Advertising, May You Rest in Peace!
I declare, with great respect for so many smart global marketers, first bragging rights, first memorialized announcement rights that “advertising as we knew it, know it, show it, roll it is dead, buried and gone.”
Of course this enormous, shocking and surely controversial global announcement from Gen One Ventures will stun CEOs, CMOs, advertising agencies, PR firms, editors and even analysts. But probably not surprising to smart retail merchants who expect formidable and profitable pull of your products across their shelves and .com houses based upon your aggressive advertising programs. Not to mention your sales people expecting new product launches will dazzle targeted buyers based upon new, bright, relevant and shiny advertising initiatives; when truly they do not.
Further it will be reported that the cause of advertising’s passing as we know it “is to be blamed on “ME”… and me and me and me and me and one more, me.” By the way metaphorically but truthfully, logically and righteously “ME” stands for the “Me Economy.” In our new ME economy, consumers are the ruling viceroys of any brands success.
Consumers within our new ME Economy review, rule, command, decree, identify and even publish true and formidable brand, product and service reviews, recommendations: even damnations. Unlike for decades past, in our new ME Economy the juxtaposition dignity of knowledge regarding brand and product choices, product value, pricing, services, support is owned by consumers, not as formerly by advertisers and their push advertisements. These words from a famous song we all know to well may be easily paraphrased in our new ME economy: “it’s the end of advertising as we know it.”
So, how did we get here? I know you expect me to immediately offer a fleeting glimpse of the obvious: that advertising consumption has dramatically changed due to our new cloud centric content super-funnel. I will, but not just yet. Let’s start with one fact. That advertisers have been training consumers to be advertising-adverse, to dislike advertising, to shun advertising, to run, hide, jump and flip away from advertising for decades.
Simply stated, consumers are advertising adverse, not because they want to be, but rather because we collectively trained them to be this way. Somehow, somewhere it became fashionable, obvious and conventional (the only exception to these observations are direct selling advertisers who smartly and effectively unite brand power with product knowledge and pricing into an advertising message) to create advertisements that are: 1. highly metaphoric 2. stupidly funny 3. loud and intrusive 4. void of brand and product knowledge/value 5. Prices hidden and unrevealed 6. annoying 7. mind numbing. 8.consistently irrelevant 9. void of valuable product information.
I agree and believe my fat claim and charge that the death of advertising as we know it has passed should be backed by at least 3rd party research. So here we go:
Fat Claim Proof # 1: The results of InsightsOne (part of Harris Interactive) recent research surely defines Americans are fed up with bad, irrelevant and annoying advertising. According to the study, 87 percent of adults 18 and over have thrown up a granite viewing wall against the number of irrelevant ads they are willing to view before they ignore a company completely. While 43 percent of those surveyed state they will ignore a company completely after seeing as few as two received email spams. Annoying, valueless ads are pervasive according to the results of the InsightsOne April 2013 study with 91 percent of Americans reporting they see them, they dislike them, they ignore them. According to the report consumers are extremely annoyed by website ad spam, email spam/sidebar ads, postal junk mail, television commercials and ads across social and mobile media.
This eye-opening report reveals the media with the most annoying ads are television (60 percent), websites (52 percent) email and sidebar ads (55 percent) home postal snail mail (37 percent) and social media (37 percent). The net? Within our new ME economy consumers will not and do not put up with annoying, irrelevant, highly metaphoric advertising pushed down to them. In the new ME economy consumers rule over the advertising economy by pulling brand and product information and or advertising when the company and its messaging is “ME” relevant, smartly factual, knowledgeable and creatively/relatively inviting.
Fat Claim Proof #2: Okay, here’s what you first expected me to articulate in terms of consumers' short focus, concentration and time spent with advertising. Obviously, in today’s ubiquitous and ambient cloud based internet world of instant access to information, entertainment, gaming, news, weather and social engagements if a consumer is not on their smart phone they are on their tablet or notebook all while simultaneously watching TV and eating dinner. All while skipping and shifting advertisements anyway they can. Wow! And in all this, while consumer attention is a mile wide as opposed to a viewing and listening inch deep advertisers just keep firing off annoying, irrelevant advertisements to capture potential consumer victories. Your right, seems comical to believe this could possibly be true, but it is.
Consumers do not need or frankly want your advertising. They want your brands, products and services but the majority of the advertising community refuses to acquiesce to the demands of the new ME economy. Instead, they continue to fire off poor, mind numbing and annoying advertising again and again and again I guess hoping something magical will happen. Well as I have said for decades, “hope is not a strategy." The strategy is building a highly relevant tectonic advertising foundation which informs value through the dignity of shared knowledge, pulls consumers in, doesn’t push them away as the InsightsOne research clearly articulates.
Fat Claim Proof #3: A multitude of CEOs have lost advertising and marketing trust for their CMOs. In a revealing and stunning 2011 study of 600 CEO’s by the Fournaise Marketing Group 73 percent state that CMO’s lack business credibility and the ability to generate sufficient business growth for their companies. Over 70 percent of the CEO’s are exhausted and frustrated from being asked for advertising and marketing funds without receiving a concise business plan on how the expensive investment will increase business results. An astounding and highly revealing 77 percent of the CEOs state they are tired with the language of “brand equity” since it cannot be linked directly to company equity, valued assets or any fiduciary measurement.
Fat Claim Proof #4: Selling, advertising and marketing can smartly congener together in the new ME economy to work and act as one. Want proof this formula works. Simple. Think direct-sell advertising on television, in the e-clouds, on brand web sites or even in an advertisement with a 1800 number.
The infomercials on QVC or HSN or late at night in a TV commercial each and all are designed to instantly fuel brand value associated to a product, to advertise with specific competitive product features, advantages and benefits, to sell and take the order from watching and hungry relevant buyers. Buyers who tuned in because they have a penchant to buy mostly because they are being sold in the ME economy exactly the way potential buyers want to be sold. Of course they receive this same purpose and dignity of knowledge when visiting any mature web site inclusive to consumer reviews even from strangers they best trust over any metaphoric or lack of brand or product benefit advertising.
Surely you should challenge my ratiocination, my seemingly viceroy fat claim that advertising as we once knew it is dead. Surely my personal credibility will be on the line as I prepare to be rendered into a bulwark posture expecting incoming objections and counter points to my charge. Very good, let’s bring it on. Let’s have this important revenue, profit and market growth stimulation discussion; let’s further back up this global claim with both research and the ken of proven experience.
So, what to do? What to do to smartly invigorate your push (conventional advertising) and pull (social engagements) messaging to be highly relevant and effective in our new ME economy; to ensure financial ROI, market growth, consumer demand, buyer opportunities. Perhaps you should smartly ask your target buyers to weigh in on how, what, where and when they would like to receive your messaging. Perhaps you should ask them if they would prefer metaphors about your brand and products or solid product knowledge, the sharing of the real value of your brand and products versus your competitors.
Just a thought on approach but as I like to say again and again “the answers are out there!” The answers live and breadth in the buying power and preference of your best potential buyers in our new ME economy. As I also like to say “questions are the answers.” Question buyers again and again on just what they desire in your brand and product advertising to stimulate their positive decisions for your company.
Trust me, they will proudly and happily give you the right most profitable answers. ME economy consumers are sorely anxious to offer and deliver you their opinions on how to motivate them to buy your brand, your products. All while advertising as we knew it and know it continues to lack stimulating reasons to buy, continues to rest annoyingly in failed company intentions of potential opportunity.
Peter Weedfald is the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Sharp Home Electronics Company of America (SHCA). He has also served as President of Gen One Ventures, SVP, Chief Marketing Officer of Circuit City, SVP of Sales and Marketing in North America for Samsung, and SVP of global marketing and EEVP, GM & Chief Marketing Officer for ViewSonic.