I recently read a great article in the New York Times profiling multimedia marketing visionary Robert M. Greenberg and his views on how technology combined with consumer overload are irrevocably shifting the old norms dominating the advertising world.
Greenberg believes technology is going to wreak havoc on the agency business. Because of advances in technology and communication, consumers have become surrounded by information, and increasingly overloaded by it. But a vast array of new choices and better information has also put them in control, and the old approach of marketing saturation just doesn't work anymore. With a flick of the fingers, consumers swamped by pitches can simply bypass unwanted advertising.
"I think things are going to get infinitely more complex. And the challenge is about taking things that are infinitely complex and making them simpler and more understandable," Greenberg says.
Greenberg's solution is to engage customers in digital conversations that are so entertaining, involving and valuable that they won't want to ignore them, such as his interactive advertising agency's campaign for Nike last year in which shoppers could dial commands from their cell phones to customize the footwear appearing on a huge electronic billboard in New York's Times Square.
As the advertising models that have taken shape over the last 50 years become less and less effective in the face of such radical media and marketing transformations, agencies and corporations must explore new forms of marketing and devise new advertising approaches that embrace the realities of alternative media.
Greenberg's vision is helping all of us in marketing see the future -- which despite stark predictions to the contrary, is not all black-and-white, i.e., "the Internet will kill television." It's much more about re-applying creativity in entirely new dimensions that reflect the world we live in today. Marketers take note: the old world of RFM marketing analysis may not exist in another 20 years. In its place, a new world of ubiquitous content on demand -- technology-laden, interactive, multimedia messaging that engages consumers wholly on their terms.