Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Marketers love to not know

Harry Webber wrote an interesting post on his blog discussing the cluelessness of marketers and advertisers:

"Right now the weight is on the big interactive shops like Razorfish, Sapient and Digitas to come up with the breakthroughs. Those guys believe that the tailoring of messages via computer technology to a person's interests based on past purchases or preferences is where everything is heading. Of course that all sounds very efficient and stuff. But what is also important is the manner in which a message is conveyed.

Those guys are great with technology, but in the messaging, or content as they call it...not so much. It's the same as when you meet someone with whom you share similar interests, but despite that, you never really click because you find something in that person's manner off-putting. Technology alone will never be able to adjust our sales approach and delivery to better fit with an individual or situation.

The great untapped potential lies in being able to establish electronic connections with consumers in ways that are not always based on having a huge database of past consumption habits. Which means we have to develop ways of cataloguing emotional traits and human reactions. That's when those of us who don't know nothin' will have the means at their disposal to begin to learn somthin'. I'm not holding my breath on that one."

My theory: The advertising business will separate into two, distinctive businesses:
One will be data-driven: low margins, marketing based on algorithms and data-modeling. Google/Doubleclick and aQuantive/Microsoft are well on the way to dominate that market. Agencies will become secondary, just like SEM agencies are becoming less and less important.

The other business will be experiential, conversational, participatory and people-driven. This core business model will revolve around problem solving for clients. And people.

If you're in this field, you will have to understand that it's going to be messy, chaotic and exciting. We will have to adapt in real time to changing problems, solutions and opportunities. And focus on business problems and not on media tasks.
I'm looking forward to it.


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