Opinion: Marketing Society - Take control of your media

Is it me or does the marketing industry coin new terminology, particularly acronyms, on a daily basis?

These acronyms are applied to companies and organisations (APA being no exception), as well as to lifestyle and demographics, take Dinky (dual income, no kids yet) Glam (grey, leisured, affluent, married), and, of course, the old favourite Yuppie (young upwardly mobile professional) as examples. And I have hardly started - ROI, CPA, RSV, CRM, B2B, RFMV - the list seems endless.

I like to think I keep up. However, I was baffled at a recent conference when the speaker based his speech on JUT. I couldn't figure out what he was talking about, but it sounded important. So, I swallowed my pride and asked a fellow delegate - joined-up thinking - but of course!

While it might be the latest buzzword, JUT is an approach marketers would be ill-advised to ignore. It takes integration and media neutrality that one step further. Basically, it is the blurring of the lines between media channels and brands.

We are seeing growing numbers of brands taking control of media channels as owners. Tesco is an obvious example. It has evolved from being a mere grocery outlet to a pseudo media owner, with its Tesco Clubcard, Tesco Magazine and even trolley-vision. Not to mention Tesco TV, through which advertisers can reach consumers in-store while shopping.

The same is true of fashion retailer New Look - walk into any of its stores and clothes aficionados can listen to music and fashion features on a dedicated in-store radio station. It adds value to the customer experience because New Look can tailor the content specifically to its customer demographics.

It is not just the retail sector that is exercising joined-up thinking. Media owners themselves are branching out. FHM, for example, now has one of the most profitable online presences in the UK, while also expanding into mobile-content provision, TV and radio.

Not all can take JUT or branded content to such extremes, but the smart brands are those starting to take control of their media and how they communicate with customers. This is where less expensive channels, such as customer magazines, fit in. Not only are they cost-effective, they also produce masses of content, meaning that with a little innovation, the opportunities can be endless. There is the web or podcasts, for example, and who's to say a customer title could not be turned into a TV show? I would certainly watch BA High Life: the Programme, even if it were presented by a BOBFOC (body off Baywatch, face off Crimewatch).

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