Recession Reflections

Last night they were shooting a commercial at my next door neighbor’s house. The actual production for a 30 seconds spot took a few hours. The preparation probably took months. When I asked who the client was, I was told that it was Wal Mart. I was surprised by the fact that the low price leader was shooting the spot in a neighborhood that is considered upper middle class. The house itself is valued at over one million dollars and does not qualify as the house of a Wal Mart shopper. As a matter of fact my neighbor does not shop at Wal Mart. As I thought about what was happening next door, I remembered the true purpose of advertising: to create an emotional connection with the consumer that drives sales.

Regardless of what media we use to convey the message, we need to work with strategic and creative folks dreaming up ad formats or spots that create a memorable experience and drive consumer action. Google has its search algorithm that basically increases options for the buyer and s/he will eventually make a choice and purchase a product or service. Marketers and agencies need to develop strategies and campaigns that place their clients at the top of brand awareness as well as online searches. It is at this stage when that emotional connection plays a key role. Brand awareness and brand marketing are important, but only in their direct correlation to intent and purchase. At the end of the day the only metric in marketing that really matters is revenue and agencies that generate revenue for their clients will keep happy clients.

Media buyers and planners need to understand the new rules of play. Ratings still count and provide you critical mass. However, old media is transitioning to new media and new media is about two way communication and engagement. Planners and buyers, please understand the relationship between media and their audience, how media affects, if it does at all, the behaviors and patterns of audiences. Understand how exposure to advertising on different media can affect the business your clients are running.

Recent metrics indicate that the average user spends 32.7 hours each week on the Internet, and only 16.4 hours watching TV. (IDC). Consumption of newspapers and magazines have declined dramatically and in part that is due to the increased use of internet. TV still commands the lion share of media budgets but online has seen double digit growth in the last 5 years. In countries like England, online budgets already surpassed TV buys and the US is not far behind. A recent study by IBM reports that online video is cannibalizing TV viewership and that corroborates that statement.

The Web has also increased options for measuring and therefore accountability for agencies recommendations. Digital media can almost always be used to measure some element of response and this makes all marketing either direct or indirect marketing. Direct marketers embraced the medium early on because it is the best platform for getting consumers from awareness to transaction the world has ever seen, yet few advertisers leverage the Web as a transaction platform. Marketers are still learning how to integrate branding and transactional ads. Most are just moving TV ads to the new medium and failing to take full advantage of the engagement capabilities of the Web. Just look at the fact that 90% of online ad dollars are invested in two media that fail to drive memorable engagement: banners and text ads. Keep in mind that ROI is what every client measures at the end of the year.

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About Ivan Cevallos

Blogger, entrepreneur, strategist, and digital producer. View all posts by Ivan Cevallos

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