Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
December 22, 2009 5:05 PM

The Shift From An Advertising World To A Marketing World

When most people think of "marketing," they're actually thinking of "advertising." That's all going to change.

In the grand scheme of things, advertising is a segment of marketing. That's the official structure of it all. That's what they'll teach you in any Marketing 101 course. Within the sphere of everything that is marketing, advertising has played such an important and large role, that many of us (and that includes the industry professionals) sometimes lose touch and forget about this. Advertising is so much bigger (and more prominent) than Marketing to the average consumer. Who could blame us? Through the power of Mass Media, advertising has become massive.

Advertising won't die, but it is going to change dramatically.

If you look around at the general advertising stats (who is buying what, and how it is performing... including online advertising), the numbers are not as promising as they once were. It's for this reason that many Marketers are looking to shift and adjust their advertising spend and that's going to continue through 2010. There are many reasons, but here are the primary ones:

  • Media is moving away from being a passive channel to a highly active and creational one. You don't watch just watch Facebook or YouTube... you create the experience.
  • Fragmentation. Even in the online channels, you can cater your content to your own very specific niche or area of interest. Many more choices and many more choices within those choices.
  • People will not tolerate being interrupted in terms of both the content they are creating/consuming and the platforms on which that content is delivered.
  • The conversations about brands are everywhere. They're in text, images, audio and video and the conversations are not high-gloss editorials... they're real human beings saying very real and human things all over the place.
  • We trust total strangers and their opinions online. This means that word of mouth (one of the more powerful sources of good referrals) changes dramatically.

2010 will be the year that we shift from the advertising age to the marketing age.

It's not a prediction, hope or look forward. This is a shift that is happening right now, beneath our feet. Marketing is quickly becoming more important than advertising. It's going to be interesting (like in a Jim Collins, Good To Great kind of way) to see which brands make this transition (and live to tell about it). Many smart brands have already started. They're building community, conversations and opportunities to engage with their consumers. It may seem small when compared to the sheer impact of an advertising campaign, but they're slowly (and properly) building that loyal following, or as Seth Godin would say: "drip, drip, drip..." The thing is that most businesses don't have an established business model for how this plays out. How does the CMO tell the COO that they're going to shift how they build the brand from an advertising-driven form to a marketing-driven one? That's the tough question. It's even tougher when you consider the very simplistic and raw answer of: "if we don't change, we die," will probably make the c-suite roll their eyes and think of the boy who cried wolf.

Regardless, advertising's role within the segment of marketing is diminishing.

Welcome to the Marketing World.

By Mitch Joel