“Clients don’t need 360 degrees of ideas. They need to know which 36 degrees they should do.” We first heard this from David Hackworthy, then at TBWA Chiat/Day NY, at a planning conference. We couldn’t agree more.
Agencies are brilliant at creating ideas. Many of the best ones can generate tons of decent work and an impressive amount of good and great work in short periods of time. Most of those agencies have smart creative directors who can sift through all the work and kill anything that isn’t optimal from a creative POV. We’ve seen this done with expert skill.
What we haven’t witnessed is someone sifting through ideas with the same level of expertise and fluency from a media POV (disclosure: we do spend lots more time around creative directors than media directors). We saw this as an opportunity to help our clients. So we asked ourselves: What criteria would we use to evaluate ideas from a media perspective?
As we started filling out our list it became apparent that marketers (employers of media) care about some things, people (users of media) care about other things, and there are two things both marketers and people care about. Here’s our list:
What clients care about:
• Reach – The possibility to touch many (e.g. everyone with web connection could visit site, Facebook has X users per day, TV spot is seen in # homes, etc.)
• Deliverability – The ability to definitely touch some (e.g. X# of people will definitely hear a radio announcement).
• Targetability – The ability of an idea to engage the right people (e.g. A Google search result, a sale sign at retail, etc.)
• Ability to convey a message or the experience desired (e.g. Website does “long copy” best, TV does emotion, an event can get people to sample new breakfast bars, etc.)
• Brand fit/tone/vibe – The media experience happens around like-brands in order to create a halo effect and/or an association (e.g. luxury brands like being around other luxury brands in fancy shopping areas, Chuck Taylor booth at Summer Music Festival strengthens the tone and manner of the brand and its association to music, etc.)
• “Speed” of impact – The ability to accomplish goals in a timely manner (e.g. Twitter does “now”, radio delivers 3x frequency quickly, PR-planted news item can respond to news quickly)
• “Ripple factor” – The ability to create an experience that those who experience it firsthand will tell others. This can be either talk-worthy formats like spectaculars or ultra-convenient spreading devices like twitter, email or facebook. (e.g. the Olympic birdsnest stadium in Beijing, Hyundai’s spectacular wall projection, facebook like buttons, share this, etc.)
• Cost – How much to do it. This involves both the production, distribution and exposure of an experience. (e.g. Superbowl costs X, Web site costs Y, social media costs Z).
• Conventionality – How related is the medium to the category or the competition? Are we marketing in the usual way or are we doing something unexpected? (e.g. All athletic brands do sports TV, gimmicky products do infomercials, packaging is the most powerful medium for CPGs)
• Speed of development – How fast something can happen from a practical POV. (e.g. do a press conference tomorrow vs. make a movie that will be seen in a year)
What consumers care about:
• Trustworthiness of source – The extent to which the source has an agenda that is aligned with mine, or one that is not in conflict with mine. (e.g. advice from friend on Facebook or in a community is trusted vs. Advice from a shady salesperson on commission is not)
• Reliability of source – The ability of a person to get what they are looking for (or what is useful) to make a decision. This is about the qualifications of the source, not about trust. (e.g. A Doctor is more qualified to give advice than WebMD, a person who has been through the purchase process is more reliable than someone who hasn’t but has an opinion, etc.)
• Comprehensiveness of medium – The extent to which the experience will provide everything a person will need. Will I get everything I need to decide or do I need to go to multiple sources/experiences? (e.g. A retail store might have product information, “interactive” because of sales people and the ability to buy a product but it won’t have all that plus reviews, the largest possible inventory of choices and other services like Amazon does. Amazon is a more comprehensive resource which is more convenient.)
• Engagement factor – The extent to which the experience itself has value. (e.g. Shopping in Best Buy is more fun because you can play and experience things vs. a web site, the Mall is enjoyable because it can be an exploratory or social experience, etc.)
• Effort – How much energy it takes to experience the media experience (e.g. It is easier to get product information on a web site vs. calling the company. It is less effort to compare cars online vs. going to all the different dealers.)
• ‘Of the moment’ factor – The extent to which the experiences makes a person feel contemporary, up-to-date and a bit cool. New experiences have novelty value (e.g. Learn about a sports score via an iPad app vs. ESPN, Groupon emails are a new and cool form of sales/couponing, etc.)
What both clients and consumers care about:
• Just-in-time factor – The extent it exists logically/physically/emotionally where/when it is needed. (e.g. Instructions on how to change a tire on the spare tire, GPS signaling where speeding camera are located, mobile phone app that suggests places around a person, Google search result, etc.)
• How crowded the media experience is (Is one thing prevalent or are there fifteen different things vying for attention?)
We use these criteria to help clients filter through ideas just before creating the final integrated go-to-market plan. We have these as part of an unimaginatively named tool called “The Media Filtering Tool.”
We’re sure there are more to put on the list. What did we miss?