Marketing When Channels Blur: Put The Message, Not The Medium, First

How can marketers most effectively reach consumers in 2021?
Marketers must think flexibly when allocating budgets instead of rigidly assigning them to channels such as video, radio, OOH, social media, and so on. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we need to be agile as conditions quickly change.
Let’s be open-minded as we activate, measure, analyze, and learn what works. We should think more about impact and less about silos. Budgets that were once based on historical performance or general trends should instead be finely tuned in real-time to adjust to changes in behaviors and lifestyles. We can’t presume in today’s fast-changing environments that any channel will necessarily deliver as hoped. Consider how DOOH seemed dead in the water then roared to a comeback during COVID as regions opened up and marketers saw they could gain unique share of voice while targeting consumers who’d been over-saturated by TV ads in the home.
Let’s plan across channels rather than tie ourselves to specific line items, too. Demand-side platforms (DSPs) help facilitate more fluid movement of impressions among channels, and can also help maximize targeted reach by enabling strategies like omnichannel retargeting, sequencing, and frequency capping, and optimization tactics such as multi-variate testing of creative elements by audience segment. AI, too, will progress this year, perhaps enabling live tests of ads assembled from extracted elements — an audio track, here, some images there — then testing the automated assemblage through dynamic creative optimization (DCO) or even recreating the combination of assets as a video creative and testing its performance.