I recently had a chance to discuss the future of online advertising with Shane Vaughan, VP of Marketing for Balihoo, and offered a forum in which to share his perspective. He has succinctly characterized how the relevance of advertising, enabled by the internet, will deliver more qualified customers while supporting, not replacing, traditional forms of advertising.
Pssst… there’s a not-so-well-kept secret you should know: Marketing is Dead
Or maybe it was Advertising is Dead?
Honestly, I’m about done with industry pundits and arm-chair consultants proclaiming the death of the industry as we know it. Even the venerable Bob Garfield of Advertising Age pontificates:
“People don’t like ad”
“Sure, when your ad characters draw a parade crowd on Madison Avenue or you strut up to the awards stage in Cannes with ratty sneakers and fake indifference, of course you feel loved. Alas, you aren’t, especially. In fact, you are mainly resented. A 2006 Forrester Research survey found that 63% of respondents believe there are too many ads, and 47% say ads spoil their reading or viewing enjoyment. This isn’t just talk. Depending on whose numbers you believe, between 50% and 70% of DVR users skip ads. The historical quid pro quo — acquiescence to advertising in exchange for free or subsidized content — is yet another casualty of the revolution.”
“Nor is there any reason to think interruption is better-tolerated online. Forrester reports that only 2% of consumers trust banner ads and 81% of broadband users deploy spam filters and pop-up blockers.”
Time for a career change?
So, people don’t like ads, and advertising and marketing is dying, might as well make my living betting on American Idol (Sanjaya at 8/1?).
No, I beg to differ.
Marketing and advertising are most certainly not dying. Radio did not kill newspapers. TV did not kill radio. And the internet is not going to kill everything. Media is a $400 Billion dollar a year business and it will continue to flourish. However, it’s changing.
The long-tail of advertising is officially upon us. Media fragmentation, social networking, and mobile broadband (among other things) are shattering our media and advertising options into smaller and smaller pieces. But the real secret is that this is good for users and for the customers. Why? Because we’re establishing relevancy.
The fact is that all the banner ads in the world will not persuade me to purchase an unnecessary vehicle. They will potentially get me to put a particular vehicle in my consideration set when I am ready to buy. However, and this is the key, if I’m already in the market for a vehicle, those ads that are RELEVANT to me are extremely interesting. I want to hear what they have to say about that vehicle, in fact, at that point, I would prefer a 30 minute infomercial giving me all of the details of that particular vehicle.
I believe that’s the major issue we’re facing as marketers: finding relevancy around our marketing messages. As media vehicles (and the consumers themselves) become more and more fragmented, our opportunities for relevancy are increasing dramatically. It’s an over-used and often misunderstood description, but the idea of the “long-tail” of advertising opportunities are a gold mine for marketers willing to put the time and effort into finding and executing on them.
Search marketing, behavioral targeting, micro-targeting; these are not “killing” traditional advertising and marketing, they’re allowing us as marketers to deliver more relevant messages to a smaller group of focused customers.
The question for us all: Do you know where your customers are? And are you speaking to them with relevant, contextual messages that integrate with (not interrupt) their daily lives?
If you answered no, it’s time to get to work…
– Shane Vaughan