Part of the allure of interactive advertising is that it's measurable. In fact, marketer demand for accountability is driving an increasing portion of ad dollars to interactive. But the stepped-up use of interactive also has affected offline ads. Now, offline often serves to ignite the relationship. In fact, it's difficult to find an offline ad that doesn't have a URL pushing consumers to branded Web sites.
Four years ago, few people had heard of MySpace, but by 2005, it was the new next. Then, it became the target of a corporation with ambitious plans to transform it. Now, it's a challenge for MySpace to be part of a huge corporation while still striving to remain cutting-edge. Unfortunately, it currently feels at best like the New Now; at worst, it's struggling to avoid becoming the New Last.
Merchandisers tend to favor promotional tactics such as discounts, store-wide sales and newspaper inserts, knowing these strategies deliver short-term returns. But brand marketers know discounts don't build equity, and suspect that over-reliance on discounts erodes differentiation, trains consumers to buy based on price and reduces margins over time. As a result, balancing short-term sales and long-term brand equity often results in organizational tug of war.
It's ironic that in the high-tech world of new media, the surest routes to success are both cheap and basic. The medium isn't the message anymore, and hasn't been for quite a while: It's the product that's the message, and the better that product is, the more people will talk about it.
I'm second-to-none in my appreciation for what Google has brought to the world. As CEO of washingtonpost.newsweek interactive, I was one of Google's first publishing partners when the company had no business model and I viewed search as a commodity. As a passionate consumer of information, I use Google a thousand times a day.
Time-shifting. User-generated content. Blogging. Community. Whichever rubric you pick, the marketing mix has changed considerably, with consumers emerging as more in control than ever. While marketers and agencies try to figure it out, the consumer gains yet more control, and the balance of power will only continue to shift over the next few years. The reaches of control, however, extend farther than just marketing, with consumers now dominating everything from communities to blogs to wikis.
Bud.TV doesn't appear to be doing too well. Anheuser-Busch has invested somewhere between $30 million and $40 million in the fledgling network so far, but only achieved 240,000 visits in the first month and 150,000 in the second, according to comScore Media Matrix. By my calculation, that's in the region of $100 per visit (or a CPM of $100,000) - expensive by any standard.
Oliver Wendell Douglas would be proud. It appears the media world is going back to Hooterville. PlanetGreen, recycled from the underperforming Discovery Home and soon to become the Discovery Channel's latest network, will push a 24-hour slate of organic lifestyle programming.
The very fact you are reading this article and this magazine is evidence that you are - in the nicest possible way - a freak of nature. That is not to impugn either you or the goodly publishers of Media magazine or my fellow contributors (all of whom are worthy, wonderful and intelligent people).
Here's a dilemma: Everywhere I go, I hear about the dearth of new talent available for hire in this industry. Agency executives across the country complain about the quantity and especially the quality of applicants. In fact, if I listened only to these executives, I would have to conclude we have a near-crisis on our hands when it comes to sourcing new talent for agencies.