Is the End Near for Traditional Advertising?

By Mikal E. Belicove|For|March 9, 2012

The demise of in-your-face marketing and advertising is close at hand, to be replaced by what Facebook’s Paul Adams terms a form of advertising that depends on “many lightweight interactions over time.”

Adams is Facebook’s Global Brand Experience Manager, a job that allows him to spend the balance of his day researching and designing better ways for businesses and people to communicate and interact. Before that, he was a senior user experience researcher at Google.

Adams claims that to really reach today’s consumers, companies and brands will need to build relationships with them rather than simply grabbing their attention or utilizing disruptions as an advertising tool. In other words, marketers should be progressive rather than aggressive, adding a fifth “P” — Participation — to the traditional marketing mix of Product, Price, Place and Promotion.

Much like the way we develop friendships over a period of time, an entire generation of advertisers will need to plan their marketing scenarios around the concept of building relationships. We often meet new acquaintances through friends. We chat them up, maybe catch them later at a party with other mutual acquaintances, discover we have similar interests, and, before you know it, we’re all packed up and off on a weekend ski trip together in Vermont.

We should build our relationships with potential clients and customers the same way. And we can begin that process by subtly promoting our brands in passing — as an aside to a bigger discussion or conversation. Like Adams says: lightweight, not heavyweight. With the advent of the World Wide Web, there’s so much information out there for us to absorb and so little time to absorb it. As a result, the best way to introduce new products, content or ideas to consumers will be seamlessly, naturally and subtly through word-of-mouth interactions.

Adams believes, as I do, that within a few years, the web will need to…

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