Advertising and Marketing, Media, and Technology are at the cusp of a sea change. Traditional rules of engagement and economic models for success have changed or already failed. But what to do? Think in realtime. Come here for New Ideas. Live Idea.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


William, my 7 year old son, thinks his computer is the center of the universe. With it, he plays games, watches DVDs and cable TV, and listens to music. With my help we surf the web and seek answers to his million questions a day. He just started using Skype and GoogleTalk to talk with me when I’m away, or to his grandparents in Florida.

As a father this is interesting, but as a business and marketing professional, it points to generational changes. I’m not sure if I’m more scared or more excited by these changes.

My son typifies a sea change in several important activities, attitudes and behavior. The way we consume media, advertising, and entertainment is different and will radically change further. The way we obtain knowledge, confront and share it is bigger. The method and manner in which we communicate, the sheer volume and through multiple channels is exploding.

Over the coming few weeks I'm going to opine on several of the big marketing trends that I see emerging. Most all have been precipitated by advanced technology but are keenly manifest in everyday consumer behavior.

I think the most value is visible in a compare and contrast format. Many of these trends are best thought about in convergent and divergent ways. These are not in order of importance or magnitude, just how I think of them.

Trend 1: Media Value: Broadcast vs. Self-service

Almost everyone pays to have television delivered by a cable or satellite company. Millions use “on-demand services” on a paid or free basis. In fact Comcast, the largest of the pack, reported that over 50 channels were available free whenever the viewer wanted to watch a program. What’s more, over 1 million people have paid for Tivo or similar personal video recorders.

Apple and Napster, plus numerous peer-to-peer services, have transformed the music landscape so people listen to music when and where they desire. XM Satellite radio is transforming the airwaves with hundreds of advertising-free, micro playlist broadcast stations – for a small monthly fee.

Of course the Internet has also transformed the media landscape. Most households now have high speed connections. Most young men spend more time on the internet than watching television.

Consumers now control the experience, and pay for it. They expect to have their news and entertainment when they want it. They expect vast libraries of instant gratification. This change in the media has major impact to marketing communications industries.

Most notable is “self-service” marketing via internet web sites. In less than 10 years consumers have embraced and expect to be satisfied at the web site. Virtually every automobile and high end computer or electronic device purchase is preceded by research on the internet. It is now virtually impossible for a consumer to purchase travel without visiting a web site, or else paying substantially more by using a travel agent or a surcharge when calling the airline.

The lesson is simple, and cost efficient for marketers: make sure everything your customers want, need and desire is easily available from the internet web site.

At Red8 Studios we also believe many simple actions and activities can be attached and related to the core web site. Many companies spend too much time and money trying to unify their perspective TO the customers, rather than creating highly focused and targeted communications FOR the customer. We encourage our Clients to think small. A targeted ad banner or landing page coupled with a micro-site can encapsulate a brand message or promotion, or simply get the word out about news and other business activities.

Next week: Trend 2: Advertising Value: Impact vs. Repetition


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