Innovative Advertising Concepts Exist but Implementing them in a Bureaucracy is Difficult

Marketing strategist says most marketers cannot keep up with advances in the marketplace.

People eager to glimpse at the future of online advertising filled the Toronto Metro Convention Centre on March 5th and 6th in Toronto, Canada for Canada’s largest digital media conference—Dx3. Approximately three thousand attendees visited the exhibition during the two-day event. Dx3 puts retailers, brands and agencies together for two days of nonstop networking. The landmark conference is all about new gadgets, digital media for marketing and innovative advertising concepts.

The crowd contains plenty of brand managers, senior sales and marketing professionals, store owners, ad agency executives and eager beavers hoping to expand their internet advertising capabilities. The trades show part of the event is held upstairs at the Convention Centre where there is a movie theater and five busy session rooms. This year there was also a live-to-web TV studio and several dozen exhibitors.

Stephen Shaw, Chief Strategy Officer at Kenna Digital Marketing Agency in Toronto, was a keynote speaker at the event. He spoke about the evolution of Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) in the new age of the customer and did not have anything nice to say about ad agencies. Shaw kicked off his presentation by talking about brand narcissism. CPG companies and their ad agencies look themselves in the mirror and ask, “Who is the best?” Rather than investigating the marketplace to see how they can be more valuable to consumers. “Marketers today are not organized for success, they don’t have the right models,” says Shaw.  

Spending on media is widely fragmented, he added. Marketers today are paralyzed by the speed of change. They have no idea of the steps that need to be taken to make their business more effective. Most marketers cannot effectively use their existing resources, never mind adapting to new tools. Shaw spoke of an ‘air sandwich’ that exists in most organizations that disrupts the flow of innovation from the top of a business hierarchy to the front line staff and vice versa. “More than half of today’s consumers are annoyed by any type of marketing,” Shaw states, “The age of persuasion is over, welcome to the age of the customer!”

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