First let’s get one thing straight: I strongly dislike the terms “old marketing” and “new marketing.” While I agree with most analyses of the massive shifts in consumer behavior that we’re experiencing, there are many characteristics of marketing that has stayed somewhat the same.
True, we have many more tools at our disposal. And true, audiences are so fragmented today (more on that later). But many of the underlying theories of branding, marketing and PR still hold their weight today (in fact, I’ll argue in a later post that social media best practices is rooted in some theories that were explained by Dr. James Grunig, noted public relations theorist and my former professor).
Today, though, I want to focus on budgets, especially in comparison to how budgets were treated in the “golden age of advertising.”
You’ve heard it a million times, I’m sure: clients want you to prove ROI. On everything. As a result, budget is what drives today’s marketing campaigns.
You can’t help but watch a show like Mad Men and not get the impression that huge companies liked to toss around money like candy. There were such a limited number of channels, highly captive audiences, that it was probably a bit like throwing darts blindfolded–at the broad side of a barn. What it came down to was positioning. Get the positioning wrong, and you’ve sunk your client’s product.
Today, there are an infinite number of channels, and an audience (which itself is becoming an outmoded word) that’s as both fragmented and fickle. It’s still all about positioning. But it’s also about finding the right channels and maximizing those channels. And making sure the channels talk to each other. And making sure those channels are two-way conversations. Indeed, it’s not the size of the budget anymore. It’s the effective use of it.