Marketing used to be about consumer reach—about how many people you could get to see or hear your ad. As such, many companies would do national ads so they could reach more people, knowing that a certain percent will be interested in the product or service.
Today, I don’t just want consumer reach. What I want, and what is even more important, is consumer engagement. In other words, it’s about getting people to take immediate action. How can I get them to take part in the ad? How can I get them to become the ad? We saw this done with Super Bowl ads, where companies got customers to create the ad they aired during the Super Bowl. That’s just one way to get engagement. Engagement can happen in many different ways, over and over again.
Additionally, companies used to have unknown customers. Advertisers would place multiple ads with the hopes of increasing sales. But today we can actually know who is clicking on our ads, buying our products, and even talking about us online.
Because we have more ways of knowing who’s responding and engaging with us, tracking results is easier. We used to have hard-to-measure results, and much of it was based on averages. But now, thanks to the digital world, it’s easy to measure exact results and get them in real time.
This engagement factor is ushering in another shift in advertising. Whereas we used to pay for services (pay for someone to run the ad), we’re now able to pay for results (pay for the number of people who take action on the ad). Unfortunately, many media companies are reluctant to embrace this new model. But those who do will certainly cause a revolution.
Ultimately, this is about reinventing how we think about advertising and making it more relevant and valuable for customers. This isn’t a question of if it will happen, but rather who will lead the way.
Remember, if it can be done, it will be done. And if you don’t do it, someone else will.