It's almost the end of day 1 at Advertising Week 2009 and I already have some advice for organizers - please don't pack so many good sessions into a narrow schedule and into geographically dispersed locations. Aside from the fact that my feet are killing me now, I thoroughly enjoyed the sessions. Recession was one of the main themes and many admit that next year will most likely be a rough economic year as well. The most shocking factor was the speed of the recession and, while it's still not clear if it's bottomed out, everyone agreed the recovery will not be fast (according to panelists of the Advertising Week Leadership Conversation from Johnson & Johnson, Starcom MediaVest, Clear Channel and BBDO Worldwide). A great comparison of this trend is a "Nike swoosh-like recovery"!
The recession forced many advertisers to focus much stronger on core products and their value prop to consumers. Many companies have shifted to the value-centric messaging. The good news is that this messaging can be used long term. As consumers spend 20% more in stories looking for information, comparing products and deciding on the best values, advertisers also expect more value out of the ecosystem - both from agencies and from media.
When it comes to whether marketers should focus on buying content vs audiences, the general answer is they are not mutually exclusive. Depending on the campaign goals and the product, a content sponsorship can deliver the right brand awareness and perception. In other instances, as long as the audience is reached and there is a result (direct response or performance), then location of the audience is less relevant. What's important to reach receptive audience and often content is the signal of receptivity, but not a guarantee. What marketers should do is focus less on the demographic segments and more on the mindmap of a consumer at certain point in time. I think that's where behavioral targeting can help advertisers a lot.
Don't forget to check out all the coverage on our social media site for Advertising Week 2009.
See you tomorrow online or in person at AdWeek!