Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Digital media makes The Advertisers Round Table

The Adelaide Advertiser hosts regular Round Table's with industry heavyweights to bring expertise on different topics to their readers. Today they just happened to invite 5 internet & media industry-related people (including yours truly, Via Media CEO Anthony Coles) to the table under the multi-media gaze of their AdelaideNow audio and video production team, (and a couple of work experience bods to boot).

After happy snaps and card swapping, discussions opened on the topic of "will the Internet have any impact on business in SA".

Biting my lip I glanced over to catch newly appointed SA Tourism GM of Marketing, Steve Kernaghan, ease back in his seat and break into a grin.

"The Internet is ALREADY having an impact on business in SA", we all chimed in unison to exclaim.

Steve gave space to a few local lads to lead the charge in response.

Adam Internet CEO Scott Hicks lamented the challenges to their considerable investments in Internet-related infrastructure here in SA in the face of the huge Telstra/ Australian Government conflict-of-interest.

"How can business benefit from our infrastructure (ie - better content), if our playing field isn't world-competitive", cried Scott. "We have the demand. How can we move beyond the infrastructure constraints of a poorly advised Government and cross-ownership confilct?"

My thoughts raced ahead to a Facebook Group, "Help Raise $400M to fund Adam Internet's fibre-optic roll out". More on that later...

SATC's Steve K finally added his weight to the debate with his international perspective, (Steve's new to SA from a Tourism Australia gig in the US).

His experience with mobile internet, Tivo, and direct-to-consumer transaction opportunities presented by the internet were refreshing in this market.

"The internet is the single most important channel in our marketing planning for the year ahead" says Steve.

"Don't jump up and hug him here", says the little guy in my head who stops me doing silly things!!

"But where is all this content going to come from?", asked Business Editor Cameron England insightfully. "Do we have the talent here to produce it?"

"Absolutely", states OMD CEO Gary Jaffer, "we have some of the best talent in the world here in SA".

Er, then why can't I find an experienced digital Account Director or gun Creative Director with web 2.0 campaign experience for my business, I thought?

As conversation progressed, we weaved from technical Internet issues to consumenr and Media issues.

"The role of the media with any advertising campaign is the same", noted KWP! Media Manager Matt Rawnsley. "Each needs to be considered within the context of what it is the client is trying to achieve, and its value evaluated against those objectives".

Quite right I thought, couldn't have put it better myself if I was a media manager with and Ad Agency.

But what if your 'media' is someones Facebook profile, and your ad is a "Had a Top Stay Here" widget promoting some local B&B you stayed at, offering a 'free bowl of soup' to any of your friends if they click on the widget?

Then Me becomes the Media.

Word-Of-Mouth blurs with Direct (Marketing) via the mass media of the Internet. Facebook currently has a Gazzillion* page views per day. (*note - Nielsen NetRatings does not recognise gazzillion as a media planning term).

Creative (Content) has just become a Transaction (Customer).

Where does 'the Media Agency' and the evaluation of relevant 'Paid Media' channels fit into this model?

Lucky I never let that mind rant leak out publicly amongst the group, or I'd have been shipped off in a tight white jacket with long sleeves!

And so on it went for an hour or so. More reality checks from Scott (Hicks) (not the Film director), more international tourism-industry perspective from Steve (Kernaghan) (not the former Carlton and Glenelg great), and more ad-land fundamentals from Gary (Jaffer) and Matt (Rawnsley).

And more Blue Sky from me.

Overall, hosts Meredith (Booth), Cameron (England) and Chris (Russell) were all on-topic and enthusistic with the industry participants at today's Round Table.

Did we find a solution to the growing gap between the have's and the have-nots?

Maybe not.

Did we contribute to combating Climate Change?

Well Rupert's building is very Green, and I did walk to the meeting.

But was I excited to have this topic, (one that I've been beeting my head against a brick wall over for 15 years now), finally reach the Business Section of The Adelaide Advertiser, and have an opportunity to participate in the discourse?

You bet.

Can't wait until it appears in the paper next week.

Oh, but now you already know what happened because of this blog. Doh!

What was that again about the impact that the Internet was going to have on business in SA?

Oh well....let's go to the video...

No comments: