I’ve spent a lot of time describing why advertising and traditional media are on a downward curve. To be sure, the curve has been exaggerated this year by the recession. But it was exaggerated by the last recession too and there’s no doubt that traditional sponsor-based media models are like the classic rollercoaster: in between the highs and lows, the ongoing trend is down.
In a recent blog post, marketing guru Seth Godin puts his own take on the trend. The issue in his mind is that there is a sudden attention surplus — too many people spending so much time looking for all kinds of information that marketers don’t know what to do about it. He calls these micromarkets and says the old media models couldn’t serve them; social media marketing does — though he doesn’t use that terminology
Godin and I come at this from different ends of the business, and in the end reach the same conclusions.
I’m coming at it from the perspective of the media business, where decisions are based on the requirements of the paying customer — the advertiser.
I’m not claiming the audience is ignored; I don’t believe that for a second. But the changes that we’re seeing in old-line businesses — magazines rushing to digital-only editions, newspapers trying to figure out how to charge for online content, etc. — are not at all driven by the opinions of audience. They’re driven by the spending desires of advertisers.
Godin’s perspective is consumer based: He’s observing what the audience wants — and notes the challenge for marketers who are on their way toward getting it.
His explanation strikes me as novel, true, and worth sharing: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/08/the-massive-attention-surplus.html.