17 Things We Can Do to Bring Back the Golden Age of Advertising (or at Least Make it Less Terrible)


This is an amazing time to be in marketing and advertising. We can understand and target consumers in ways we’ve never dreamed of. It’s powerful. It’s precise. It’s personalized. It’s like being a kid in the candy store, and the store is full of target audiences just waiting to be served with ads.

We have the ability to combine demographic, psychographic and behavioral targeting into our social campaigns. We have incredibly precise geo/local targeting capabilities that can be layered on top of intent, demographics and device. We have programmatic media buying that is powered by AI and lookalike consumers, combined with actual behavioral data to maximize our awareness budgets.

We have a second chance to make an impact with retargeting. We have ad platforms that target based on what’s in your inbox. We have personalized and behaviorally targeted emails using algorithms that continuously learn. We have personalized website experiences. We can use consumer offline behaviors to inform online strategies. We can reach people through the apps they use. We have multi-channel analytics and measurement.

Basically, we have everything we’ve ever wanted. We have the consumer in our sights and can be a part of their lives in ways they never imagined.

But we need to be careful what we wish for. Because sometimes — many times — what we want isn’t what we need.

Just because we can do all of these amazing things doesn’t mean we should. People aren’t one-dimensional shopping machines. They don’t like to be “targeted” and they don’t like to be stalked — even by brands (which is shocking to us all).

Too often we look at people as impressions, clicks, open rates and conversions. Instead, we need to see the big picture and be empathetic and sympathetic.

Below is a simple set of New Year’s Resolutions that everyone (including Nebo) should make before we use a homepage takeover to “help” the user buy more toilet paper.

Proposed 2017 Agency Marketer Resolutions

  1. I will not use click bait headlines (like the one that made you think this post was about how to return to the Golden Age of advertising) to fool people into reading underwhelming listicle content.
  2. I will not “target millennials.” They’re not a homogenous audience. There are 80 million in the US alone. That’s like saying Germany is your target audience.
  3. If I must use the word “millennial,” I will not capitalize the M.
  4. I will not overuse wiggling buttons, exit intent popups, popovers and slide-in forms to compensate for poor design.
  5. I will give a shit. I will try my best not to interrupt the consumer’s day just because my client has a healthy display budget to target Millennials.
  6. I will not put social icons on print ads or billboards, because no one can click them.
  7. I will stop trying to advertise everywhere, all the time. Just because I can make a Preparation H Snapchat filter does not mean I should.
  8. I will empathize with my clients and understand that they are f’g smart and I’m not always right.
  9. I will stop pretending that people are engaged with every in-stream YouTube ad. Sometimes, they’re just trying to sing karaoke to Hall and Oates at a work function.
  10. I will think through the use case of my ad, landing page, stage in the buyer journey and customer experience before launching my next campaign to make DVDs cool again.
  11. I will turn off Google Analytics Smart Goals because it’s inflating my conversion rate, as well as my ego.
  12. I will not be maliciously obedient to my clients. I will love and respect them, but will also respectfully tell them when I disagree.
  13. I will not contribute to polluting the internet with bad content. Especially bad SEO content. Especially bad SEO content a freelancer wrote with a keyword count in mind.
  14. I will not send 500 journalists a template email with an embedded press release to announce that my client has upgraded their widget. This is not news. No one cares.
  15. I will stop using phrases like "Our campaign garnered over 30 million impressions." Did it really? How do you define an "impression?" Does a mention buried at the bottom of a post count the same as a headline on CNN?
  16. I will not use email as an awareness tool or medium. And if I do, I will commit harikari to atone for my sins.
  17. I will be true to myself. I will treat the consumer the way I want to be treated.

Have others? Please share. Let’s make 2017 the best year yet for consumers and marketing.

Written by Brian Easter on January 5, 2017


Add A Comment
Alan Read says:

"I will not use Click bait headlines".. now this is something I'm somehow I can't see it happening.

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Written by
Brian Easter