Thursday, July 06, 2006

Traditionalists vs. Digitalists

Enough's enough, don't you think? It's time that the advertising industry draws the line and stops making believe that one can be both a Traditionalist and a Digitalist. It's like believing in both the Bible and evolution. While some do try, it does tend to lead to therapy.

Traditionalists in advertising still believe that they are in control. That they still "reach" people. That the more the merrier when it comes to viewers.

Digitalists, on the other hand, believe that advertisers no longer reach people. That instead, consumers reach advertisers. (Not just online. But also offline.) "Reach," in fact, to a Digitalist, is not even a media term. It's a creative term. As in how well did we "reach" the consumer? Touch them. Move them. Impact them.

Two completely different mindsets. One cannot preach one and practice the other. The transformation must be total. To be a Digitalist, one must think differently, act differently and create differently. And, oh, by the way, you will also be paid differently.

Instead of attempting to find the ones who may be intersted by talking to the millions who aren't, Digitalists know that they can now allow the interested ones to come to them. Which means less waste. Less money spent. More effectiveness.

And therin lies the rub. The ad industry doesn't want advertisers to spend less because that means, well, that means that ad agencies, media agencies, the media distributors, they all will be paid less.

Less is not more, to a Traditionalist.

But to a Digitalist, talking only to the interested, means that you get to talk in a completely different way. You get to redefine the dialogue between a brand and a consumer. You get to "reach" somebody.

Oh, yes, about that money thing. Digitalists also make money. But instead of being paid based on how many they reach, Digitalists get paid based on how well they reach them.

How involved did they make them in the creative itself? How much time did they get them to spend with the brand? "Time spent" is the value that a Digitalist adds. Not time bought.

Which is why maybe now's the time to draw the line. To make a stand and claim the side you're on. Traditionalist? Digitalist? Advertisers need to know.


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