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Four planning challenges for 2013

People are surgically connected to their smartphones
People are surgically connected to their smartphones

Carat's head of planning outlines the main challenges 2013 will pose.

 

The planning challenges for 2013 need to be driven, as always, by the things that people do. I’m going to look at four behaviours I see exhibited and outline some of their communications implications.

1.We’re connected everywhere we go. People appear to be surgically connected to their smartphones now.  This month will see the introduction of 4G in the UK, with further rollout planned for 2013.  Increased speed will lead to increased usage and higher expectations of services. Mobile must be integrated into communications plans as it is fast becoming the preferred access point to interactive content.  Mobile optimised sites are essential, along with an understanding of how mobile can make it easier for consumers to do business with your brand.

2.We have short attention spans, and hop from content piece to content piece depending on mood and context; often looking, listening and reading all at the same time.  While big brand conversations around brilliant content are possible, I would argue that light touch, snackable content is more likely to be consumed than huge, expansive stories requiring effort from people. We can barely muster that effort for our personal relationships; let alone a brand relationship.

3.We love our devices, and Christmas 2012 is likely to see even more proliferation.  2013 will require well thought out plans of how to deal with the 3 main input screens: small (smartphone), medium (tablet and PC) and large (TV – increasingly connected).  Consumption times and behaviours vary widely across these devices, and we need to create seamless and complimentary experiences rooted in how people use these channels; by themselves as well as in a multi-screening context.

4.We leave rich and complicated data trails behind us; through social updates, check-ins, ad tracking, shopping behaviour, exercise posts and more.  We need to begin better harnessing this information and turning it into actionable data points that can drive media and creative decisions.  Whilst defined campaign periods will continue, more activity will be always-on, reacting in near real time to people’s feedback and responses.  We need to create systems and processes that allow for faster reactions in both media and message to drive a real-time planning approach.

The aspect that isn’t directly driven by consumer behaviour is evaluation.  This always has and always be important, and becomes increasingly complex as we use more channels and get closer to real people and the vagaries of their behaviours. It’s important that we continue to strive to prove the impact of what we do on advertisers’ terms.  Media metrics are only interesting as an interim to business value.  We need to continue to invest in established techniques such as econometrics, refine emerging techniques like attribution modelling and explore brand new approaches like agent based modelling.

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