The Future of Digital Advertising

I was watching a video on Bloomberg that featured Matt Scheckner of Stillwell Partners and Gay Gaddis of T3. It’s a little old, granted, but I only just got around to it.

It really got me thinking about the power of digital advertising and marketing as a whole.

Old stuff

I think it’s pretty much widely accepted how powerful digital marketing is. It has two things that old media cannot hope to compete with:

  1. Interactivity. With digital comes motion, comes immersion, comes (the potential of) longer and more satisfying engagement. Arguably, marketing is all about telling stories. Video opens up new worlds of possibility, like in the Halo 3 Believe campaign.
  2. Analytics. Imagine you bought a billboard or an ad in the newspaper. You wouldn’t be able to measure how many people saw your ad. More importantly, you would not be able to map purchases to your ad.

And it’s the second thing that captures my attention the most. Think of what you can do with all that data! If an ad isn’t working, you can see that almost instantaneously, and can try another version of the ad within 24 hours.

Onto the new stuff

Content vs Context

Gay mentioned that content is king, but that context is equally as important. Context is using phone sensors to see a customer’s location and ambient temperature, and then knowing that if it’s 80 degrees out out, they’re likely to not click through a promotion for hot coffee.

It’s incredibly important for the marketers of tomorrow to take advantage of this. It’s entirely possible now to diagnose why no-one clicked on your ad. There’s an app out there that senses a user’s stress levels. If your ad hit your customer right as their stress was peaking, it may be worth it to try again later.

Conversely, you could use it actively to “delight”—as they say nowadays—your customers with a perfectly timed popup that solves their problems. This actually leads me to my next point.

Digital Marketing Kills Marketing

What really got me ticking when I listened to this segment was that digital marketing gives us so much data, that we can actually see the problem. Usually this falls in the purview of qualitative marketing, but with Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ (yes, even Google+), there’s so much raw complaining out there that I believe products and services will make themselves apparent.

With digital, I see a time where marketing informs the strategy and product lineup of a company. Where we can tap directly into consumers’ needs and desires, do all of our work on the front-end, and then, ideally, the product sells itself.

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 9.27.43 AM

In this manner, traditional marketing, as in “You need this product and this is why”, is out. The marketing department has already been scrying like a mofo and worked with R&D and Engineering. The new message is “You need this product and here it is.”

Consumers will take it from there. Look at Kickstarter: thousands of projects funded successful (perhaps not launched successfully, but large corporations don’t have to worry about the infrastructure) because people didn’t have to be convinced they wanted the product.

Repeat stuff

  1. Digital Advertisements give us two things: Storytelling and Analytics.
  2. Context, in which content is affected by an increasingly data-heavy world, can be used to great success in your marketing campaigns.
  3. This increasingly data-heavy world opens up a possibility where marketing, as those closest and most attuned to the consumer, can provide input on the front end. This goal of this new form of marketing is to make a product that will sell itself.

What do you think? Do you agree? Am I full of shit? Am I just late to the game? Let me know in the comments!

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