ad:tech, one of the marketing communications industry’s largest trade shows, kicked off this week in San Francisco. Like the pioneers before them (and I’m talking about literal pioneers, not the digital ones), hordes of marketers have headed west, to the Moscone Center, to make their fortune by asking, “What communication strategies and tactics truly resonate with today’s businesses and consumers?”
Glancing at the agenda, it would appear that it boils down to three words: “personalization,” “socialization” and “integration.”
The meaning behind the first two is probably fairly self-evident. After all, one-to-one personalization has long been the cornerstone of many a marketing campaign, and everyone is trying to leverage the likes of Facebook and Twitter in their social media marketing efforts.
But what about integration? What exactly is being integrated?
Well, in a word…everything. In this sense, it refers to the integration of the traditional and the new. Combining offline advertising with online marketing to create a cohesive, all-encompassing campaign. Pairing traditional PR – press releases and media relations – with new means of reaching target audiences through social, search engine optimization and inbound marketing efforts.
The last ad:tech that I went to was in 2000. You know what the hot topics were back then? Online and offline targeting, privacy, and – believe it or not – mobile advertising, which was just ramping up, even then. But the primary thing on everyone’s lips was the marketing communications mix: finding the appropriate combination of tools to effectively get your message across, using both new and traditional media. And what is the marketing mix? Integration.
Thinking on this a bit, it struck me: we like to think things change in our industry at a lightning pace. And in truth, they do. But there’s also some truth to the old adage that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” It seems as much as we evolve, the core challenges and opportunities – and methods we use to approach them – remain relatively the same.
Times change; fundamentals, not so much.
- Pete Larmey