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How marketers should prepare for the oncoming TV revolution

It’s like what happened to the print publishing establishment and traditional music industry all over again.

Despite their not-so-valiant attempts to preserve the status quo, the big TV networks, studios, and cable providers are fighting a losing battle to keep television (and the television advertising model) in its current analog, uninteractive, untrackable, and uncompetitive state. Meanwhile, companies like Google, Apple, and Netflix (just to name a few of the bigger names) continue to blaze a trail that will ultimately open up the floodgates for video content the way that blogs opened up the floodgates for written content less than a generation ago.

I could go on and on about the various announcements that signal this shift, but this isn’t a tech rumors blog.

Instead, I’ll focus my message on those of you readers that agree with my sentiments and foresee how this massive shift will impact their marketing efforts.

  1. Start making video, and lots of it - I’ve already come across enterprise clients interested in producing video that can serve as both a TV ad and a purely online video (viral or otherwise). As the medium formerly known as “TV” transitions itself into just another online channel, it will be important for marketers to be well-versed on how to produce low, medium, and high-quality video assets. Some will be used as ads, others as complimentary information (or “infotainment”) and yet others will be geared towards viral appeal. As a marketer (both in-house and agency side) you’d better get familiar with every type, every application, and all of the details on how to go about procuring this stuff (Note: it’s ok to work with freelancer producers/directors/editors/actors/illustrators/animators)
  2. Understand the difference between live-action and animated video, and how to apply it when creating video ads, video information content, or viral video assets. Also, understand the difference in terms of pricing and turnaround time.
  3. Learn how to track and test via analytics – You can already do so much with video assets (tracking views, shares, click actions, etc) but just imagine how much more analytics will be available when a “TV” spot is clickable, when you can buy straight from your TV and when marketers can dynamically test different facets of the same ad to improve interaction/conversion the way we currently do via multivariate testing platforms. Say goodbye to the bad old days of vague measurements on the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of your national or local TV ad runs.
  4. Pay attention to SEO for apps - for now, that type of search optimization is a bit of a fringe activity for developers hoping that their mobile game will be the next Angry Birds. However, if Google gets their way, apps will be the new “channel” in TVs of the future and search will be equivalent of “channel surfing.”

This is really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of things a marketer can do to be well-prepared for TV’s shift from an offline channel to an online channel. And when you consider that traditional TV still has the largest share of marketing dollars, it probably makes sense to be as prepared as possible.

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