Reducing That Half

John Wanamaker, who ever he was, supposedly said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

As much as I hate to play to the whole “social media is a revolution” idea, I think in 2010 and beyond we’ll start to see this wasted half reduced dramatically. Although I don’t know if you would class the spend under “advertising”.

The reason we haven’t seen any kind of revolution yet is because no one is using it in any kind of revolutionary way. When we move beyond Facebook Fan Pages as the core of strategy, combined with increased accountability on agencies, we’re going to start seeing some pretty amazing stuff.

The Utopian in me can’t wait for a time when I’m discussing a night out with my mates on Facebook and and my favourite beer brand joins the conversation with information on the nearest and cheapest location to buy a six pack. Or a theatre, knowing my favourite movie, checks my calendar to see if I’m free and then informs me they’re showing a screening. And my favourite candy brand is in on it too. How about a retailer makes a recommendation on what to buy my Dad for Father’s Day based on his Amazon browsing habits, or even his Twitter usage. The examples are endless.

Obviously, we’re not gonna be at this stage for a long time. And I’m not even sure how to get there. But at some point we’ll start using this abundance of information, deal with the privacy issues and eventually develop the right technology to start reducing that wasted half of advertising.

But in the mean time, the least I can hope for is that Coles will stop wasting their half on me.

No Comments
  • Marek
    Posted at January 3, 2010 11:45pm, 03 January Reply

    While what you write above Zac about a brand joining the conversation with utility marketing – adding value into the conversation – the trend is most likely to be one where you have to seek out the brand. An app you add to your facebook to help you find that bar, but its sponsored by a brand.

    Otherwise it's disruptive and unsolicited advertising something you've written about quite a lot.

    As a result, part of the wasted half, will still be wasted, for 2 reasons:
    1. The above example of utility/app marketing often only has a small reach, and so there is a high cost. So perhaps instead of some been wasted, the reach is the same as is the total cost the same, but there is a higher cost per acquisition.

    2. Advertising has an element of creative and creative has an element of risk.
    Despite testing well, some ads fail. And some ads test badly and run and succeed.
    This is the case for more than just ads, but products, distribution ideas etc.


  • Zac Martin
    Posted at January 4, 2010 3:59am, 04 January Reply

    Marek, I love your comments mate.

    I think you're probably right with people having to seek out the brand, although I still think there are many missed opportunities where people are actually asking for information/cheapest price/nearest location about specific products where brands could step in. Maybe it's about making these brands more accessible to be sought out?

    I suppose it's too difficult to ensure everything is value adding every single time, and not disruptive.

    I think there's a whole nother conversation around your second reason, the balance between creating memorable art versus strategic/brand/social insight etc. From what I can see, the trend seems to be leaning more towards the latter, but branded content changes this completely. I'm hoping to do an assignment/research on this and pass it off as a Uni assignment this semester. Would love more of your thoughts on this.

    Hope you're enjoying your break dude.

  • Lachyw
    Posted at January 8, 2010 2:01pm, 08 January Reply

    Was going to direct you to a Scoble post about harnessing meta-data from tweets, but can't copy a link to this comment area… not sure if that's a setting you have imposed?

    try googling something like "scoble twitter advertising you will love"

    interesting article that is very related to what you're saying and shows how to kinda side-step the permission issue – or how to think about side-stepping the permission issue 😛

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