By Fred Pfaff and Art Cannon

Welcome to the year of utility in marketing.

Utility is the new measure of media. What can I do with it?

Specifically, what can I do with it that…

  • Saves time?
  • Increases my experience?
  • Widens my connection?
  • Gives me more control over my experience?
  • Increases my social capital?

These are the criteria that determine the engagement that marketers are starting to measure in earnest.

atmtx / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Why now? We’ve crossed the Rubicon in smartphone adoption. The world in your palm changes expectations, and those expectations raise the bar on marketing. Marketing will be judged by how useful it is, now that we have an unprecedented infrastructure of delivery and activation.

Utility imposes a shift in mindset and execution. It introduces a product focus to branding, a messaging ethos to technology, a direct marketing discipline to media, and a host of other major changes.

Above all, though, utility trumps sentiment. Ad giants have built a business on sentiment that falls a distant second in an age where I want to do something. In the year of utility, your marketing can’t just communicate your benefit. It has to deliver it, through mechanisms that let people experience the value in everyday life.

Over the course of the year, we’ll explore this topic here, through interviews and guest posts providing useful thinking on marketing you can use.


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