I was interested to read the column by Alan Simmons (MW March 1) in which he juggled the issue of consumers’ ability to avoid advertising, and managed to conclude that the outdoor advertising industry must behave responsibly if it is to have a rosy future. His chain of thought may be slightly long-winded but he does address an issue that should be at the top of the marketing agenda – how marketing can work in the age of disruptive technologies.
Peer-to-peer software will bypass the ISP server model and enable consumers to communicate directly with whoever they want through the Internet. Banner advertising will cease to exist. The development of interactive television and the increased penetration of replay TV will kill off “interruption advertising” as we know it. Consumers will take control of the media. They will take power away from broadcasters an
d advertisers and, like all powerful individuals, they will have to be treated as important.
The only way to communicate with them effectively will be through opt-in marketing. When marketers practise this they had better touch the consumer in the right way. If they fail they will rarely get a second chance.
It will be crucial to put brands at the centre of communication. Technologies and fashions come and go. The key objective is to build allegiances so that consumers remain receptive and loyal.
Instead of focusing on technologies, marketers must concentrate on what they have traditionally practised to succeed – developing brands.