Digital marketing insight - WhittmanHart Interactive's Skinner says video sticks

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David Skinner
David Skinner

Job: CEO, WhittmanHart Interactive

Previous roles: SVP of account management and supervising, Young & Rubicam; account management roles, Leo Burnett Co.

Advice to marketers: “It's great to be a second mover” when it comes to new media

Q: You just launched the Sears Prom Premiere 2008 interactive campaign last month; what digital advertising trends are you seeing and using?

A: It's an interesting time in the indus­try overall. I think that we are hitting upon the next wave. It's all about video — every conversation we have with our clients today is about video.

Q: What are the challenges around measuring online video?

A: It varies by client and comes down to the work that you do. The measure­ment comes at the end, but the work for the measurement comes at the beginning. It is all about how effectively you set the objectives and having clear delineation on the objectives. Some­times it can be a bit of a moving target, yet there are broad, generally agreed upon principles: How often is it seen? What is the stickiness of it? How often does somebody view it? How broad-reaching is it? Engagement tends to be difficult to pin down. However, it all ties back to how relevant the message is, how intrusive it is and then what it does in terms of immediacy for the brand or product or service, and what it does in the long term for both that brand and the consumer.

Q: Are there verticals that online video works best for?

A: People would rather watch than read — it is only in those instances where the message that you want to portray is steeped in detailed information that video is probably not appropriate.

Q: What are some of the consider­ations in the healthcare vertical?

A: Healthcare has become a very unique vertical; this is because there is a fair amount of expertise involved. How you communicate about a specific healthcare product can at times be a sensitive issue. The amount of regula­tion that is involved in that industry has made the Internet a very good place for it to market and has caused us to have a vertical specialization with it.

Q: So what is the role of video in this unique vertical?

A: Video in healthcare tends to be in the areas of testimonials or corporate trust messages. It's not a magazine any­more, so it doesn't have to be page one, page two. It can interact with you the way you want to. It's impossible with any other kind of media.

Q: What's your opinion on the role of Web 2.0 in marketing?

A: To some extent, people were a bit early on the claims of Web 2.0. Broad­ly, it appears to me that the Internet in general tends to find new technology and then that technology is spoken of quite a bit, long before marketers are ready to use it. We've been talking about mobile for six years — and we've done a fair amount of mobile for Bud­weiser and AT&T — but it certainly is a small percentage of the total work that we do. The technology is there, but it takes smart marketers to figure out how it's going to put out messages that the consumers want to interface with.

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