ABCWhen Google announced that it was restructuring to create Alphabet, a new collection of companies that would include Google and a variety of other businesses, experts speculated that the move was designed to help investors gain financial visibility. I wonder if it’s telling us something about the future of online advertising, as well.

As Bloomberg columnist Leonid Bershidsky points out, internet advertising is becoming less and less effective. Ad blocking is amping up. Click-through rates are falling. Could Alphabet be a response to concerns over the long-term stability of Google (which generates 90% of its revenue from search engine advertising)?

I’ve been critical of traditional online advertising for quite some time. Earlier this year, I wrote about online “ghosts,” the images that appear in the sidebar of your email and throughout your social networks after you research or buy something online. You innocently make an online purchase – a book, a pair of shoes, a gadget – and then, for the rest of the day, or longer, you become haunted by images of whatever it was you bought.

To me, these ghosts are the epitome of customized marketing gone wrong, and it’s no wonder so many consumers have stopped responding. They’re frustrated with this kind of irrelevant messaging. They’re annoyed with pop-ups and other “gotcha” tactics.

These days, your customers expect much more. They want consistent and individualized experiences. They want you to deliver meaningful interactions, at the right time, on the channel(s) they prefer.

And I understand how even the thought of that can leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed. After all, it’s quite a tall order.

But it is possible.

With data driven marketing, you can combine customer information (from both online and offline sources), analytics tools, the cloud, social networks and mobile technology to offer true one-to-one, brand-to-customer communication. You can create experiences that capture a customer’s attention and keep them engaged with your brand. Then, that engagement, in turn, leads to new data, which leads to new insights, which leads to even more accurate and more timely interactions.

Over time, your customers are rewarded with more meaningful messages. You’re rewarded because those customers keep coming back. It’s this value exchange that makes data-driven marketing so successful. (Read about examples here and here.)

Still a little uncomfortable about taking the first step into this brave new world? You’re not alone. Take heart in the words of Larry Paige, co-founder of Google and now CEO of Alphabet: “We’ve long believed that over time companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing, just making incremental changes,” he wrote earlier this month. “But in the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant.”