I saw this article recently on Digital Being a Success and read it a few times. Granted it’s just the headline that I have an issue with, but none the less it inspired this post.
If agencies and clients are defining success of an industry solely by money being thrown at it we’re in no better place than right before the dot com boom. “Digital” , and all the many elements that make up that bucket, cannot see true success till someone starts reporting that the $8B in spending is also related to an increase in marketing goals being met. Not every campaign aims for sales or ‘clicks’, but i’d like to see whether marketers are holding this spending accountable to benchmarks or just throwing money at a space because of the shifting market. There is clearly a shift in marketing spend, no one can (or should) deny that. But defining it a success is no different that Banks defining their huge housing loan increases in 2002-2007 a ‘success’. A trend is not a success in itself, it’s how we adopt and leverage it to reach goals.
Today’s landscape is similar to when the internet came about and everyone was trying to ‘solve’ the puzzle of marketing and business models of the future. Dot com companies needed to make money and have a business model to earn their IPOs and large investment sums. Marketers needed a way to ‘break through’ and find consumers now that the internet had arrived. So what happened? We created banner ads, corporate websites, link sharing, etc, etc. Everyone remember how much they LOVED banner ads from the late 90’s to early 2000’s? They really enhanced your online experience didn’t they? 😉
We later learned that just because we needed to monetize the web and that brands needed a new way to reach consumers it didn’t mean that banner ads were the answer. We were also measuring them wrong, we really thought people would click through, and keep clicking through ads after learning pretty quick that they were ADS!?! ‘why would i click on an ad’?? We had to recreate the user experience and the metrics for ‘interactive’ as it was called before.
Now we are, again, finding numerous software and tech startups trying to monetize their products through marketing and advertising money. Consumers won’t pay for Facebook, so lets fill it up with ads or when you play Words with Friends, lets add a mobile banner ad…
I strongly encourage marketers to recognize what digital media is capable of. It’s extremely important and you should be using it. Banner ads, highly targeted and efficient ads can be key to any marketing plan. BUT! make sure you are clearly defining what you expect from them, what you want to do and how you will measure that against spend. Did you really raise awareness? How many people actually clicked through on that special discount deal? What reach did your facebook app really have?
We are all in the hunt for the ‘captive’ audience. Consumers are smart and they know how to ignore and avoid ‘advertising’ – so don’t ‘advertise’, ‘optimize’ their experience and use all the data that’s available.