Score Another for Divergence

Marknaples150x120Ever since Christina Kerley tuned me into divergence (as opposed to convergence), I’ve been seeing more advocates in that camp. The latest comes from Mark Naples in MediaPost’s OnlineSpin.

This time last year, I offered just this one prediction: "I offer divergence for what is the most compelling trend in our industry today. Just as the Web provided disparate means for communications media and actual content to be distributed, today we have a growing number of means for marketers to reach their audiences in a more targeted fashion via sub-segments within rich media, e-mail, and search, and we have the mother of all examples of divergence in the actual content distribution models out there today. Of course, I’m talking about blogs."

Check. These days, we speak less about rich media than about segments within rich media such as pre-roll and within-game units. E-mail has become a darling for marketers who need a performance-based brand-asserting unit that obviates the inventory dearth we’ve all read about (which has–in part–driven the divergence trend in the first place). SEM continues to surge upward and blogs have made a majority of industry observers think they actually matter. I think identifying divergence as a trend could very well be the No. 1 thing I got right all year last year. So–good for me. That and $5 will get me a one-use umbrella at the top of the 23rd Street subway stop.

Mark’s not the only one predicting more divergence ahead. Check out The Origin of Brands by Al & Laura Ries (thanks, CK, for the recommendation). Here’s an excerpt of the book description:

Here, the Rieses explain how changing conditions in the marketplace create endless opportunities to build new brands and accumulate riches. But these opportunities cannot be found where most people and most companies look. That is, in the convergence of existing categories like television and the computer, the cellphone and the Internet.

Instead, opportunity lies in the opposite direction — in divergence. By following Darwin’s brilliant deduction that new species arise from divergence of an existing species, the Rieses outline an effective strategy for creating and taking to market an effective brand. In The Origin of Brands, you will learn how to:

Convergence isn’t going away. Refer to any of the press releases from CES for exhibits A through Z, going through the alphabet a hundred times over. Yet it is refreshing hearing a few naysayers out there.