I’d go for the disruptive approach. Marketing has so fundamentally changed. It’s all about digital marketing now. When Nike learns that it can have the same “reach” with their own digital online event as a Superbowl ad, you know we’re on a new path. Today’s it’s about engaging fans, building an audience and content marketing. It’s no longer people sitting on madison ave dictating a brand campaign for next year and taking half a year to put it together. Red Bull spends more on sponsorships, events and publishing than traditional ads (wait, a drink company has a leading magazine?). Rolex makes more money on events than watches.
TV is dead
More young folks watch people play video games online than CBS. Oh, and these same video game players can fill a stadium easier than most bands today. But, it’s also evolving. It’s going to be more about the content and the device and knowning who’s watching than creating generic ads for massive audiences. Don’t believe me? Your setup box knows what you’re surfing on your iPad while sitting on the can and can change the ad you see when you get back to the TV (http://www.adobe.com/products/auditude.html). DVR’s were just the beginning. Now people binge watch Breaking Bad on Netflix and catch up on new shows via Hulu. This means that video ads will become more about speed and personalization. We’ll need more creatives and copy editors to come up with more versions tailored to very specific demographics.
Notice how many are switching to digital displays. This is the first step to these all just being converted to the Google Ad network. It won’t be about a local sales force or agency buying locations to have a canvas hung for a month rather these screens will know who’s driving by them and who will be driving by them shortly. They’ll then be optimized to show ads to reach the most lucrative potential audience. This will be done by software algorithms and ad bidding networks. Might as well lump this into the SEM (search engine marketing) bucket.
Who listens to radio anymore? Spotify, Soundcloud, Pandora, Rdio and of course Apple dominate our cars and our earbuds. Honda just announced support for Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto. If I were ClearChannel, I’d try to figure out how to buy Spotify and partner up with Google. Again, it won’t be about long drawn out campaign planning.
The bookstore closed and most magazines are struggling to keep their numbers up. I can have a greater reach and real conversion with display, social or search ads. Now, it’s not to say these won’t be there, especially in our digital magazines on our Apple Newstand, but this will all merge with the display networks from Google, Apple, Bing, etc.
If I’m focused on B2B, I get more out of content marketing (webinars, emails, blogs, social) than any traditional media. I also use these new strategies and my own digital properties to build demand and measure the results. It no longer makes sense to spend money on something I can’t measure.
If I’m B2C focused, I’m all about getting close to my customer, building fans and exciting my base. Again, this is about content marketing, not Madison Avenue.
The agencies are all struggling and consolidating to hold on to revenue. Most have build digital businesses as they know they won’t be making tons of money on campaigns anymore rather they’ll be producing content. Even the ones that have done well picking up the task of online ad buying and optimization see that this will be done by software (Adobe Media Optimizer, Marin Software) and not humans.
So what do you focus on?
Analytics – understand how to read data, find audiences, determine trends and target. Psychographics dominates and demographics is worthless. Tomorrow’s marketers also have to be able to show where they see an opportunity using data and then measure their results and constantly optimize their efforts
Testing – the art of a/b testing is now multivariate. Understanding statistics and what “statistically significant” means is relevant to knowning if their idea is good or dead.
Creative – The fun stuff still exists and more marketers should get more comfortable piecing together campaigns themselves because they’ll have tools where they can take digital assets and put together something (with a good copy editor) that can be pushed out to their audience in real time (from their phone while on the way to work)
I’d have them all take $50 and build an online campaign for a trinket they sell on etsy or an ebook they publish on Amazon. If they have a friend that makes something cool or has a small business, even better. Get in and see how you can target audiences on Facebook, understand what a Pinterest buy button might mean to marketing (yep, they’ll be measured by sales tomorrow not just reach and impressions).