No, the banner ad is NOT dead and yes, content is “the new black”

This recent headlineThe Banner Ad Is Dead: Content Is The New Black, Marketers Say — grabbed my attention and compelled me to write this “response.” Actually, the article had a lot of great statements and insights from big-brand CMOs. But the headline really stirred a reaction in me (nicely, done Ms. Abramovich).

Look, if banner advertising was dead, our results-focused clients wouldn’t be investing in it. And, the type of cookie-free, IP zone-based digital marketing we’re doing for our clients reaches nearly 100% of our target segments, no matter when or where they are online. Sure, there are times when even our SmartZones online ad campaigns can’t breathe new life into a suffering or stagnant market segment. That’s where the true value of testing comes in. SmartZones is nimble and quick; we test creatives, messaging, market categories, placement timing…you name it.

Take a look at how this SmartZones digital advertising campaign came together to produce exceptional results:

1. Targeted banner ad creatives tailored for each audience segment:




 2. Coordinating landing page focused on conversion:

Zondervan - KJV Homeschool Mom's Bible - 9780310431473

3. Results one month into the campaign:

  • SmartZones is earning a .21% clickthrough rate.
  • This is a 355% lift over the average Education Industry RTB of .05%.*
  • More than 15% or our clicks are converting to product sales.
*MediaMind Industry Global Benchmark Report 2011.

And, when combined with other marketing channels – like content – wowza, we can really make an impact. It’s like combining granola and yogurt. Separately they’re tasty and nutritious, but together – truly yummy (feel free to swap-in your own analogy).

Here’s how JD is creating and publishing highly relevant content to help a US business furniture cataloger share its vast healthcare interiors expertise with this growing market segment (click for a larger view):

content matrix nbf

So yes, put content marketing at the front-end of your strategies. Make it “on brand” and sharable.  But no, don’t buy into the rumors that digital advertising is dead. SmartZones is proof that new, innovative digital advertising methods are alive and well. Get in touch with someone from JD to hear more about SmartZones by JD.

No matter where you allocate your marketing investments, do heed this advice: Set expectations for your marketing programs and don’t settle for getting nothing in return (dare I say expect an ROI or at least some valuable lessons learned). Finally, don’t forget to take (measured) risks and experiment with new ideas (we call that testing)!

Share your comments here: How are your digital ad campaigns performing? How are you employing content marketing to generate more interest and improve your brand’s credibility in the marketplace?