With the end of the Mayan long count calendar about to occur in three days, a lot of people are concerned about the world as they know it coming to an end. While apocalyptic premonitions have been a regular occurrence even into modern times (who could forget the memorable non-event known as Y2K?), when it comes to cataclysmic changes taking place, I’ve got news for you…You’re too late. Ever since the advent of the Internet, the ways in which people all over the globe work, communicate, play, shop and get their news has been radically affected. As time goes on these changes have actually been accelerating. Let me count the ways.
1. Shop til You Drop!
With the holiday season upon us, not even Santa is immune from the Internet. I mean, who needs eight tiny reindeer when you have Amazon and EBay? Why fight your way in and out of the mall when you can point and click your way through your shopping list, your Christmas card list and have your presents shipped overnight? Have you seen people wandering the aisles at Walmart staring at their smartphones? They aren’t texting. They’re comparison shopping online. When you realize that back in 2002, consumers in the US spent $42 billion shopping online and in 2011 they spent $162 billion, the fact that more people are spending more of their discretionary income online than ever before is plain to see.
2. The Only News That’s Fit to Print
Newspapers have been a dominant source of information for more than 550 years. Ever since Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press back in 1454, the printed word has not only been a source of comfort to the populace, it has also been a source of revenue to publishers the world over. The problem is that since 2000, which was the high water mark for traditional publishers, those figures have been dropping ever since.
According to a recent Mashable.comreport:
· In 2000, newspapers peaked at $48.67 billion in revenue. This came entirely from print -- the National Association of Adertising did not track online ad revenue at that time, but we can assume it was a minuscule number.
· In 2001, it started dropping. Revenues dropped from $48.67 billion to $44.305 billion, a 9% decrease year-over-year. This was during the time of the Dot Com Bust and the related recession, so this is no big surprise.
· During 2002-2006, print advertising revenues hovered between $44 and $47 billion.
· Around this time, the NAA also began tracking online ad revenue. At the peak in 2005, combined ad revenue reached $49.435 billion, with $2.027 billion of it coming from online sales
· Then the floor completely caved in. In 2006, newspapers made $49.275 billion in total revenue. In 2007, it was $45.375 billion. In 2008, it dropped to $37.848 billion. In 2009, it plummeted all the way to $27.564 billion.
Newsflash: In four short years, newspaper advertising revenue dropped 44.24%! The old newspaper model is simply not going to be market-viable as we head deeper into the digital age. News blogs (such as Mashable) and online reporting are the future of journalism.
3. Has Madison Avenue Lost It’s Mojo?
3. Has Madison Avenue Lost It’s Mojo?
Of course, print media isn’t the only thing that has taken a hit since the turn of the century. Traditional broadcast avenues such as network television, cable television and radio have also seen their revenues decline sharply. The Yellow Pages, once one of the dominant forces of local advertising clout has seen usage drop from a high of 15.2 billion searches in 2002 to less than 11 billion searches in 2010. (Statistics gleaned from Searchengineland.com report entitled: Are Yellow Pages Toast
So, is it a coincidence the rapid drop in readership, viewership and listenership being experienced by traditional media should so closely parallel the rise of the Internet as a multimedia superstation? Or has Madison Avenue simply lost its mojo? Some mainstream marketing professionals think so.
I’m reading The Future of Advertising article in FastCompany, good stuff – but it reminds me of a constant voice in my head when I meet with my agency clients. You know, the one that screams, “Ouch, maybe that approach worked in the 90′s but does he really think this same approach is going to win the client’s business?”
It also reminds my agency friends they need to seriously re-think the role of advertising in the new world of Web 2.0, digital being front and center, develop and demonstrate innovative use of the social map, and frankly stay in the game of constant game-changing. Some will survive, while others are going to need to find their mojo, and not just by learning new approaches, but by redefining what it means to be in the business of advertising in the first place.
(Sheri writes about behavioral science and neuromarketing insights and consults with leading brands on effective application of these insights for product and marketing development. Her work has been featured in B@B, Direct, Target, CRM News, Online Media Daily, the New York Times and the Boston Business Journal.)
Being an advertising professional myself, I can relate to this vibe. The problem is that the majority of ad agencies are still stuck in the 1990’s. By that I mean that they continue to push the media that built most ad agencies, which boils down to traditional advertising. As a result, a number of agencies, including those on Madison Avenue are having increasing trouble in retaining clients due chiefly to poor ROI as traditional media continue to slump versus digital media.
4. Has Ma Bell Had Her Apron Strings Shortened?
Remember when there were no cellphones and the only thing you could do with a phone was talk? Remember when Bell Telephone ruled the roost and long distance charges were billed at whatever the market would bear. Well times have changed for the better for consumers and businesses alike when it comes to communicating via phone. The telephone monopolies now share their positions with the cell phone companies and other 3rd party players offering Voice Over IP phone service. Products like Magic Jack and Vonage have put a big dent in the armor plating of ATT and the others Baby Bell giants.
Even the postal service has undergone dramatic changes. The US postal service has to keep scaling back because of the reduction in mailed letters and documents. Its costs keep going up because they now mainly have to handle packages and of course they have the unions to contend with. Email has grown to huge proportion of written communication and is now the defacto way that most modern societies communicate. The Growth of texting has had a huge influence on the population, since text messages often get read when emails are ignored and cell calls are relegated to voice mail. It’s become such a problem that texting behind the wheel accounts for thousands of car crashes a year and tens of thousands of surprise cell phone bills to unhappy parents.
5. Our Ever More Wired World
If you think the past ten years has changed the way in which we live, work, shop and play, wait until you see what the next five has to offer. Everything from wearable computers to autonomous vehicles to robots that can see, hear, smell and talk are already on the drawing board or under development.
Far from having to wait until 12-21-12, what the vast majority of the populace hasn’t realized is the fact that the world as we knew it ceased to exist shortly after Y2K. The question isn’t whether this is going to throw a monkey wrench into the works. It is simply a matter of how we as a species are going to deal with a rapidly changing world.
Carl Weiss is president of W Squared Media Group, a digital marketing agency based in Jacksonville, Florida. He is also co-host of Working the Web to Win, a weekly online radio show that airs Tuesday at 4pm Eastern on Blog Talk Radio.