Convergence Continues

Just reading this article on Ad Age and I had to chuckle a little bit.

When Internet advertising was getting off of the ground, there were no “Interactive marketing” teams at agencies, to speak of, and certainly no Interactive marketing teams client-side. In my position with Lycos, I would be bounced from the IT department to the Marketing department and rarely come across someone that said “oh, Interactive marketing…yes, that’s my department”. More often than not, the decision to get involved with Internet marketing came from the CEO and was pushed down.

Most successful websites, in the early days, were born from the most successful areas of the newspaper. Classified Advertising (the most profitable section of any newspaper) was hurt severely by Monster.com and others. CNN.com, and others, made the Main section of the newspaper seem outdated. ESPN.com took on the Sports Section of the newspaper. On and on until there are now websites for every section of the newspaper.

Now, the “web” is taking on television (or is television taking to the web?). In either case, it’s convergence. And, just as there was a shake up within marketing departments on how to deal with “this Internet thing”, there are shake ups to how to restructure marketing teams and marketing plans to account for the distribution of content. Digital media has transformed marketing for the long term. This isn’t going away, people. Traditional agencies are going to have to put plans in place for how they will handle these changes.

At the end of the day, I suspect that just as marketers adjusted to the performance-based methods of paying for advertising, there will still be a need for marketers to maintain a measurement of reach/frequency. The web has done a relatively poor job of measuring reach/frequency, so in this respect, this will need to change.

It took the web quite a while to become a legitimate marketing channel. I don’t suspect that the same thing will happen with this era of convergence. Marketers are much more savvy and I believe that most understand that they must change their thinking, because this is not a short term change. This is a fundamental shift. Marketing in this era is going to be accountable. The days of buying a full page ad in the newspaper or a network-wide :60 spot and not having significant and meaningful measurements behind it are coming to an end.

If you ask me, this is a good thing. And, this is what keeps me very excited about being a small part in figuring out what works and what does not, in this new era of marketing.