Embracing technology: key to success in advertising world

Posted October 13, 2011, by Josie Chun

The marketing and advertising industries were amongst the hardest hit during the recent economic downturn – but opportunities and openings are still to be found. The tight market has forced advertisers to start doing things a little differently, and that has opened up new opportunities for newcomers and for people with innovative ideas.

How the industry is changing

Like all professions, advertising is an industry in flux – especially with the rise of new technologies and social networking changing the entire media landscape. Lachlan Brahe, managing director of emitch, a digital advertising and online marketing agency, has seen an explosion of new opportunities in his fast-growing area. ‘Our area of digital media has experienced growth despite the downturn,’ says Brahe.

The key to keeping up with the times, according to Brahe, is to embrace new technologies. ‘These types of new channels/platforms will just speed up the development of more engaging forms of advertising, meaning that brands need to determine legitimate ways to be involved in social groups and pertinent ways of involving themselves in the conversations that arise online.’

Another reason for the increasing popularity of digital media channels for advertisers is the ease in charting the direct results of advertisements in a way that was hitherto impossible – through web traffic and click-through rates. 

‘A key reason for their popularity is the accountability that these channels afford advertisers. In economic conditions such as what we’ve been experiencing in the past year or so, it’s most helpful for businesses to understand the return on investment they get from marketing expenditure and digital marketing affords some robust metrics and ability to analyse this.’

Well-known advertising guru Siimon Reynolds has been in the industry for many years and has become a master of traditional media forms, but isn’t fazed by the new technologies. The basic principles remain the same, despite changing delivery methods.  

‘All industries fragment over time, and the media and advertising industry is no different. All of a sudden we have many more options from a media point of view, and this complexity at first spooks people. Yes, there’s complexity, but it’s easy to understand.’

‘But the thing is that communication is always the same. It’s still all about selling. It’s like you’re sitting down with someone and you’re convincing them to buy your product, but in this case it’s in an online ad or a Twitter page. You’ve just got to remember that no matter what medium you use, you’ve just got to be persuasive, you’ve got to be liked, and you’ve got to make sense,’ says Reynolds.

How the downturn affected the industry

Reynolds acknowledges that cost-cutting and hiring reductions have had some negative effects on the industry, but emphasises that there are still opportunities for those with fresh ideas and a fresh attitude.

‘On the negative side, we all know that they’ve cut a lot of staff and don’t want to employ many people. But I will say this – those kinds of statistics don’t affect the individual. Don’t worry about the economy, just worry about the interview going well, and you can still make it. People defeat themselves by assuming they can’t get a job, but that’s absolutely untrue. There’s always a place for good people.’

In fact, the economic downturn opened up the field and had some positive effects. ‘Agencies want to employ juniors because they’re cheaper, so there’s been good opportunities for getting into the industry. Also, companies are in trouble so they’re looking for alternatives. So if someone comes in and makes a good case, then possibly they can get an opportunity that they might not have had when life was comfortable inside that agency.’

So if you’re hoping to enter the world of advertising, embrace the latest trends and technologies, approach them with passion, and foster an ability to think outside the square – and there’s nothing to stop you from thriving in this exciting and stimulating profession.

Josie Chun

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