Media planning and buying has always been about the “Who.” Demographics, psychographics and, lately, socialgraphics or the social graph are part of the Who science. Buying the Who used to be done on a cost per thousand basis and now can be done on a cost per click basis. Buying the Who is still big business. But the web has become so pervasive in our lives, so instrumental in all areas of marketing – from product research to ratings and recommendations all the way to the actual purchase – that the Who is not as important as the “What.” What are consumers doing? What tools are they using to ready themselves for purchase. Where the consumer is along the purchase continuum and where they intersect with choice-influencing content is beginning to trump the old reach and frequency model.
The What vs. Who approach is much more experience focused, looking at the lifecycle of a purchase decision and inserting selling content at key waypoints of the journey. It’s a new way of selling and it is changing the business of the JWTs, BBDOs and Ogilvys of the world. All aboard! Peace.