01/07/2013 07:12 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Apocalypse of Advertising and the Dawn of the Promotional Age

As in every cataclysmic apocalypse, many die. The survivors are a mixed bunch. Some mutter to themselves, catatonic and shell-shocked. Others recover and learn to cope in a new, unpredictable world where the rules are changing frequently. Today, adaptation and survival demand a fast and uncertain dance. What does the new dawn bring? Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Power of Personalization and the New Age of Promotion, a glad return to a very old school.

Since the birth of the printing press, technological advancements have been reducing the personal interactivity between our fellow human beings. Technology has been separating us. Now it is coming full circle, to a personal experience, much like a handshake.

Natch. The Internet has changed the world as we knew it. Dozens of industries and professions have disappeared. Old marketing practices and beliefs are now as dry as Death Valley dust. New communication technologies create new means and new products. Branding is an evolution.

A hard drive has replaced the touch of soft skin. We no longer speak out loud, but communicate in distant, emotionally safer ways. For maximum comfort, our digital world allows us to create our own personal universe of commerce, friends, interests and fun. Now, I only have to see what I choose to see and feel what I want to feel. Content marketing, an immersion into a brand, is the golden glow of our current marketing moment. Never before have we been more familiar with our brands. In much the same way that we anticipate and value the news of a family member, the storytelling of a brand becomes a part of our lives. 2012-12-25-slide_271521_1918936_large.jpg

Advertising will never die, but these days, the ante has been upped. Consumers can choose their ads. Home entertainment devices will erase the commercials. YouTube graciously says "You can skip to video in five seconds." The people have always preferred to ignore the nasty little cankers and now they can.

Marketing dollars are being moved to content marketing for good reason. Never before has technology allowed the message to be conveyed to the consumer in such a personal way.

Technology has always manipulated the marketing method. I cut my teeth in entertainment. My practical experience in promotion has made me a believer of the handshake. If you boil it down, the purest way to sell movie tickets is to send teams of salespeople, knocking door to door at dinnertime, to share a sales pitch. A handshake and a sincere word make an impact, "Ya gotta go see this film!"

The humanity of a handshake, a kind voice and a look in the eye create emotion. That experience becomes an idea that grows into a personal investment. Promotion creates an ownership and personalization of the brand in the hearts and minds of the consumer.

Word of mouth advertising is the genesis of all advertising. In the early days of Stone Age entertainment, the spoken word was the principle marketing method. As the printing press changed the world, it became cheaper to send your message to the tens, the thousands and then the millions with a print ad. An ad is cheaper than a platoon of salesmen. To save more shoe leather, the invention of the telephone created the telemarketers call at dinnertime. For a short while, the innovation of the fax machine created new marketing opportunities. Advancing to our present day, the hand-held device and its social media now offer twenty-four hour, anywhere, anytime involvement. We, the consumer, are asking for it.

Content Marketing tells stories, imparts information and pricks our interests. There are many reasons why I love my Toyota truck. Each one of those reasons is interesting to me. And each facet is very different from the other.

Content Marketing is the production of promotional messages, utilizing a wide array of distribution vehicles and mediums. These 'events", viral or physical, are distributed in a variety of platforms. Jane Dalea Kahn, a luxury product strategist and president of Content Matters, says, "Every brand needs to become its own media publisher." She is right. Bark your brand from every available rooftop! 2012-12-25-slide_271521_1918941_large.jpg

Content Marketing is the closest return to the psychological effectiveness of Word of Mouth promotion. Today, advertising does not have to be printed, for it can be broadcasted in many immediate and different ways. The messages are more personal than ever before. Content Marketing is the closest thing to a handshake. Of course, recurring content must be vivid, interesting and forever entertaining to persevere, like a friendship.

After a decade of browbeating, the marketeer may soon be earning some respect. As sales guru Michael Delgado has said, "Marketing is like blowing up a balloon with a hole in it. You just have to keep blowing." Today, marketing has to be more clever than ever before. A marketeer must be multi-disciplined, multi-tasking and multi-technological. And much multi-more. Welcome to the Golden Age of Promotion. Now, it's personal.

In the next article, we will tear into the heart and mind of Content Marketing with a fascinating small business Case Study of a promising wallpaper company and their talented designers. How can we help them grow?

Gordy Grundy spends his time creating marketing campaigns at the


The Apocalypse of Marketing and the Dawn of The Promotional Age