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We live in a customized digital world where we want it our way—we live on a steady diet of Spotify playlists, Netflix binge sessions and hand-picked sports highlights, making everyone’s entertainment and news-gathering experiences wireless and unique to their interests.

Our nation’s media intake used to be determined by Casey Kasem, Johnny Carson, Walter Cronkite, Wide World of Sports and the thumbs of Siskel & Ebert, but not in 2017. Our world is commercial free, handheld and on our terms — just how we like it.

Since its invention, TV has been — and in many ways still is — king because it can distribute content people want to massive audiences. But that is beginning to shift and the platforms are starting to bleed into one another. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are raking in more critical wins and more audience scale (i.e., ratings/viewers) due to the quality of content they are producing for streaming distribution. CBS, FOX, ABC, NBC and the CW (along with a bunch of cable networks) are all getting into the digital-first content game now, too. Ad buying technology is becoming available in the TV and radio worlds, and we’re starting to see scalable digital data being overlaid onto real-time TV buying platforms. TV-based data is already being used in digital buys.

While today’s world may be a custom digital utopia for consumers, it often feels like a free-for-all of shots in the dark and one-off gimmicks for advertisers.

In order to most effectively reach consumers, it begins with knowing them and cultivating a relationship. You need to figure out how to speak with them, not talk at them. It’s a holistic approach in which brands must use every bullet in their chamber, and if you aren’t integrated, you’re outdated.

All you hear today is how we all have shorter attention spans than ever before. That could not be more wrong. The issue is not our attention span; it’s that we have grown impatient wasting our time on media that we don’t care about. We can binge watch entire seasons of “Game of Thrones” in a single sitting, but we don’t have patience to sit through 15-second pre-roll advertisements on YouTube that don’t fit our needs or wants.

Brands and agencies are wasting their time and resources by macro advertising to the masses like ad campaigns of the past. Brylcreem and Lucky Strike cigarettes could pepper the half-dozen television channels and handful of radio stations with corny dialogue and catchy jingles and call it good in 1955. But in this age of fast forwarding through commercials and counting down the seconds to hit the “skip” button on YouTube, brands can’t expect to be given the time of day without offering some value to consumers’ lives.

Brian Quarles, Senior Vice President, Creative Services:
“We have produced awesome content for a really long time, and that content reached a whole new level of impact when we integrated ourselves more closely with the Media team’s efforts. Knowing more about who we are reaching and creating content for those people to hand off to the Media team has made us more effective than ever.”

On the other hand, it’s amazing how open to content, media and advertising consumers are when it falls within their interests. If you can meet them halfway, they will actually seek out your message. Consumers have never been more ad savvy than they are in 2017; and believe me, they know when your marketing is showing.

So how do you not just reach but personally engage your audience in this custom digital world? Think of it like shopping for a birthday present; you will get your best friend a much better gift than a stranger on the street because you really “get them.”

At rEvolution, we’re able to give a brand’s audience that gift.

We grew up in the sports world, and that world provides opportunities for brands that you can’t find anywhere else. Consumers are passionate about their teams and favorite players, so strategically pairing brands with a counterpart in sports lifts those brands up by that passionate fandom. rEvolution’s research shows that consumers in the sports space show a greater affinity and have better unaided recall for brands associated with the leagues, teams and players they support. The brand-sports relationships created by rEvolution are critical in widening the funnel for the audience brands can effectively reach.

Knowing your audience and finding innovative ways to expand that audience are vital steps, but combining services to reach that audience and achieve critical mass is where we thrive for our clients.

While stellar on its own, our Media team’s success for clients depends on our integration within rEvolution. Rather than building vertically as an agency to focus on a single discipline like media, we are built horizontally with all of our services in-house, working closely together. Yes, those vertical, single-focus media agencies can consolidate cash and go to market for a lower price, but they have depersonalized the client into a CPM on a spreadsheet, disregarding the value of the brands for which they are buying and losing sight of the message in favor of bulk buying.

We use a combination of in-house primary consulting and research, third-party and client first-party data to determine who our consumers are, what they want and how they want it. The additional layer of rEvolution’s Consulting and Research group gives us an enhanced wealth of data on our clients and their consumers that reinforces third-party findings, and as such, provides new insights on whom we are reaching and how we should engage with them.

All of this information is then used to influence the campaigns our creative team builds for our client. In addition, it informs the outreach done by our Marketing Communications team to directly hit the correct audience and/or deploy an authentic influencer to assist in the delivery of the messaging. Information is used to guide and enhance the customer-facing efforts provided by our Client Services group.

Dan Lobring, Vice President, Marketing Communications:
“The upfront of analysis, research and work done in collaboration with our Creative and Media teams is invaluable in terms of understanding who we are targeting, defining our key messaging, and deploying the best communication channels and/or influencers to reach those fans in an authentic way.”

All of that work produced by these service groups, which is influenced by our knowledge and the Consulting and Research team’s input, then comes back through us, the Media team, to hypertarget to people who are ready to hear our message.

This ever-changing digital landscape can be a scary place to navigate as a brand, especially if your media buying is disjointed from your creative, and your creative is separate from your PR and so on. People are immune to inauthentic ad campaigns that do not add value to their consumption experience.

Kate Brady, Director, Media:
“Oftentimes clients will have a handful of agencies they work with per brand, and it gets chaotic. We have everything housed in one place and we work together—that is the dream scenario for a brand to be both economically sound and effective in the marketplace at the same time.”

Have something to offer them and align messaging across each of your platforms with consistent content and feel. When you do it right, especially in the passionate world of sports and lifestyle, you’ll be pleased to see just how welcome your audience will be in their custom, unique world.

For more insight into navigating the digital media landscape, connect with Jason here