Welcome to the Third Dimension (Most of Us Live Here)

[box type=”note” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Part Three in ‘I Smell a Rat’ Series
Michael explains how to give a third dimension to marketing campaigns and to stop faking it. This still references the brilliant the Ad Age article by Jonathan Salem Baskin titled, “Do Campaign Failures, High-Profile Firings Signal the End of Social Media? CMOs Need to Discover New Ways to Do the Old Things That Still Matter.”

I smell a rat

Part One: Michael introduces why he’s writing this series and hopes everyone will stick through it as he explores that smell…
Part Two: Michael introduces what he called “agency magicians” and how they create the “illusion of dimensions”
Part Three: Michael tells CMOs and VPs of Marketing that their luck has run out. Time to really integrate digital into marketing.
Part Four: Michael defines an expert and suggests that social media is not the savior of all marketing.
Part Five: Michael dances the tango — but not always for free — with the job lottery
Part Six: Michael explores how time-shifting will change traditional TV commercials and programming.
Part Seven: Michael explains Anti-Product Placement© and hopes someone hires him for this most-excellent idea.
Part Eight: Michael suggests you buy a talk show rather than commercials, infomercials or direct response TV.
Part Nine: Michael asks for addiction intervention for magazine publishers.
Part Ten: Michael officially becomes an expert, earn the Social Media Advanced Certification[/box]


[dropcap]G[/dropcap]rowing up with “School House Rock!” might date me a little. The Saturday morning songs taught me  how “I’m just a bill” turned into law and the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution — along with so much grammar, it’s not even funny. I sing so poorly that I’d make the tryouts on the first few episodes of “American Idol” if I could keep a straight face and act well enough to convince the judges that I’m serious about pursuing a music career.

The “School House Rock!” song about Interjections could be used to teach thick-headed agency heads and CMOs a thing or two about where marketing campaigns must go….

[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Refresh Your School House Rock Memory[/box]


When CMOs failed to make campaigns succeed.
The digital guys knew just what was needed.

They cured the conceptions
With true interjection
To create some IN-TE-GRA-TION

“Hey! That’s smart!”

“Wow! That works!”

“Yes! We’ll come out on top
with a concept that rocks!

Integration (HEY!)
brings traditional (WOW!)
and digital (YES!)
together into a single campaign they work together seamlessly
when mixed together from the beginning of the process.

Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t write songs, but you get the idea.

Too often, ideas develop well beyond the beginning stages into fully formed without a digital representative in the room. Even if there’s a digital rep in the room, he or she is passive, meant to report back to the digital team what their role will be.

Imagine my joy when I’ve been told we are doing a particular campaign this way and here’s my role. It’s as if there’s a play and I was cast a part without trying out. As a 6-foot-3 male who’s 43 years old, the director of this play decided site unseen I should play the 3-foot-11 female who’s 12 years old.

Sounds ridiculous? I am not kidding.

There’s a Midwest agency with its entire digital staff located in the Southwest — a completely different office. Usually, the digital representatives join on the phone as a part of conference calls well after ideas have been fully baked by the Midwest group, who have close to no digital experience.

The Digital Age Is Upon Us

The creative process of developing a campaign must be fully collaborative. The assumption that traditional marketers are “good enough” to represent the digital side cannot be stressed enough that it’s so not the case. Just because someone figured out how to do a Facebook page doesn’t make them a social media expert, ninja or specialist. You can choose any descriptor you want on the end, but just because you participate in the world of social media doesn’t earn you a digital marketer title.

(I’m not done with this rant. I’ll continue with it in a later entry.)

True integration means a representative from all the fields in the room throughout the creative process. An idea from beginning to end must contain elements of both traditional and digital so interwoven that where one ends and another begins becomes impossible to tell.

My own success with the SmartStrand Challenges speaks of this. Think of just a few elements…[unordered_list style=”tick”]

  • In the 2010 event, ten zoo animals were put on carpet at the Dallas Zoo so visitors could see (traditional) and broadcast live on the web (digital).
  • Retail displays at more than 5,500 stores explained the story in bright, colorful art (traditional) with QR Codes linking smartphones to recent videos (digital).
  • In the 2009 event, Ricko the Rhino invited people to friend and follow him in social media (digital) but in-zoo pathways were built to guide visitors back to his enclosure (traditional).



If you haven’t had the opportunity, watch this brief video about the SmartStrand Challenges:

Luck Is Running Out

The three-dimensional illusion game has been played for too long. Most CMOs, vice presidents of marketing and others who are in charge have lucked out. By taking largely traditional campaigns and layering in a touch of digital, the campaigns have succeeded. Well, the campaigns met expectations.

As the American consumer continues its shift, soon those expectations won’t quite be met. Consumers will fast-forward more often through the commercials (and we’ll actually know they do instead of guessing they saw it). Print media will figure out how to a better way to merge with the Internet. Then the campaigns will fail.

The pretend dimensionality and what Jonathan Salem Baskin calls “silly social media” will finally die. Digital marketers will have a place at the table. In fact, digital marketers will be the CMOs, vice presidents and those in charge.

But who are the digital marketers?

PART FOUR Later Today: We Can’t All Be Experts

Published by

Michael Cheek

With more than 20 years of communication experience, Michael Cheek offers solid marketing expertise, especially in the digital frontier. He currently resides in Georgia but he's open to relocate anywhere the opportunities take him. Learn more at http://MichaelCheek.com. You can follow him on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/MichaelCheek and see more about his professional experience at http://LinkedIn.com/in/MichaelCheek. Reach him via e-mail at mcheek@gmail.com.

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