A while ago I asked the question ‘Is the net killing marketing creativity‘ and came to the conclusion that the instant gratification now apparently demanded in all phases of our lives has indeed killed creativity.
Perhaps tritely I put it down to the not so bright amongst the marketing fraternity taking the easy way out, because it was the only one they could see.
However, the question does require some greater consideration.
That technology has overtaken us is indisputable, giving us the potential for focus and reach in addition to great performance metrics, but creativity requires more than just speed. It requires subtlety, deep understanding of those with whom you are communicating, a capacity to see yourself through the eyes of others, and a willingness to be different and take risks.
It is in these latter areas that advertising is failing, badly.
For the uninitiated, ‘Martech’ seems to have caught on as the phrase of the moment, very intelligently pushed by my colleague Scott Brinker on the Chief Martech blog.
A subset of the Martech environment is the ‘Adtech’ tools, which have automated advertising, the most obvious but far from the only manifestation of creativity. Whether it be on line or in an analogue environment, only the means of delivery has changed, not the need to engage, entice, intrigue and advise readers.
The ad industry has certainly been damaged, although great swathes of it have just got what they deserved, being mediocre purveyors of wasted investment, and unwilling to see the writing on the wall, although it was their wall.
The technology has been abused, and consumers have turned off it all, and the evidence for that is everywhere.
Over 400 million people, 22% of smart phone owners use ad blockers to insulate themselves from advertising, and the number is currently higher on desk-top devices.
Web advertising has evolved quickly into the digital version of the crap that fills your letterbox, direct response, discount coupons, price promos, untargeted rubbish. Where is the recognition that advertising has a higher purpose, it is an investment in the long term, things called ‘brands’.
And as for advertisers, they are slowly waking up to the fact that up to 40% of their ads are being seen only by robots, and last I looked they do not buy much. In addition, the media placement is now often done by so called ‘programmatic buying’ which is a way of removing the insight and intuition of people from the process, saving money and pocketing the difference. While sellers tout the value of programmatic buying, and in some circumstances it does have merit, the major benefit is their pockets, not the advertisers marketing outcomes.
More fool the marketers I guess, they are getting what they deserve.
I will show my colors here, as little investigative reporting as we have come to know it being done in the digital space. Where would Australians be without people like Kate McClymont of Sydney’s SMH who almost single handedly, and against great odds provided the impetus that led to the conviction of Eddie Obeid for fraud, and exposed the predation of members of the Catholic church clergy in Newcastle that led to the current Royal Commission. Google and Facebook have no interest in this sort of journalism, paid for by advertising, and benefiting the society we live in.
As for consumers, we have had our privacy thrown against the digital wall. My kids seem less concerned than me, but nevertheless, I am bothered by the implications, as well as those bloody ads for stuff I do not want that follow me wherever I digitally go.
And as for the digital security of us all, when hackers find 138 holes in the pentagon web sites, good luck with the security of your google account.