Young adults are hungry for the ad industry to be better. They are right.
“I block ads because I believe ads can be so much better.”
This was a direct quote from an advertising student at the University of Texas. I visited campus recently and had the opportunity to talk informally with advertising students from the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations. What I learned affirmed my faith in the future of advertising. I also walked away with a strong sense that these young students, if given the chance to practice the craft the way they see it, would upend the whole industry.
Look out Marketing Industry, You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
The marketing communications industry has always worked with a high level of data. But over the last decade, it’s been transformed by a new degree of granularity — the number of data streams available, new insights, and the ability to take action on those insights. We’re now working with up to 10 to 50 times the amount of data we had access to before, and it has the potential to unleash a new level of understanding, creativity, consumer value, and monetization.
Of course, there are a few pitfalls, which fall primarily into three categories.
The first has to do with understanding privacy rights: making sure everyone knows how their personal and consumer data will be used. Ideally, marketing creates a value exchange — providing benefit to consumers in exchange for collecting their information for the purposes of targeting media or custom messages.
This is what online services like Google and Facebook would argue they already do — free services in exchange for data collection and targeting. There is no true corollary for offline media at present, but when you look at the mergers of Time Warner and ATT, and the future direction of Comcast, both companies plan to inject as much data as they can into their advertising delivery and distribution vehicles. Over the Top (OTT) television offerings, and apps which enable a direct to consumer relationship between broadcast companies and consumers are also an example of media companies trying to simultaneously reclaim their relationship with the viewer and inject data into their targeting and sales approaches.