Media Proliferation

The Second Driver of Change in the Marketing Landscape

The growth of media channels has contributed to the complexities and the evolution of the marketing landscape.

In part two of our series on the changing landscape of marketing, we discuss how the explosion of media outlets has changed how brands reach consumers and how brands can work around these new complexities to their advantage.


For decades, almost all branded impressions came from three major content distribution platforms: TV, radio, and print (newspapers and magazines). Fast-forward to today, and it’s nearly impossible to quantify the number of cable TV networks, social media platforms, streaming services, brand websites and blogs, podcasts, mobile apps, and e-commerce sites that brands rely on for getting their messages and products in front of consumers. And for nearly all these platforms, consumers control how and when they access content.

The upshot of all this media proliferation? Brands have access to more content distribution platforms than ever, but they also have infinitely more decisions to make about how they can most efficiently spend their media dollars.

As a way of illustrating these upsides and downsides, take the case of Dove. Ever since the 1950s, when the brand was introduced, Dove relied on old media—specifically,print and TV ads—to market its moisturizing soap to consumers. Over the years, Dove’s product line expanded to include shampoos, body washes, hand washes, and deodorant, but its marketing remained essentially static until the digital age.

When Dove began engaging with new media, it swung wildly between messages and channels, trying to reach a new, younger audience that had so many more beauty brands to choose from. In 2004, Dove launched its iconic Campaign for Real Beauty, which focused on body positivity, using “real” women, or women who didn’t all look like young models. The incredibly successful landmark campaign ran for years, and it included two historically successful video ads, “Evolution,” which debuted a year after the advent of YouTube and went viral before that was even a thing, and “Real Beauty Sketches,” which was at one point the most watched video ad of all time.

However, the brand has followed these early successes on new channels with some misses, most famously two racially insensitive videos: a TV spot in 2011, and a video that was posted on the brand’s Facebook page in 2017. That said, the brand has also created some amazing social media content.

The lesson here is simple: when brands try to activate on new media channels in order to get in front of new audiences, there is a much bigger chance of swinging and missing than in the days of old media. And in the era of social media, blogs, podcasts, and on and on, those misses are magnified and scrutinized to a degree that would have been unimaginable in the past.

Today it’s nearly impossible to quantify the number of channels that brands rely on for getting their messages and products in front of consumers.

The Challenges Posed by Media Proliferation

The possibility of swinging and missing when stretching outside their media comfort zones isn’t the only challenge brands face in the era of media proliferation:

1). Capturing Consumer Attention

Once Netflix opened the Pandora’s box of content on demand, there was no turning back. Consumers want choices, and they want control. They want to be in charge of not only the content, but also the channel and device. And as the streaming wars escalate and cord cutting becomes the norm instead of the exception, brands just can’t count on consumers’ undivided attention.

This means brands need to stretch their marketing and media budgets across more channels, so that if a consumer ignores a brand’s pre-roll ad on YouTube, that brand still has a chance of catching the consumer’s eye with a social media ad, branded organic content, or an ad that runs during their favorite podcast.

Brands who prioritize channel selection based on audience opportunity will thrive.

2). Budget Crunches

On the subject of media and marketing budgets, media proliferation means brands have to be smarter than ever about how, and where, they allocate resources. And those resources are more than just dollars—if a brand markets on multiple content platforms, across multiple channels, it will need to either build a large internal team with wide-ranging expertise or hire an array of outside agencies.

Basically, brands need to learn which new media channel to prioritize based on the platforms to which their target audiences turn for most of their content.

3). Brand Consistency and Image

The Dove example is one of many that show what happens when brands market on new and emerging platforms. Even if a brand manages to navigate this new world without any major controversies, there is still the challenge of maintaining brand consistency across multiple channels and the risk of a brand’s essence getting stretched beyond all recognition.

How [B]RIGHT Can Help

The media landscape will never return to the old days, and consumers will continue to fragment into smaller communities and clusters. This reality means brands need to change and evolve the way they market. [B]RIGHT Brand Performance Group is here to help our clients grow without losing what makes them special.

1). Form and Function

To capture consumers’ attention in a world where so many different media platforms are competing for their eyeballs, brands need to embrace both form and function. At [B]RIGHT, we are experts at combining native channel features (function) with higher-fidelity creative (form) to make sure our clients are seen and heard.

2). Harnessing Automation

The best way for brands to stretch their marketing dollars across multiple channels and platforms is to embrace automation. Our retargeting strategies enable our clients to simultaneously reach consumers at each stage of the sales funnel.

3). Brand-Centered Alignment and MultiChannel Planning

Brands don’t have to be on every channel in order to be effective or successful, but they have to be on the channels that their audiences use. The key isn’t quantity of channels—it’s the quality of brand impressions. [B]RIGHT helps our clients make sure their brand is instantly recognizable, no matter how many channels they use for activation.

Do you feel like your brand is having a hard time getting its messages and products to consumers? Are you struggling to fit all your media needs into your budget? Do you want to explore automation but aren’t sure where to start?

Give [B]RIGHT a call, and we can start figuring out the right media strategy for your brand.

Read part three, on content saturation, of our series on the changing landscape of marketing.