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Is Advertising Really Dead?

Giovanna Pergher
Inês Oliveira

Marketing Manager

May 21, 2021
5 min

Opinion Article on Adworld Event & Digital Marketing

"Advertising is dead.

You shouldn't be running tweets about Oreo Cookies."

advertising, social media and community

Is Social Media doing Marketing more harm than good? Have we truly been preparing for what's coming?

The first time I heard those first two sentences, was 2 weeks ago when watching the Ad World Conference. I've been thinking about them since then.

Is everything that I heard so far, a lie?

In two separate conferences, David A. Yovanno and Seth Godin were arguing that Advertising is actually making us more forgettable to our consumers. Is that even possible?

And, more importantly: is it true?


First, let's see what marketers have been doing for the past 20 years:


* Running Paid Ads

* Developing new and improved E-mail Marketing strategies

* Finding explosive trends and topics to create New Content


All these sound pretty great, right?

But are these the promising and revolutionary techniques every marketing specialist preaches to the public? The ones that are really going to take us far?

So, where have they taken us so far?  

The answer is a short and a rather simple one: we are saturated. These techniques, tips and tricks led us to the point of saturation. With no return.

We are constantly bombarded with the latest promotions, free trials, and those 50% off that we r

really needed so much.

Am I saying that email marketing is dead?


Not at all!  


Email marketing is and will always be our good chance to be in touch with our customers, closer to them.

It's a platform to tell them about product updates, and communicate directly with them.

And as Seth Godin believes (which I agree):  

"You need to speak to those who want to listen to you. To the ones who will miss you".


In those AdWorld talks, we heard a lot about the future of Advertising. Where it's going and where

it's taking us. So, after a little reflection, I came to terms with it: there's no more space for

Advertising. For our Advertising. Good or Bad.

Here's the truth, the only secret tip we need: authenticity.

And you know that, sure. But are we really putting it in practice? Are we really being authentic to

our customers, and loyal to our brand values? Being truly and audaciously authentic, not

Instagram Ad authentic.  

We are customers, yet also human beings. Beings that want to be awed. Me, you and everyone we

know. We want to experience something new, feel new things, be Amazed!

Thinking about it, when was the last time you were really amazed by a brand? Most likely you

don't remember.


We go to our phones when we are bored or in need of a distraction.

Everyday, on our way to work, we go online. We do it for information, entertainment, and to

connect with people.

So, let me ask you. Are you experiencing that when being targeted by an Ad?

That small and meaningless experience is senseless. It doesn't come with feelings or new

sensations. And although we are in the digital world, where traditional marketing doesn't play a part, we can't forget about the very reason why Marketing exists in the first place.

"Marketing is making things better by creating better things", says Seth Godin.


Do you remember the last Ad you saw? I don't. But I remember the memorable Lego promotion video or the amazing safety video by Air New

Zealand.

(If you haven't watched them, take 5 minutes and do it. You won't regret it.)

Those videos are exciting. The made us excited about buying legos or booking our next trip. They come with a lot of new feelings, entertainment, and a deeper connection with the brand. A connection that we crave for.


But the important question is: How can we be memorable then? How will we grow our business without Digital Advertising?


And the answer is simple.

We need a network, a legion of ambassadors.

Really think about it. Human beings want to belong. We want to be a part of something bigger, be different and always be "up and in". That means that you need to offer

"status, affiliation" and visibility.


David A. Yovanno, CEO of Impact, in his talk at #AdWorld, brought some of these ideas to us.

He defends that Partnerships and Influencers are the future, and the place we should invest our Marketing budget. The reason behind it has to do with the very issue we have here today:

The market is saturated. Not only the market, but customers are too.  

If you started counting this morning, how many ads would say you already saw?

Unfortunately, this "trend" is affecting not only customers but our own business too.

There's no space for doing the same and still expecting growth and big results.


And the answer is still simple, but one that we are not prepared for.

We've been taught to follow the latest trend to create epic content, or to advertise even more. Yet, the great recipe is far from being that.

Instead of doing as they say, focus on bringing people together. Be a leader, but one that "leads people who want to be led". Create your network. Whether from partnerships, influencers, or even your own customers.

Customers don't trust Ads, they trust people and their experiences. That's why following the Kardashians (or any other trendy influencer) is most people’s guilty pleasure. These people give meaning to products, and above all, they transform them into something Real.

And suddenly, you are no longer watching an Ad. You are watching someone you know (and trust) showing you a product or service they love and vouch for.

And that's all it takes. Because now you want it too, even if it wasn't in your thoughts until then.

Thinking of the end of cookies, we need to be prepared to admit that Advertising will soon become old news too.  

So be part of the change. Think like a customer, and not like a brand. Partner with your customers. Give them an unforgettable experience that they can share with their

network. Just because we are talking Digital, don't forget that you're still running a brand for real people. And there's nothing worse than a senseless brand experience.

Take your customers to the center of your marketing, and soon they will "become evangelists for what you do".

* You can find the organisation ID in the URL when you access your LinkedIn Company page as an admin.

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