Two Views of Advertising’s Future

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David Weinberger.jpgAuthor and academic Douglas Rushkoff sounded a wake-up call to advertisers and marketers: your business will be dead unless you work with companies and products that produce exciting products that inspire you.

Likewise, David Weinberger, co-author of “The Cluetrain Manifesto” and a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Institute for Internet and Society, said companies can no longer control and manage product marketing. “Real marketing [that’s] people talking with one another,” he said, referring to social media. “We need to respect these conversations, honor them. Not intrude.”

Rushkoff and Weinberger discussed advertising’s past and prognosticated on its future on Wednesday at a ClickZ 10th anniversary dinner and awards ceremony celebrating a decade of innovation and excellence in online marketing and advertising.

Rushkoff exhorted marketers to convince their clients to come up with compelling products. “Teach them how to get back into the business they are in,” he said. “Then you don’t have to make up a story about them.”

While the broadcast advertising model is based on developing one message for many, Weinberger said that’s a dangerous model. “By having more generic messages, you end up dumbing down messages. That’s disastrous in the political sphere…it’s a disaster for democracy,” he warned.

Rebecca Lieb, ClickZ’s editor-in-chief, looked at interactive’s highlights and low points during the decade. Remember when, she said, venture capitalists — not hedge fund managers — were rock stars. Or when advertisers had to be reminded to add URLs to print and broadcast campaigns? How about vortals?

“My Dad would get excited when he’d find articles I wrote online. So excited that he’d print them out and mail them to me from his home in Arizona,” she said.

On a more serious note, Lieb recognized that the interactive industry survived tough times. “We pulled through. The industry pulled through. You pulled through, too. And now, we’re mainstream, not margin,” she said.

For “ClickZ Marketing Excellence Awards: The First Decade,” Google was named “Innovation of the Decade.” Other awards were given for best products, services, businesses, and people who made the most significant overall contribution to the industry.

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