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Marketing just happens to be digital

Jason Holmes

By Jason Holmes
Oct. 27, 2015 at midnight


“There is no such thing as digital marketing. There is marketing – most of which happens to be digital.”

That was part of the message Brad Jakeman, PepsiCo’s global beverage president, delivered to the audience attending the “Masters of Marketing” conference in Orlando last week.

He went on to say, “Disruption has happened around us and we’re still talking about 30-second television ads. We fundamentally haven’t changed.”

These comments from a key executive at such a brand-focused company are disconcerting. Also disconcerting is the fact most of the conference attendees work in agencies that still focus on the 30-second spot and rely on the supposed reach of broadcast TV.

Mr. Jakeman went on to disparage terminology used in the marketing world. He said key concepts like “Agency” and even “Advertising” are keeping brands locked in the past.

In his view, the very concept of advertising is nothing more than “polluting content” with a disruptive ad.

True, the scale involved in marketing a product like Pepsi is very different from that of a local business, but the fundamental challenges are similar. Today, consumers can choose to ignore brands and advertising messages like never before.

Until they need you, they don’t want to hear from you as a brand and really don’t care about your products or services. But when they need you, they expect you to be accessible and ubiquitous. You have to own your business category where consumers live and they increasingly live a digital lifestyle.

This is why national brands are spending so much money on digital marketing, or marketing that “just happens to be digital.”

The digital culture that has taken over our society since the proliferation of smartphones and tablets. Since the 2009 release of the iPhone 3GS – the first iPhone that supported an acceptable Internet experience – the world has changed and advertising budgets have shifted in response.

In 2009, digital advertising spend accounted for just 16.2% of all local advertising dollars in Longview. According to Borrell Associates, our best source for local advertising forecasts, digital advertising will make up about 42.9% of all advertising spending right here in Longview in 2016!

Not surprisingly, more than half of that spend is coming from big brands reaching into the market and building their customer base, many times at the expense of local businesses.

So, if you’re a business owner or in charge of marketing a local business have you allowed this disruption to just “happen around you”? Or have you drastically changed your approach in meaningful ways?

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