The Revolution Taking Place in the World of Advertising

Editor’s Note:  This is the first in a series of thought leadership posts examining the topic, “The Future of Advertising As We Know It.”  We welcome your comments and contributions.  To submit a thought leadership post please email

Walter-Guarino-headshotBy Dr. Walter Guarino, Seton Hall University

For me, it all started some 40 years ago when the agency I was managing introduced me to something called the Worldwide Web. I was already doing work on the Internet, which was used primarily to exchange information between nations and universities in the event that a nuclear war eliminated the “hot lines” and phone communication. It was simply explained as “computers speaking to computers”.  And so it went.  We put up our first web site on the Worldwide Web which was the first interactive way to contact the US government.  It was called the White House Home Page and from there, one could access the Cabinet and the rest of the government. 

Today, the advertising industry is in an enormous state of transition, flux and confusion. Most of the confusion is attributable to the fact that most people do not know much about social media to use it effectively.  It can also be confusing because it keeps changing so rapidly with new programs, apps and so forth. The most recent focus has been on mobile communications as a result of better and more convenient mobile devices, including mobile phones, ipads, ipods, tablets, minipads and more. Plus, I am not including things like Google Glass where you can do stuff online via your eyeglasses and other things like (get ready!) holograms. 

The real issues are 1. )how are people using those devices; and, 2.) how to effectively develop communications that will work best to sell ideas as well as products. I can say for sure that the number of people who currently know how to do this are quite few. That leads to begging the question of when and how long it will take for that number to become representative of the whole advertising community. 

I predict that for this to happen, user data and non-user data by category have to become paramount.  We know, for example, that people are using their phones when shopping at Walmart which has Wi-Fi installed in all its stores.   We also know that people are using their phones in stores to do comparison-shopping before they actually buy the product at that location.  What we do not know is how many people are doing this and how often.  Given that data like that will soon be available, we can proceed to the next step which is to figure out exactly who the buyers are and, equally important, exactly who the non-buyers in the category are, why they are not buying the brand, what they buy instead and what needs to be done to make them buy.  127 = 506

Some of this data can come from non-mobile computers, but the trend will be that more data will be coming from mobile users in the future because mobile is expanding so rapidly!

About the Author: Dr. Walter Guarino, who teaches advertising and branding at Seton Hall University. Dr. Guarino is recipient of The Governor’s Gold Medal, the highest recognition granted to a New Jersey resident. An inductee in the NJ Advertising Hall of Fame, Professor Guarino is also Freedom House Person of the Year, Park Avenue Club Man of the Year, listed in the 2013/2014 Academic Directory called the Academics Who’s Who for faculty and academic roles at post-secondary institutions of learning worldwide. He has offered his communications expertise to assist charitable organizations as board member in charge of marketing committees, including: The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, The Pinelands Preservation Alliance, Freedom House Foundation, The Newark Museum, Medical Missions for Children and more. He has also served on business-related organizations as well; such as the Morris County Chamber of Commerce and the Business & Education Together Foundation (Co-Chair). A partner in Practicomm LLC, he has previously served as President of SGW  Integrated Marketing Communications, general manager of Poppe Tyson,  President of AFGL Financial, and General  Manager-Exec VP of Doremus/BBDO.