There is a single word that describes where marketing has been going for decades.
Advertising, at its peak, was all about mass. Buy a spot on one of the three networks, and you’re talking to everyone – for better or worse. You had a captive audience. People would even have to stand up to change the channel, so they didn’t bother.
Then along came cable. Then more channels. And more channels. Each more specific than the last. A channel for home improvement. A channel for arts. A channel for pets. An arts channel for pets. Etc. Then Tivo. And on demand. Etc. Each more fragmenting then the last.
Print has gone the same way. There is a magazine about literally anything. Don’t believe me? Check this list out.
Then came the internet, 1.0. A way to instantly break down interests into specific pages. There were hundreds of thousands. It got as specific as you needed it to get. Whenever and wherever.
Then came the internet, 2.0. A way to claim your own homes and requests on the web, allowing advertisers to speak to you directly by interests. You can contact the advertisers and request things directly and ignore everything else.
Now, comes mobile. The ability to communicate with you based on your interests, your preferences, and your exact location. It all comes to you, as you wish to receive it.
Advertising is moving from mass to groups to sub-groups to the ultimate sub-group: you. Who wins? Both consumer and advertiser. You are sharing the information without putting up with the noise or the extra costs.
If you’ve seen Minority Report, you've more or less seen where we’re ultimately headed. Your environment literally changing and speaking to you directly. You’ll still be inundated with everything, but now it will be things specific to your likes, taste level, and selected preferences. It was an average movie, but that part was spot on.
Personally, I’m excited about the shift. I’ve always been uncomfortable with the idea of “bothering” people. “Interrupting” their life. “Getting in the way” of what they enjoy. In the future, we can have real, meaningful conversations with only the people who may actually care. Creating the ultimate in advertising accountability and efficiency.