The Times They Are a Changin’

Depending on your age, some of this may be going back too far for you. But I can remember sitting on the floor of my first apartment playing Pong and being transfixed by the fascinating game taking place on the television screen. I can remember walking down the aisle at Target and gazing at a Commodore 64 sitting tantalizingly on the shelf. “Hmmm,” I thought. “Should I? Do I really need a computer? Or are they just a fad?”

I even remember watching the first video on MTV (“Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles), back in the days when MTV actually played videos.

And now, suddenly, it’s today, and virtual worlds are taking hold. Destinations such as and have not just sprung up tentatively … they’ve boldly taken hold with hundreds of thousands of members who are living an unusual sort of double life. They exist in the real world, and they also live in a virtual world where they can pursue anything from business opportunities to real estate and recreation.

To some, this may sound just too far out. Virtual worlds? But to smart marketers, it should sound like opportunity. The web may be the greatest tool in marketing history, and we must investigate fully its ability to help us converse with our customers in the manner most likely to appeal to them.

Virtual worlds, then, are about relevancy. They may be the most relevant way to communicate with some segments of your audience. I urge you to look at virtual worlds and test them as measurable marketing tools. Don’t think it’s not happening already. Nissan, Evian Water, Scion, theaters and more are finding at least some of their target audiences living in virtual worlds.

The important thing is to remember that you must respect these individuals and their desire not to be bombarded with traditional advertising. The times are changing, and it you can find a way to their virtual hearts, you might find a way to success.

Grant Johnson

Johnson Direct LLC

By the way, thanks to Target for resurrecting one of my favorite songs in their commercials: “And when tomorrow is today, the bell may toll for some, but nothing can change, nothing can change, nothing can change the shape of things to come.”


About johnsondirect

A prominent measurable marketing strategist and nationally recognized thought leader, Grant serves as president and chief marketing officer for Johnson Direct, a measurable marketing communications and direct branding™ counseling firm that employs multi-channel marketing strategies that are testable and accountable. He is also a sought-after public speaker, marketing trainer, award-winning author, copywriter, and consultant.
This entry was posted in Johnson Direct, Marketing that's measurable, Observations and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Times They Are a Changin’

  1. Hunter says:

    They may be virtual worlds. But, if I’m Scion, I don’t want people using Linden Dollars to buy a virtual Scion. I want people go to online or to Joe’s Scion to buy the real thing. Is that really happening? Are people connecting virtual life with real life and translating brand interactions to real experience?

    If it is, should we be worried? There ar lots of social implications that I do not want to think about.

  2. My guess is that most brands, like Scion, are testing the channel — and that’s what this space may become — a brand new marketing channel.

    Yes, dealer distribution still reigns supreme in the car business; however, most folks now do their homework before visiting a dealer — and do that online.

    I agree with you. Let’s hope the lines between real and virtual do not become blurred.


  3. Pingback: The Times They Are a Changin’

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