The year that was…

Reflecting on 2006, it struck me that a big plot twist for marketing was the acceleration of social media, and another was a renewed focus on social strategies. How mass the impact of the former will be remains to be seen, but it has already helped spur a wider role for the latter. But that's just my opinion. For a wider POV, here are some thoughts from the front lines on what went down in 2006, and what it all means.

Reflecting on 2006, it struck me that a big plot twist for marketing was the acceleration of social media, and another was a renewed focus on social strategies. How mass the impact of the former will be remains to be seen, but it has already helped spur a wider role for the latter. But that’s just my opinion. For a wider POV, here are some thoughts from the front lines on what went down in 2006, and what it all means.

Rob Linden, brand manager, P&G Canada: R.I.P. TV…Long live TV!

2006 has been full of proclamations of the demise of the tube. On the contrary, TV is still going strong. What has changed is how consumers use it, so marketers must change too. Maybe a :30 isn’t the right route to go, but why not a :05, or even a :60? Why not build some added-value content or tie-in some call-to-action? You want to do more ‘one-to-one’ or capitalize on ‘consumer-generated media’? You can do all of that on TV. It’s about getting the right message to as many of your consumers as possible, and no vehicle currently does it as effectively. Go ahead and jump ship if you want… it’ll just mean a better price for me in the upfronts.

Sunni Boot, president/CEO, ZenithOptimedia: Media leading holistic communications

Evolution has really picked up this year with more companies seeing channel connections are best developed by their media companies. This has led to increased embracing of disciplines working together at the onset, and we’re witnessing new recognition and respect for true team work – and seeing results. While that is an evolution, one big event was the Bell Globemedia CHUM merger. This will create unprecedented concentration of media assets, and the impact will be profound. Why? Expect to see more media mergers to offset the strength of BGM/CHUM.

Frank Palmer, chairman/CEO, DDB Canada: The future – entrepreneur or ‘netpreneur?’

2006 saw a majority of ad agencies around the world became redundant. Today, if your agency isn’t operating in the digital space, only the funeral remains. There’s a new breed of ‘netpreneurs’ emerging that will control the ad and media space. Companies like YouTube and MySpace can collapse the boundaries and offer more choice at lower prices. If you want to succeed, you need to move fast – before you’re made redundant. An agency’s most valuable asset, and perhaps the only carry-over into the future, will be its talent.

David Moore, president/CEO, Leo Burnett Canada:

The year that the blueprint for brand building officially disappeared

It used to be a pretty simple blueprint and served us for a long time. Find a distinctive positioning for your brand, target some individuals and buy the 52-week plan. YouTube went from 0 to $1.65 billion in 18 months without subscribing to one of these principles.

Rob Assimakopoulos, VP marketing, Molson Canada: Guess what? People like marketing

‘Marketing’ may have finally been let out of the penalty box. A Youthography survey showed Canadians favourably predisposed to marketing tripled (from 11% to 30%), while those opposed more than halved (26% to 10%). I suspect it’s because of control over media – filtering ads empowers people and creates a more chilled-out disposition towards marketing, and that marketers are scoring more – providing better products, and serving them up in ways that engage consumers. Don’t fear Naomi Klein’s No Logo warning, instead, worry about elevating your game to connect with empowered consumers.

Speaking of raising the game, congrats to strategy’s Agency of the Year winner Rethink, to our B!G Awards winner Sid Lee (ex Diesel), and to all of the contenders. Check out the winners and the thinking that landed them on top starting page 31.

cheer,mm Mary Maddever, exec editor strategy/MIC