The Entertainment Age for Marketers

Are we no longer in the Information Age?_Are we destined to be “gamers”? Whether you’re in marketing particularly the digital side or just looking for a job in marketing and related fields, you may have noticed the growing emphasis on entertainment. Entertainment activities becoming more the focus of our digital and offline lives.

And, as you’d expect, entertainment marketing seems to be following that growth. I don’t mean entertainment marketing as in promoting movies, actors and actresses. I’m talking about entertainment marketing for the sake of having fun with a brand wrapped around that fun.

The traditional, age-old tactics of marketing to customers and prospects via one-way communications is falling by the wayside. Ads of all types direct mail and mass-distributed news releases will always have a place but those tactics of marketing communications are becoming a smaller part of the total marketing effort.

Today’s successful marketing is individually-focused and better targeted to people’s own interests. Mass marketing is slowing going the way of the dinosaur.

The strong potential of wrapping marketing around entertainment first hit me a few years ago, After reading an article in BusinessWeek I was convinced that this was the wave of the future, here is an excerpt from that article,

“Plenty of advertisers…have been putting their products in video games for several years now. But marketers and game-makers successfully pushed Nielsen Entertainment in 2005 to start measuring the impact of in-game product placement, where there had been none before. This in turn is drawing more ad dollars and making game-makers as eager as TV networks, perhaps more so, to open up their stories to the highest bidders.” In-game product placement is targeted and part of the users’ activities. It’s immersed in what the marketplace members do. It involves marketers in prospects and customers’ lifestyle and interests.
We’ve all read a lot about viral videos and how to create them. Of course, the main aspect of viral videos is their entertainment value. No one will share a commercial with friends and family unless they see it as entertaining first and foremost. Any marketing push in the video must be secondary and indirect.

There is even a web site with the most popular viral videos, here is a great example….

But, a successful viral video is not easy to develop and is not right for marketing every company, product or service. The trick in the entertainment and marketing combination is to develop some level of connection with your audience. Create tools, services and experiences that complement your company, products or services while being part of your customers and prospects’ entertainment habits and interests.

Here is a great example with over 300 million views! John West salmon.

There are other ways to connect marketing messages with customers and prospects’ lifestyle. One is video – and not on TV. The use of online video is becoming more and more popular. And, video is being used for entertainment purposes more and more, according to a June 25, 2008, eMarketer article.

Based on a study it conducted, Solutions Research Group “predicted that total hours with video-based entertainment would grow by nearly one-third to an average of about eight hours per day by early 2013.”

Another key stat from the eMarketer article is the trend to online rather than offline video:
“Key research from Deloitte Development signifies the shift away from TV to the Internet, with 69% of respondents in the firm’s second annual ‘The State of the Media Democracy’ survey saying their computer has become more of an entertainment device than their TV.” That same Deloitte study also found that 36% of all respondents use their “cellphone as an entertainment device.” That percentage soared to 62% for the Millenials (13-24 age group) – who will be the future targeted prospects for many of us as they age.

Marketing is evolving to have companies become connected with their audience much more so than just communicating to them. And, as more of the audience members are focusing on entertainment, it’s up to the marketers and communicators for companies to develop ways to connect brands with their audience around their entertainment preferences.

Chinese Revolution Fueled by Capitalism?

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In 2003 Communist leaders planed to amend China’s constitution to formally enshrine the ideology of Jiang Zemin, the recently retired leader who invited capitalists to join the Communist Party. Despite sweeping economic and social changes, the political status of China’s entrepreneurs is still ambiguous.

They included the communist era’s first guarantee of property rights. Certain amendments are still needed to promote economic and social development, said the party newspaper People’s Daily. It said the changes were meant to cope with accelerating globalization and advances in science and technology.

Jiang’s theory, the awkwardly named “Three Represents,” calls for the 67 million-member party to embrace capitalists, updating its traditional role as a “vanguard of the working class” and for the constitution to formally uphold property rights and the rights of entrepreneurs. Anyone who has visited Shanghai since and saw Beijing last summer will attest to the populace there embracing capitalism for sure.

As someone who has more than a passing acquaintance with China, I see this is as a big change indeed. Even under most dire oppression you cannot entirely stop people exchanging goods and services.

And so it was in the countries of the former Communist bloc, although the private sector was not officially recognized, there were shades of grey in the ‘socialist worker economy’.

Former Yugoslavia, for example, ventured furthest in its recognition of private enterprise and some semblance of property rights and in return relatively prospered. Also in practice, Poland and Hungary were kinder to their small landowners and tradesmen than the communist ideologues allowed.

Nevertheless, there was no question of formally acknowledging property rights and any form of private enterprise by governments whose grasp of economics was based entirely on Marxism. It was one thing to tolerate existence of non-state markets and even benefit from them, but changing their opposition to individual’s property rights, so firmly embedded in political systems that were barely surviving, would have been a political, ideological and social suicide.

China’s development has been very different to that of Eastern Europe, politically and economically, although both were waving the Red Flag. The proposed change to the China’s constitution may have amounted to a symbolic amendment given that China’s entrepreneurs have driven its two-decade-old economic boom. But then, symbols can be very powerful. Once the gates are open as they were during the Olympics it will be nearly impossible to close them.
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The young Chinese love and embrace capitalism, heck they have downloaded Avril Lavigne’s music and images 38 million times. And that love affair with consumerism has created a new non-violent and more powerful revolution than Tiananmen or the West could ever have hoped to achieve with sanctions and posturing.

This blog was inspired by two icons I pinched from “Wheretonext_quotes”…thanks again for finding them
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