Column: A Dreamer’s Guide to Marketing

By George Farris

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A few decades ago, I was co-founder of what was called an “advertising agency.”

TV was the largest part of media budgets of clients who sold consumer goods and services. The budget was typically divided among three TV networks. (There were only three at the time.) We bought a few cheap spots on the upstart cable networks and spent the rest on some supporting newspaper ads and, occasionally, billboards.

Producing the campaigns, especially the 30-second TV spots, was a creative joy. The results were impressive and fast for most clients. Within a week, clients could see the impact of their campaigns. It was simple, sweet and pure.

Then, one warm sunny day, after finishing a challenging campaign, I took a stroll through the park. Suddenly I felt drowsy. So I laid down amidst the cool green grass under a tree. I fell fast asleep and started dreaming.

I dreamed I was in the future. It was 2023 and my ad agency had turned into a “marketing” firm and I was a “marketing consultant.”

I noticed my Blackberry had become an iPhone. I was checking out the video feature when I was approached by a robotic humanoid named Alpha Musk, who said, “Welcome to the future!”

“Thanks,” I said, then asked, “Has a lot changed in marketing?”

“Oh yes,” said Alpha.

Alpha handed me something that looked like an iPad made of clear glass. The title on the screen read, “The Dreamer’s Guide to Marketing.”

The guide contained all the changes in marketing and all the exciting new choices for marketers. After Alpha Musk left, I read the entire guide.

I went back to my office and began my journey through the labyrinthine world of modern marketing.

There were dozens of TV networks and streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV, Sling, Disney+, Paramount+ and more.

Social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn enables businesses to reach vast audiences, engage with customers, and run targeted advertising campaigns.

Search engine marketing improves the visibility of websites and provides paid search ads on platforms like Google Ads. Content marketing like blogs, videos, podcasts, and infographics helps businesses to establish authority and attract customers.

Influencer marketing promotes products or services to their followers. Email marketing allows businesses to nurture relationships, share updates and promote offers.

Mobile marketing reaches customers through mobile apps, SMS (short message services) marketing and location-based advertising. Online display advertising on websites, mobile apps and video platforms increases brand visibility.

Virtual and augmented reality will engage customers in new ways.

AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants will continue to evolve, providing personalized customer interactions and recommendations.

Live streaming will keep growing, offering businesses opportunities to connect with audiences in real-time. Personalized marketing will deliver messages tailored to individual customers’ preferences and behaviors.

That gave me one more idea: “I need to lay down and start dreaming again.”

George Farris is CEO of Farris Marketing. Email [email protected].