When asked “What’s Microsoft’s next step?” at the end of the presentation at the Assoc. of National Advertisers here in Phoenix, Ballmer replied with this: “Digital digital digital. Advertising advertising advertising. You talk about the bacon and eggs breakfast, and who’s more committed, the pig or the chicken? We’re the pig. We’re in it. We’re committed.”
Ballmer presented Microsoft’s plan to become a “marketing platform” for advertisers. “Within ten years, no consumption of anything we think about as media today – print, tv, internet, - will not be delivered over internet IP technology,” he said. “I don’t care if you’re watching your big TV screen or reading what you think we once called a magazine or a newspaper, it will all be delivered digitally.” In this world, according to Ballmer, Microsoft will be one of “two or three” platforms that place all advertising, everywhere, for all advertisers for all publishers. And publishers means everybody from big-name media outlets to his high school basketball team, when it eventually puts its basketball games online. Ambitious stuff. I wonder if ad sales staffers and media buyers agree.
Ballmer said one more thing I definitely agree with: “If there’s one area that I think people are under-investing in, it’s perhaps your own destination website.” That’s true. Make your website right, and you don’t just get consumers hanging out with your brand. You can glean extremely valuable data, create direct-selling opportunities, and more. How many brands really do a good job of this right now?