The Times They Are A-Changin’ – The Impact of Online on Marketing

Online advertising isn’t working out so well, according to this Advertising Age article based on a report by industry analyst firm, Forrester, which says people are not engaging with digital advertising. Forrester projects big advertisers will pull around $2.9 billion out of digital advertising over the next year.

But wait, there is more bad news. Forrester reports that display advertising “never worked like we pretended. CMOs know this already, but nobody wants to talk about it” citing problems of poor-quality ad placements, barely existent click-through rates, non-viewable impressions and rising ad blocking.

Talk about the 800-pound gorilla in the room!

Big advertising spenders like Procter & Gamble are pushing back on digital advertising spending with a desire for increased transparency and accountability.

So, where does this lead us and does this mean a return to print advertising?

Probably not. The New York Times reported its first quarter earnings saying print advertising revenue fell 18 percent, driving a 7 percent decline in total advertising revenue for the quarter. Its digital advertising revenue increased 19 percent, but the overall decline in ad revenue is because print advertising is still more lucrative for the Times and other major papers.

So, if not advertising, what’s next? It seems to me that conferences/events are in decline, the value of PR is being questioned more and more, there is disenchantment on the effectiveness of different forms of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, et al), buzz around SEO has leveled off.

It makes me wonder (seriously), what is the future of marketing? The tried-and-true traditional practices that evolved over decades are in serious disruption because of the online world we live in today.

I think Bob Dylan described the situation well in the last verse of the song, The Times They Are A-Changin’ released in 1964:

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slowest now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fading
And the first one now will later be last
Cause the times they are a-changing