Monday, February 23, 2009

Obsolete Model? The debate about the future of marketing rages on.

"I am an obsolete model..." T-101 (aka: Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 3, Rise of the Machines)

Since I've been unemployed I've been able to see how new technologies (and let's be honest, the crap economy) are relegating some positions virtually obsolete. Historically this kind of displacement leads to a counter-effect of completely new positions opening up that relate specifically to the new innovation. I wonder: what will post digital agency be made of? Not sure, but here are some changes I've noticed.

Social media and conversational marketing are rendering more mainstream advertising less relevant (at least within the social network ecosystem). Mainly because clients and agencies have jumped on the user generated content bandwagon. For the most part, however, this creates some very insipid advertising in the end. But the impact on creative jobs is huge. This impacts me personally as a writer in that Copy/Content skills aren't as in demand right now within agencies/corporations.

Another change in the overall structure of marketing agencies is born from tech innovations in how/where content is served. Right now, platform is more important than ever. But does the emphasis on platform necessitate tearing the focus away from content? By that I mean, if clients are clamoring for Detach and Distribute tools (platform), their focus is less wrapped up in creative headlines or new design assets. In fact, maybe they don't need the assets at all, they just need to be partners with a content company of some sort who will allow video or text to be imported into a site/SMS/aggregator. That means more jobs opening up in media buying, search optimization, and development and very few jobs opening up for copy/content/design/creative production. 

For the most part, content is still coming from Mainstream sources like broadcast TV and news video. Indie blogger vids are gaining momentum, but generally only if the videographer is also the blogger or developer. I saw that got a video featured on Kanye's blog that they produced other day, and from the tweets by Xeni Jardin I read, the BoingBoingers were freakin STOKED that the vid got picked up. So my question is: if the BoingBoing people have such a tough time getting content distributed, where does that leave the rest of us indie bloggers? (Speaking of Kanye, if you haven't seen this viddy for "Pro Nails" by Kid Sister f. Kanye, you must watch now. It is for real.)

So I'm really hoping that once businesses adapt to the new conversational climate and the latest tech changes there will be new Next Gen marketing jobs available. Creative jobs that take strategy, search, and platform into consideration when creating a new media experience.

How about you? Where do you see creative marketing jobs popping up in the current ecosystem?

Monday, February 16, 2009

What's next in a Post-Advertising World

As a writer in advertising for 12 years now, there have been countless times that I've had to ask myself the question:  What story is this brand telling? Unfortunately, even when a writer does identify a killer brand story, by the time most ads are consumer-facing that story has been watered down to a few incoherent tags mocked up in font that abides by a pat style guide and some predictable product shots.  The end result leaves consumers (and truthfully, the client too) wondering what happened to the meat of the story. 

Where's the disconnect? Well, my opinion is that much of the problem lies in the traditional ad agency model and inherently dysfunctional agency/client dynamics. But I won't go too far with this topic, because that particular battle just isn't sexy to me right now. Instead, I offer hope for the future of ads in alternate business models and companies like Story Worldwide.

Story WorldWide is all about this post-advertising moment that we're currently in.  They see that the brands with the best stories right now are the brands that are winning, because people want to hear those stories. So by creating content and media that captivates audiences, Story Worldwide is bringing consumers and brands together by choice, instead of force.

That sounds so utopian to me, I'm in love. *Sigh* So Story WorldWide is one fresh business model for sure. They have the branded content thing down pat. But don't just take my word for it. Check out their blog called Post Advertising for more of their kick ass ethos and insights. 

I'm also into Federated Media and just John Battelle (FM's founder) in general. He's pretty much a genius. If you're in media, content, or marketing you need to subscribe to Battelle's blog if you haven't yet. You will not be disappointed. 

FM helps advertisers connect with a posse of the some of the best and most popular bloggers on the net (BoingBoing, Behance, and Ask a ninja are FM properties). So while it's not a content marketing agency like Story Worldwide is, it's similar in that FM is also bringing consumers together with content they like, to the benefit of both the advertiser and the blog author.

Send me some of your favorite new ad/marketing/media models too. I would love to see what your getting into.

And don't forget to check out my pal Matt Brand's latest joint, Relationship Retard. I'll be contributing to that site too.