What's Up With Interactive Marketers These Days?

Karl Long asks whether online marketers are obsessed with the wrong things.

Are they obsessed with RIA/Flash based "orgies" for the senses and missing the boat a little on the "new" marketing, the conversational marketing, the blog marketing, the social software, etc.?

It's a terrific question. Right now, I see the Interactive Marketers picking one of two camps - the Online Video Camp and the Engagement Camp. The former of the two wants to treat the Internet like television, and I think they'll make a lot of money in the short term, but won't have a sustainable model.

The Engagement Camp wants to treat the Internet as a two-way communications medium. I count myself in this camp, but I don't necessarily think of everyone in it with me as an ally. (Some of them are still obsessed with staying "on message.")

What sucks is that we've been one big happy industry for a while, and I see a lot of people I like and respect going over into the Online Video camp because their clients want to run their TV commercials online. They lose sight of two very important things - 1) The Internet is not television, and 2) Very few people want to watch television commercials online.

On the other hand, I'm happy that a lot of people in the Engagement Camp want see that the Internet is a two-way medium, but some of the people in this camp are even more dangerous than the online video crowd. They see blogging as an opportunity to disseminate press releases or advertising messages, not as an opportunity to advance the conversation. And that's bad, because many people are convinced that corporations and people can't exist in the same sphere without strangling one another. If we pollute the blogosphere with ad messages, we won't get another chance to communicate with people in a direct and human way. As it is, people are cynical enough.

But back to Karl's post for a sec...

...it seems that McKinsey is taking a leadership position in getting some old and new media leaders to get together in New York. Mind you, in support of the idea that what used to be new media is now traditional...

New Media is NOT traditional. One of the worst mistakes we ever made as an industry was convincing ourselves that we needed to serve up our medium as a one-way broadcast medium in order to succeed. And now we're at a point in time where we have an opportunity to show marketers that our medium works BECAUSE it is different and we just got done telling them it's the same. Ugh.

I'll be the first to admit that I reluctantly jumped on the GRP bandwagon after things got really bad in the online industry. So I'm not blameless here. But let's make sure the ship is heading in the right direction while we still can. We owe it to the medium. I don't want to be swimming in broadcast-model ads all over again.