It’s a mess out there. Proven channels are delivering diminishing returns year after year. Everyone says engagement is important, but that usually means another coupon or promotion that inevitably forces you to lose profit for likes. The line between marketing and operations is getting murkier.
There are more opportunities than ever, but it’s only gotten harder to determine if or how they make a difference to your business.
Media channels have disintegrated into an increasingly complex network of possibilities. Broadcast television is noticeably suffering as Netflix, DVRs, and a hundred cable channels divide audiences.
Mobile is already upending the way the Internet works and altering how all of us shop, eat, read, drive, and communicate. The cost of attention has skyrocketed. It takes more time and more money to break through. Decades of paying for eyeballs has made the challenge of earned engagement that much more difficult. The good old days are gone.
WHERE’S THE SPARK?
The challenge of advertising was never a matter of making things. There was no app that helped you manage your shopping experience. We didn’t consider what happened after a click.
There was no expectation for the viewer to do much of anything. Agencies were left to do one thing really well—create a spark between a brand and a customer. Products were made more profitable through this inherently intangible notion.
After the screams of the death of advertising, the need to stop telling great stories and get on with making great utilities, our conversations changed. We spent less time on the spark and more time on where this or that button should go. We worried more about functionality and less about emotion.
It is the difficulty of doing. We are easily wooed by the rationality of the tangible, often at the expense of the spark.
Whether we are creating apps or status updates, you should expect advertising and marketing to do what it was always meant to do—add intrigue, emotion, thoughtfulness, story, surprise, magic—in ways that make you more noticeable. The biggest wins will always be when we use these new tools not just to make peoples’ lives easier, but to add the stuff of advertising at its best.
THE MODERN INTEGRATED AGENCY
“Integrated” can’t just mean campaigns that happen to cross channels. That’s table stakes. We’re meant to create conversations. To use data we didn’t have 10 years ago. To understand organizations, incorporate customer service, and invent new products. We’re meant to operate like publishing houses, pushing content on a daily basis and receiving judgment immediately through the tweets and likes of fans.
It also can’t mean that every potential need you might have will be executed within our walls. Sometimes you’ll need specialists, and it’s not realistic to trade expertise for practicality.
Advertising and marketing are not statements of a product we make, but of our purpose. We make products easy to like. We make them more famous, more attractive, and more familiar. Truly integrated agencies are those that keep this purpose central while remaining effective with new partners, in new places, and different methods. We will still create magic, but that magic will only sustain itself if we are repeatedly and ruthlessly committed to it.