The Future of Advertising – Moving from WTF? to FTW!

Thanks to Tim Brunelle at Hello Viking, I had an opportunity to listen to David Armano speak at a Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association event. The title of the presentation was “The Future of Advertising WTF?” Below is my commentary.

Hey corporate america, we in social media have some things to share. If you are going to play in digital space, we need you to understand that the key is providing value to your consumers through function.  Start thinking about how you can pull your clients together to be a resource for one another. How can you engage your customers? The signs are everywhere telling us there is a new model that mass marketing hasn’t adopted yet. There are issues in advertising that are preventing agencies from working the way they should.

What are the cracks in the media model?

  1. Assembly line thinking – In this model, there are repeatable processes in place. The problem are the cracks in the machines. Using social media as a marketing tool heavily depends on finding a niche. The agency machine was built around communications to the masses
  2. Silos – As long as I have worked in Corporate America this has been an ongoing conversation that says “We need to breakdown silos.” Silos in organizations are occur because so many departments are created and no one is talking to one another. The result is that collaboration doesn’t happen, meetings do
  3. Large Scale Production – This is the old model that says “Appeal to the masses”. a 1-way flow of marketing information to the masses. In todays economy, most are not sure if it is right, but at the end of the day, money needs to be made so companies fall back on “business as usual. The question organizations need to ask is whether or not they are using the right production model. There is a fear of moving forward because there is no consistent historical data to prove what works and what doesn’t in social media.

Change is happening. “Craig is the new David and Goliath is in trouble” Craigslist has changed the mix. There is nothing sexy about how they look or behave. Why should consumers pay traditional publications like the New York Times or StarTribune, when they can do the same thing in a functional tool like Craigslist?

So what is the new reality?

  • The new copywriters and art directors now have competition and it is everyone.
  • When people are the message it is more real because they are passionate about issues and that shines through
  • They are moving from passive consumption to active participation
  • We have different mindsets
  • Customer service sucks, Twitter works

Have you ever spent 30 minutes responding to someone online? That is COMPLETE ENGAGEMENT and corporations should be moving in that direction. Imagine the power and impact brands can have if they do it right. Would you rather have thousands of fully engaged users? Or millions of users who are not? So, according to David, “The future of advertising is BEHAVIOR and companies need to embrace it.  Surprise customers by adding value, not cramming messages down their throat. That is the key to moving from WTF to FTW


  1. The “What” in WTF is the fact that the old advertising agency model is broken.
  2. The FTW means it is time to start embracing a new model and taking risks to do things differently

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