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Latest advertising death: Campaign Microsite

(This post sneaks out from behind my agency’s blogwall)

The latest article from Adweek Magazine, Is Social Media Killing the Campaign Microsite?, questions the death of the Campaign Microsite. Adweek likens this to the death of the 30-sec spot discussion from several years (or wait, months ago?), but instead of media fragmentation killing the :30, its social media killing the microsite.

Now, lets step aside the B.S.O.S hysteria (bright and shinny object syndrome, see slide #10) for just a second and get into the guts of the article. This is still about media fragmentation and consumers wanting control…just in the online space. Consumer go and find and use content, including brand content, how they want. So trying to create a site and just drive them there…may not be the answer. As Carol Kruse, vp of global interactive marketing at Coca-Cola points out in the article “fish where the fish are” – if you consumers are into social media, get there…which means, widgets, Facebook, etc. So this isn’t about killing the microsite, but understanding the functionality of content for consumers. We need to focus on creating brand that consumers can use increasing the functionality and experiencability, less about driving consumers (people) to a place.

And it’s not just the Adweek article that is discussing this idea. From the latest ad:tech conference the panel ‘Appointment Marketing, Consumers Check In‘ discuss emerging audiences and how to follow them. A couple of interesting points came out of the panel.

First – that consumers are choosing where and when to engage online (media fragmentation), so when need to start understanding what roles of engagement a brand should play.

Second – start thinking about a better understanding of what to deliver to for the consumer will help with both engagement and ROI. Both types of ROI – Return on Investment and Return on Involvement (this gets into a larger discussion on audience back planning…will save that for another day).

Third – maybe, just maybe what media fragmentation has done is forced a new/better/return to a different understanding of advertising and brand/branding; what is the function on the brand idea.

While the Adweek article doesn’t specifically touch on this…it does start to elude to it. That it really is about the consumer experience, what the consumer takes away – which some would argue equals brand. So it is about the brand idea reaching people, with out the worries of the specific media (media fragmentation…again). The adliterate even goes one step further and throws out the idea that branding may be shackling advertising, because advertising is built on specific forms of communication ideas (traditionally) and that the digital space removes those binding forms and allows for the brand idea to engage in any way it wants…helping kill the idea that everything should just be about the microsite.

Now, in all fairness – the microsite doesn’t completely go away. The key is understanding what function consumers want with content and how the brand idea enhances their experience. How a microsite could help pull all of that together.

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