You wake up, yawn, stretch. Pick up the phone. Check Facebook. "Like." "Like." "Like," again. After 10 "likes," Michal Kosinski knows you better than your work colleagues. After 70, he knows you better than your partner does, including -- whether these things were explicitly referenced in your clicks or not -- your skin color, your sexual orientation, whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, whether you smoke or do drugs... The list goes on.
2016 was rife with stories pointing out the decay of advertising. The saddest of those suggest we have lost our way. If so, the reason would be that the landscape has changed. Whenever I get lost, I go back to basics and find a landmark. Today, I offer such a landmark: the Advertising Research Foundation Response model.
When marketers determine how to spend their money, they tend to look at each channel and decide on allocation. This typically breaks out to TV, online, mobile, out-of-home, print, events/experiences, etc. What's interesting is, three of those areas - TV, online and mobile - are converging quite rapidly, and two of them may end up looking like the same thing in the coming years.
I was in the U.S. last week. It was my first visit in the Trump era. It was weird. I was in California, so the full effect was muted, but I watched my tongue when meeting strangers. And that's speaking as a Canadian, where watching your tongue is a national pastime.
Tthere was kind of a big bang last week from Ogilvy & Mather, which announced it was reintegrating the manifold O&M USA subsidiaries into one company - with, surprisingly, one P&L. That last bit is really important, because it will potentially set the company apart apart from other agency groups that have not quite gone there. Others are selling themselves as "integrated," yet they try to do so while still managing separate P&Ls for each brand name under the umbrella.
There are strong indications that the next technological revolution will be artificial intelligence. For decades, AI has been a sci-fi dream, but core developments in several complementary areas are now colliding to make AI a reality.
The organization has a short-term "sales culture." Almost everything marketing does is oriented toward creating a lead. You know there are larger system/infrastructure issues impacting performance, but you can't expect anyone to invest/focus on them. You're on a "trend mill," running as fast as you can but going nowhere.It's a nightmare that thousands of marketers are living every day, so let's fix this issue -- permanently.
Many people talk about the future of advertising. It's a hot topic, especially when you come from an agency background. I've sat in debates and had exchanges with people on the agency side about this over the last few years and my conclusion is a simple one: The future of advertising is marketing, and agencies' structure is changing to reflect that.
We might be in a period of ethical crisis. Or not. It's tough to say. It really depends on what you believe. And that, in a nutshell, is the whole problem.
We are living in very uncertain times. Uncertainty is a challenging problem, because the human mind is conditioned for survival. Facing uncertainty, your instinct will automatically drive you to choose the safest option. And when alternate options cannot be easily predicted in terms of results, you might be tempted to elect the status quo, even when the status quo is demonstrably not desirable.