Today I will be moderating a panel at the New Communications Forum here in Santa Rosa, California which I’m particularly excited about because it’s exactly the kind of juicy broad topic that I think can yield really interesting discussions. Our panel has the open charge to talk about the future of marketing and advertising (doesn’t get more broad than that!) and has a great diversity of speakers including Ken Kaplan from Intel (representing brands), Neil Chase from Federated Media (representing publishers and networks) and David Takheim from Six Apart (representing platforms and publishing tools). The composition of the panel should already tell you something about what the future of marketing and advertising may hold … as I’m probably the one representing the traditional model since I’m from the big agency (ironic considering what I do for a living!)

There are a few big questions on my mind for this panel that I plan to share in our conversation. I don’t usually do this, but here are the questions that I predict I will ask during our panel session:

  1. The ongoing tension between PR and advertising silos often comes down the difference in philosophy. In PR, we talk about "earning" media, and in advertising we talk about "buying" media.  In the new world of marketing and advertising, how will we see the balance between earning and buying shift?
  2. Are blogs really the future of media? How important are or should they be in an an overall communications or marketing strategy?
  3. A hot topic in most marketing trades is the shift of dollars to the online and social media space from advertisers. A hot topic in the general media is the consumption behaviour or people shifting. Is one ahead of the other?  If so, do the dollars need to catch up to the audiences, or the audiences need to catch up the dollars?
  4. How important is or will content be to the future of marketing and advertising? This is not about taglines but about actually creating something useful, interesting or entertaining for people to watch or read … and having that be your marketing message.

For those who have participated in panels with me before, or heard me speak about doing it, you’ll know that I have a rule never to walk into a session like this with more than 3 to 5 pre-scripted questions. The reason is that it forces me to pay attention and react to the conversation on stage by coming up with new questions on the spot. In the end, usually the result is a much more interesting panel discussion.

* Full Disclosure – Intel is an Ogilvy client and I work directly with Ken.