Integrated advertising, it’s about time!

Traditional vs. new media, traditional vs. interactive advertising, television vs. internet, … it almost sounds like we’ve created 2 separate worlds. Television networks do research that proves that television still works, the research from internet companies will tell you the same about internet. Just to set things straight, I do believe the internet is underestimated in advertising, the point is that campaigns shouldn’t be about television or radio or internet… they should be integrated.

Still too much we divide our campaigns into the traditional way of advertising and new media. I don’t like to use interactive advertising – often used as the counterpart for traditional – as you can also create interactive billboards for instance, how new-media is that? But to come back to the point, why is it so hard to create fully integrated campaigns for our products, services, brands? Well, we all created a structure that makes it hard to really get to this full integration. We being the new-media guys ;-). We created online creative agencies, online media sales houses and most of all we created our own online lingo. We had to when it all started taking off, because it was new, technical and not everybody was a believer.

With this big split between the more traditional advertising agencies and the interactive/online/new-media ones, the pressures is all on the marketer. Today’s marketers need to understand the full scope of communication opportunities to consumers, which is a really big challenge. They have to define the elements needed in the campaign because from the moment an agency is working on it, you know – most of the times – which direction it’ll go to.

Think Digital, that was the theme from MSN’s sponsorship in Cannes this year. I agree, this is what we need to do more, but thinking digitally is not a separate job function (as techdirt posted a while ago). Integration of internet (and other new media) is the biggest challenge of marketers. Research in The Netherlands stated that 64% of all marketers put the integration of online in their marketing plans on top of the list of challenges.

I’m a big believer of online advertising myself and I also believe the power of the internet generated tremendous new marketing opportunities (read ‘The Ultimate Marketing Machine), but at the same time I want to understand the more traditional advertising and find out how I can make the best advantage of mixing it all in a true media-mix. My big question would be: how can we bring these 2 worlds together? Why do we still make this distinction? As I mentioned earlier, I’ve see some pretty good ‘interactive’ billboards, and the internet is not virtual anymore (it’s as real world as anything else) so why keep this split? Integrate! Recognize that we all need eachother.

Well, we still have a long way to go, and hopefully we’ll get there (eventually). I can only hope we don’t do the same with digital television, mobile, … and use the learnings from the situation we’re in today.

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