Commentary

What About Me? What Do I Want?

These two statements are driving media right now.

The direction of media is all about "Me"! Not "Me," Cory Treffiletti, but "Me," the consumer. Think about it... it is called MEdia, ain't it? The proof is all around... that successful media, and thus successful advertising, is all about what the consumer wants, when they want it, and how they want it. I am going to start referring to this trend as the consumer dictate.

The current decline in traditional broadcast and the rise of the new wave of broadcast proves this to be true. Video on demand, TiVo, and other DVRs allow the consumer to watch their television when they want. The Internet has always been about personalization via bookmarks and opt-in e-mail, but now we see the development of new browsers such as Firefox, which allows the consumer to further personalize their Internet experience by customizing the interface and the method of interaction to make them comfortable.

Behavioral targeting is the advertising industries' response to the request for customization as more and more data proves that relevancy to the mindset of the user is what drives success in advertising. The absence of relevancy drives inefficiencies that most advertisers will no longer accept.

Amazon was built on a model of customer-centric opportunities, and in some cases customer-fearing developments. The site needed to provide information and recommendations and opportunities that provide the customer with value they cannot receive anywhere else, or they would leave the site and find use for a competitor. This model precedes the consumer dictate, but anticipates it and is the reason that Amazon is still in existence and doing well today.

I spent some time at the Consumer Electronic Show this week and the technology that I saw was not revolutionary, but certainly followed the evolution of personalization and customization -- the consumer dictate in action. There were cell phones that featured user-requested data on the home screen of the phone. There were laptops that provide a personal sense of style to the user. There were portable satellite radios where the user can earmark songs they like to a personalized playlist and listen to them later. There were automotive technologies that provide a further customized experience behind the wheel including memory-enabled GPS systems that know where you are going and make recommendations for stops. There were refrigerators that incorporated wireless Internet screens onto the doors that provided personal Web access while cooking in the kitchen to check on the recipes, etc.

Media is targeted at ME. Not US.

This simply means that advertising is going to continue to shift towards ME and away from US.

The mass-market model is dwindling away because the ability to shift the time of your interaction with media means that the collective US is no longer on the same schedule. We follow our own individual paths and we own the relationship with media. Few and far between are the mass-market opportunities. The only ones left are the extremely high-profile events where media coverage necessitates exposure at the same time or risk the result of being spoiled. Events such as the SuperBowl and the Academy Awards are the only vestiges of mass media that will survive in the coming years. Can even these continue to succeed? Will appointment use of media go away completely?

It is an interesting time because the next two years will provide the resolution of the ideas we've been talking about for the last 10 years. This is it. This is where the predictions materialize and we are proven right or wrong.

So who is paying attention to what happens next? What foresight do you see beyond 2007?

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