This week could be a watershed of sorts for the digital advertising industry. Ad industry workers and wonks are sequestering at the annual IAB MIXX Conference and Expo as I write this. And the question on the table this year is no less than “Advertising is _______________?”
If the people who, for all practical purposes, run this industry don’t know, is it any surprise the rest of us are feeling a bit lost, dazed and confused in this new Wild West?
IAB’s Randall Rothenberg defines the current state as both a crisis and an opportunity in Adweek.
“Digital technologies have put the very definition of advertising and marketing up for grabs,” he states.
As the media landscape gets more diverse, a marketer’s ability to confidently plan and implement successful campaigns is called into question. The confusion lies not only in the plethora of new channels, but in the very nature of advertising in light of sponsored content, native advertising, product placement and other types of brand promotion.
It’s maddening. And it’s tempting to run back to what we know and focus on our channel silos like we used to.
Thankfully, Rothenberg and others are having none of that, pusing us toward a solution.
“Everyone is being forced to propel themselves beyond their comfort zones,” he says. “The old way, the traditional way, is obsolete. There’s no place to go but toward the new. Deciphering the truth from the chaos will be hard. But it’s a necessary task. Advertising needs to be redefined; let’s get at it.
The time for hand-wringing and old style channel defensiveness is over. It’s time to figure this thing out.