September 14, 2015

We Can't Let Go Of The Delusion

The advertising and marketing industries are so caught up in their underwear, and so deeply possessed by delusion, that it is time for everyone to sit down, take a deep breath, and re-think what they're doing.

About twenty years ago we started to become exposed to a new and thrilling vision of advertising. The vision went something like this:

Technology is on the brink of allowing us to deliver programming to people on a customized basis. Soon they will be able to watch any tv program, listen to any song, view any movie, at will and on demand.

This presents us advertisers with an equally thrilling opportunity. We, too, can can deliver any message about any product or service individualized to the customer's need by following the trail of their entertainment and social behavior.

By analyzing consumer media behavior, we can be remarkably precise in our ability to send them the right message, at the right time, in the right place.

This was the promise of ad tech. There was only one problem. We were wrong.

While people love the ability to customize their entertainment and social behavior, they hate the customization and "precision targeting" of ad tech.

Online ad blocking is surging. In the U.S. it grew 50% last year. Worldwide it grew 70%

Marketers -- while knowing this intellectually -- still haven't accepted it emotionally. They are still in denial.

They have so much invested in the ad tech hypothesis that they can't let go of it no matter how much evidence there is that it is wrong.

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