Archive for February, 2010

What does media and technology convergence mean for marketing?

I went to the Future of Media conference at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business today. It was a fascinating discussion among people on all sides of the media industry, about the changes currently underway in the media space. Some of my key takeaways were:

  • Content has now officially won out over distribution as the most powerful element in the media mix
  • Media brands that were initially tied to amateur-generated content (e.g. YouTube, Facebook) are now carrying so much professionally-generated content they have become primary sources for professional news.
  • Given the explosion in the volume of content due to the popularity of user-generated content, audiences are having a harder and harder time finding the information they want and can trust, thus there is an important role for aggregators/editors as well as creators of content going forward. One of the great lines from David Cohn, founder of was that “you can be a linker or a thinker, and either path can be successful in the new media.”
  • Quality will remain the key differentiator of content going forward. As the content explosion continues and audiences become more and more overwhelmed by the volume, they will learn to associate certain media brands with quality content, and gravitate to those brands, leaving the unknown or lesser brands behind.
  • Following the current period of chaos and displacement, marketers can expect a whole new world of opportunity in media going forward. That new world will be populated by content developed and edited in both old and new media industries. And it will be powered by the convergence of diverse technologies that we today associate with disparate platforms: broadcast and cable TV, online streaming video, gaming, mobile applications, etc.
  • I’m ready for the new world. Are you?


    What is the next great marketing trend?

    Over the years, I’ve learned that marketers love to reinvent themselves. This is how brand marketers became direct marketers, and direct marketers became digital marketers and digital marketers became social marketers. We ride the waves of opportunity that cross through the marketing space, and push ourselves to continue to grow and change with the opportunities that surround us. Sure, some marketers stick to their knitting and remain in the space they started in. But many of us seek out change and find ourselves looking for that next great opportunity to expand our skill set. It is in our DNA to do so.

    I may be premature on this one, but I’m already starting to wonder what the next great trend might be in the marketing space. It seems to me that everyone who is going to adopt social marketing has already jumped on that bandwagon. There are some marketers who are not going social, but not many, based on my informal study of this question. Of course, those who have embraced social marketing will continue to progress and grow their skills in this area over the next few years. But the time will come when another new type of marketing seems more relevant and influential than the old types of marketing, and thousands of marketers will shift their careers once again.

    Thinking about this, I have searched the web to try to anticipate what trend will be next. My search wasn’t comprehensive, of course, but as far as I can tell, the only trend currently on the horizon is a back-to-basics movement that is re-emphasizing traditional marketing skills like closed-loop direct marketing, rather than developing any new style of marketing. I suspect this trend got its start in tight budgets caused by the struggling economy, but it also seems to be driven by recent improvements in marketing automation that codify traditional marketing skills. This is not the most exciting trend I have seen in my career, to be sure, but I suppose it demonstrates the value of those traditional marketing skills we picked up years ago, gives us the opportunity to refresh our traditional marketing skill set, and leverages a lot of the technology skills we have picked up in recent years, so it’s not all bad either. There is still room for personal and career growth in this environment, and just when you start to think you are bored with it, I’m sure another type of “new marketing” will surface, and we will be off and running again, just like in the go-go days.