Oct 062006

What Convergence Really Means

What Convergence Really Means

Rebecca Lieb wrote a great column last week in ClickZ about Advertising Week and how disappointed she was in it.  The article is worth a read for many reasons, but there was one quote in particular that stuck out to me as I re-read it tonight.

Some people talk about convergence as the coming together of old media and new media.  Others talk about digial meeting analog.  Still others talk about the melding of cable, telco, Internet, and wireless.  A brave few even talk about direct marketing and brand advertising.

But Rebecca quoted the head of global advertising for American Express, who really nailed what convergence means in the world of media today — the convergence of advertising and publishing:

“No longer can we view our job as filling gaps between other peoples’ content,” said Scotti. “Soon, there won’t be gaps to fill because everything is content.”

Boy, isn’t that the truth?  And it’s not just the much-hyped world of user-generated content, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, and blogs.

It’s as much about advertisers getting smarter and becoming content publishers themselves.  Think about any good email you get from a marketer.  What makes it good?  Sure, a nice discount, maybe free shipping, certainly a relevant offer based on your preferences and purchase behavior.  But the other thing that makes it good is the presence of content to surround and drive the marketing messages.  The applesauce around the pill, if you will.

It works.  We see it every day.  And we only see more of it happening in the future as consumers get smarter and more discerning about the brands with which they choose to interact.