There have been many discussions around the evolution of advertising lately.
You could argue the way consumers are engaged and products are sold is continually evolving, but I don’t think we’ve seen such a dramatic shift as the last ten years. The internet, mobile, online video and most recently, social media are just a few of the many things that have contributed to the change in the advertising model.
Some people are saying that the future of advertising isn’t advertising at all. I would argue that advertising will always exist. The model is shifting to be more participatory with consumers, but someone still has to create the platforms and tools to engage consumers. The growth of search marketing has grown to address the demand for consumers initiating the dialog, such as “I have a need for a product to do X.”
Fast Company had a good article that circulated around agency circles recently called The Future of Advertising. The question that everyone is asking, is how do we get there and still make money for the big ideas we bring to the table?
There is one line in particular that struck me as interesting:
They’re all well aware that coding is now prized over copywriting and that a résumé that includes Xbox and Google is more desirable than one featuring stints at BBDO or Grey.
For those outside the ad agency world, BBDO & Grey are a few of the many well respected and award winning advertising agencies. Xbox, or Microsoft for that matter, didn’t create all the ads themselves (McCann Erickson created some really great ads for Xbox).
I agree that “At agencies, the new norm is doing exponentially complex work” (The Future of Ad Agencies and Social Media) but traditional media skills still have a place. And really, in the near future, there won’t be “traditional” or “digital” – as digital is really becoming a key component of all campaigns.
The key is having award-winning brands in your portfolio and successful campaigns, from the client or agency side. Working at an innovative organization doesn’t mean all the individuals that work there are necessarily innovative. Most innovative campaigns aren’t successful, for a variety of reasons. Not every brand wants, or can afford, a cutting edge campaign and many times emerging media campaigns aren’t a good fit for a brand.
Speaking of the Xbox, there was an interesting article around how everyone, including Microsoft, is looking for ways to monetize their products in a different way: Kinect could be Microsoft’s ticket to addressable advertising on your TV. This approach raises all kinds of questions around privacy, but that’s for a different post.
I’m a big advocate of investing in emerging technology. Advertising agencies need to be on the cutting edge to continue to draw attention – “the most successful, game-changing campaigns are generally a bit ahead of the curve” (The Future of Ad Agencies and Social Media), but emerging media campaigns don’t have the reach and scale needed all by themselves. Sure, TV and how video content is consumed is changing as products like the iPad and Apple TV go mainstream, but TV isn’t dead (yet).
In summary, advertising (and agencies) will continue to evolve, but will always have a place, with opportunities for new leaders to emerge as platforms, channels and technologies continue to change.