Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A Decade+ of Futurist Insights: The Internet's Impact on The Future of Marketing in 4 Points

(Formerly titled:  "Ad Industry Titan Sounds the Death Knell for Print, Radio, TV & His Own ATL/Push Ad Agencies...  And No One Notices!"  PLEASE NOTE: this post was written in 2011 and speaks to my predictions of a future for the marketing industry that STILL has not quite arrived.)
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
Upton Sinclair (from: I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked, 1933)
Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP CEO
Though it went largely unnoticed (amazingly), one of the world's biggest advertising agency tycoons, Sir Martin Sorrell, the man behind WPP, announced the  end of print as a profitable advertising-supported medium and, by extrapolation, virtually all 'above the line' media (ATL).  Now if the global ad agency networks primary role for the past 100 years was to churn out creative content for ATL, then one can only wonder what Sorrell's pronouncement really means for the mid-term future of global networks.  In a one page interview titled "Save the Media!" that ran in Newsweek on April 11, 2011 written by Joanne Lipman, Sorrell said the only salvation for the print medium was government subsidies (read: 'charity'), but the subsidized media examples he cited were radio and television in Britain and Australia.

4 Paragraphs & 4 Bullets on Marketing's Near-Term Future:

The ad agency business thrived for almost a century, first on a national scale, the on a global scale through the 80's and 90's, yet with the advent of the Internet it is now facing the distinct possibility of collapse, especially if the ATL media networks it is dependent upon for commissions dry up.  The premise behind the global ad agency's role in the world was near-absolute control of both the message and the medium.  While that made sense as long as Marshall McLuhan's insight: "The Medium is the Message", held true, once that basic tenet got turned on its head, any businesses who's primary 'reason for being' was based upon it would appear to have a very tenuous future indeed.  Today's 'emerging media' landscape has reversed McLuhan's insight:


It has become essential for marketers to shape a message that can be managed (no longer controlled!) across an unknown number of media.  At best their brand messages are being enthusiastically 'pulled' across these new media by consumers, at worst attempts are being made to 'push' the brand message into social conversations.  Early adopters and people still experimenting with something intriguing and new are VERY open to marketing experiments within emerging media -- however after these new media become a truly integral part of their lives, their tolerance for ads being injected into their social space evaporates.  The first adults who began using Facebook are gradually losing interest in it (not coming back as often) as the 'shiny and new' glow wears off (though Zuckerberg may yet come up with a way to make it more relevant for daily usage/visits).

New technology has made the status quo 'push marketing' model of the past repugnant, if not simply irrelevant, and this news is as difficult for the ad agency titans of today to assimilate and address as it was for the railway barons of the early 20th century when trucking/highways became the new shipping pipeline.  Now certainly WPP is still making gazillions of dollars and isn't going to see their profits evaporate any time soon, but many disparate things are intricately connected in business world -- Sorrell cannot dismiss the problems ATL is facing as irrelevant to the future health of WPP.  Let's keep in mind what his current strategy is: focus efforts on rushing the dying business model into the developing world before related businesses there follow the declines the 'first world' is suffering from. 

The future of marketing is not all that complicated or mysterious, nor is it going away.  Humans have revered status as evidenced by wearing 'brands' since our very social big-brains evolved.

It's in our DNA, brands elevate our status and make us look good!
Marketing itself will merely evolve to:
  1. Focus first and foremost not on the image or message the brand marketer 'pushes' through ATL, but through the experience of the brand consumers get engaged with first hand via experiential efforts (see bullet-point list near the end of this post). 
  2. Revolve NOT around 'manufactured problems' (P&G's "little pieces of toilet tissue stuck to children's bottoms"), but real benefits that consumers appreciate ("The Swiffer Duster").
  3. Embrace fully addressable advertising.  No, not location-based services (LBS) that serve up coupons to your mobile phone, but advertorials fed to me only for products and services I am actually interested in, that I alone choose how often I want to watch or share. 
  4. Restrict the use of 'social media' exclusively for PR purposes: for listening to how well the brand's marketing efforts are working, engaging dis-satisfied customers in solution-finding conversations, and for offering happy customers coupons/discounts/trial flavours, contest mechanics and advertorial content that can be shared, not pushing brand messages (not ever!).
The End

Here's the Blah, Blah, Blah, "Full Treatise" Part if you have time on your hands..

Before you accuse me of getting carried away (and Sorrell has been known to 'stir the pot' in the past), let's put on our thinking caps for a moment and absorb both what he said and who he is.  Then
let's evaluate what his convictions about the global media business model suggest about the health of the global ad agency business model that he is dependent upon.
The Inevitable Collapse of Traditional ATL Media Content Suppliers in TV (NBC, ABC, FOX) & Radio
"Networked markets are beginning to self-organize faster than the companies that have traditionally served them. Thanks to the web, markets are becoming better informed, smarter, and more demanding of qualities missing from most business organizations. 
"We are not 'seats' or 'eyeballs' or 'end users' or 'consumers.  We are human beings -- and our reach exceeds your grasp.  Deal with it."
(From: http://www.cluetrain.com/, home site of 1999's: "The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual")

In other words, heads up "Global Marketing Machine",  'push marketing' is well and truly dead!  Long live 'pull marketing' based upon truly relevant product benefits (think the antithesis of P&G's "toilet tissue that doesn't leave invisible pieces of paper on the backside of young bears"), engaging brand experiences and contests and causes that people are happy to talk about around the water cooler and recommend to their friends.

As the music industry has had to shrink dramatically from their formerly self-inflated size, so will these related businesses, the platforms for all of which are rapidly fragmenting.  The Internet (with its, as yet, dearth of fully proven business and channel/distribution models), the growing plethora of specialty TV channels and satellite radio -- all of these new channels are busy forcing this change to happen.  'Momentum' will only carry the old ATL stalwarts along so far before they go the way of Blockbuster.  The new content giants are already taking over: Apple, Google, the content carrying 'pipelines' like AT&T and the wireless providers.

What Sorrell is saying is that his clients (from Ford to P&G) cannot shoulder the burden of 'supporting' ATL media on their own any longer because the Internet has rapidly depleted the ATL media providers' advertising revenue and they are going to gradually go broke.  He is lobbying that it is time for the government(s) to step in and subsidize everything from newspapers and magazines, to commercial radio and TV, all of which have been, for the past 100+ years, solely advertising and subscription supported.  He points to the BBC and Australian free-to-air radio and TV stations and says that today "advertising-only models don't work" because "there isn't enough advertising to go around.  Period."  He is saying this in light of the vast (and growing exponentially) quantity of digital ad inventory out there stealing a growing portion of media budgets from traditional media.

Sorrell believes "pay-walls, consolidation, subsidy," are the solution to augmenting the current ad-supported print business model.

Personally I suspect that the only way to get to pay-walls for print media is consolidation.  No, not Rupert Murdoch-style mergers and acquisitions, but rather news aggregator/archival services like HighBeam.com through which a subscriber only has to pay one monthly fee to get access to any article that is proprietary to one source from anywhere on the worldwide web (i.e. HighBeam pays The Washington Post a few cents for every time one of one of the Post's archived articles gets read).

As for the notion of pay-walls, Sorrell also says "Consumers must pay for content if they value it."  Sure, they will if they have to, but most of it's free at the moment and I, for one, am NOT going to pay each and every newspaper from around the world up to $39/month to access a proprietary article of theirs once in a blue moon (or even $0.99 per read).  (I would pay a universal subscription fee of about $30/month giving me unlimited access to everyone's articles -- link to an earlier post.)  To clarify, the problem in print is that, now that the WorldWide Web is overflowing with instant access to global content, the newspapers' (and news stations') old '3-4 news sources per city' model means that there is simply exponentially too many providers.  That model grew up around a market need for multiple options for hard-copies of newspapers to be hand-delivered to everyone's doors -- it is now a well and truly redundant, dead model.

Why Listen to an "Odious Little Shit"?

WPP's Global Holdings (click to enlarge)
So why take the words of this "odious little shit" (as David Ogilvy famously called him) to heart?  Virtually single-handedly Sorrell grew Wire & Plastics Products plc (WPP) into the world's largest advertising group by revenues.  It owns a significant number of advertising, public relations, media and market research networks including Grey, Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, JWT, Ogilvy Group, Young & Rubicam and Mediacom.  He bought into these firms for one single reason: substantial profit margins.

Now WPP is not in the business of selling media space, but they are in the business of buying $72 billion of it annually for their clients. If this guy doesn't have his finger on the pulse of what is going to happen next in the advertising-supported world of print, TV and radio media, no one does.  From his perch high above this intimately-related business, Sorrell is seeing that WPP is soon (a relative term) going to see many of its former platforms for airing 'push advertising content' going belly up, and there will not be any buyers for the bankrupt firms since Rupert Murdoch and the other narrowly-focused ATL media barons are starting to understand that they are kings of a soon-to-be-decimated realm.  (Time to jump ship!)
Once this former symbiotic relationship is fundamentally disturbed, once the 'food source' for the ad agencies is well and truly on  the endangered species list, this formerly stable ecosystem will be profoundly out of balance and all the species inhabiting it will face mortal peril.
No One Has Figured Out How The Traditional Advertising Formula Might Work Online

In the meantime, in his own words, regarding everyone's efforts to develop a successful media business model in the online digital space: "I don't think there's anybody that's cracked it".  (Google has 'cracked' a brand new Internet search advertising business model; Apple has done the same in inventing new models around unique new content delivery technologies like iTunes/iPods and the iPad; Amazon and eBay have dominated niches with new business models -- note that ALL of these examples revolve around brand new business models -- Sorrell's rival at Publicis, Maurice Levy, tried and failed humiliatingly with Honeyshed to shoe-horn a 'push' model onto the Net; Hulu is trying to migrate the 'dead man walking' 'push marketing TV ad model' online' that consumers so dislike, but have had to put up with until now.)

The End is Nigh for ATL
An industry colleague had this to say:

“Not sure I agree with the extrapolation from the death of print to all ATL…”

Well let me breakout the details of my prediction of the inevitable death of ATL as an ad-supported profit juggernaut:
  1. Everyone in the industry, Sorrell included, is stating one simple fact: since Internet streaming began more and more and more ad space has been created.  Hulu is just one of a thousand (and growing exponentially) sites offering TV shows online.  All of them have new ad space available.
  2. On top of this, cable has 500+ channels and growing (Oprah, Nature, local stations, etc.).  All of them come with new video ad inventory.
  3. What consumers were finally able to tell us with the advent of the Internet is that they never wanted to be force-fed 6,000, or even 600, GRP’s of our :30  TV ads.   They do NOT want frequency to increase online, they ONLY want to watch ads they are interested in, and no more than once or twice.  (However, if the brand really interests them the advertorial can be 20 minutes long.) In other words consumers want less and less ad frequency, which means the world needs far LESS ad inventory, and now consumers can vote for it (demand it) online by simply not watching.  (On my computer I always have other windows open I click to when a forced-view ad comes on.  Yes, the ad played, but I didn’t watch it.)
  4. So the increasing volume of TV (video) ad inventory is not only not viable to be filled, the consumer is just itching for a chance to prove to the industry they never wanted even 10% as much inventory. 
  5. If every ATL network in the world makes their money by selling ad inventory at a price that has been inflated by 400% over the past 11 years (in the case of TV), and soon there will be far too much inventory to meet decreasing demand as advertisers move their efforts to more engaging media like XM, AND consumers want there to be FAR less as space out there, then all the ad-supported networks cannot avoid going bankrupt, just as the railway barons of old did when new trucks/roadways began carrying much of their volume of freight more efficiently (direct to loading docks) at a lower price.
  6. All of which begs the question:  If much of today’s ATL goes belly up, what happens to the mega ad agencies who (to date) have made their commission primarily through the purchase of grossly over-priced TV ad space?
What this means for ad agencies is an impending crisis of Goliath-slaying proportions.  They will more than likely end up being faced with the mandate from their clients to spend billions of dollars on media inventory that no longer exists, the only option being to spend it on a broad swath of digital inventory for which effectiveness cannot really be tracked.  [Note that, for the past 100 years, despite Nielsen's assertions to the contrary (they are another co-dependent cog in the wheel), there hasn't been any accurate cause & effect methodology to track the effectiveness of ATL.  Only print, via coupons, offered an effective tracking methodology.]  Everyone knows what happens when you can't spend all of your budget -- it gets cut next year!

15% Commission on Media: Assassinated by P&G

Sorrell's WPP has come through a period of devastation to the original 100 year-old ad agency business model (15% commission on media spend budgets, plus 10% commission on production budgets).  Global clients, led by P&G, first insisted that all their agencies both open up offices/subsidiaries in every country that they expanded into, stretching the agency network's profitability to the breaking point as the fledgling networks struggled to buy up and then subsidize satellite agencies throughout the developing world.

About the same time a shareholder-led conviction became entrenched that ad agencies were little more than pirates, profiteering in return for coming up with some simple, silly advertising campaign concepts.  This was actually quite untrue of the agencies -- their media commission business model hadn't changed since early in the century and the "creative's" working for them have fundamentally different types of brains from the analytical type that clients hire out of top universities (despite their ego's assertions to the contrary!).  The tendency towards 'profiteering' was true of the businesses the agencies fed their ads through, however: the TV networks and the agencies' 'suppliers', the TV ad production companies.

Though it's not like there is any outright collusion going on, there is a co-dependent relationship wherein the ad agencies benefit as the cost of network TV ad space and the production cost of ads have soared to many by MANY times inflation.  There was no real incentive for the agencies to try to control the runaway increases as they benefited from more commission revenue as media and production spending grew apace.  (It is really no more costly for an agency to develop a campaign for a big brand than a small one -- the increased cost comes from having to disseminate the message further afield and manage the process.)

The clients (read: P&G) began a strategy of divide and conquer (a simple negotiating strategy their new Procurement Departments used handily:  split all the costs out separately from the total, then start nickel-and-diming each now-isolated cost downwards).  They insisted that the agencies' media planning/buying departments be spun-off into separate firms, taking the 1.5% to 3% commission on media spending they earned with them.  Once that percentage was separated from the formerly untouchable 15%, it could be negotiated downward, especially once every former media department was now an independent 'supplier' in competition with each other.  Similarly, of the original 15% commission, the remaining 12 to 13.5% earmarked for creative development and account management suddenly got arbitrarily cut to 10%, then even less as media spending got more and more fragmented and smaller agencies began under-cutting to compete.

TV Ad Production Profits Got the Same Treatment

As they succeeded in bringing down agency commissions, the major marketing firms also began putting intense pressure on the cost of TV ad production, bringing the profits in this related industry down significantly, too.  (When a car or beer brand's TV ad storyboard hits a production company president's desk, an extra zero or two or three is immediately tacked on to the estimate: A. they can afford it, B. they pay for the experimentation that improves production quality across the board.  The reality is that TV production is a risky and creative business, and when the chance to make a ton of money evaporates, the really skilled, creative, smart people leave the business for greener pastures and quality declines.)  All of these 'cost reductions' have decimated the advertising industry's profitability.

Less $ Means Lower Quality For All Related Businesses: Ad Agencies and Suppliers

A longer term 'knock-on effect' that was unanticipated by the clients (though the stakeholders would not have cared a whit as their rewards are all tied into short-term gains) was that agency salaries dropped through the 90's and early 00's (to maintain profitability in what is a people-only service business, you have to cut the quantity and cost of employees) -- the best and brightest of a fresh bunch of creative geniuses went looking for greener fields that would challenge their brain power and pay them more handsomely.  Many of them found their calling in the financial field, inventing the very creative, but built upon smoke and mirrors, derivative and leveraged-mortgage market.  Others among the brightest bulbs were drawn off to the golden glow of Silicon Valley where they helped fuel the hype that lead to the IT bubble unnecessarily bursting in 2000-2001 (it burst NOT because the technology warranted a value decrease, but because the hyperbole could not be sustained -- see "The Cluetrain Manifesto", chapter 4).

Creative quality in the global ad agency business has dropped along with the agencies' value to clients ("Strategic Planning" being the first to go -- the clients happily took that in-house).  For the most part, the clients couldn't care less -- they have far too many small, brand new and therefore 'shiny', competitive agencies springing up to provide them with cheap, very creative concepts while they are busy twisting their own arms to pat their own backs for how cleverly they cut network agency costs. 

What the clients still don't seem to 'get' is that they have had added an enormous cost to their marketing efforts.  Instead of having the old 'one stop shops' they were aiming to build when they demanded the agencies develop global networks, they are now spending endless hours in every market dealing with small shops who are all doing things that are "off brand equity".  There is a huge expense involved with policing all these efforts and bringing them back in line -- or seeing many of the 'experiments' in new media careen off-course.

Ironically, clients have helped hamstring the agency networks through their compensation formulas, by tying the agencies' gradually shrinking profitability to ATL, they have forced the agencies to close their eyes to new business model opportunities. 
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
What these global agencies SHOULD be doing is inventing new business models for themselves AND their clients, but they haven't got the brain power or flex time/resources to do so -- they don't have the profitability to be able to attract the best and brightest creative and strategic thinkers.  Their focus is, for the most part, upon profit maintenance and survival.  There is a relatively simple solution, however, as Sorrell has recommended for the ATL media: Pay-walls and consolidation (subsidies are for business losers!).  Since day one, by basing their compensation on commission instead of IP, agencies have discounted (given away for free) the one thing they produce that the clients cannot: creative concepts.

Yes, the egos of every Brand Manager (and many of the not-so-enlightened CMO's) constantly whispers into their ears that they are as creative as any Creative Director.  But how could they be?  If they were, they wouldn't be able to stand working at what they do!  There simply isn't enough room in the human brain for excellence at both analytical thinking (and the dogged patience required to crank out brand plans) AND being remarkably creative.  P&G Canada's GM, Tim Penner, once told me that doing my presentation on "The Future of Marketing" would be a waste of time "for my already very creative team".  Sorry Tim, you don't get it both ways.  P&G hires for top test score results, agencies hire for top creativity.  The grind that is workaday life at P&G spits out the types who have some creative bones in their bodies in the first couple of years!

Ad Agency "Pay walls"

If ad agencies did what the clients have in working together to force the hand of the other side, if they insisted upon tying their compensation to the success of their IP, they'd be swimming in piles of money.  Risky, sure, but going bankrupt slowly is risky too, and when you look at the power that a global campaign has on a brand's sales, as it is tested and rolled out, the risk is actually substantially mitigated. 

Agencies create concepts that clients cannot.  Every time they've ever tried, clients have learned that trying to bring creatives in-house is the equivalent of clipping an eagle's wings -- when they can't fly, they aren't able to do what they do.  Agencies simply have to repeat this mantra, en masse, to clients: "If you want our concepts, we expect to share the rewards while you ameliorate the inherent risk in our service-provider business model with a retainer."  I'm talking about a simple shift from being 'ad agencies', to becoming 'marketing agencies'.  A shift from what clients have often seen as a parasitic relationship, to a truly symbiotic relationship.  (And I'm not totally 'out of the loop',  agencies big and small have been negotiating terms and experimenting with compensation formulas with their clients for many years, ever since the initial commission cuts began.)

Ad Agency "Consolidation"

Today's agencies, whether networks or hot-shops, resemble the fragmentation of the new media landscape (see WPP's 'bush' image above), with digital, CRM, media-planning, promotional, PR, "social", experiential (not many!), etc., divisions.  The reality is that their clients' brands need a single global voice (yes, with local tweaks) and they need simplicity to keep communication costs down.  Consolidating and simplifying their sevice offer, rather than desperately fragmenting it in an effort to keep up with the client's constant shopping around for new hot-shops to develop new technology opportunities for them, would offer clients what they asked of them in the first place.  It's a simple shift from 'divisions' back to 'departments'.

Yes, the C-Suite is going to shriek that their current structure is predicated on separate profit centres and that trying to bring all these divisions back under one umbrella would be impossible, but I have some news for you, it is the 'fighting for profit' between all these competing internal divisions that has killed your ability to deliver a consistent message for your clients' brands.  The first global agency to begin cracking this issue is going to emerge the big winner. 

What's Coming Next for the Global Ad Agencies

This new crisis: the gradual (sudden?) death of many of the media networks that the agency networks are co-dependent upon, will likely be the death knell for many global ad agency giants in the coming years.  Unless, that is, they take the advice of this 'mewling voice in the wilderness' to heart and follow their noses...

A Golden Future for Global Ad Agencies
  1. IF it is possible for us to assimilate that the death of the 'push' model -- mind-numbingly repeating a brand's message to buyers and non-buyers alike -- was announced by TV viewers with the advent of the remote control, and then dealt a decisive death blow by the Internet,
  2. AND IF we all recognize that we welcomed in "The Experience Economy" in the late '90's,
  3. AND IF everything in marketing today is about 'pull' and 'engagement', 
  4. AND IF "the medium is no longer the message, the message is now the medium",
  5. THEN all of today's marketing efforts must be focused upon "The Brand Experience",
  6. By shifting a gradually larger and larger slice of their media budgets away from any 'push media' (including digital) to experiential marketing (XM), the global ad agency networks will not only give the consumers exactly what they've always demanded,
  7. They will give their client's brands more brand trial, life-long loyalty and volume (that's what XM delivers in spades for quality, relevant-to-their-needs brands). 
  8. They will also do this with a built-in cause-and-effect tracking mechanism since face-to-face experiential marketing efforts can be designed to accommodate direct sales/results tracking with coupons, web- and mobile-based codes, contests and rewards.
  9. By doing this the networks will maintain their media budgets because XM is much more expensive on a cost-per-exposure basis, hence it swallows BIG budgets (and when XM is managed well it delivers substantial value to consumers and therefore to clients -- what that means is it can make very healthy profit margins). 
  10. ERGO, XM is the new ATL.
XM: We're social, we like learning about brands MOST from each other.
Don't Get Side-Tracked By "New and Shiny" -- Anything Labelled "Social" Cannot Support Marketing Efforts

An important aside, most agency folks (see intro quote above) are getting totally side-tracked by 'Social Media Marketing'.  Sure, it's the newest thing and is therefore drawing 'eyes', but anything labelled "social" is PR, not advertising.  Why?  Because it is in the same communication channel as the telephone (remember how welcome 'telemarketing' is to all of us, let alone happening in the midst of a conference call?), and as such any medium labelled "social" is 'pull', not 'push'. 

You cannot manipulate anything that is 'social' without losing any credibility.  YES, you can facilitate the buzz around your brand by putting social media 'tools' out there, but trying to 'push' selling messages in any way is no longer acceptable to consumers.  Period.  Never was, actually.
  • 'Advertorials' = good; 'BUY NOW! Ads' = bad.  
  • Unique, engaging one-off message = good; endless repetition of 'selling points' = bad.
A very large part of the problem is semantic and revolves around the use of the word "media".  In our business, for as long as we can remember, anything labelled "media" meant something we could buy advertising space on.   We tend to forget that our face-to-face conversations are conducted across a medium (sound waves through the air) that we cannot buy ad space on; that phone conversations take place on a medium we cannot buy ad space on (and no one would stand for it).  Once we collectively decided that this new Internet medium that people were using to converse socially on should be called "Social Media", our industry has been trying to figure out how we can buy space on it.  You cannot, anymore than "WOM", "Buzz", or "Guerrilla" are actually viable marketing tactics, all they are are 'flavour of the year' buzz-words to describe the desired results of 'push marketing' experimentation in social media and experiential marketing efforts.
Where the Next Big Acquisitions Will Happen

The most wrong-headed way for the ad agency networks to welcome XM into their portfolio of marketing tools is to try to build the expertise internally 'from scratch' like O&M's "Ogilvy Action" began attempting to do in 2007 in Canada.  The simplest way (and quite possibly cheaper in the long run as existing firms are already profitable), in Canada as an example, would be for the big players to buy the big successful experiential firms like CIM (LAUNCH! Brand Marketing is their XM agency) and Mosaic, or even the medium-sized ones like Match, Inventa, or their competitors. (If you've got a piece of a successful example of one these firms anywhere in the world, hold on tight!)

But What, Really, Is The Future of Marketing?

The best analogy for the shift from 'push' to 'pull' marketing is not changing the direction of an oil supertanker at full momentum, it is more like doing the same thing for a very long train filled with agency personnel who have been chugging down a more or less straight track for decades.  It doesn't require just stopping the train, it requires laying a brand new set of tracks to go off on this new direction, into a new country where the language is somewhat familiar, but the grammar is quite different.  It's in no way impossible for that train full of people to go in this new direction, and some of the passengers will take to the new direction and grammatical rules fluidly, but it won't be simple or easy to make it happen.

As some of you have read me prattle on about since 2007, the initial realization that came to me listening to a PDA waving presenter speaking to Grey's P&G Euro Team at a seminar in 1997, was that the long-term future of marketing is FULLY Addressable Advertising:

Not 'LBS'*, but 100% personalized, no-repetition advertorials of nothing but stuff I'm interested in buying (click for the link).
* Location-Based Services: 'coupons' sent to your mobile phone for retailers close to where you are. 

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