Every Friday, The Big Smoke looks at industry news curated by MediaScope. This week we look at the coming ad war, how AI turned hype into results and the equation to make the sale.



The coming war: Browsers against advertising pollution (Frederic Filloux – Monday Note)

Next year will see a major offensive from Google and Apple against the worse parts of the advertising world. It will be tricky for Google, bound to appear as judge and jury. Expect many casualties. But the entire ecosystem will benefit from these initiatives. To put it bluntly, the ad community has less than a year to clean up its mess before browsers take matters in their own hands. Already, scores of pundits whine that Google is leveraging its position to filter ads in order to reinforce its dominance. They conveniently omit that the Coalition for Better Ads corrals dozen of members, including Facebook, most media buyers as well as scores of large publishers. My thesis is we are just at the beginning of a massive cleansing of the advertising ecosystem that will have far-reaching consequences


AI is leading from hype to reality and marketers are reaping the benefits (Leslie Fine – Adweek)

Historically, businesses required human interaction in order to understand exactly what a customer needed. Today, that’s no longer the case. Thanks to lots of data and AI, companies now know exactly what you want, when you want it and how you want it. Some may fear AI, but I think of it as doing for minds what the Industrial Revolution did for muscles: machines taking on difficult and repetitive tasks and improving output. As in the case of an online retailer, AI will change the way marketing is done by turning to machine learning in order to discover patterns in data on human behaviour. We don’t have to look far into the future to see how AI will make every marketing campaign smarter and more personalised; we’re already there. As marketers work hard to get ever closer to the customer at every touch point, AI gives them the total view of what’s possible and what makes sense, reducing the friction to customer satisfaction even as their expectations are constantly rising.


Rise of the machines: Agencies need to be consultative, not a commodity to succeed (TBWA\Asia Pacific and Hall & Partners – The Drum)

According to those who helped us to compile this new joint Hall & Partners and TBWA study, marketing’s future will be both made easier and more complex by the rise of the machines. Easier, for instance, because the best marketers will be able to understand the customer to an even greater degree, adding value to an organisation by providing a clearer voice to the customer. More complex because people will have more control in choosing what they want from brands so marketers will no longer be able to assume that people will accept whatever they’re given. We know well through our multiple global campaigns that marketers need to craft their messages with greater regularity from the consumers’ point of view, and unless they add value, consumers won’t engage. Because of the consumer’s tech-fuelled control, experiential marketing will be vital for brand development. Also see How IA is streamlining marketing and sales.


Economic downturn concerns hit advertising business (Jack Myers – Media Village)

We are likely to be facing a general economic downturn in the next several months, and both media agencies and publishers should account for that possibility in their planning. The uncertainty in the advertising economy, which is evident in the slowly unfolding Upfront market, reflects the growing concern among economists that we are headed toward a recession – and the resulting uncertainty among marketers. Analyst Michael Nathanson warns “winter is coming” to the media industry, and he has reported that “given the current scatter environment and uncertainty in key verticals like retail and autos, buyers appear to be in no rush to lock in deals.” Many of the troubling economic signals that appeared prior to the crash of 2007-2008 have reappeared but are hidden by unconventional monetary policies. Failure to recognise and respond to these risks – which is the case as governments and central banks push for artificially stimulated growth – is the biggest threat to the world economy. A belief in the value and importance of advertising to business, culture, society and the economy prevents pessimism from overtaking our overall optimistic long-term outlook. We all share a common belief in the future of our industry and are all working to actively transform our business models. The core question is which business models will survive in an economic downturn and which companies and executives have the vision to invest now before it is too late?


Do the math and make the sale (Doug Weaver – The Drift)

Old, traditional sales approach: “Young urban men are really important to your brand, and we’ll help you reach a lot more of them.” After doing the math: “We’re estimating that there will be 2.5 million urban, millennial men actively searching online for a product like yours in the next six weeks. Every 5% of that active market you win means $3 million in sales. You’ve got a window of opportunity to get to these customers with a proactive strategy before your competitor, brand X, does. We have the core capabilities to help you with that strategy. Can I tell you how?” Many reps avoid specifics because they worry too much about the downside of being wrong. But it’s better to be specific and wrong than it is to be accurate and meaningless. Your hypothesis need only be credible, and you need only to be able to show your work. So take a shot. Do the math. Bring your customer to the whiteboard to work on the problem with you and you’re halfway home.


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