Mark Melford is the co-founder of the unique MAdtech company, Captive Media. Mark discusses Captive Media's success in finding a new and innovate way of engaging young male consumers. They feature on The Fresh Business Thinking Shift 100, MAdtech edition in association with KPMG Small Business Accounting.
Can you briefly tell me about your business?
Captive Media is the world’s first p-controlled video game. Or - as they prefer to call it - interactive washroom media system. It’s a uniquely engaging piece of technology which allows brands to capture the attention of millennial men - for a 60 second ‘Captive audience’. Coming at a time when millennials have never been harder to engage with traditional and even digital media, Captive Media’s technology has been used by brands ranging from drinks giant Diageo, to cancer charity MacMillan. It's globally unique video screens have been exported to 15 countries, and won Guardian, Drum and Showcase Awards for marketing excellence. Captive Media was a 2016 finalist of the global Extreme Tech Challenge.
What’s your advice for entrepreneurs starting out?
Put all your effort into getting as fast and cheaply as possible to a minimum viable product (MVP) in front of a real paying customer. Many entrepreneurs ‘over’ develop their product and underestimate the time and effort needed to market it adequately to a busy world.
How has marketing and advertising changed over in recent years?
Where do I start? This is why Captive Media exists, because young consumers have switched off to traditional media. They consume almost NO press, watch 30% less TV than a decade ago, and 800 million of them have ad blockers on their browsers. In countries such as Germany, that’s 80% of consumers under 35.
What are the challenges marketers are facing today?
Worse than their unreachability, is millennial consumers’ altered relationship to marketing when they do see it. Millennials now actively trade their attention, expecting something in return. My children literally see the question “would you like to watch this message in return for 30 gold coins?” woven into their iPod games. This is the future, one in which we expect to be paid for our attention - not always monetarily - but through content, priority, humour, or rewards.
How is your business helping customers?
Captive has helped bars get talked about in cities as far apart as Moscow and Los Angeles. And helped brands engage young male consumers. We’ve helped Anthony Nolan recruit 1500 donors to it’s donor register, Captain Morgan boost sales by 13%, and FoxTV drive buzz around the latest Family Guy home entertainment release.
What do you think are the future trends for MAdtech (marketing and advertising)?The focus on experience. Creating talkability, and fun will remain. Good content and classic branding will always be powerful, but some of the most talked about media of the last 5 years will, I think, prove disappointments. In our view mobile is not an effective channel for advertising at least as we currently know it. Digital display in almost all its forms is ineffective, and social media will be seen to have been talking very largely to itself.
What are the plans for your business over the next year?
We’ll be taking the technology to more territories and venues. Dubai, the US, and possibly airports and shopping malls.