This week’s Advertising Age is nearly entirely devoted to issues surrounding digital marketing and web advertising. I highly recommend it. There’s a lot of good stuff to read, and the Ad Age staff did a great job covering as much of it as they could. It’s both a high-level look at the state of digital as well as a dive into specific topics.
Here’s a bit of one article, written by Matthew Creamer:
What you’re about to read is not an argument for making over web marketing as a factory for destination websites or for making every brand a content player. This, however, is a call to give some thought to a question that’s not asked enough about the Internet: Should it even be viewed as an ad medium? After all, in some quarters of the broader marketing world, the habit of looking at advertising as the most important tool in the marketers’ toolbox is undergoing intense interrogation. Consider the growth of the word-of-mouth marketing business, premised on the notion that people not corporations who help other people make consumer decisions. Or look at the growing importance put on public relations and customer-relationship management both in marketing circles and even in the c-suite.
The same conversation should be going on around the Internet. Trends like those listed suggest the possibility of a post-advertising age, a not-too-distant future where consumers will no longer be treated as subjects to be brainwashed with endless repetitions of whatever messaging some focus group liked. That world isn’t about hidden persuasion, but about transparency and dialogue and at its center is that supreme force of consumer empowerment, the Internet. But when you look at how the media and marketing business packages the Internet — as just more space to be bought and sold — you have to worry that the history of mass media is just trying to repeat itself. Rarely a fortnight goes by without some new bullish forecast for ad growth that works to stoke digital exuberance within media owners that often drowns out critical thinking about the medium itself.
(David adds): Yeah, that critical thinking stuff sometimes gets lost when there are mountains of money changing hands.