Is Advertising Broken?

Chris Brogan argues that it is.

As the comments on his blog noted, the traditional advertising ad in The New York Times is an “all about me” (the advertiser) message. Not much of a conversation. They present the news (and the ads) and we read them (or not).

However, the Times’s slumping ad sales proves that the old big media/advertising model of talking and interrupting, the idea that the audience has to listen because the advertiser said so, is broken.

Instead, even large companies are starting conversations, monitoring their brand on Twitter and other social networking sites, and taking positive steps to help customers solve their problems. For example, Comcast’s Frank Eliason monitors Twitter. When he sees a customer complaining about a poor phone experience, a modem that won’t work, or a billing problem. He responds with offers of help, tips on how to reboot the modem, and technicians if needed. He’ll send direct messages, call customers, and give a friendly, helpful, human face to a big corporation.

(Imagine if AT&T or Verizon did that…)

Faced with a whole brave new world of reading options, declining book sales, and the Internet, HarperStudio came up with creative ways to build a following. They’re encouraging authors to start blogging after the book is acquired, showing them how to use Twitter, myspace, facebook, and stumbleupon. Authors are given flip cameras to create video stories about their books. Fans can watch the videos, send them to friends, and “stumble” the links.

Other book sites, such as librarything, offer ARCs to devoted readers, or first notice of new books to fans, with authors joining in on discussion groups. Same thing with musicians, who must now make the music part of a larger experience with blogs, souvenirs, special editions, etc.

What are you doing to build a “tribe” of loyal followers and fix the broken old advertising model? Share your stories here.

Photo: jpcurio