Aug 17, 2012

Marketing is changing drastically, the olde marketing ways are dead, traditional advertising is dead and buried, mass media is going to fade away... WTF?

Let's get one thing clear right away, I am not a marketing expert. I am a person who is keenly interested in advertising and therefore also in marketing.

That said, I can fearlessly begin with this potentially completely flawed post on what is happening with marketing these days.

Let me begin with why I am writing this post. It’s because I have come across way too many pieces of online and offline communication about what this post's headline talks about - Marketing is changing drastically, the olde marketing ways are dead, traditional advertising is dead and buried, mass media is going to fade away.... These messages, posts, articles, videos, comments, tweets… have been crowding my mind without quite forming any kind of tangible picture.

So I thought I should try and get a clear picture in my head (to the extent that is possible) by writing about it.

The basic discussions seems to be about the fact that it is no longer relevant to broadcast your message, now your message has to be discovered and shared.

The reason being that now nearly the entire planet is on the Internet, and nearly everyone is searching the Internet for information, reviews, tweets, posts, Facebook comments and such, to gather information before choosing a particular product or service.

That is absolutely correct. However, back when the Internet wasn’t there, whenever possible we used to ask friends and if we knew one, even experts, before choosing a product or a service. Now, this is happening on a much wider scale and everyone is doing it. Therefore it is a very very important factor to consider when marketing your brand. OK, got it loud and clear!

Now, social media is enabling groups of people to broadcast their message far and wide without spending any money on media - Twitter, Facebook, Google+ et al. 

And it has brought down Governments. 

Wow that’s amazing. However, can a brand do something like that, very doubtful. No brand can have a
cause as powerful as freedom from a dictator or freedom for an entire community. But most definitely a brand can do something in a smaller scale. That is fantastic, because it does not require any money to be spent on media. However, many people will be needed to create and feed the message into social media for it to become effective. And that will cost money!!

“Mass media like TV commercials, newspaper and magazine ads etc. is no longer effective”

Now, this is something that I find hard to believe. Huge amounts of money are being spent on making TVCs, designing press advertising campaigns and of course buying media space in TV channels and newspapers and magazines. Ok, one powerful change to consider is that many of the newspapers and magazines are now going online. Which means that the traditional way of developing ad campaigns for offline newspapers and magazines does not hold true in certain markets. In India newspapers and magazines are still mostly offline and physical. The change isn’t really being felt there.

TV commercials are still being viewed when people watch their favourite TV programmes or channels. However, a great ad is now seen by millions and millions more people because they go viral and are shared on the web. So what that means is that making a good TV commercial isn’t enough anymore, it has to be so good that it is shared. Cool! But after it is seen all over the Internet, do the people still go for reviews, comments, posts etc. etc. before they buy the product? I guess so, but they would never have bothered to find out about it if they hadn’t seen the ad in the first place. Therefore TV commercials are still highly relevant.

“A well orchestrated web campaign that broadcasts your message effectively across social media platforms is enough to build a brand and sustain it”

Frankly, with half the planet on Facebook and Twitter, it looks very possible. To tell you the truth, I really don’t know if this is true or not. Chances are it can build a brand, especially if it is a web based one. However, if the same brand had created an integrated campaign using digital and traditional media, it would have been much more effective.

So, maybe this is how it is done now-a-days -

First, get the TA right.

Second, get the message right.

Third, create a great media neutral core advertising campaign.

Fourth, adapt it completely to the web (Facebook page and all).
This may mean completely changing the communication while keeping the main message the same and maintaining synergy with the core campaign. And most importantly if it does not translate into a powerful web campaign, then revisit the third step. In today’s scenario getting it right on the web is maybe even more important than getting it right in mass media.

Am adding a very important point here thanks to Anand's comment below "There are about 80 Mn people who access the internet in India and about 900 Mn who have mobile phones...did you miss a trick by not including mobile in your analysis above".

We need to put a hugely powerful mobile campaign in place too. Adapt the core idea to mobile, with maybe slightly different creative renditions for regular phone audience and the top-end smartphone audience (we can even choose one of these segments depending on what profile of TA are to be addressed)

Fifth, adapt it to social media.

Sixth, adapt it to mass media – TV, press etc.

Seventh, publish, air and ship it.

Eight, sustain it on the web.

Ninth, sustain the community that it creates on the web.

There are a million more things that can be done like create web apps, mobile advertising, ambient advertising, Google ads, targeted web ads, guerrilla advertising, viral advertising, Facebook advertising, SEO marketing, etc. etc. etc.

All that notwithstanding, I feel that in an overall sense, this is what the 'new changed marketing' is more or less like. 

I may be completely wrong, or partially wrong or horrendously wrong. That's alright, I am not an expert as I said in the beginning :D

I would love it if someone reading this gives me a correct picture or a better/simpler explanation. I would love love it. I really need to get my mind clear about this whole ‘new way of marketing/advertising’ shebang :D


  1. for thought, I would say, and a very incisive look at the scenario as it is today!

  2. Thank you... it is just a layman's attempt at understanding the changes happening all around.


  3. Very nice thought Sanjeev.

    But i would like to differ when you mentioned that
    “Mass media like TV commercials, newspaper and magazine ads etc. is no longer effective”.

    In India, people still travels in buses, trains etc. In a city bus there will be only 15-20% people who will be using social networking sites like (Facebook, Twitter etc).

    For them Newspapers, Radio, TVC's are the only medium from where they can gather informations regarding the product etc.

  4. Hi Monjit, You are absolutely right. In the Indian context the Internet is nowhere near as important as it is in markets like the US and Europe. Here regular media is still the main channel through which the masses consume communication... but chances are that as the Internet penetration increases in the coming years, important segments of our audiences will be found online. Until then all forms of advertising are very much alive :)

  5. Saiko - There are about 80 Mn people who access the internet in India and about 900 Mn who have mobile phones...did you miss a trick by not including mobile in your analysis above?

  6. First, am truly delighted that you read it, and that you made the effort to put in a comment. And most definitely yes, mobile is much much bigger, and for the top end of the mobile audience smartphones are making it even more powerful. I will be adding that to the post, with due credit to you.

    Thanks a lot!