"Hostage" Marketing

We're way beyond the tipping point. There is already too much advertising. Not too much effective advertising just too many ads everywhere. What traditional media didn't throw out at their readers, viewers and listeners new media is now bombarding them with. It's the new computer wallpaper called online advertising. MySpace will be getting more ads to make Rupert Murdoch's $600 million investment pay off. Google has to get a return on its $1.6 billion purchase of YouTube -- critical mass in advertising is their end game. As advertisers redirect their budgets into new media, there are simply too many ways to advertise in too many places. Targeting buyers online was a no-brainer, and Google and Yahoo did it well because Internet technology facilitated it. What's missing is the emphasis on results. Advertisers in and of themselves are in a large way responsible for this. As they rush their messages to the Internet they do so with too little information about the new consumer. Most simply adapt analog messages, if you will, to digital delivery systems. And if you project the many additional opportunities that will present themselves to marketers in what I call "hostage marketing" situations such as waiting for music to download or paying for video clips with your attention, then you begin to grasp the crisis that isn't here just yet but is most certainly on the way. My mentor and brilliant radio owner Jerry Lee (WBEB-FM, Philadelphia) as always is leading the way. Lee's always-profitable station doesn't just sell ads or promise results, it almost guarantees them. Lee uses a simple and affordable online ad testing system for his clients and he will remake an ad if it isn't effective. If I'm in the advertising business -- traditional or new age -- I'd go to school on Lee. He's the kind of guy who would gladly share what he knows is true -- that if media old and new doesn't invest time, money and interest in getting results, all media will be in peril. For it is advertising that drives content and when the current rush to the Internet levels off years from now even technology won't save a faulty business model that screams more ads not more effective ads. Proliferation of advertising everywhere you go won't sustain media growth. Getting results -- a goal that has been given short shrift in the past -- will. And my view is this concept is more primitive than this burgeoning technology known as the Internet.