Web 2.0 is dead. Social media and social networking are the new PR and advertising is blending into marketing is the new black and white newspapers are dinosaurs are still hot with the kid market your product as a human seeking a date with your customer not their wallet. Forget CEO, it's SEO, SEM, SMO, SMS, GPS, conversations, experiential, engagement, behavioral, digital, e, i, blog, blawg, vlog, pod, dig, cast, web, net, analytics, metrics, pay-per-click, micro, global, tweet, portal, virus is bad, viral is good. Can anyone hear me? Yes, loud and clear! The world is listening just as much as the world is talking.
We live in a world of paradoxes. We constantly want and resist change at the same time because of our basic needs for stability and variety, leaving us with an ever-present inner-struggle. Hence all the panic right now. I say we calm down a little and enjoy the ride, this recession part of a renaissance. A transformation. An evolution.
People are running around saying that the automobile industry is in trouble. Really? Are we suddenly not going to need to get around? *blows raspberry* Of course the automobile industry is in trouble, but only as we know it. Thank God! We've been using outdated technology – I look forward to clean, efficient, quick transportation. In fact I really look forward to teleporting, but that will take a bit longer.
It's not any one industry that is undergoing metamorphosis, it's industry itself. Everything is changing – corporate structure, systems, religions, expectations... we are in a renaissance of science and culture.
The advertising industry is no exception. Technology has given us a whole new world of media, and has shifted the powers around to level the communications playing field between the consumers and the marketers. This is exciting! We are all both consumer and marketer to whatever degree, so it's good for everyone. The trick is to jump in with an open mind and to let go of the old games. It's time to redefine, for a greater good.
During artistic renaissances, there are a plethora of artists that sprout up and help push up the concrete institutions, but only certain people really get it right and are remembered for it. So who are the Michaelangelos of the ad industry during this renaissance we're going through? How can we tell the hacks from the masters? The trick might be to watch for people who practice the very thing they should be preaching right now: honesty.
Above all else, this level playing field has forced honesty, and if a marketing company is telling its clients that they need to have "honest conversations" with their consumers, then the marketing company should be having one too. That means admitting that no one is an expert right now because things are changing too fast. There are strong players, though. These players are out there not just speaking the new language, but questioning and redefining it as they go, faster than Googles changes its SEO criteria.
So engage in the conversation whether you're a marketer or a consumer, because really, you're both.