On Facebook there’s a relationship status for "it's complicated" -- and that's what it's starting to feel like in the world of online marketing and advertising: It’s complicated.
These days it's not simply about a message and a medium, as it was in the old days. When I graduated from college, and the world of Internet marketing was just a simple twinkle in our eyes, we were trained to do research, identify targets, learn what they do, craft a message that resonates with them and place that message in a medium where they would be spending their time. You tried to reduce the clutter by either having category exclusivity, exclusivity during that break, or the old standby of RHP, far forward (for those of you who speak magazine).
In today's world it's simply not that easy. Technology is taking over! The world of marketing is fast becoming a world that overlaps with IT. More marketers are being forced to become tech-savvy because they have no choice. A CMO’s tenure -- certainly over the next 10 years -- will depend heavily on her ability to understand complex technology and utilize it to her advantage. There’s technology for managing data, for implementing ad buys, for managing and optimizing creative, and for just about all aspects of the digital marketing landscape. Over the next five to 10 years that technology is going to become more ubiquitous and an unavoidable element of marketing. It's going to get even more complicated!
The digital charge is currently being led by the adoption of the DMP as a standard tool for marketers as well as the solutions that circle around it. This ecosystem will rapidly expand to include toolsets that help with television advertising, print advertising, direct mail, outdoor advertising and everything else under the sun. TV and direct mail are the natural extensions because they have natural overlap with the digital realm. TV will become addressable at some point, and marketers will log in to the programmatic buying systems for each cable operator to manage their allocated buys based on audience targeting and addressable advertising. The upfront buying season in TV will integrate addressability in some manner as more marketers demand reduced waste in their TV ad budgets.
Direct mail will inevitably be printed on demand, using real-time data integrations from digital media and sent out through the traditional postal service using digital payments. Print placement could likely be managed digitally, with the focus against the digital delivery to tablet versions as well as some futuristic "digital paper" (if you’ve never read about it, look it up).
The business will demand this level of efficiency and addressability as more money gets spent in a targeted fashion and the publishers need to keep up with the placements in real time through the development of automated systems. It's no “Minority Report” but it’s certainly in the future.
Marketers need not be intimidated by technology, though. We’re in the very early innings of the game, and it’s an area where they can get up to bat quickly. The vendors and partners who have a foothold in this business right now have a huge incentive to educate the marketplace. Additionally, there are ways to partner within your organization and learn from others. The future of marketing is more and more intertwined with IT. If Marketing and IT could find the time to work together, things will move along at a rapid pace.
The future of marketing looks like a collection of dashboards and data. In real time, marketers will be able to log in and gather performance information as well as understand the audience they’re trying to speak to. Technology will enable them to identify and react to marketplace trends and their effect on marketing messages. It’s going to be a wild, wonderful world for those of you who are willing to start learning about it now. Of course, it is rather complicated!