The World of Transmedia Marketing

A few weeks ago I ran across a blog by Gary Hayes (brilliant!).  He developed a “metaphorical chart representing the key fragmented lands of media”, and uses this to help communicate the need for transmedia storytelling.  If you have time, go check out his blog (again, BRILLIANT!) Navigating the World of Multi-Platform & Transmedia Rituals | PERSONALIZE MEDIA.

Alth0ugh I love this image (because – yes it is brilliant!), I ended up creating my own “visual” for transmedia marketing.  Not as cool as Gary’s, but it does simplify the world of transmedia by breaking it down to the basic elements of transmedia marketing: physical, digital and interactive elements surrounding the core story, brand or lesson.

The physical world is the world of people, places and things.

  • “People” represents the real people who act as a character, sing a song, tell a story and (in the world of business) talk to customers.
  • “Places” are either story elements (a small cafe in Casablanca) or the physical location where story elements are displayed (theaters) or experienced (stores).
  • “Things” are possibly the dimension that is in the middle of most change and requires the most thought.  In the old world, “things” were the only means of conveying a story outside of a person (a book, a painting, a perfume) but in the new world many “things” have become digital (pictures) and even more things may become digital in the future (augmented reality).  However, as more things become digital, there will be a higher premium on physical things, and in some instances the “physical” may convey the ‘wow’ factor better than the digital (the smell of coffee may NEVER be replaced by a digital simulation).

I reduce the Digital World into the elements of images, text and sound.  As I explore this world, I also look for the underlying components of  ‘tools for creating the world’ and the ‘tools for receiving the world’.

I combine social and gaming under the bucket of “interactive” platforms.  This component of the world will continue evolving and growing for the next couple of decades.  Ultimately, the interactive platforms enable the physical world to interact with the digital world.  Nanotechnology may change this up in the future.

Marketers who live in the digital world are comfortable with “pushing” (display advertising) and “pulling” (search, inbound marketing).  Pushing requires the marketer to label people and push appropriate digital elements.  Pulling requires the marketer to label the business and place digital elements where people can find them.

Marketers who live in the interactive world understand that they create digital elements, and then give them to people to push, pull, twang, morph, lob, etc…

Transmedia is scarier, and funner.

Potential Implications of Transmedia on Marketing Organizations

The implications of transmedia in education and entertainment are in the process of being explored, experimented with and critiqued.  I think we’ve just begun to explore the implications on business and marketing practices.

There are three major forces colliding within most marketing organizations: BIG data (it begs to be said in caps), marketing technology and media fragmentation.

Transmedia helps to solve the the problems associated with media fragmentation by providing a cohesive narration that is optimized/developed for each media space.  Big data and marketing technology provide the infrastructure to ensure targeted and timely delivery and mapping the value back to marketing ROI.  Each system works together, but the skills required for each system are generally VERY different: creative vs analytical vs systems/process thinking 

Marketing departments in big companies (may) be able to functionally support these systems. But smaller companies will need to outsource.  This leads to the question – which should you outsource vs which should you own?    Will a marketing eco-system develop where specialists in these systems work on a for-hire basis, and the business marketing departments simply work as marketing project managers?  And if so, do they start calling themselves marketing producers?

Lots of questions.  Please discuss 🙂