Retailers and tech reporters were not the only ones clambering around the Convention Center at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week.

The event, attended by 140,000 people all eager to catch a glimpse of the latest technology wizardry from the likes of Panasonic, Samsung, Intel, Microsoft and about two and a half thousand other exhibitors, was also a meeting place for some of the biggest advertisers on the planet.

Spotting representatives from the four major agency holding companies, plus senior marketers from Unilever, Kraft, Intel and more, I managed to get five minutes with WPP CEO, Sir Martin Sorrell.

When I asked him about where marketers should be spending their money in such a fast-paced consumer technology led environment, his answer was between twenty-five per cent and a third of their budgets, but said in general it’s hovering around the seventeen or eighteen per cent mark. “The sad answer” is that he felt that marketers were spending too much money on newspapers in their “classical form.” So not digital news outlets on tablets etc.

The biggest gap, and therefore opportunity, was in mobile, as his numbers are tracking half a per cent advertising spend when consumers are spending roughly seven per cent of their time consumed by their devices.

A cynical tweet about the interview said roughly, “tell us something we don’t already know”, but I’m not sure everyone knows that there’s quite that much of a gap to be capitalized on, or that they necessarily have the knowledge and skillset to do anything about it.

I’m interested to know what your mobile budgets are compared to other digital media and why? Do you split mobile up in to “phone” versus “tablet” as their different contexts?

Watch the video in its entirety for all his other nuggets of wisdom, (there are some incredible stats about the Far East and India in there,) and for anyone wondering what the great man is like, he was thoroughly charming and more than happy to chat.


Published 18 January, 2012 by Mel Carson

Mel Carson is the Digital Marketing Evangelist at Microsoft Advertising. You can follow him on Twitter.

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