25 January 2008

Digital has redefined advertising

It’s probably clichéd to say this now, but I’ll say it anyway: the Internet has changed everything. It has redefined our work, our businesses and our lives. From what we want (materially, that is) to when, where and how we want it. Fuelled by the parallel growth in telecommunications, our world is now defined by the digital.

Not so much, perhaps, in the Third World where Internet penetration and ownership of computers as well as basic/mobile telephones are still low, but the phenomenon has definitely changed lives in developed countries. And, along with it, it has changed the way marketers want – or, rather, have – to reach out to their customers and service them.

This, in turn, has put a lot of pressure on traditional media (like print, TV, radio and outdoor), and advertising agencies which rely on them to deliver brand messages, in order to offer digital advertising solutions. Mind you, this change is not just about advertising on the Internet or on the worldwide web, which usually means online advertising. It’s about media becoming digital.

It means that, now, the way we conceive an advertising campaign has to be different. Not only in the way technology has to be used to deliver the messages, but also in the way (a) advertising messages have to be planned and created, and (b) media has to be mixed, negotiated and bought. In short, it means the digital world has redefined the world of advertising.

This obviously requires a change in the way advertising agencies think and do their business. However, if you look around you, you’ll find that most advertising agencies across the world – particularly their creative teams – have remained static. They have neither changed their thinking from traditional to digital media, nor invested in building skills and capabilities to offer digital advertising solutions to their clients.

Is it any wonder that marketers are turning to new media agencies?

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