We will drive profit by embracing emerging technologies

This week is an anniversary - it has been 80 years since the very first colour television transmission.

Sue Unerman, chief strategy officer at MediaCom
Sue Unerman, chief strategy officer at MediaCom

Although no one actually owned a colour television set in July 1928, that didn't stop the very first colour television demonstration being held in a Long Acre laboratory by John Logie Baird.

In August that year, hordes of people fought to see colour TV demonstrated at Olympia, accompanied by the world's first TV commercial.

The first TV ad was for - perhaps unexpectedly - the Daily Mail, and it appeared with a programme of songs and droll stories by the Cilla Black of the day, Peggy O'Neil - not broadcast as we would understand it today, but at an exhibition.

It is interesting that a newspaper business, at the time the pre-eminent medium of the day, should be so pioneering.

This may have been simply because the Daily Mail was the exhibition sponsor, but responding to a competitive technology by embracing it and seeking a way to use it to leverage your brand is a model for the 21st Century.

We are clearly in an age where it is crucial to understand how technology can apply to the old models of media and marketing.

For the first time I can remember, we are surrounded by examples of the consumer being in a different space from the brand or the retailer.

So I might browse for goods or services online and choose to buy them in-store. Or I might look at a sofa in a retailer so I can sit on it and see how comfortable it is, but then decide to order it on the internet.

However, the retailer may well have separate profit centres on and offline, and may not consider the relationship between the two to be symbiotic, as the customer does.

Furthermore, sometimes a consumer is prepared to pay for content by buying a newspaper or magazine, but expects that same content online for free.

As media advisers, we need to find a path through all of this that delivers a return on investment.

We need to be very clear that it is the consumer that is driving the solution, not what suits the media owner or current client structure.

Fighting territorially over what ought to be the solution will get us nowhere.

It is only by embracing new technologies and their potential, as the Daily Mail seems to have done 80 years ago, that we will drive profitable solutions.

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