Are Your Eyes Open to the Changed Advertising Ecosystem?

Books are food for the mind. Some merit gobbling down quickly; others are to be read more slowly, nibbled at and savored. Kevin Lee’s new book with Steve Baldwin The Eyes Have It (ISBN 13: 978-0974380667) published by Easton Studio Press should be read carefully and thoughtfully, for there is a lot of nutrition for the mind between the covers. Those familiar with Kevin’s column in ClickZ already know how many thought-provoking ideas he can cram into just a single column. Now, imagine what’s in 189 pages of this book.

The book’s premise is that we live in a time when advertising, as it was once known, has undergone fundamental changes. The advertising ecosystem of just a few short decades ago is dying. Gone are the days where a brand could rapidly get at millions of untargeted consumers through a few select television ads. The dying ecosystem is being replaced with a new ecosystem of digital media where constant change is the norm, and results are highly accountable and can be achieved very rapidly.

In the book Kevin provides a roadmap for navigating this changed ecosystem. It is a roadmap that is familiar ground for those who work in the new ecosystem, for it is both search and consumer-centric. Kevin provides a great deal of advice for those on the client side who are charged with marketing in the new environment, when to seek advice and what type of advice to look for.

This book gives an eyes-wide open view of the search space. I particularly enjoyed his tongue-in-cheek outline of the warning sign that he believes should be flashing at the start campaign moment of paid search. Marketers should heed this warning. The warning would remind (1) that the search engines are not responsible for the success of the purchaser’s campaign (you’ve got to pay attention to conversion and bear the burden yourself), (2) that the search marketplace is very competitive and opaque, (3) that the engines provide lots of sophisticated targeting tools requiring intense concentration to learn and use, and (4) that lots of advertisers are chasing the same keywords – some smart and some well . . . you know who they are.

For those who must have the details, the book is in nine chapters, most of which have multiple subsections. They are titled:

Chapter 1 – Eye of the Storm: Madison Avenue in Crisis
Chapter 2 – Eyestrain: Digital Marketing Isn’t Easy (And It Isn’t Going to Get Easier
Chapter 3 – Eyes Wide Shut: The Media Plan is Obsolete
Chapter 4 – Lyin’Eyes: The Search Engine and Digital Media Marketplace are Neither Fair nor Transparent
Chapter 5 – 20:20 Vision: Branding Is Not dead
Chapter 6 – Eye of the Robot: Technology Is Central (But It Isn’t Enough)
Chapter 7 – Fleeting Eyes: Change Is the Only Constant
Chapter 8 – Eyes on the Prize: Assessing the Digital Marketing Opportunities Provided by Today’s Major Players
Chapter 9 — Conclusions

One note that is heard throughout the book and is echoed in my own conversations with other search marketers is that search marketing is not getting any easier in fact it is a very complex marketplace even for the professionals to navigate. I am eager to hear Kevin’s take on “Selling Your Integrated Plan to the C-Suite” Wednesday, December 5 when he is on a panel by this name at Search Engine Strategies Chicago.

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