Advertising 'one of the most inefficient' industries in the world

By David Blight | 5 February 2013
David Whittle.

Experts including Mi9's Mark Britt and M&C Saatchi's David Whittle have pointed to the inefficiency and irrelevance of the traditional advertising model, with Whittle calling the ad industry "possibly one of the most inefficient in the world".

At this morning's Future of Digital Advertising forum in Sydney, M&C Saatchi managing director David Whittle pointed towards the age-old problem of traditional advertising: that it is often directed towards people who do not find it relevant. The solution, he suggested, was further refinement in the arena of data and targeting, particularly re-targeting.

"We should have a commitment to reducing irrelevance, and it is the use of data which can drive relevance," Whittle said. "If we can provide people with relevant, targeted advertising, then relevance becomes a service. This is the future of marketing."

Mi9 group chief executive Mark Britt suggested that, while 'data' is an "overused term", it is nonetheless the one of the most important concepts for modern marketers to get their heads around, particularly if they want to move away from notions of irrelevant marketing.

"Data has moved from being something that was kind of irrelevant to be a $30 million business for us in the last 12 months," Britt said. "The media buying model for some time has been based on buying space and hoping someone sees it. For a long time we have known this mass media model is flawed, but now we can actually find out which half of our media budget is wasted, we can change the media buying model.

"It all starts with data. But if we have lots of data, the question is what do you do with it," Britt continued. The answer, he said, was to connect the data to tools that would target only the relevant market.

The Future of Digital Advertising Forum in Sydney is hosted by the AIMIA and the IAB.

Clarification: The headline of this article originally read 'Advertising 'most inefficient' industry in the world: Whittle', but has been amended to better reflect David Whittle's sentiments.

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