The Tyranny of Dead Internet Ideas; Part 3

These comments are being posted simultaneously on The Drift and on the iMedia Connection blog in advance of my keynote at next month's iMedia Agency Summit in Austin, Texas. This is the last of three posts on this topic.

Over the past two days, I've outlined a few of the "Dead Ideas" that I believe are stifling innovation and stunting the development of online advertising and marketing. Today I'll round out the list with a couple more of the tyrannical "Dead Internet Ideas" that stubbornly cling to the shadow of life.

Dead Idea #5: Targeting; the Word. Since the idea first took root 15 years ago, we in the industry have freely discussed 'targeting' this consumer or that one, based on behavior, affinity, gender and a dozen other characteristics. We've done so as if nobody was listening; as though we were having an insider baseball discussion on the mound with nobody around. Turns out people are listening. And they're deeply offended. Online marketing has the stink of creepiness around it at a time when the average consumer is paranoid about his or her privacy and data security. Nobody wants to be 'targeted' in this world, but we don't seem to get that. May I humbly suggest that talking about 'targeting' is the deadest of ideas, and also humbly suggest a more benign (and accurate) replacement: 'ad selection.'

Dead Idea #6: Getting It All Figured Out. Whether it's the 'Holy Grail' referred to in so many pie-in-the-sky business plans or a set of immutable 'standards' that will usher our business to a state of calm maturity, the idea of things ever being completely sorted in our world is muerto. Sure we might find some temporary standards around simple stuff like ad sizes or the length of a video unit. But it's time to let experience trump optimism and accept that ours is a permanently dynamic marketplace. Speed, adaptability and an ever-questioning nature are what will breed success. Acceptance that 'standards' as we like to think of them in traditional media are a dead idea is a great start to a healthy new generation of managers and leaders in our business.

If you think I'm way off the mark with these tyrannical 'dead ideas,' post your thoughts here. Or best yet, bring your own dead ideas to the discussion at next month's iMedia Agency Summit in Austin. I'm not looking for agreement, per se; passionate curiosity means much more. Because the deadest idea of all is indifference.