I had been working at Ammirati Puris Lintas, an advertising agency no longer in business today. We had a great shop with stellar accounts (and beautiful offices). I spent time on the Bacardi business and then moved over to the Compaq computer account. It’s funny to think about it now, but Compaq was a large and important brand back then. Their business was hyper relevant to the computer industry; the computer industry was vital to the stock market and the overall growth of our economy.
There was a role open in our digital group. These were early days - not the earliest days, but definitely early ones. I had been planning print media for the most part, but my tenure on a computer account made me “tech savvy” and thus desirable for the position. I made the move.
About 3 days into my new role, there was a phone call to my mother explaining what I was up to. I remember feeling crystal clear about the difference in my job from just a week earlier. My description was along these lines: “last week, I was in advertising; this week, I’m handling the 4 Ps of Marketing.”
Being a few years out of school, the 4 Ps - promotion, price, place & product - were still fresh in my mind. It was geeky and bookish, but it was the best articulation I could find. A print ad was clearly about promotion (awareness, impressions). An interactive ad unit was something totally different. It was measurable (implications for price). It was clickable (drove directly to a place). It could provide a service (extension of product).
Of course back in those days, we were limited by the constraints of bandwidth, infrastructure, data, critical mass and even what we knew. We didn’t know that much. But, we knew we had something golden on our hands: a true interactive medium where the very definition of marketing changed based on how much it expanded our horizons and connection points.
Thirteen years later, our industry has greatly matured. Technology has proliferated and driven huge opportunity. Among that opportunity is what many in the industry describe as the next big thing: SoMoLo (the intersection of social, mobile and local). At Digitas, my colleagues and I have taken to calling that thing “Human Pixeling.”
When people are addressable wherever they are, that’s human pixeling. Since so many of us have smart phones in our hands (or nightstands) 24 hours a day we are, in essence: walking, talking, friending, purchasing ad tags. Our actions speak volumes about who we are and what we do. Our physical locations can be combined with our credit card statements, our music library and our browsing history enabling marketers to offer us something of value and relevance.
Where once we read a magazine and saw an ad for a product based on the edit on the opposite page (if the media planner was good), we can now be ping’d on our mobile devices as we pass by a store with an offer tied to the perishability of the products inside and based on the web pages we browsed just this morning.
This is an exciting time. We’re witnessing and participating in the true fulfillment of the 4 Ps.