Like most areas of marketing, advertising is changing rapidly. Some argue that change has affected advertising more than any other marketing function. For instance, while many different media outlets are available for communicating with customers, the ability to distinguish between outlets is becoming more difficult due to the convergence of different media types.
Digital convergence, which refers to the use of information technology methods to deliver media programming, allows one media outlet to take advantage of features and benefits offered through other media outlets. This can be seen most clearly with television, which in many areas around the world, is broadcast digitally using the same principles of information delivery that are used to allow someone to connect to the internet or mobile networks. This convergence of television opens many potential opportunities for marketers to target customers in ways not available with traditional over-the-air television advertising. For example, the development of interactive television is enabling viewers to respond to advertisements (e.g., click) on their screen in much the same way as can be done when seeing ads on a website.
The convergence of television with other technologies opens many potential opportunities for marketers to target customers in ways not available with traditional television advertising. For example, technology may allow ads delivered to one household to be different than ads delivered to a neighbor’s television even though both households are watching the same program.
But convergence is not limited to just television. Many media outlets are experiencing convergence as can be seen with print publications that now have a strong web presence. The future holds even more convergence opportunities. These include outdoor billboards that alter displays as cars containing geographic positioning systems (GPS) and other recognizable factors (e.g., GPS tied to satellite radio) pass by; a social media site using information about its users’ to display advertisements related to specific life events, such as a wedding engagement; or direct mail postcards that carry a different message based on data that matches a household’s address with television viewing habits.