Advertising Outlook for 2008

There's a great article in today's WSJ about the outlook for the advertising industry in 2008.  Check it out here. If half of it is true then this new marketing thing is pretty real.

The article points out five trends to watch out for in 2008.  I love all of them because they clearly support the theory that marketing is getting flipped upside down.

My thoughts:

  1. New structure.  The article points out that marketers want more collaboration between web advertising executives and TV advertising executives.  To me this means a lot more than marketers simply recognizing that attention spans have shifted from traditional mediums to the web.  This is a recognition that marketing is changing...quickly.
  2. Screen Wars.  Many advertisers are turning to outdoor television screens to get consumers' attention (gas stations, doctor's offices, etc.).  Another bad sign for old marketing.  They don't have TiVo at the gas station (yet).  And other sign of how interruption-based marketers can stay ahead of technology (for a little while).
  3. House Guests.  The idea that marketers want to know more about consumers that simply what they're watching on TV -- they want to know about their lifestyles.
  4. Green backlash; i.e. because of things like blogs if your company isn't serious about Green then you'll get caught.  Now that I'm writing one, I can't help but be stunned on a regular basis by how powerful these things are.
  5. The antisocial movement.  Social networking is already beginning to feel the effects of hyper-growth; that is, as the article says, "nobody has 5,000 friends."  This section includes this quote which is best part of the whole article: "...the [social networking] sites will be much more effective as a consumer-research tool than as a venue to peddle products."

I love it.  Now there's a business model worth pursuing.  Social networks could be monetized by providing companies with real-time, accurate and aggregated consumer data; rather than irrelevant, wasteful and annoying banner ads.

I truly believe that consumers will happily give up more data than most people think if they're actually getting value in return.  So rather than accepting more ads or forcing more users to pay service fees, simply ask users to allow their data (on an aggregate, not individual level!) to be viewed by a third party.  If this value proposition is made clear in an honest and direct way, I think there's a business here.