I often speak about the evolution of media moving towards hyper-relative advertising environment based on the simple concept of location and consumer preference. But how do we get there? Everything we need to make the evolutionary leap is in place.

The steps between our current environment—an environment driven by big data, ad exchanges and, arguably, violations of personal technology privacy—and a waste-free environment will be driven less by technology advancements than advancements in media planning strategy.

The technology for waste-free advertising exists today. Mobile devices and location technology are ubiquitous to the point they’ve been commoditized. And, the industry recognizes the importance of leveraging those screens. The problem is that we’re still plugging those very personal mobile screens into the same dozen or so categories on a spreadsheet that hasn’t changed for a decade. We’re applying 2003 thinking to media in 2013.

The industry needs to evolve its thinking—evolve its spreadsheet—to allow for a new kind of advertising. Marketers and brands have an opportunity to use mobile devices as a truly personal advertising medium, but it will require leaving ad exchanges, big data and the digital out-of-home mindset behind.

Because mobile, waste-free advertising facilitates a 1:1, two-way conversation with consumers that are highly engaged and contextually ready to purchase, it fills a gap in the traditional advertising-media model. It becomes the layer between high-level brand advertising and engagement through shopper marketing. In other words, it connects the brand with the shopper through a contextually relevant message.

The missing link in this evolutionary chain isn’t technology; that exists. It’s also not the brand’s desire to connect with its customers in a contextually relevant manner right up to the point of purchase; that’s well established. The missing link is the willingness to acknowledge media is changing, and more importantly, to do something about it.