

With so much backward thinking extant, the champion remains unclear. Will it be you?

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