The most scarce good today is not capital or technology, but the attention of consumers, says Jordi Oliva, CEO, Zenith Mexico
[article first published in Expansion]
Recently, the Chief Marketing Officer of a large and renowned global advertiser declared that they were preparing for a world without advertising.
Due to the relevance of the character and the size of the advertiser, his statements had a significant impact on the international marketing community and only aggravated the debate we have had for some time about the future of this industry.
The questions that are made from the so-called “attention economy” of Herbert Simon are absolutely true, which state that the most scarce good today is not capital, nor technology nor of course labor, but attention of the consumers to whom the production factors are directed. And this phenomenon is definitely due to the emergence of all kinds of new traditional media (fundamentally new television channels) as well as innovative media, the so-called “weapons of mass distraction” that have customers and consumers more aware of the social content that of the messages of the brands. Content (advertising) that has been for decades has probably been abused in its bias and subjectivity and on which consumers increasingly trust less.
As Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Growth Officer of Publicis Groupe says, rather than consumers, today’s marketing is directed towards the gods …
Does all this mean then that advertising is dying? Probably yes. At least as we have known it for decades. That interruption marketing in which, without asking the audience for permission, the brands decide to send their messages so that consumers remember their products and then go shopping, is definitely dead.
The audience no longer supports the irritating way in which brands interrupt what, although for free (or not so much), consumers have decided to see
On the side of advertising budgets, communications planning with a “shoot and forget” is also dead. There is no longer an organization anywhere in the world that is willing to allocate a penny to massively triggered advertising initiatives, about which there is no idea of their return to the business.
So, is it true that we are going towards a world without advertising? Or is it not that advertising should be more strategic, contextual, segmented and intelligent?
Our econometric models on different sectors and brands consistently confirm that mediocre brands and products, but with money in the media, go further in their business results than the big brands without it. And also that the most powerful marketing, the one that generates superior results, is the one that paradoxically seems invisible to people.
What should be unacceptable for brands (and actually also for consumers), is not the concept of advertising per se, but that things continue to be done as in the twentieth century. With the amount of information, data and technology we have, continuing to fill the media and people’s lives with advertising noise is like returning to an update on the concept of “myopia marketing” that made Theodore Levitt famous in 1960.
Today we have artificial intelligence tools to identify segments of value and we have dynamic creative platforms, capable of managing thousands of customized versions of relevant and contextual experiences to connect with each person in what can really be of value , and not send messages To the masses.
I would think that the advertising industry is evolving in such a way that it is difficult to predict its end. And perhaps we are the marketing professionals who are not able to adapt to a new paradigm, those who are close to the end …
Of course, in this context, the media also have a challenge in the transformation they must face to remain relevant to advertisers, even if they are able to attract large volumes of audience. Advertisers are not going to continue betting for a long time on content and massive media of low value, with low capacity for measurement and segmentation.