At some point in the future when historians look back in time, now will be the time recognized for when smart marketers acknowledged the fact consumers had taken the proverbial high ground.
Consumers are the new boss in the media industry. The Millennial Generation led the charge as they systematically rejected the information, entertainment and marketing messages they deemed irrelevant. It didn’t take older segments of the populace to follow the path blazed by the Millennials. This is forcing programming executives at media conglomerates and brand managers at marketing companies to face a particularly difficult challenge.
250 Channels and Nothing on TV
At present, the fastest growing segment of new Facebook accounts are being set up by women in the 50+ age demographic. The amount of time consumers spend on social networking, and on sites comprised of user generated content like YouTube and Vimeo pose bona fide threats to the institutional power of media companies. Clearly, these huge corporations must figure out how to reinvent their offerings to be centered on increasingly selective consumers since the power has shifted away from the conglomerates over to we the people.
Media companies need to get creative fast, figure out how to engage consumers, provide them with relevance, and produce results. With the consumers now in control, media conglomerates and marketing companies alike, must gain insight into their behavior and tendencies.
I’m betting against the media conglomerates to figure it out on their own in time to save themselves. Early in my career I worked in marketing for one of the world’s largest media companies at their HQ in Burbank, California. These lumbering giants are quite bureaucratic and aren’t nimble enough to get out of their own way, let alone become consumer-centric and market driven. Their best chance for long-term survival is via acquisitions. Expect to see more acquisitions, like that of MySpace by media conglomerate News Corp. a few years ago.
As for marketing companies, I’m betting on the ones with Chief Marketing Officers who totally understand and completely embrace best practices in social media marketing. To be successful, these marketing executives well know they must not only engage consumers in their brands, but fully empower them as brand ambassadors.