I recently wrote a blog about Pizza Hut’s yet unheard of 140-second-long job interviews to fill the position of “Manager of Digital Greatness” in the company. Gimmicky as it sounds, it gives pause for thought, and offers a view of the signs of things to come. Relevance, attention, and context are playing heavily into the marketing world. In a world of serious information overload, attention is sparse. Content is no longer limited to traditional sources like media channels and publishing houses. Everyone with a smartphone, tablet or PC can produce content – blogs, podcasts, pictures or videos – if they choose to. There is no longer dependence on middlemen or businesses to distribute content; all you need is a social network of friends, connections and followers who are willing to absorb what you create and extend it to their network connections, effectively magnifying your reach. And yet, not everyone becomes a Huffington Post, Mashable or Techcrunch!
As content sources multiply, the patience of the content consumer is fading. If you cannot impress in the first few seconds, you probably will lose them. Let’s take a look at some of these sub-sixty-second phenomena that may affect your life at some point in the future
Real-time marketing is a relatively new term coined to describe creative tactics or communications adopted by businesses to take advantage of a critical moment during an event to promote their products. A good example of this is the now famous tweet that came from Oreo Cookie’s account during the power failure at this year’s NFL Super Bowl held in New Orleans. Can you really prepare for real-time marketing? Is there a right-place-at-the-right-time element to this? Clearly, it is difficult to plan and staff for real-time marketing. On the other hand, you could be like Maker’s Mark, the Kentucky-based bourbon giant, who managed to turn a poor marketing decision to one that got them a lot of positive attention and tangible revenue gains.
If you are in Sales or Marketing, you may want to keep your eyes open for real-time marketing opportunities like the one above.
Skippable Ads: The last thing you want to watch is an advertisement for sinus medicine when you are actually trying to watch a video from a recent PSA squash tournament. Much to the viewers’ frustration, these streaming ads usually last from fifteen to thirty seconds. With You Tube introducing skippable ads, viewers now have the option of skipping an ad after viewing it for a very short period of time – five seconds. If you stop and think about it, someone is being paid to make these ads meant to grab your attention and entice you to take some kind of action – buy a product, visit the company’s website etc. Often the companies that create these ads are paid on the TrueView format which ensures that the ad agencies get paid only if the viewer watches the ad for an agreed length of time or until the end of the ad. Assuming that a fair percentage of the viewers will skip the ad, you have five seconds to capture and keep their attention. No mean feat! At 4.5 Million views, here is an example of one that did.
Vine, launched by Twitter earlier this year, is an application that lets you make six second videos that you can share on Twitter and other social networks. Vine has gained popularity with companies jumping on the bandwagon to create short videos that promote their brand and social engagement. The level of creativity and uniqueness that you can bring into a six second clip will determine whether it becomes the next Gangnam Style type phenomenon or gets buried in some digital wasteland of unnoticed content. Vine, combined with the idea of real-time marketing, could be the next big opportunity for the creatively inclined social media enthusiast.
Hackathons: Hack is a term that alludes to software developers and other technology buffs colluding at a “hackathon” to develop a product in twenty-four hours. This is a true example of changing times and timelines. At the end of a hackathon, entrepreneurs get sixty seconds to pitch their start-up business to an audience that include investors and technology peers. Based on the merit of the pitch, the panel shortlists and ultimately chooses a winner who becomes eligible for funding that is often essential for these start-ups to move forward. This year’s Disrupt New York Hackathon offered prize money of $50,000 which was won by Enigma, a data indexing start-up. If you are in the business of software or technology, this may be something for you to follow.
Snap Chat has been around for a while. It is the modern-day version of self-destructing communications, the likes of which you have seen in James Bond movies. The idea is that the short videos that you create and share using this application has a predefined shelf life after which the message will disappear from the receiving party’s device. No, this is not an invention funded by Tiger Woods; though, it would have come in handy during his alleged indiscretions! If you are planning to try your hand at some risqué stuff yourself, keep in mind that there are many tools out there that allow people to take screen captures and snips that could still land you in proverbial hot water!
So, what do you think? Do you believe that these aspects of real-time digital communications improve our lives, or, just add unnecessary stress? Please comment and share using the options below.