I wanted to send out a dual nature belated thanksgiving post as well as forward looking holiday article about the world of connected TV advertising. It would have been more timely,  but (shameless plug) I’ve been incredibly busy launching the Connected TV Marketing Association.  ( [email protected])  That said,  tacky as it is, I did do some thinking on turkey day about the Connected TV industry and I’m pretty thankful on a lot of levels.

You see when my firm CTV Advertising and I started having conversations about the platform, we were barely heard, let alone understood. Even much later when I started writing these posts with an emphasis on Smart Television, they received very little traction and a lot of confusion. This has shifted incredibly, even over the past six months. We suddenly have major publications covering the Connected TV World. We suddenly have major industry players that are taking more than just deep glances into the potential this industry holds. There are real conversations being held that are more than just skin deep. It’s been amazing to see the developments and truly inspiring to notice the awareness being created. I am incredibly thankful for this as I no longer have to sound like some strange fanatic.

So in the spirit of the holidays and looking forward to the next holiday- Here is my Gift wish list for the industry.

1. Extensive User Experience Research.  I can say this over and over and hear a room full of agreements when I speak/lecture.  Back behind closed doors though, we see folks who want to treat the television platform the exact same as mobile, tablet and PC.It’s not and the user experience is quite different. Than  we hear how the value to the consumer is the most important aspect of creating…well anything really- Yet there are Apps being made that give these consumers incredibly little value. It takes research. Sometimes a lot of it. My thought to all marketers wanting to engage the platform in new ways is to invest some time into research and experiments  to  understand the psychological and sociological  consumption patterns of the platform and it‘s audiences.  I’d love to see some intensive research come out about the short term and long term effects of truly “interactive television” and it’s accompanying factors.  Gift #1: Intensive research.

2. Enhanced translation between parties.  It’s no surprise anymore that marketers over the past decade +, have had to really brush up on their technological skills.  In the past there was less device/medium specific information that needed to be understood to advertise. I.E. Nobody needed to know the working functions of the printing press to place an Ad spot in a paper. This has changed and we now need the full cooperation of a multitude of technological areas to orchestrate certain campaigns. This is especially true for the future of television. That said, the differing sides of this industry all speak very differing languages.  I’d love to see some common ground reached for the Connected TV industry so that everybody can understand one another.  I’m looking for common translation across the board and across industries for the benefit of all.

3. Risk- I’m not telling marketers to take on a massive handful of risk with any new technology/platform/medium. What I am saying is that recently I had someone at a very large agency tell me that the safest, most traditional route is usually the “smarter” bet they take. This deeply bothered/saddened  me as I am a believer that the marketing world should be creative and push the limits and explore. I’m a believer in all of those cheesy inspirational posters that taught me to “Dare to be different” or that the “Progress always involves risk”  My last and final gift that I think the marketing, entertainment, and television world might be able to offer is some risk taking in day to day operations and innovation.

I want certain industry sectors to have the understanding that in a time of great disruption there exists some unbelievable new ground to cover and while there are challenges and risks, there is also payoff and reward. Those who go big or go home, will prosper and hopefully set the stage for the rest of us. I’d love to see innovators who can take some risk, marketers who understand that pushing the edge can sometimes be an amazing thing and content executives that realize that those who don’t take a risk will without a doubt  one day fall into obscurity and become swallowed by a sea of providers who do.

I don’t think I’m being overly greedy.

Zachary Weiner is the owner of CTV Advertising– A boutique Connected TV Marketing firm as well as the North American President of the Connected TV Marketing Association.  @itvadvertising