A great article from Matt Kapko of clickz.com asked, "is ad tech (advertising technology) living in the past?"  He conducted an interview with HubSpot CMO Mike Volpe who believes the "ad tech" field is in fact, on the decline.  It's certainly a great topic for debate and Volpe raises some very valid points.

The question comes down to this:  Are we forcing messages onto our customers who simply ignore them or are we engaging them and making them a valued part of our company?

He nails the future of marketing on the head:  it's (the future)"about attracting not interrupting."  The key is to "get more people to interact with your company, rather than arm-twisting them."

Simply running ads on facebook that interrupt the flow of user's friends' pictures is annoying.  It's clearly not the future of online engagement.  There has to be more to it than that, but how much more?

Some thoughts to consider as you plan your corporate communications:

1. Don't insult your customer. In your ad copy and placement, as well as your social media efforts, don't think that your customers want to be your friend.  Be creative, funny, helpful and know that your (the brand/company) importance in their life ranks relatively low.  A brands' posting on social media can be intrusive or it can be engaging.  As the marketing manager, you choose which way to go.

I readily admit that some brands/companies/products elicit near cult followings; some video games and apple for instance, but I was speaking of the majority of brands and companies.

2. Be consistent with tone.  Don't run two goofy posts followed by a serious news item, followed by a contest launch, etc.  Plan your posts, including what the message will be and how it will be communicated.  Do you have a mascot of sorts for your brand?  Take the GEICO gecko for instance.  Using the gecko as your lead in online and social media communication gives a consistent feel to your outbound communication and is highly recommended.

3. Do not take advantage of "big events."  Specifically I mean September 11th; but there are plenty of other dates in other countries that carry special significance.  Anniversaries such as these do not need AT&T running a promotion on twitter to add relevance to the day.  Stick to marketing in an honest way that does not take advantage of events that have nothing to do with you or your brand.

4. Plan your site for the customer and not for search engines.  I'm a strong believer in optimizing after the completion of the creative.  Making completely sure that the creative is created for the customer.  Articles and videos that are keyword stuffed are obvious and insult the user.  Consumers are getting smarter; they can spot that kind of poor content from a mile away; if you produce poor content they will leave.