The Truth About Advertising In 2013

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Here’s a quote worthy of your attention:

"The real fact of the matter is that nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad."Howard Gossage.

Let’s face it: we often make out marketing and advertising to be more important than it really needs to be. This doesn’t mean that it’s not important, creative and a part of our lives, but this quote from the famed Mad Man speaks to the reality of a media saturated world… and this quote comes at us long before the Internet and social media made it stupid simple for anyone to be a media channel unto themselves. Ads are everywhere and the game of repetition and saturation is still what captures the attention, but there’s something else happening to the advertising industry that is worthy of thinking about. It’s also worth noting that the people who care most about marketing and advertising is usually us: the people who create it. Those who consume it? They could probably care less.

More than advertising.

If you survey the land of client and agency relationships, what you are bound to find is clients who are asking for much than an advertising campaign, these days. Technology and all of the media permutations that it has created has brought us to this interesting moment in time when clients aren’t looking just  for ads, but rather business transformation. They want business solutions to help them augment the brand and build more credibility. Data, research and strategy has slowly crept into the creative department and now the work is much more than a thirty-second spot or a contest. Digital has given us the ability to better inform our idea and the net result is that advertising for the sake of creativity is now more like a stunt than the foundational work of what the brand truly represents.

What a true social media strategy looks like.

Too many inexperienced marketing professionals are pawning off social media editorial content calendars and tone and manner for tweets, blog posts and Facebook as some kind of social media strategy. It is not (don’t be fooled). The more experienced marketing professionals deliver social media strategies that are, in fact, brand strategies (when done right). Transformation is never easy. Transformation is very hard. Sadly, most people are still thinking like advertisers when, in fact, they need to be thinking more like these global brands that are demanding that the agencies that serve them act as stewards for the transformation of business.

Big, big work.

It’s true that sometimes people read ads. It’s true that sometimes people like a brand on Facebook or retweet a promoted tweet on Twitter. It’s true that a lot of brands use these digital channels as another mechanism to put up more impressions in the marketplace in the hopes of screaming louder than the competition. This isn’t what world has to look like. Yes, advertising is still – at its core – the ability to persuade someone to buy something, but the real marketing can be so much more. Delivering business solutions isn’t easy. Delivering business transformation is much harder. Creating a social media strategy that is, ultimately, a better brand strategy may not sit well with the clients, but we have to face the realities of the world that we live in.

It’s not about ads… it’s about solutions. It’s not about the ads… it’s about business transformation. And so, marketing, continues to change and evolve.

One comment

  1. Great post, I’ve been on a “customer experience is the new marketing” bus, and this spells that out much better than I had been doing. Thanks for the ammo!

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