Armano’s Wheel

David Armano makes really nice graphics to support his points. But what you are about to read is heresy to old schoolers.

“The Big Idea” is still very much alive and well–but it’s less relevant than it’s ever been. Especially big ideas that start with a top down broadcast messages first. This is campaign thinking in it’s finest and does not translate directly in a fragmented 2.0 world. Marketers are going to need to diversify how we think, which means supporting both big ideas and lots of “big-little ideas” that can thrive in the niches. That’s one of the biggest challenges marketers now face. Thinking in niche–the internet thrives on it.

Armano clearly understands how the Web works. The problem is trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Mass marketers, for the most part, could care less about appealing to a niche; hence the term mass marketing.
What Armano and many others are trying to say is mass marketers need to change their ways if they want to be successful in the digital space. What fewer people are saying (out loud) is this: Maybe mass marketers ought to leave the Web alone.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. >>>What fewer people are saying (out loud) is this: Maybe mass marketers ought to leave the Web alone>>>

  2. If mass marketers left the Web alone, all the digital shops would go out of business, no?
    The problem is, few can explain the digital space to clients—or to traditional ad agencies. Doesn’t help when the digital shops are also gleefully producing all the stuff on Armano’s chart. Maybe they need some education too.

  3. I’ve never been a fan of organizing an agency around a type of media or around a given industry specialization. I know it happens all the time, but it’s lame. You either know how to look into a brand and find something special there that can be effectively communicated by whatever means necessary, or you don’t.

  4. I’m with you. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of shops—whether advertising, digital, pr, direct, promotions, whatever—are built around media or specializations. Even the ones claiming they’re not. It’s a sad reality that too many in the industry insist on labels, pigeonholes, etc. And I mean everyone from clients to agencies to vendors to journalists to consumers. And yeah, to your point, it’s lame.
    On the flipside, this is also being forced by economics. That is, shops staff with the people they need for their core business. If the bulk of your clients are paying for promotions, for example, you hire promotional experts. Plus, certain specializations/media have created salary standards which make it difficult to hire certain types.
    The more you examine it, the more you realize how messed up it is.