Coming to Grips With a Web 2.0 Advertising World

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NOELLE WEAVER: As the blizzard of web 2.0 settles down we are beginning to see some inkling as to what this new media and cultural landscape might look like –- there’s already been a lot of thought given to the content and context of the user experience, targeted search functions, social networking, community and producerism [a great term coined by the author Doc Searle]. We are now living in an age where the changes in communication, technology and social relationships are reshaping almost every aspect of our day-to-day life as we know it.

As Bart and Marc mentioned, last week Greg Stuart co-author of What Sticks posed some very interesting questions surrounding the effectiveness of advertising to the three of us. They came at a time when I was about half way through Chris Anderson’s book The Long Tail, Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, had just picked up The Search, How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed our Culture by John Battelle and preordered Henry Jenkins’s book Convergence Culture. [Nothing like a little light reading for the summer, eh?]

I mention each of these author’s books because I think each have helped shaped [and will help shape] the new market landscape –- through their own lens and thinking –- but with a focus, not on one part, but on the impact of the whole. To those of us who are in communications it will be important to understand how their theories about the online world will directly impact the offline world? Specifically, that of consumer behavior and advertising?

What does the next generation of advertising look like?

The biggest mantra that seems to have emerged in the past few years is that the term mass, as we once knew it as marketers, is dead.

It’s no longer enough for advertisers to know their medium. Advertisers must know their audience. Intimately.

As advertisers, we must now recognize old, new and developing medias, technologies, economics and consumer relationships and engagement. We must recognize that in today’s landscape, each of these directly impacts the other.

We must now help our clients know and understand what types of conversations consumers are having about their brands. Where? When? And to who?

And we must understand that greater value and efficiencies may come from a smaller segment of the audience. These days it seems that if you get a few influencers on board, the whole world will listen.

Gone are the days when we called on our media companies at the 11th hour to put together a traditional media plan for us to sell to the client. Expected media no longer works and we must now understand that what you say is just as important as where you say it.

Client CMO’s are under more and more pressure from their CEO’s to validate every penny they spend and increase revenue or risk being fired. As a result, we in the advertising world begin to see a greater and greater emphasis on ROI and measured spending -- trying best as we can to even place a dollar value on the conversations we have with our friends.

Sure sales increased. But sales increased how? And from whom?

So when Greg sent out an email titled, “What if our advertising is wrong?” I couldn’t help but think to myself “What if our advertising is still right? But the way many agencies still choose to [or not as the case may be] approach understanding the consumer and building the media mix is actually the bigger problem?”
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