Following on from yesterdays somewhat cynical observations about the supposed ease of using viral marketing as an advertising “strategy”, driven often by cost considerations and dills who do not understand, it seems sensible to take a closer look at e-advertising, and the ways to target advertising to where it may deliver  a marketing return, and hopefully eventually, a financial one.

Ads on the net have proliferated, from targeted ads that look like the stuff on TV or in magazines, to  stuff, sometimes highly creative, posted by individuals, and that would never cut it in the advertising old days, but that leveraged the dynamics and connectedness of the net and have worked a treat. Predictably, the tools to manage placement have evolved pretty quickly as service providers seek an alternative to the disappearing revenue from traditional media.

The social media phenomenon of the web 2.0 has opened up another way to slice and dice potential audiences to target communication at those more receptive for some reason, but when you have a starting point of 600 million facebook, and hundreds of millions of other “opportunities”, Foursquare, Flikr, U-Tube, et al, the problem becomes one of analytics. Predictably there are a host of start-ups  addressing the challenge  of organising the data into a useable form, but the numbers are huge, and the organic unpredictability of an individuals capacity to respond to messages of all sorts makes this a real challenge.

I still fall back on the old fashioned formula of identifying a need, then over-delivering to customers, one by one,  as the starting point. The difference is we can now conduct hundreds of small scale “experiments” using all the digital tools and low cost communication, the “experiments” themselves becoming the medium of communication exchange with highly fragmented potential and existing customers.