At the Digital Marketing Conference

Second Life Voted Last Year's Most Over-hyped Trend

Lessons Learned From '07's Biggest Disappointment

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NEW YORK ( -- It's official: Second Life was 2007's most over-hyped emerging media trend.

That's according to 57% of the audience members polled at the Ad Age Digital Conference session, "What's Worth Your Attention in 2008."
Joshua Stylman
Joshua Stylman Credit: Scott Gries

"Second Life has become a quagmire for marketers," said Steve Rubel, senior VP-director of Insights, Edelman Digital, and the panel's moderator.

So how do marketers avoid falling into the same trap this year?

Three important questions
Joshua Stylman, managing partner, Reprise Media, says marketers should ask themselves three questions before jumping into an emerging media trend: Does it seem compelling? Does it have an audience? Can you engage with that audience?

For Dan Hodges, head of global business development, Nokia Interactive, it's all about audience: "For any of the emerging media, follow consumer behavior," he said.

Trends identified by the panelists as worth marketers' attention this year varied from the evolution of search to marketing to so-called packets.
Craig Daitch (right) with Dan Hodges
Craig Daitch (right) with Dan Hodges Credit: Scott Gries

Mr. Stylman said marketers should be looking at search as more than the entry point to the last click, as an integration point between all media, a marketer intelligence vehicle.

"Search should be thought of further upstream," he said, noting that consumers use search not just to buy products online but also to research them.

Synchronization, packets in future?
Meanwhile, Craig Daitch, VP-group director of emerging channels, Digitas, said he's betting on the synchronization of web surfing, meaning that instead of instant messaging a friend to say "Hi, what's up," web surfers will increasingly ask their instant-messaging buddies to watch videos or read stories with them online. Figuring out the influences behind what consumers share is an important metric for marketers, he said.
Mat Zucker
Mat Zucker Credit: Scott Gries

And Mat Zucker, executive creative director,, said he's excited about something he dubbed "packets," meaning that in the online space, marketers have to go beyond one-to-one and one-to-many marketing and start to market one-to-few. So for instance, marketers should be focused on creating content for small online communities, like Facebook friends.

However esoteric these concepts might sound, Mr. Daitch said there is one golden rule to making sure you aren't over-hyping an emerging media idea.

"Temper your clients' exceptions," he said. "If you find something exciting, bring it to your clients, but don't oversell it."
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