Urbanization: the Antidote to Media Fragmentation

February 25, 2011 / By

Marketing is becoming more complicated – that’s widely accepted as true. Consumers can choose from millions of ways to consume content (or more aptly, millions of ways to ignore it), so it is becoming harder to reach them with your message. Television is the most straightforward example: in the 1950s, viewers had only a few TV networks to choose from, so everyone, everywhere watched the same shows and same commercials. But today, not only do we have thousands of channels, we can skip commercials or even skip the TV altogether by watching our favorite episodes on our iPad. Consider equally vast changes in print, radio, online, and all sorts of emerging media, and a marketer is bound to be a little discouraged.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s another seemingly unrelated trend that marketers should be really excited about. If taken advantage of, it could help us create campaigns that are more impactful and measurable than ever.

The trend is very simple: the world is becoming more urban.

Credit: Richard-Seaman.com

About 180,000 people move into cities daily – that means there are around 60 million new urban dwellers each year (according to Intuit via Trendwatching).

So while our attention is going in a million directions, we as people are in fact converging. For marketers, this means an incredible opportunity to intersect with more consumers in more places. Thirty-second spots between mind-numbing segments of the Jersey Shore won’t be the only way to reach mass crowds. As we continue to converge, it will be easier to be there as consumers go through their daily lives, looking for things to do, buy, experience, understand.

This means point of purchase, out of home, and the ever-hailed mobile will be more important than ever. I’m not just talking coupons. Interesting, useful and unique platforms will engage consumers. No wonder Foodspotting, an app that allows users to stand on any street corner to immediately discover the most highly rated “food spots” in the area, has become so popular so quickly. Augmented reality tools that offer things like the opportunity to take your picture with Brooklyn Decker will entice more people to walk into Barnes & Noble when they walk past.

But simply having easier access to a more condensed mass of consumers doesn’t mean our job will be easy. Finding meaningful ways to engage with the right consumers at any given point during their day will mean delving deeper into their thoughts, emotions and behavior. But done just right, I’m willing to bet there are possibilities for marketing campaigns that offer a lot more bang for your buck than a commercial during “Leave it to Beaver.”

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