Great piece in the New York Times today on the future of advertising. But it isn’t the dramatic (and oft-discussed) shift from off-line to more relevant and accountable on-line advertising. Rather, it zeros in on the shift of focus and spending to what happens after you’ve found a prospect, because finding a potential customer is just the beginning of marketing’s job. How do you convert, retain, up-sell and satisfy that prospect? More and more, the answer will be through digital experiences. And along the way, basically every company becomes a media company (and as a side-effect of that, every company becomes a software company). Nike is the poster child in the story:
“We’re not in the business of keeping the media companies alive,” [Nike’s] Mr. Edwards says he tells many media executives. “We’re in the business of connecting with consumers.”
Nike wants to engage directly with customers through their own experiences/services (the fact they sell shoes is almost incidental):
Behind the shift is a fundamental change in Nike’s view of the role of advertising. No longer are ads primarily meant to grab a person’s attention while they’re trying to do something else — like reading an article. Nike executives say that much of the company’s future advertising spending will take the form of services for consumers, like workout advice, online communities and local sports competitions.
“We want to find a way to enhance the experience and services, rather than looking for a way to interrupt people from getting to where they want to go,” said Stefan Olander, global director for brand connections at Nike. “How can we provide a service that the consumer goes, ‘Wow, you really made this easier for me’?”
Note the aside that the majority of digital marketing dollars are going to bolstering Web presence and experiences as opposed to advertising:
Digital media spending is doubling every year at many big companies, industry data indicate. But the research firm Outsell found this year that 58 percent of marketers’ online spending went to their own Web sites, rather than to paid ads. More than two million people visited Nike-owned Web sites in July, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.
The digital marketing revolution is much broader than just advertising. No aspect of marketing will be unscathed. And that revolution is software-driven…