Ed:Blog

At a publication like OMMA, it’s almost a given that we spend hours (ok, days) dodging hype, superlatives and horsepucky. We love our platforms as much as the next media maven, but we work in a self-congratulatory world. Radical. Dramatic. Transformative. Innovative. Revolutionary. Game-changing. Almost every pitch we see uses these words.

Yet, most of the time, we know it just isn’t true. From major overhauls to minor tweaks, digital marketing is evolving. But let’s call them upgrades, not revolutions. News that truly transforms the way a business or platform functions is rare.

That’s why we devoted this issue, “Radical Digital Transformation,” to the ideas and technology that really are rewriting the playbook.

Take the upcoming presidential election. When President Barack Obama faced off against Sen. John McCain back in 2008, everyone was abuzz about the youth vote and social media. This time, mobile rules. See P.J. Bednarski’s insightful “Mobile Goes to the Polls” on page 24.

Or remember how words like “campaign” or “ad agency” used to mean something? Read John Capone’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Ad Agencies,” (p. 18) to find out how digital marketing has everyone struggling to redefine what an agency is and isn’t, and where that might lead. “If the acquirers have changed, the targets might also change,” he reports.

In David Gianatasio’s “Connecting with Content,” (p. 12), he argues that the campaign, that big-idea extravaganza of the past, will be replaced by content that doesn’t just find consumers, but engages them.

“It’s about technology enabling the brilliant execution of ideas, facilitating more immediate and exciting interactions,” Judy Austin, a longtime agency creative director and now an associate professor at Boston University, tells Gianatasio. She adds: “What hasn’t changed is trying to be relevant and doing something meaningful with your brand.”

In fact, some of the biggest changes aren’t in advertising at all, but in the data that drives it, such as the massive changes in direct response (see Laurie’s Petersen’s piece on p. 48) or display advertising (see “Transformative Targeting,” p. 39.) We talk to both Amir Weiss, vice president of digital at MetLife, and John Lee, senior vice president at Merkle, its ad agency, about those changes. Through integration, Lee says, “display truly has the potential to be the most accountable digital method there is.” (See the duo present at omma Display on Oct. 1.)

What’s your idea of true transformation? Let me know: sarah@mediapost.com.

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