Is 2015 going to be the year of convergence in the digital advertising, social and content worlds?...the year where we break traditional digital ad behavior?

The battle for audience and traffic is as strong as ever and the CMO has some challenging times ahead. The rules of engagement (no pun intended) are forever changing and whilst the notion of paid, owned and earned has been clear in the past, does it really matter now? It's all one now...right? It's just "blended content".

The walls between ads and content are coming down...and native advertising coupled with content discovery networks are leading the charge with the hammers in their hands.

The consumer doesn't care where they first saw the product, the campaign, the message or the content...or who published it...all they care about is - is it interesting? is it resonating with me? and is it engaging me and driving me to learn more?

Let's examine some of the evidence. Standard display ads are dead. Nobody is clicking on banners, especially on mobile (if they do, it was probably a fat-finger or a bot). Plus, are media impressions and SOV (we're outspending our competitors, so we must be doing the right thing) really viable metrics in today's world when it's all about engagement and tangible ROI? There are some pertinent questions you should be asking yourself - how much wastage is there in CPM? is my video 100% viewable? do 30 sec pre-rolls do more harm than good?...and so on. Just put yourself in the shoes of your consumers - "would I like to be marketed to in this way?"

Don't get me wrong, there's a time and a place for ads...but just be smarter this year, challenge your media agency for other options and ask for real-time analytics or more frequent campaign reviews. If you wait until the campaign has finished, then...well...I'm afraid the ship has already sailed.

Consumers are savvy. They are savv-ier (I know that's not a word, but stay with me here) then ever before. "Stop selling me features & benefits" we hear them cry..."lead me to the great experience and the value and loyalty will follow". It's not rocket science. But we're impatient as marketers and slip into the old behaviors too easily. Executing a great creative campaign, with a mediocre media strategy that drives 1% sales/market share growth is much easier, than it is to be brave and change consumer emotions, feelings toward the brand and an overall better lifetime value.

Do some research, get insights, ask your consumers. Stop having "one night stands" with your consumers. You owe it to yourself, your CMO and even your CFO - who may even buy you a beer at the end of the year! But most of all, you owe it to your consumers, who just want to have a better relationship and experience with your brand.