The marketing industry has witnessed a radical development over the years. From communicating around campfires to passing along stories to tribes and generations by painting on cave walls, through messengers, penguins and by horseback.

Along with the printing press came the emergence of new media and mass communication in the 17th century. People, businesses and organizations could spread their message to a large group of people all at once, and advertisements gained attention amongst the  newspaper reading society. By 1910 and with the introduction of radio came an even more widespread distribution and connection with the addition of sound and voice. As television became a central part of american households in the 1950s advertisers were able to provide a visual demonstration and connection with people that was entirely new. Global adoption of the printing press, radio and television became radical game changers for the marketing business. Modern marketing has traditionally utilized these platforms as ways to broadcast consciously constructed messages entirely under the control of marketing and development professionals. A multi-billion dollar industry has risen as a result of the demand to create perfect logos and brand identities, creative advertising campaigns and conducting market research to determine the best ways in which to sell a product or service.

During this time advertising was meant to appeal to mass-audiences. It was dependent on winning people’s attention spans and campaigns were entirely formulated as a monologue- the organization to the constituent. In this environment, the only way to attract attention was through the media. Consumers across all demographics were being preached at or to and had minimal control over what information was received. All though these methods seem dated compared to the carefully targeted and approximately 3000-20000 advertising messages a typical consumer is exposed to today, the intent remains the same.

The emergence of the Internet became a game changer for marketers. The new technology enabled marketers and advertisers to carefully target, reach and engage with niche and mass audiences in ways previously not imaginable. However, the flux of information and brand messages have created clutter and complicated the average marketers job in terms of getting through to their target markets. But with the the age of “free”, infinite amounts of data about consumers have become available and created real opportunities to carefully target and tailor products directly to a consumer's profile.  


Despite the endless opportunities to build a brand and loyal customer base in the digital era, many organizations and companies still apply old-fashioned marketing communication methods and resist the conversion required to succeed in a new environment. Many businesses used to dismiss the Internet as a fad, claiming that websites were superfluous. These same businesses are now online and struggling to keep up with the rapid development of technological tools and social media strategies to maintain and nurture their customer-relations.  

The Internet has radically changed the way we seek information. As a result, traditional forms of advertising do not work as well as they used to. Former conventional advertising through television and radio are considered non targeted and reach us outside of the buying cycle. Today the buying cycle includes the mobile consumer searching for specific products in near proximity or seeking alternative information about a product they are holding in their hand while in-store. Digital marketing is still its infancy and the future will bring many advancements beyond imagination and current scope.

The power-shift is essentially transitioning from the organization in control to the empowered digital consumer. Merely 20 years ago people used to plan their schedules around HBO and TV Guide’s premises. The advertisements we consumed were in between programs and required us to physically disengage to avoid them. Now, as options for accessing news, information, products and services continue to increase exponentially consumers can control of what they choose to pay attention to. The consumer is in demand and calling the shots in terms of how, when and where they are marketed to. Whether it is through email, Facebook, RSS feeds or more traditional channels, they decide to receive the information they want on their own terms and ignore messages they deem irrelevant. Organizations and businesses are adjusting to this shifting ground and power-shift.

Firstly, brands have to work much harder to get noticed in the increasingly saturated media environment that is our reality. However challenging, the new world offers exciting and innovative ways to tell stories. It also opens up for instant and valuable conversations, because consumers are showing interest in engaging with the brands/causes they care about and identify with. They desire relationships. If a brand wishes to receive attention from a community it must ask for it, open up to the dialogue, listen, engage and demonstrate that they value what is being said.

Trust, Authenticity and Transparency

Consumers have always had faith in brands that resonate with their own values and desires. Successful brands have distinctive design, experiences that instigate powerful emotional connections, lifestyles, image and community. In the dynamic, fast-moving information environment passive resonance is not enough: people demand authenticity and transparency and want to know who and what the brands they choose to gift their scattered attention spans to. Today, a successful company establishes mutual trust with its customers and welcomes passionate brand advocates a voice and the power to help shape their brand.

Nurturing these super fans is vital in establishing a brand's online presence as word of mouth and earned media becomes an important part of marketing strategies and budget. These fans expect to connect directly, through conversation and shared experiences through forums like blogs, ratings and reviews, and social networking. Fans feel encouraged to share their opinions freely and collaboratively, creating communication with consumer credibility far beyond what any organizationally crafted message can foster. When they share concerns, complaints or compliments, companies must reply and act quickly and respectfully.

Brand Advocates

The rise of the Internet and social media requires brands that hope to become truly successful to trust and rely on their audiences to further develop and promote their brands. Companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon have made promises through their brands missions and thrive to fulfill their promises. In return, their consumers become fans and a mirror reflecting back what the company truly is. If a company is really devoting attention to a new brand it asks its constituents questions and listens, encouraging them to help create the brand. A dynamic process is vital and allows for the brand to change and evolve along with its members. This does not mean that they constitute no control or strategy, it is simply in this new archetype more agile, iterative and alert.

With the emergence of virtual connections such as through blogs and social media, any individual has the ability to create and demonstrate individual needs and thought leadership and reach a much larger audience than previous networking efforts could offer. A truly successful brand is an extension of who the consumer is or thrives to be. It is a digital representation of their character, skills, and passion.

The great transition

We have witnessed a transition from traditional marketing methods through print, TV, radio-spots and in-person marketing at trade shows and conventions to the digital landscape. Marketers in 1940 at the advent of television advertising, in which their primary ability to connect and captivate consumers was their dependence on having a captive audience tuned into screens in their living rooms, is vastly different from the marketing model of current day. Digital marketing is essentially marketing relying on smartphones, mobile devices, the Internet, social media, digital billboards, gaming consoles, and computers to reach an intended audience. These new platforms expose marketers to opportunities such as engagement ads for standard and mobile websites, branded online videos, content marketing, social media, pay-per-click ads, sponsored blog-posts, SMS text messages and email distribution.

Even though challenges emerge across all areas, the advantages of digital versus traditional advertising are vast:

  • Cost Effectiveness: digital ads are typically more cost-effective than standard traditional marketing campaigns.

  • Personal, Pinpointed Messaging: digital marketing allows brands to specify exactly the target demographic for each individual ad in a campaign (Facebook and Google ads are particularly excellent in this regard). Digital is just as creative of a canvas as other channels.

  • Easily Measured and Adjusted: if the campaign is not performing well, most digital ads can be updated much more easily than traditional ads, and are scalable.

  • Mobile-accessible: more and more people are using smartphones and tablets in their day to day lives - digital marketing invites brands to tap into consumers' behavior and reach them seamlessly through mobile devices

  • Viral Value: brands that post content to social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest are able to plug into consumers who are able (and willing) to share that content with their networks

It is not likely that digital will replace traditional marketing entirely in near future. Most consumers still tune in live and watch commercials. However, an increasing number are enjoying the same traditional television programs on the internet or recording them on DVR and skipping through the commercials (90% of millennials do this).

It is more effective to advertise in interactive TV (iTV) or second screen experiences or in video ads appended to shows being streamed online. The same is apparent in the newspaper and magazine business as more consumers seek tablet ready e-magazines and internet versions of their former physical paper subscriptions.

According to emarketer, US mobile ad spending will reach $21 billion by 2016.

Television is still rising        

Despite the Internet’s ability to personalize and deliver highly targeted ads, television’s share of the global advertising market is still rising. According to Atkearny, TV is still better than the rest at engaging consumers.  Despite our evolving TV habits, ratings and ad rates are steady for the biggest shows. The Internet and Social Media haven't overtaken the TV advertising market, but may in fact be improving the TV experience for viewers and advertisers alike.


The personalized advertising experience as delivered by the Internet is tempting to marketers. Using data from social network profiles, companies can target distinct individuals with products matching their particular interests and a retailer can send targeted coupons to mobile Internet users in a specific area.




Another compelling fact about Internet advertising is that it is affordable compared to TV advertising. Online video ads can be effective considering that ad space costs about $30 per thousand impressions (CPM). TV advertising typically costs hundreds of thousands of dollars for 30 seconds on the most popular prime-time network television shows. Internet and particularly mobile ads also provide a sense of immediacy in which users can respond immediately by clicking on a link to an online store.

Consumers viewing habits are evolving rapidly. “Non-linear” Television services like digital video recorders (DVRs) and on-demand websites like Hulu and Netflix are increasingly gaining market share. In 2011, the number of homes with a television in the US declined for the first time in two decades. An increasing number of Millennials are participating in the cord cutting trend, meaning that they do not subscribe to cable in their homes but rely on digital television services instead.


Regardless, it is important to note that TV’s market share remains strong and the gains in Internet advertising have come mostly at the expense of print. Digital advertising may be the future, but television is still the leader of the present.


According to Atkearney, the power of the moving image on a large screen, high- quality video and audio, the ability to stimulate emotion and engagement is hard to overcome. Compared to the storm of advertising messages inline, TV offers a brand an exclusive spot in the middle of a popular TV show that draws millions of viewers hungry for entertainment. In our current environment, few websites can offer the vast, engaged, national audience of leading television programs. Live events like the popular Super Bowl reaches more than 30% of the population, providing advertisers a prime opportunity to revitalize their brands. And however popular the personalized, individual viewing experience has become, people still come together to enjoy their favorite shows. For a company hoping to reinvigorate their brands quickly there is arguably no more effective way than to advertise to 20 million people watching American Idol together.  


In fact, even the Internet specialist Google invests millions of dollars in television advertising.

Still, you need to change

Millennials are consuming more television shows on their DVR, desktops, tablets or mobile. These changing habits point to the need for traditional advertisers and broadcasters to embrace interactive media. Social TV is a fairly new concept in which viewers connect via social media to “share” the TV experience. Marketers can use websites, Facebook and Twitter, smartphone apps, and other interactive services to connect with viewers before, during and after programming. Successful commercials may ignite dual screen viewers to look up the product on their smartphones during their “dual-screen” consumption and tempt them to make purchases. Television and interactive advertising can complement and reinforce one another. In our current environment, campaigns are most effective when television commercials are combined with a follow up on the Internet allowing consumers to make direct purchases. From a brands perspective, television is evolving from a role in which ads merely seek to sell a product to an effort to engage model in which the advertisement is meant to tease a story that consumers can continue to follow on other platforms. Currently, television is still vital in both building sufficient awareness and tapping into people’s emotions. However, with the rapid changes evident the last few years it is crucial for advertisers and brands to stay in tune with the most effective ways to reach consumers and meet them where there eye-balls are. They will not come to you.

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