How Visionary Advertisers Side-Step Risks to Accelerate Rewards

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Your audience is migrating, fragmenting, and hiding. They are cutting the cord with traditional media and insulating themselves into smaller clusters of specific passions, habits, and preferences. When you find them, they are distracted and multi-tasking. With significant effort, you can still deliver impressions, but delivering actual business results is increasingly challenging. Amidst the chaos, today’s visionary advertisers are embracing bleeding-edge innovations to leverage the power of first-mover enthusiasm to deliver ROI.

But wait a second.  How can embracing the disruption of new technologies and emerging opportunities deliver on ROI, you may ask? By definition, aren’t they inherently risky endeavors that lack scale? After all, we are in an economic climate where performance is hyper-scrutinized, and we’re tasked to over-delivering on last year’s performance. Our resources, especially our time, are over-extended, and we lack the bandwidth to evaluate the new. Not to mention the risk. What if the next big thing turns out to be a big ‘ol miss?

Settle down, Sparky. Embracing the new is actually a risk-mitigating decision that hedges you against your eroding traditional audience, layered with a tremendous upside. While the audience migrations present significant uncertainties, it also presents captivated and engaged opportunities. When people enthusiastically flock to something new, they are “all in” – excited, engaged, and ready to share with anyone who will listen. Leveraging all of this potential momentum with tried and true channels is the best strategy for shattering ROI expectations and enabling your brand to cut through the clutter.

Here’s a few ways to win now by embracing the next:

1. Find an enthusiastic cluster that lacks scale

For all the enthusiasm surrounding VR, people bemoan its lack of scale and wonder if it will ever reach its full potential. During a VR demonstration at VentureFuel’s Innovation Brew event this week, I heard guests laughing, giggling, and screaming about the content showcased within the headset. They all rushed to tell me what they’d just experienced. The lack of scale isn’t detrimental to the media value – in actuality, the fact that the mainstream doesn’t get it yet provides a cool factor. People get excited about it and feel moved by it to the point of wanting to actively share with others to create community (no one likes to suffer from FOMO). So while your media metrics and CPM algorithms may recommend you run another :30 spot, no one is going to brag about that spot on social media or talk about it at dinner parties.

2. Make several small bets

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, there are 11,000 new businesses launched every hour ( This provides an unlimited amount of options to embrace the new. Advertisers should think like angel investors, taking several small bets knowing that many will fail and some will succeed spectacularly. In fact, what advertisers view as a small bet is actually a sizeable investment for emerging companies. They are willing to provide you with added value and customization that you would never see with traditional channels, furthering your reach and amplification beyond the now and into the next.

3. Amplify with traditional

We all know that the press loves new stories and is usually eager to cover disruptive opportunities. The traditional channels you invest in can be used to leverage the partnership, providing you with cool content that’ll resonate with the audiences you are trying to convert. Sharing on your social media channels that you are the first-to-market for the next big thing not only gives you street cred but makes your traditional channels more engaging.

Embracing what’s next helps you win today because it gives you first mover advantages and credibility in your positioning, as well as being in-the-know and on the cutting edge. In doing so, you’re also gaining a reputation for being an early adopter and supporter of the next great media channels – meaning that great new opportunities will continue to seek you out in the future. Creating a fascinating cycle, enabling your brand to remain fresh, vibrant, and ahead of the curve. As Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”

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