Disclosure: this post is the bastard child of a comment on the Nieman Journalism Lab and Nicholas Carr’s Realtime Chronicles.

Image: Super Target by jeco
Image: "Super Target" by jeco
Maybe the problem with the publishing industry (and its plummeting ad revenues) is that everyone is still thinking in terms of “advertising” instead of “marketing.” I mean, “advertising” is what happened when we were blind, when all we had to go on was imperfect information and educated guesses about our audiences, and the only way we could reach them was through cumbersome, physical spaces that were completely beyond our control.

But now content is now dynamic. It exists in “realtime,” in the stream, and that’s killing the real space that was so cumbersome and beyond our control.

Now, if publishers are smart, if they’re really strategic, can actually amass more practical information about their audience than most government agencies. And that means that they can proactively connect their audience with offers that their audience actually care about, is actually interested in. That, after all, is what symbiotic editorial is all about.

I mean, smart publishers, the strategic ones, have so much information that they have to hire database-miners! A job that didn’t even exists all too long ago. So maybe publishers need to stop thinking about how advertisers can target their readers and start thinking about how they can use their readers to target advertisers. Maybe they need to start thinking about a kind of third dimensional advertising.

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