Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
November 3, 2010 5:12 PM

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

The problem is no longer quality or quantity. The problem is now choice.

In the old world, before the Social Web and before the big Internet portals, if you wanted to advertise or market your products and services, all you really had to do was make a few choices. There were limited media channels and within those media channels, the choices were fairly limited too. Along with that, there really was only a few reasons to advertise: reach, direct response and if you were really advanced, you were looking to build a database of people to regularly mail (an old school term for "connecting").

Then the world changed.

The idea of "57 channels and nothing on" seems almost as ludicrous as listening to six songs on a turntable, getting up off the couch, flipping the vinyl over and listening to six more songs. It seems barbaric in the iPod world. If you want content, there are - literally - thousands of choices in any one vertical. That content is available in text, images, audio and video. There's short-form, there's long-form, there's stuff available as it happens, daily, weekly, monthly, on-demand, and on any platform fathomable.

What's a Marketer to do?

The easy answer is: go where the audience is. That's what Facebook has recently been telling advertisers in a bid to win over more brands and crank up the advertising dollars. They are comparing their 500+ million users to some of the biggest broadcasting platforms and hit TV shows, to let brands know that reach is reach and that the Internet is a mass media play.

The Internet can be a mass media play, but that's not what makes it interesting.

While Facebook has 500+ million users, they're also quick to point out in their stats page that the average user has about 130 connections. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Facebook is not big. Facebook is a big bunch of very small things... and there's nothing wrong with that, but, to get to that same traditional mass media reach of audience you not only have to work really hard to make tangible connections, you have to be there when they are (not everybody is online and in their feeds all day) and - the hardest part - you have to be able to make the creative work for you.

Let's face it, the creative is not great.

The ads are thumbnail size at best, some are just text and most are surrounded by other competing messages. It's not just Facebook, it's most online advertising. The majority of online display advertising is cluttering up the user's space from what they really want to do: consume content or create content.

There's got to be a better way.

I'm not just talking about figuring out how to CTRL-ALT-DEL your business and Marketing. I am talking about making better decisions, because that's something you finally can do. Yes, within these many, many channels you can actually make better decisions, more targeted decisions. You can find the handful of websites, Blogs and people on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube who actually care what you have to say. You don't even have to advertise to them (but, you can if you would like to). You can use that opportunity to publish content, to become active in their community and/or help them make better decisions. It's up to you.

All of the channels now exist for you to reach your customers. Now, it's up to you to make the better/right decisions.

By Mitch Joel