09/23/2013 02:41 pm ET Updated Nov 23, 2013

No One Cares About You

This week a lot of important, influential people will be talking about advertising. It's likely that by next week, most of us won't really remember most of what we heard. When everyone is talking, who has time to listen? No one really cares all that much. And that mirrors how most people feel about the advertising we serve up. In a world of increased fragmentation and a bombardment of the senses, most of our messages fall on deaf ears, our advertising fails, and people simply don't care about what we're telling them. Why? Four reasons:
  1. Everyone brags they have the best data, but no one really does. Most data sits in disparate silos. While it's possible to generate better results by creating models for any one silo (e.g. Google, Facebook, CRM data, offline profiles, etc.), only by analyzing all the data can someone really generate a true picture of their target consumers.
  2. It's too hard to turn data into insights! Let's face it, math geeks are painful and statistical analysis takes too long. Data shouldn't be the realm of the geekhood; it should be as simple and intuitive to use as the calculator on your desk.
  3. Even the best insights aren't actionable. It's impossible to traffic a cross-channel campaign in a world in which every channel uses a different campaign-planning tool, has different understanding of your target consumers and seemingly speaks completely different languages. Insights are like a telephone - only valuable if they can connect to something else.
  4. Your consumers don't have a voice or choice. And that's a problem. Tricking consumers, stealing their cookies, and pirating other peoples' data does not form a recipe for trust. Why don't consumers care? Because they hate you.

It's time for our industry to be better than this. It's time for our industry to give people a choice and allow them to willingly participate in the decisions we make. It's time to tear down the silos and fulfill on the promise of a truly connected, empowered world.

My belief: This is the year you'll see our industry finally begin to deliver on this more fully connected vision. This is the year that we give consumers back their choice and their voice. This is the year that we start to really learn how to use the data for good - better results for advertisers, better yields for publishers and better information for people everywhere.

This is the year that we together change the world of marketing forever. And the conversation starts now.

Scott Howe and John Battelle of Federated Media and OpenX will share their view on marketing on Tuesday, September 24th at 2 PM at the Times Center Hall for Advertising Week 2013. You can tweet him your questions at @acxiom.