There's no new news in the observation that we are in the midst of a continuing explosion of formats, interfaces, device form factors and within each of those a sea of technical standards offering capabilities and features that are hard enough to enumerate let alone act upon.

Add this to levels of targeting granularity at IP, individual, household, set top box, zip plus four, zip and zone level and you can safely conclude that delivering exactly the right message to the right person at the exact time and place required, overlaid with feedback loops and data is a reality. No more waiting for the future of distribution.

In all this lies a problem and it's all about manufacturing the assets to populate the opportunity presented by the changes above.

This is a problem of two halves. The first part is to resolve the economics of message creation in terms of the cost of production in relation to size of the segment reached. We know for sure that one size fits all offers great cost amortization but misses the opportunity to maximize relevance and we know just as surely that one ad delivered to one person at a time can almost never be justified.

The other half of the problem is that most advertisers simply don't have the infrastructure, approval processes or the institutional knowledge to develop (in video in particular)assets from 5 seconds to 5 minutes at a level of quality, precision and at a cost that makes sense.

So the short strokes of this is the need for manufacturing to catch up with distribution throughout the marketing supply chain and the deployment of high grade asset management systems to support them. In aggregate this represents a need for new structures and behaviors if the opportunities presented by the media and technology community are to be realized.

In an age of procurement driven supply chain management that follows a path of reducing input costs in relation to output needs this will be very, very hard and just maybe it's time to think about the value of re-resourcing marketing departments and agencies to capture the value of finally resolving the Wannamaker conundrum.

Rob Norman is Chief Digital Officer Global of GroupM. Rob’s principle tasks are developing the interaction organization within GroupM, developing positioning and thought leadership and leading the interaction contribution to business development. You can reach Rob at @robnorman or

Read all Rob's MediaBizBloggers commentaries at Musings from GroupM.

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