Editor’s Note: These are excerpts from a Q&A with Publicis’ Rishad Tobaccowala and WARC’s Commissioning editor for Best Practice, Lena Roland
LR: In February, you said that “we’re going to, increasingly, have less and less advertising,” what will take its place? How will brands communicate with new—and current—consumers?
RT: The opportunity in the U.S. to reach people through interruption will decrease significantly. This is because:
a) online and on mobile, people have found ways to avoid advertising,
b) there are more and more ad-free or reduced ad environments such as Netflix, Hulu, Spotify and others, and
c) networks and platforms are trying to reduce ad load since they are finding their viewers are skipping or switching off.
The decline in advertising opportunities will lead to new ways to engage consumers. First, in ad environments the publisher/network will work very closely with marketer and advertiser to marry content and media to create stories and engagements that are fewer, deeper and hopefully more impactful and effective. What we lose in frequency we make up in impact.
Second, marketers will increase interactions throughout the consumer journey by spending money on great utilities and experiences that satisfy or delight consumers. This could be improved customer service, ability to see or interact or participate in new cultural or educational experiences and other ways.
Marketing as a service will grow more important while advertising as communication less.
RT: Branding remains important and brands are valued. However, the way brands are created is different today than in the past. In the past a brand could be created through distribution heft and media spending might.
I do not believe a brand should compete with Amazon, Google, and Facebook who are retailers, platforms and media companies, but brands should ensure they are not controlled by these three.
If these brands control the data and all consumer linkages in the digital world which is the world that is growing it will reduce the power of brands.
Brands should use all of these platforms—and others—but they need to remember particularly in the case of Google and Facebook they are the customer of these platforms and should be treated as a client rather than a supplier.
LR: Do you see a shift back to the trusted contexts of more traditional media?
RT: I see a belief in marketing rising. Philip Kotler said marketing is understanding and meeting customer requirements. The digital world allows us to understand and meet customer requirements for speed, transparency and price discovery in ways that traditional platforms did not allow. On the other hand, high quality contents, physical environments, customer services and experiences will matter more and more. We are seeing the renaissance of marketing but the decline of interruptive frequency and spreadsheet driven advertising.
Roland, L. (2018, March 21). The Renaissance of Marketing and the Decline of Interruptions: Publicis’ Rishad Tobaccowala in Conversation. WARC.