Advertising, at least in the way it has been traditionally defined, is in a bit of a crisis.
More than 75 million Americans will be ad blockers by 2018, according to estimates this year from eMarketer.
With so many people going out of their way to install software to avoid advertising, the ad industry must look in the mirror and, like Michael Jackson once said, start to make a change.
While speaking during a session at Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Story Worldwide co-founder Kirk Cheyfitz didn’t pull any punches.
“We are at the end of the advertising era; content is the future. As a marketer, you have to earn attention and create experiences that your audience wants,” he said.
Cheyfitz offered six steps that brands must take to transition successfully into the content future he is predicting.
1. Brands must take responsibility.
The future is built by those who roll up their sleeves and get to work. The answers won’t fall from the sky; they will come only through ideation, experimentation and analysis.
2. Pledge to “do no harm.”
Brands have to stand for something, and increasingly people expect brands to do good. Google was early in this regard with its “don’t be evil” mantra, but what Google started over a decade ago has become the norm for modern brands.
3. Eliminate all silos.
Specialists are great. But there’s little room for dysfunction and bureaucracy in the agile, real-time content world we live in. Analytics must talk with creative, and creative and social media can’t be a bolted-on distribution point after all content has been crafted. Constant collaboration is the name of the modern marketing game.
4. Enforce placement on legit sites.
One of the most harmful elements of the ad industry lies in shaky placements on less-than-legitimate sites. Brands and marketers must make it their priority to weed out the fraudsters and bad actors in the ecosystem.
5. Punish fraud.
If a brand discovers that it’s been buying fraudulent eyeballs on fake sites, it must not hesitate to punish all parties involved.
6. Put a content agency in charge.
As brands look to upend their marketing and communications, where should they look to craft compelling, engaging content that people won’t want to download software to block out? The same agencies that helped create the display banners that turned their customers off in the first place? No! Agencies that specialize in content creation, distribution and audience engagement offer more in-depth, audience-first services that traditional ad shops don’t. Content agencies, like Manifest, can help brands make the shift from advertiser to publisher.