I dagens Resumé skriver Adrian McDonald, ansvarig för A&O i Sverige, om hur reklambranschen måste lära sig att använda de plattformar som ny teknik erbjuder för att bli mer relevanta.

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The consumer shall come first or never again

I will preface this article by stating that I love technology and consumer marketing, and even more so the combination of both. For the most part, this is the reason I have spent the majority of my career in media and marketing.

When it comes to technology – especially devices – the pace at which it’s moving is fascinating and, as consumers, never before have we had so much choice of devices to use or be envy of. Productivity, entertainment, gaming, communication, shopping, decision-making, access to information have all been made easier thanks to technology. We certainly live in a new era of devices with integrated services.

As for marketing in a technology-age, the opportunity to be creative, to stand out and win the hearts and minds of the consumer, to challenge the marketing mix of yesterday, and to build new marketing strategies altogether are multiplying by the day. This is being driven not solely by competition or the proliferation of digital marketing channels, yet, also due to the changes occurring in consumer needs and their behaviours.

The era of devices challenges us as businesses, advertisers andcreative agencies to completely re-think our entire marketing strategies for ourselves and our customers.

New channels of distribution for products, services and content are emerging through the network of these devices, and subsequently creating new marketing opportunities and business models like we’ve never seen before. Spotify, Xbox Live and Coursera are great examples of how new channels in a device ecosystem are being embraced. They’ve embraced the fact that the consumer is mobile and much less predictable – weaving in and out of both personal and work activities throughout the day, while juggling multiple devices. Ultimately, the new consumer demands all the content & services they want, wherever they are, across all of the digital activities that are important to them, AND on any screen.

Just as consumers demand more of their device ecosystem, they too demand more from the advertising within that ecosystem. The number of ad animations, number of ads, ad size, number of clicks, become less relevant in this new era.

Creativity, relevance, opportunity to participate and opportunity to buy come to the fore. These are not foreign concepts to any of us, but in the digital space they are seldom applied in tandem. In this new era, they will be a pre-requisite for success. In fact, consumers are already responding well to them.

But when I look at many digital strategies, in particular, it continues to amaze me just how little consideration is given to the consumer. Of course, there are wonderful and successful digital services out there as well as very clever digital marketing campaigns, but so often as consumers we are confronted by awful content experiences and awful marketing messages – despite all the afforded new opportunities.

At Microsoft, we have made some giant leaps to address this, using Windows 8. An early research study Microsoft commissioned in the U.S, looking into the consumer response to advertising within Windows 8 apps indicated that the ads were more noticeable and recognisable when compared against rich media advertising benchmarks and microsites. Results also indicated that the advertising experiences were less obtrusive, more appropriate, innovative and trustworthy when compared to some competitor sites. This early “success” in being driven by few things. We’ve focused on creating consumer relevancy by not having the advertising compete with the content experience, rather be accretive to the overall experience. Making the environment less-cluttered and changing the design principles altogether have helped us achieve that. The application of dynamic layering within the AccuWeather app for a Jeep campaign is a wonderful example. We’ve also brought “app within an app” and touch gestures into the ad experiences, mirroring the natural interactions consumers have with tablets and the way they consume information.

Ultimately, 2013 is a year that will see greater focus in delivering more relevant consumer marketing experiences as well as forward-looking delivery of unified content services. It also marks the year that these activities will begin to function in a much more seamless manner across the multi-device ecosystem.

Online services which embrace the opportunity of device ubiquity are positioning themselves for greater success. Advertisers who embrace it are also best placed to have true 1:1 conversations. They simply need to remember that the conversations are moving from a network of destinations to a network of devices, where the consumer is in control.

We need to change as an industry and be more creative and relevant to the consumer, because if they don’t come first it’s not guaranteed they’ll ever come again.

Adrian McDonald, Country Manager Advertising & Online Division, Microsoft