Guy Kawasaki did a post in Open Forum this week on "Is Advertising is Dead" reporting on a panel of advertising experts from Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft. The purpose of the panel was to discuss the benefits and pitfalls of using advertising to support a web-based business. There were some good points, but like every other discussion I have seen on advertising it missed an important point: How do you make it work?
Advertising does not create sales. It improves them, but it doesn't create them. It reinforces opinions and impressions that have already been established. For advertising to work, the initial sale has to have been already made; the first impression established. The panel got close tot he subject with the statement: The key starting point is great content. When you have great content, you’re more likely to attract audiences, and audiences are what advertisers are looking for."
The content is what establishes opinion and creates the initial openness to a sale, but that content has to have at least the appearance of objectivity to do its job. If the content in the online publication is obviously biased in favor of a particular vendor, it doesn't meet the definition of "great content" that the panel says you have to have.
This is the key component missing from social media programs in corporate America and what needs to be addressed before they will become valuable to the market.