THE LATIN ROOT OF “ADVERTISE”–ADVERTERE–LITERALLY means “to turn towards.” It is the same root for the word “adversary.” This sense of confrontation at the essence of advertising may be what undergoes the most radical change in the next decade of marketing sponsorship. Contrary to popular wisdom, consumers do not hate advertising per se. People continue to buy through catalogs that arrive in their mailboxes; search advertising is booming because people click ads targeted to their queries; and we can all hum a dozen favorite TV jingles.
Yet, in this world of hyper-fragmented media and too many marketing messages, consumers are acting to avoid the overload, paying for the unadulterated media they want, and investing in technology to strip out unwanted ads. With the skyrocketing popularity of blogging and TiVo, iPods, NetFlix, and peer-to-peer networks, consumers are starting to expect more control over their entire media experience, a phenomenon at odds with interruptive advertising.
Procter & Gamble Chief Marketing Officer Jim Stengel told the audience at the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ media conference last year: “All marketing should be permission marketing. All marketing should be so appealing that consumers want us in their lives.”
“Permission marketing” may not be the best phrase to describe the new era of marketing that is already beginning to take shape. “Service marketing” may be closer to the idea.