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December 4, 2010
Marketing’s Future and What It Means For Advertising
What’s ahead for 2011? Will the economy continue to slowly recover and help bring back traditional advertising? I get the sense that many ad people are hoping that happens. Sorry, it’s not going to happen. Tomorrow won’t be like yesterday.

I’m here this Saturday to splash cold water on your face and open your eyes to what’s ahead for advertising and, more importantly, preach where you fit in.
60 Speakers. 60 Minutes. One Eye-opening Experience

Recently, I listened to a fascinating webinar titled “The Future of Marketing.”  It was presented by ThoughtLead and sponsored by IBM, along with Unica and NetProspex. Over the course of an hour, 60 marketing experts had one minute each to share their views of marketing’s future in 2011 and beyond.

There were some serious heavy hitters like Alex Bogusky, Guy Kawasaki, Tony Hsieh, authors such as Charlene Li, Josh Bernoff, and Bob Gilbreath, social media eliteslike Chris Brogan and Jay Baer -- and that’s only naming eight of the 60 speakers.

I took notes feverishly and was able to download the complete transcript. According to the disclaimer, I can share it. Email me and I’ll send it to you.
Here are my key findings and what it all means for us.

Better Than a Super Bowl Ad

Scott Monty, who heads social media for Ford, kicked off the seminar by saying that the real difference comes when you combine all the media. He used the introduction of the 2011 Ford Explorer to illustrate his point.

Said Monty, “By integrating our ad buy into our own content and into Facebook and using broadcast and PR, weaving it all together, we actually ended up with a one-day hit that got us greater exposure than a Super Bowl ad.”

Paul McNulty, CMO of Unica, contributed to this point in his one minute when he talked about “engaging each customer and prospect in a relevant cross-channel dialogue that builds upon their past and current behavior.”

Then, a little later, Steve Rubel with Edelman Digital, dropped this little nugget:

“The more you can increase your surface area in relevant places where people are spending time, the more likely it is that your message will resonate. The way to think about surface area is on four planes: paid, owned, earned, and social.”

What I get from this insight is that media is fragmented and open source, people are time pressed, yet reachable anytime, anywhere -- so what works better than a Super Bowl ad is creating an idea and highly relevant messaging that can be integrated into every means of outreach and reception, along with tools and technology for tracking, listening, and engaging.

Ben Huh, CEO/Founder of the Cheezburger Network put it simpler. “It’s actually about matchmaking.”

Mobile Phone Mania

One of my takeaways from listening to all the speakers is we better pay attention to mobile and smart phones.

“Mobile is a game changer,” said Chuck Martin, director of the Center for Media Research. With 73 percent mobile phone penetration worldwide, 94 percent in the U.S., and a meteoric rise in smartphones, Martin sees imperativeness for marketers.

“Marketers can tell where customers are located today by (mobile) phone. They can provide maximum value, whether by deals or unique services, based on the optimal mindset of the consumer.”
Jeffrey Hayzlett, former CMO of Eastman Kodak, touched on mobile when he said, “Whether it’s in social media or mobile, which is going to be one of the biggest things, how do you engage your customers? How do you educate them? How do you excite them, and how do you enthuse them so that they can be brand ambassadors for you?”

We’ve got a Mobile Chernobyl ready to happen if ad agencies don’t warm up to mobile marketing faster than a tweener texts.

Empowered Customers

Customers came up time and again in the webinar. For example, Josh Bernoff, Senior Vice President at Forrester Research, said the “future of marketing is treating your own customers as a marketing channel.”
Said Bernoff, “Once you turn someone into a customer, you’re not done. In fact, [customers]are a great opportunity to get the right messages out about your company.”

Added Alex Bogusky, once brand advocate, now customer advocate, “Your customers are ready and anxious to join your mission if you let them in.”

For Brian Solis, author of Engage!, it’s about creating a “community full of advocates.” Said Solis, “The future of marketing really isn’t marketing at all; it’s building something that’s meaningful, worth supporting, and ultimately worth sharing.”

Who’s great at creating and building things that touch humanity and motivate people into action? I think it’s you, me, and thousands of creative ad professionals.

It’s not traditional advertising, so buck up. It’s where things are headed.

Final Thoughts on 2011

Still with me? Here, at the end, I see I left tons of marketing experts out -- all the more reason to email me and request the “Future of Marketing” webinar transcript.

For all you ad professionals who have been at it for years, I think this quick story sums up what’s going on and what’s ahead. The set-up is the day the new creative director arrives and meets the creatives. I was present at both of the following:

2002. Creatives in attendance: around 60. Agency size: 250

2010. Creatives in attendance: around 20. Agency size: 400

Where is everybody? They’re in Interactive with a population of about 70.

That explains why traditional advertising is hurting while digital marketing is thriving. That’s why when the economy comes back, traditional advertising won’t. You have to change and adapt. For years, I was a copywriter. Today, I’m a content developer.

Take your one thing and optimize it for the Digital Age. 

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Mike Ogden is a digital/senior writer based in Kansas City. Ad agency stops have enabled him to create for major brands like American Century, Capital One, Sprint, and USAA. Seasoned and sharp with a touch of gray, Ogden, aka Og, is known for creating and championing ideas. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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