Friday, July 16, 2010

New Study: Digital Dazzle Won't Last Without Results

Virtual media is being quickly adopted by event marketers, a new Center for Exhibition Research (CEIR) study indicates. But the measurement of investment results is lagging in virtual and other types of Digital media the study finds.
 The Digital + Exhibit Marketing study to be released next week was previewed by Kurt Miller, of George P. Johnson, at the recent TS2/IAEE show in Boston. The findings are based on an online survey, now in its second year, of show producers, corporate marketers and advertisers.

Over half, (61%) of respondents are now using virtual events (webinars, live webcasts, web conferencing, events in virtual worlds and virtual tradeshows) to compliment live events vs. 36% of what Miller described as a similar sample just one year ago. More broadly, a growing majority, (78%) have faith that digital marketing (especially email) increases the effectiveness of exhibition promotion. But large portions (69% in the case of online social media) have no means to measure the impact of their digital investments.

The talent hunt is on” for people who can create and execute digital strategy, says Miller, “Digital strategy has emerged as a valuable discipline among exhibit marketers.” 27% of respondents have digital marketing experts within their event marketing functions and 44% report the intention to build up their internal digital capacity within event marketing.

Digital media incorporates a long list of formats and actions in the study's digital taxonomy of which virtual media has to be relatively small part. In addition to virtual, the list includes:
  • Email,
  • Online banner and search advertising
  • Audio downloads
  • Webcasts
  • Online video
  • Online games
  • Websites and microsites
  • Social media sites
  • RSS
  • SMS/MMS mobility
  • Web based event management
  • Blogs
  • Google adwords
The drive to digital media is unsustainable without better measurement according to Miller. Event marketers are going to have to see and gage tangible results to keep up the pace of adoption.

Measurement isn’t much of a battle cry but we can all get behind a push for results. The incorporation of digital media into event operations reinforces event marketing’s focus on communication results. Event people, as Miller notes, tend to be production oriented. But now, new kinds of talent are required on event teams to get the communication jobs done.

The study is good news for those of us who don’t intrinsically love event details and deadlines anymore that we love the bits and bytes and endless complications of digital media. What we love is what the media can accomplish. We look at media choices as means to an end - getting good information to the right people.

As media utilitarians, we favor all forms of communication that work.

Labels: , ,

Monday, July 5, 2010

Solution to Media Overload: Make Every Day Independence Day

We hold this truth to be self-evident, that free people must think for themselves.

While I have written about the positive impact of Way Too Much Information (WTMI) others, like Judy Shapiro, writing for the Advertising Age website, see media overload as a problem. She cites a Pew Research Center for the People & the Press study from last year which indicated that the percent of Americans who think news organizations get the “facts straight” has declined from 55% in 1985 to 29% currently.

It’s hard to believe that there were so many suckers in 1985! But Shapiro asserts that “…this low confidence number is reflective of the confusing plethora of new voices rather than of the real hard work most reporters do to ensure accuracy.” She lauds such solutions as a database company which provides supposedly vetted sources to journalists, and a nonprofit service that “combines crowd sourced interaction with algorithms” to rank incoming content.

The problem is not information overload. It’s “filter failure,” according to "internet guru," Clay Shirky. He sees information overload as a fact of life dating back to Guttenberg’s invention of movable type. Information selection and organization built around printing press economics is breaking down, according to Shirky, because of the flow of information from low-cost internet sources. The solution according to Shirky is partly institutional and technical; but more fundamentally an issue of rethinking social norms. “When you feel yourself getting too much information” Shirky advises, “Ask yourself, what filter just broke? What was I relying on before that stopped functioning?”

We are to information overload what fish are to water,” Shirky observes. So why does Shirky think the condition arose only with the invention of movable type? Haven’t humans always swum in a sea of information, from visual, auditory, and other senses? In reality, our brains are constantly filtering information and we are endowed with the capacity for conscious thought that allows us to monitor and influence those filtering processes.

As we reflect this holiday weekend upon the words of the Declaration of Independence (Google’s 3rd highest ranking search as I write this), penned by Thomas Jefferson and adopted in Congress, 4 July, 1776, we would all do well to reflect also on the commentary of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who wrote in his famous essay, Self Reliance, that “ A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which crosses his mind from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages” (or, I might add, gurus, pundits, professors, politicians, reporters and the many raconteurs of old and new media).

No free person can delegate the responsibility for determining truth. Every day we must independently determine what sources of information we deem worthy of our individual trust.

Labels: , , , ,