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Published: October 22, 2008 at 08:57 AM GMT
Last Updated: October 23, 2008 at 08:57 AM GMT
In 2003, I met with a group of my clients and followers and shared my vision for the future of media, marketing and advertising. The following Classic Jack commentary is excerpted from that presentation. Read Part One and other Classic Jack commentaries at www.classicjackmyers.com. I am available to share my economic vision for the future of media and advertising in the next five years at your corporate meetings and events. Contact email@example.com.
I'd like to share with you why I believe we're in a transitional period in media and advertising that began about 15 years ago, and will be pretty much completed in the next fifteen years.
I know you hear a lot about change; but I think many of us believe "the more things change, the more they stay the same? Sometimes there seems to be nothing new under the sun? Everything old is new again." We follow the mantra of what's past is prologue. Maybe things old become new again and there is nothing new under the sun, but there are a lot more sunspot disturbances in the force than ever before, and now there's even proof of water and life on Mars.
We are in the midst of a period of change in America and in the world unequaled since smokestacks, railway tracks, and telephone wires replaced farming as America's prominent economic engine. Industrialization began with the inventions of the printing press by Gutenberg in 1459; the steam engine, developed in the early 1700s; and Eli Whitney's development of the cotton gin in the late 18th century. The shift from the rural Agrarian Age to the urban Industrial Age was advanced in the 1800s by the camera, the telephone and electricity.
A full blown economic revolution began when mass merchandising began and Henry Ford invented mass production via the assembly line. Finally there was supreme catalyst for the industrial economy: mass media. Radio and then television brought Americans together under one roof – in one living room. To marketers, the 20th century was about the shift of consumerism from personal and individual to one-size-fits-all; from the country to the city; from Mom & Pop stores to category killers; from the local newspaper, to radio, to network television.
And next, the computer, a practical device that was primarily for business until the Internet became the wild, wild West -- ripe for settling, expansion, and even a gold rush. There is no question that we are in the midst of a transition from the Industrial Age to the Digital Age that is as economically significant today as the shift from the Agrarian Age to the Industrial Age was 100 years ago.
Can anyone doubt that business today – especially the media and advertising business – is in the midst of a major transition? It's hard to believe it was only six years ago that Google was launched, and with nearly four billion web page indexes, it still tracks only one percent of the total web. It's hard to believe the first banner ads appeared only ten years ago, on HotWired.com for AT&T and Zima. It's hard to believe eBay and Amazon are only nine years old. Both are true marketing phenomena, and eBay especially is like a new network that already has advertising and promotional relationships with several advertisers. eBay is the largest used car and part dealer in the U.S. with nearly four billion in sales. Here's a psychic prediction: by 2020, eBay and Amazon will generate more advertising revenues than ABC, CBS and NBC combined.
With Amazon launching a search engine, they join Google and Yahoo search as an important new media opportunity that targets users based on the needs and interests they are defining literally minute by minute. Search engines will, in the next two to three years, emerge as the most opportune new media ever. When you combine search, with broadband and the opportunity to deliver video commercials and it doesn't require psychic ability. The future is clear. There are many new companies to include in your marketing consideration-set, but the sure bets are Yahoo, eBay, Amazon, and Google.
The challenges are to balance your traditional day-to-day responsibilities and realities while adapting to the certainty that the changing media landscape will soon require marketers' attention. They will demand that media plans be adjusted to reflect new research, attentiveness and environment issues, promotional and sponsorship opportunities, more finitely targeted audiences. Advertisers will be demanding new relationships, new partnerships, and integrated marketing programs with media companies.
There will be a slow but steady transition away from the way business is done today, based the best deal that's available, and there will be more emphasis on sustained partnerships with selected media suppliers. This means a shift from the opportunistic to the strategic. In the network TV age, media companies have immersed themselves in competitive battles, focusing on beating their competitors by gaining an edge in cost efficiency. The forward thinking media companies are already shifting their obsession to finding their clients' best customers, understanding their needs, and building customized marketing relationships with them.
In the digital age, the tools will be available to place more focus on return-on-marketing investment, and decision-making based on cost efficiency and mass reach alone will no longer be acceptable.
To Be Continued Next Week at www.classicjackmyers.com
Jack Myers Media Futurist: For more than two decades, Jack Myers has been the media industry's leading analyst, researcher and advisor on relationships among marketers, agencies and media sellers, providing business development services and custom insights on relationship best practices to more than 200 marketers, agencies, media companies and industry service providers. Jack can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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