Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Problem with Digital, They Don’t Listen!

This is about penetration of digital media and its impact on advertising, which is what media companies survive on.

The other day a Google representative contacted me for our online advertising account and how they could optimise it. The attitude was rather patronising, which was okay with me, knowing it is Google, and all. "Now that you are advertising heavily in the print media and, sort of, why don’t you try online advertising, kinda, you know, usually we don’t contact clients directly (true!), but we are making an exception in your case." Get the drift? Seeing as to how Google was started and in a garage/bus/whatever, it’s understandable, I mean the attitude.

Then I see this discussion about how digital is the media of the future by Madhavan Narayanan where digital guru Mahesh Murthy has this to say, “The weightage given to older media is perhaps less about the demographics of the target audience than about the demographics and psychographics of the advertiser. The TG is online, no doubt. But the advertiser and media agency aren't. When Mr. CEO and Ms. Media Director only watch CNBC and Friends, it's unlikely they'll put big bucks behind a medium they don't use or understand.” Very true! Mr. CEO and comely Ms. Media Director have a reason to be watching "Friends". "Friends" is friendlier than the average call centre guy with the funny accent hawking digital media. More of this later in this post.

Actually I am a big fan of digital advertising media having been initiated into it very early in my career, but what I am not a big fan of is the kind of attitude fostered by digital media, you know, “usually we don’t do this,” and all. It defeats the very aim of showing how digital has far superior reach, and is far more effective.

So, since I want to give my digital advertising to Google, why don’t he come down for a meeting? “Meeting? We don’t meet, that’s not our style, we could send you a powerpoint and if you are interested you could call me.” Whoa! That’s the other extreme of what business interaction is all about (at least, what I know of it), you know, the one about “close to the customer” and “understanding the customer’s need.” The powerpoint arrives and, as expected, it's all abracadabra.

That’s the whole problem with digital media. They don’t want to reply to customers’ complaints, they don't listen, they don’t want to talk to the customer face to face and understand their needs, they prefer to sit in their “call centres” (some place in NOIDA) day and night and impose their superior-than-thou attitude on customers. If you have a problem with some digital biggie's interface you are directed to a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page and asked to (dumb you!) fend for yourself, because we aren’t interested in your WTF, goddamn business, you hear?

And that’s what should change if television has to handover the baton to digital, as Mahesh Murthy rightly advocates.

No comments: