The Future of Advertising: Part I
The New Landscape
Sunday, August 16, 2009
The face of business has changed quite drastically in the past few years. With each decade since 1900, advancements in technology and information have doubled every 10 years. We are about to close out the first decade of the new millennium and begin a new period of change that will move twice as fast as the current one and 4 time as fast as the 1990’s. With this change comes many new opportunities and obstacles for business, the economy, and you. The current economic meltdown has taught us some important lessons about accountability, frugality, checks, and balances. There are many questions about the future of business that remains uncertain. Navigation of an increasingly tech heavy world will no doubt create not only frustration among some but great successes of others.
The advertising landscape will be dominated by the internet. More and more print publications are favoring online versions and dismantling the old physical print infrastructure. Will consumers follow publications online? That remains to be seen, however with the adoption of new mobile devices, online and physical distribution is continually converging into a hybrid form of live media that is portable and physically tangible. Where there are consumers, advertisers will follow. Already we have seen the power of online advertising and how companies quickly adapt to use these relatively new tools. In some cases online marketing drives their entire business.
Mobile advertising for the most part is still only a buzz word that has not been fully realized. This marketing medium will become more common place as more users connect at higher mobile speeds allowing for much richer advertising experiences. Mobile bandwidth is expensive and costs need to be passed to the advertiser and not the user. Users without fixed cost unlimited data plans would be outraged to pay for advertisers to advertise to them.
Niche Audience Targeting
One of the problems with online marketing is accurate and efficient targeting of audiences especially for niche markets. According to www.internetworldstats.com, there are almost 1.6 billion internet users of a world population of 6.7 billion. So roughly 23.8% of the world’s population is consuming online content. It is a good bet that not every one of those 1.6 billion users are looking for a very specific handmade fishing lure that catches a very specific type of fish living in only one place on earth. The lure manufacturer needs to target users by fishing as a personal interest, but those who are geographically located near or destined for that rare fish’s lake.
Search engine marketing has honed in on the ability to target niche markets based on a group of relevant keywords, but many other platforms have yet to gain the ability to target niches. Many still use a general set of categories such as automotive, entertainment, technology and so forth. In the future of advertising, this alone will not cut it.
As the pace of advertising technology quickens, so will the need for marketers to learn and adopt these technologies. Competition will be fierce and for companies to survive they will need to hire those people who not only understand the current advertising technology, but can successfully learn and integrate new technologies that appear. We are already experiencing a period where businesses are shedding employees and decentralizing their operations on a global scale. Those individuals who will thrive are those who know how to adapt, learn and apply their knowledge; Individuals who cannot, will be left behind.
There is a silver lining to the advancement of advertising technology for the freelancer, consultant, and employee. As advertising and marketing technology increases horizontally in number of marketing channels and vertically in the level of complexity, there will be more and more options to specialize and differentiate. 10 years ago, search engine optimization was practically unheard in the marketer’s vocabulary and today it is a very important fundamental that anyone with a website needs to know about. Though specialization, individuals can once again find themselves in demand by the same companies that shed them earlier.