Being consumer-centric and privacy-first is not ‘New Era’
This year’s ATS event in Singapore – the first since the novel coronavirus – promised to be as novel, claiming to be about ’A New Era for Marketing & Advertising’. In my honest opinion, the organisers, ExchangeWire, failed to deliver on that claim.
I only say this because in the end the main takeaways from ATS this year were: Cookieless, Contextual, Full-Funnel. Is there anything ‘New Era’ about that? Despite the rise of the new jargon added every year like ‘DAO’ and practitioners saying they want to play with shiny new concepts, oftentimes it takes years of talking first before anything changes. In fact, some would say many on-trend terms are actually old ideas re-presented in shiny packaging. For example:
- Cookieless – seen as privacy, BUT essentially it is about respecting the consumer. And why shouldn’t we? Is it not a given in society that we exhibit manners, and are definitely more polite to customers, especially potential customers? Why would any company hoping to do business ever disrespect their buyers by taking what is theirs? Not new, and not appropriate to ever take customers’ data without their consent.
- Contextual – nowadays spoken about as a new tech but stop and think about it, since you were babies you started to understand context. Publishers figured this out a long time ago, hence the different sections of newspapers you could pull out to read about business versus sports. Throughout my 20-year media career, it was always about content and context, be it from my print days to the social professional context of LinkedIn, to now at Outbrain/Zemanta, who were created to understand semantics and context before ever serving any ads. Not new, but pretty cool.
- Full-funnel – before agencies started splitting out sections of marketing and attaching lots of new jargon along the way, it was really just called ‘getting paying customers’.
You can see why I don’t think it’s ‘New Era’ at all!
Two days of panel discussions, keynote presentations, fireside chats, and networking
That being said, ATS as an event was very much spot on for today’s zeitgeist. The event started by gazing into the future of marketing with a data-based crystal ball, and featured respected speakers who had the insight and experience to marry the perennial foundations of marketing – creative, distribution and measurement. Its two days of content were punctuated with good food, good organisation and good people, and I enjoyed myself very much.
Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with not being in a ‘New Era’, as long as the industry keeps a firm hold on what matters and evolves how it handles cookies, context and full-funnel marketing. I hope to see this new (old) future with you, dear readers.