Is advertising dead, too?

Reading about the Google quarterly report yesterday gave me the subject of today's post.  Google is seeing a continued slump in ad rates and reports are coming out that show that mobile and online advertising is not seen as much by consumers as some in the media have claimed.  Yet budgets on mobile and online advertising are climbing fast.  How long before advertisers realize they are not getting a decent ROI and start pulling back?

Of course, the knee jerk reaction is that the medium is at fault.  After all the content in the ads is the next thing to Shakespeare, right?

It seems to me, and there are studies that back this up, that the approaches to content are still mired in the belief that online and mobile media are still "mass media" with the goal of reaching out the the lowest common denominator.  Campaigns are fileld with the wrong content targeted at the wrong people most of the time, which marginalizes customers.

We recently had a meeting with a company that wanted help with their content, so they showed us their messages.  We showed them that their messages were exactly the same as five other companies in the industry (but not in their niche) with changes only to the name of the company and products.  How had they made such an error? They looked at what everyone else was saying and wanted to make sure they didn't confuse the customer, they said... which is exactly what they were doing.  After hiring a market research firm they discovered that their messaging with the opposite of what their customers needed to know.

It looks like companies may be on the verge of shooting the messenger when they should be looking at rewriting their message.