In a comment to my last post, Barry Martin of communications design company Hypenotic, outlined a couple of issues that publications like AdAge are facing as members of the advertising establishment. In Barry's words:
2. You're basically suggesting they join the conversation, and thereby become part of what's going on. That's not their model, and the establishment doesn't want to admit the old model is crumbling until they have a clear strategy to monetize the next one.
3. One also gets the sense from your comprehensive post that anyone and everyone can do this new stuff. Where's the caché in that?
Agencies have believed themselves the keepers of the strategic communications grail since the beginning of advertising. Media companies their meal ticket. And big business has been locked into a large broadcast spending dance with them that all three have grown comfortable with.
Corollaries like AdAge are hanging on like a parasite with a demented host.
Though for a series of reasons push marketing is working less and less, it's hard for an industry that has consolidated to a few colossal dinosaurs to suddenly shift to a value model.
By value model I mean that social media enables modern marketing in 2 ways that offer value to consumers:
1. People will only share/evangelize/discuss/etc actually useful products/services -- so agencies will be in the uncomfortable position of having to tell their clients when their products suck.
When your bread and butter clients are multi-nationals who sell over-packaged, low nutrition non-essentials shipped all over the world, you're talking about getting some of the biggest companies in the world to change how they do business.
2. The second way to offer value is to engage us.
Good agencies have always know there are two ways to sell parity products–negative tactics like irritating repetition or fear, and entertaining us. The former is working less than ever because there's no way to keep up with our media consumption patterns or the proliferation of credible media options.
Barry's company uses an experience design approach. To me social media allows companies to design conversations that could pave the path to engagement with customers and partners. But before they can do that, they might have to redesign their business - create products and services that are worth talking about in the first place. This is valid for media companies as well.
New media potentially enables companies to reach the right people in ways that traditional media could not offer. I can hear Steve Rubel scold me here about making this difference between new and traditional. I'm talking about media models, bear with me.
What happens to media companies in the modern marketing scenario Barry outlines? What happens when syndicated programming wins the favor of consumers over broadcast models? This is valid for TV as it is for online publications.
Consumer preferences on pay-per-view programming and TiVO have affected TV spend - the justification is less strong. The trend towards local and cable is already there. With online ad spend gaining in marketing budgets to $24.9 billion in 2008, a figure revised down by one billion after the grim economic news, there's opportunity to spread ad buys over more sites and media.
Is this the end of broadcast spends in favor of niche spends? What do you think?