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How Do We Build A Better Ad Business?

Innovators Dilemma

In an Ad Age article today, I once again read something Rob Norman said that I wanted to disagree with:

“The biggest gating factor to internet ad growth is the obsession of the players, the [venture capitalists] and the press with ‘bottom of the funnel’ marketing in a world where the big money is spent at the top,” said Rob Norman, CEO of Group M Interaction. He said display ads do indeed have a chance to be as big a business as the web giants hope — but it’ll require better targeting that helps discern intent (à la search advertising), a set of metrics that can at least be proxy for sales, and messaging that is valid and useful for users.

The second part of this sentence I completely agree with, but the means to the end I am less confident about. The first time I read this paragraph, I immediately thought of the Innovator’s Dilemma. It sounds like a classic example of a new technology targeting the “less valuable customers” with a radical, economics-redefining offering, perfecting it slowly, and gradually moving up market to take share.

Rather than write a ten page essay, let’s just agree that it sounds possible.  I actually like Rob.  He puts himself out there.  We would probably have a lot of fun hanging out.

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