Marketers Often Find the Best Cure for Tough Times is Found in Innovation

In our last post regarding ad blocking, the general tone is one that paints an unclear picture for the future of online and mobile advertising. While we suggested several options marketers may have to address ad blocking, many ad industry folks are truly concerned that the long-term prognosis does not seem all that rosy for advertising delivered through computers and mobile devices.

Well, that is a picture that has been painted for many companies and industries in the past only to see the prediction of dire straits never coming about. Certainly the most obvious recent example is Apple, which in the mid-1990s was mostly written off as a computer company that was reaching the end of its life. Of course, naysayers were proven wrong when Steve Jobs brought new ideas to the company, and everyone knows the rest of the story.

In terms of industries, certainly the intercity bus industry is another good example of something that was heading to the mothballs. Long predicted to whither away due to automobiles and airlines, the demand for bus seats is now growing. While some of this growth is affected by rising costs and unpredictable delays of other transportation options, especially air travel, bus companies’ efforts to improve the customer riding experience, including more comfortable seats and Internet service, are altering customers’ perception of bus travel.

On an even larger scale, consider what is happening in many big U.S. cities. At one point, large cities were predicted to become nearly ghost towns (granted a bit overstated!) as people bolted for suburban living.  But cities soon learned by offering economic incentives to locate in the city, companies with creative ideas could help lure people back and revitalize urban areas.

At the core of these examples is the idea that even when marketers are immersed in troubling times, re-creation through innovation can turn things around. And this may be just what will happen in the online and mobile ad industry. As discussed in this story from Mobile Marketer, advertisers are reportedly jumping at the opportunities that may exist with the new interactive 360 video technology introduced by Facebook this week. Advertisers are anxious to try out this new advertising approach as they see real value in terms of audience interest, and more importantly, audience involvement. While it remains to been if such ads will also be susceptible to being blocked, the potential entertainment value of this ad format sets it apart from other formats. And, if this is the case, many using ad blocking may be persuaded that there is real entertainment value found in watching advertisements, and the best way to obtain this value is to turn ad blocking off.


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