Our lives are surrounded by various forms of media – both traditional media forms, such as print, television, and telephonic, as well as emerging media, such as video, mobile, and social media. Before jumping in to various topics on emerging media, let’s consider what is meant by the term. According to West Virginia University’s IMC 619 Emerging Media and the Market class, emerging media is a “global term to cover social, digital and mobile communications”. Think about how the vast array of devices interact with our daily lives. It is an integral part of how we function and the majority of the population seems to have access to this emerging technology. Pew Research Center states that 90 percent of people have a cell phone with 58 percent having a smart phone. The capabilities of emerging media have surpassed what most people thought was possible just a few years ago. Today, people can move seamlessly between conversations, web browsing, social interaction, etc. all from the palm of their hand. Such levels of engagement and connection have also created a huge dependency on this type of media. Most people admit they cannot do without their cell phone. In fact, Pew’s Research shows that 44 percent of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls, text messages, or other updates during the night and 29 percent admit they cannot imagine living without their cell phone.
For marketers, the constant change in the emerging media landscape is dizzying and the capabilities require constant nimbleness and creativity. However, a marketer’s best friend in the emerging media market is data. The more the better. Marketers are using data to zero in and personalize their message to specific audiences. Companies are turning to computer models that analyze massive pools of information to make inferences about health, personality traits, and even mood in real-time, in order to help them predict, and ultimately influence, the customer’s next purchase. The sophisticated way in which it is now possible to gather or collect information about a consumer resembles a science fiction movie (think Minority Report). Except the technology isn’t futuristic. It is here.
While emerging media may seem invasive or intrusive, most consumers prefer to have an emotional connection with brands. Michael Lazerow, the chief marketing officer of the Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, states that “the value of targeted marketing isn’t just from the marketing message itself, it’s from the intelligence and optimization” — data — “with each interaction that builds a one-to-one relationship with each customer to increase brand loyalty and drives sales.” There is a delicate balance between giving the customer what they want without being seen as intrusive. Emerging media will always push the envelope and make us think and act in a whole new (and hopefully) smarter way.