The Future of Advertising?

Although I haven’t written much about business lately, you can rest easy knowing that it’s still very much on my mind. A couple of years ago I wrote a post about marketing and advertising, and I’d like to revisit the topic again now.

I’m still very much convinced that the concept of mass marketing/advertising is broken. It’s a huge waste to spend thousands or millions of dollars on ads that target a mass audience when only a tiny fraction of them are even remotely interested in the product/service. Sure, it’s easy for the marketing department (and gives them lots of power because of its big budget), but it’s very inefficient and practically unmeasureable. Exactly how many people go out and buy a Coke because the nearly $2 billion it spends on ads each year? No one knows for sure, and if they tell you they do know, they’re lying. The best they can do is give you a WAG (wild-assed guess).

Thankfully, there are some really good options to engage in micro marketing, at least on the internet and through regular old snail-mail. Online, Google’s AdWords program has been the big innovation, letting businesses target niche audiences by showing ads relevant to what a person is searching for. Plus, it eliminates guessing. It’s all done in a way that gives marketers very concreate details about the effectiveness of their advertisements. As W. Edward Deming once said: “In God we trust; all others must bring data.

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