Beyond The Buzzwords: The marketing model of today

Posted by Brooke Hemphill on March 9, 2015

“How people buy things has changed profoundly — yet the fundamental thinking about consumer decision making and marketing has not.” Itamar Simonson and Emanuel Rosen, Absolute Value


Today’s marketing model hasn’t changed all that much in recent years.

It looks different compared to, say, the 1970s, but it has largely been frankensteined as marketers try to bring together long established practices and technological advances.


It’s no surprise these attempts are falling out of step with consumers, while a lack of transparency is fostering a sense some brands are just being plain sneaky when it comes to trying to sell their wares.

Is today’s marketing model on the fritz? Here are some examples that suggest maybe it is:

Native advertising

Native advertising is the next in a long list of attempts from legacy publishers to make some coin after the death of classified advertisements.

Native ads can take the form of written content, video, a combination of the two, or those so-hot-right-now online listicles. The difference between native and regular content of similar form is that native is 100% brand funded.

While native might be a cash cow for businesses that established their models after the digital boom, think BuzzFeed and The Sound Alliance that says native is now accounting for up to 30% of its total company revenue, the approach is not without its challenges.

For content marketers, the greatest challenge is delivering value to the audience instead of blasting irrelevant broadcast messages.

When done well, native fits seamlessly into the publication, entertaining and engaging readers on par with non-native content. A brilliant example is The New York Times native campaign for Netflix series Orange is the New Black.

When done poorly, native has more in common with the old ‘advertorial’ pages of a newspaper. Worse still is the feeling you’ve been conned by a brand surreptitiously paying for what you thought was a well balanced piece of editorial.

Given the success publishers are having with native, it looks like the approach is here to stay. The key to delivering a return on investment is making it personal, something that can be achieved with the assistance of our next buzzword, big data.

Big data

It’s had quite the workout but this image best sums up the big data movement: 

More overused than the ad for those expensive shoes you once looked at that continue to follow you around the web, the quintessential ‘big data’ statistic comes from IBM. The technology company says everyday 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is produced and right now, 90% of the data in the world has been created in the last two years.

That’s supermarkets collecting information about what you buy when you shop using a loyalty card, or Google remembering every website you visit.

In essence, ‘big data’ is all about companies holding on to a whole lot of information about you. But do you know what that data consists of? Do you have any idea what they are planning to do with it? Probably not since for the most part, you haven’t seen it being put to good use.


In a nutshell, the term ‘programmatic advertising’ refers to the electronic sale of advertising space but it’s such a handful, we’re putting together a whole post about it - coming soon to the blog.


Cookies are files stored on your computer designed to hold pieces of information about you. Often when visiting websites you will be told cookies need to be enabled and this is so the website can identify you and tailor the experience based on information such as your age and location.

Taking this a step further is what’s known as tracking cookies. These cookies keep track of the websites you have visited and products viewed. Remember that fancy pair of shoes from before? Most likely, its relying on tracking cookies to stalk you wherever you land online.

But the days of using this approach are numbered. As advertising industry publication B&T noted in July, the cookie is likely to face extinction as the technology becomes increasingly incompatible with platforms and devices such as mobile.

For more analysis of marketing and buzzwords, visit our buzzwords glossary.



Topics: Marketing, Big data, Programmatic, Beyond the Buzzwords

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