Right now we have entered into a period of vastly accelerated change in the marketing arena. Whilst many of the mediums that were used in the past to communicate at consumers still remain, the ratio that they are used and the emphasis that marketers are placing on them is rapidly changing. And yes, I did, purposely use the word “at” because really what we were talking about was one way direct communication by advertisers to the potential buyer.
In recent decades, traditionally television radio and print have been the most important forms of advertising. They captured the attention of mass audiences who had fewer options when it came to searching out entertainment and information. Therefore these were the ideal mediums for reaching potential customers in a cost-effective way.
But once the number of options available to people increased then the marketer’s messages became more diluted, as they vied for the attention of the consumer over a vastly increased media landscape. Perhaps this was a challenge that could have been considered a natural progression. Radio impacted newspapers just as television impacted radio. But now there are new unheralded obstacles being thrown into the mix. You would think that getting 21 million viewers, as CBS show NCIS did recently, would be a home run (as they say in America) for advertisers. But in reality how sure can we be that people actually watched the advertisements? With the ability to record TV comes the ability to fast forward ads, it’s as simple as that. Given the choice of watching ads or not, most consumers will not.
Television has always had competition, but with this generation this competition can no longer be considered secondary. Gaming, social media and watching content online are now just as important to generation Y as television. There doesn’t seem to be any research out there on the amount of current TV shows that are watched after being torrented online. But gone is the time that people routinely sat down at the same time each week to watch their favourite shows. People now want to see content in their own time. Regardless of it being illegal there is a vast community out there willing to share content and meet the demand for instant viewing.
So what does this mean? With the array of options out there for consumers surely the impact of traditional advertising has lost some of its value? Advertisers therefore have to better understand the changing landscape and the associated impact of the advertising platforms available to them. If they don’t they are in danger of devaluing their service so much that it’s not worth paying for.
Marketing needs to move from a one way communication from advertiser to consumer to becoming a two-way conversation that allows the consumer to feel involved. Consumers place a greater value on word of mouth endorsements than ever before and there for the established push marketing needs to make way for more pull marketing. The marketer needs to forget about the traditional buying process where a trigger sets off a consumer need and from there their decision process is both linear and identical to other consumer’s. People today are constantly interacting with brands and any two buying processes can be completely different.
Marketers need to understand the multiple platforms available to them and see them as opportunities. Mobile advertising which includes display ads, search ads and mobile video ads, is set to reach $1 Billion in the US market this year for the first time. This is predicted to grow to over $4.4 Billion by 2015. The data that can be extracted using analytic tools means that ads can be more targeted and more cost-effective.
The changing viewing behaviors of consumers has driven television stations to respond by supplying more and more content online through their on demand sites. Perhaps one of the few types of TV content that is likely to be guaranteed to be watched live is sport. Yahoo have just launched their new Yahoo screen service where they have partnered with major TV companies who are supplying content which can be viewed by customers at their leisure. By responding to changing consumer habits this way, advertisers have an opportunity to generate revenue through program sponsorship and advertisements before and throughout content.
Social media not only allows brands to interact with their customers like never before but it allows their customers to promote their brand to others on their behalf. With customers playing such an important role in shaping a brands identity it is important that marketers have processes in place to control and respond to the image being portrayed.
Despite this quickly changing marketing terrain, marketers who move with the times and stay on top of the available mediums and trends will no doubt find this a very exciting time.