Tag Archives: advertising

Why do we hate advertising?

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

Advertising has become a pariah .

Consumers will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid the stuff, particularly on TV, with PVRs, online viewing options like Netflix and torrent downloads.

So where did it go wrong?

Consumers  are tired of being tricked, manipulated and treated like idiots. The advertising industry ranks somewhere between politicians and used car salesmen (with apologies to used car salesmen) in public opinion and it’s getting worse not better.

big earsPeople are better informed today, have access to unlimited information and have the ability to consult friends and even strangers about a wide range of  the products and services. Does anyone travel anymore without checking the reviews on the  airline, the hotel/resort  and the food? Would you buy a car without checking reviews online? So, when you tell me it’s new and improved I am just liable to check that out.

Chloe Della Costa, Associate Editor, iMedia Connection makes some great points in her article Why people hate the ad industry.

Chloe says advertising can still rescue its reputation and it will take a mammoth shift away from monologue to dialogue. Stop yelling at us and ask us what we think.

It’s particularly difficult this time of year with so many fighting for our consumer dollar. It’s like a siege -newspapers, magazines, flyers, TV , radios and in-mall advertising.

There is so much noise, I wonder if anyone is listening.

What do you think?

Leave a comment

Filed under advertising, Marketing, social media

Lost in the new world of advertising

By Stephen Rhodes

More and more, I hear clients talk about being lost when it comes to the latest trends in marketing, meaning, of course, social media.

It reminds me of the mid 90s when many small businesses migrated to the Internet because…well because they thought they had to be hip. Many jumped on board without much consideration for why they were among the newly converted or how it would help their business. “We gotta be there,” was the mantra in many boardrooms. Some are still trying to figure it out.

The same thing is happening today with social media. Businesses are setting up Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn, Flickr and even YouTube accounts without so much as a …how will this help our business grow?  “We gotta be there” is still the clarion call.

Advertising hasn’t changed much in 100 years. It’s still about  attracting attention, engaging minds, triggering  emotions, and changing the way people think. If you can do that you will generate sales.

What has changed is the delivery methodology.

If you want to influence behavior there is a spectrum of tools including direct mail, newspaper and magazine ads, commercial websites, radio and TV, and, of course, social media – the new darling of marketing.

The key is knowing which tool(s) works best for you. And not all tools will be effective for your business. I have a client who can track new sales every time we deliver a direct mail piece to a group of targeted clients. The key word here is targeted, often lost among the “I gotta be hip” crowd. But the point is, direct mail works for him, and he can see (measure) the return on his investment.

First and foremost is understanding your customers. Who are they and how can you reach them is the pivotal question. What do you have that they want. (the what’s in it for me question) Can I build an ongoing relationship and how can I capitalize on that to build an even bigger customer base.

These are questions you should ask every day.

Don’t get me wrong. Social Media is the future of marketing and communications. Building your own group of followers, a community of customers, all engaged and part of your business is a powerful opportunity to communicate a targeted message.

But take a measured approach. Who is your customer, what message do you want to deliver and what is the best way to get it there? Some things never change.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Leave a comment

Filed under advertising, Stephen Rhodes

Seeking Free Advice, Consultants Need Not Reply

By Jeff Bowman

Has the evolution of social media tools brought us to the brink of seeing the business consultant on the verge of extinction? As strange as that may sound, it could happen. As a business consultant my job is to examine company structures, programs, products, marketing efforts, sales initiatives and the over arching corporate culture that brings them all together.

In doing this I can create a gap analysis and identify key areas that may be in need of an overhaul, or that are missing altogether. Most often I find that the leaders of the organization either have ear plugs in or blinders on, or both.

Consumer feedback is critical to the business improvement process, but up until recently few companies bothered to ask their current and former clients for their opinion. Enter the Internet, and a myriad of social media tools.  Feedback is now instantaneous and widespread.

Smart companies have taken the feedback process to the next level, and are now asking for customer opinions online through blogs or polls on the webpages, and spreading information through fan pages and tweets.  What was once an inexpensive avenue for marketing messages, delivering coupons en masse and generating buzz is slowly turning into a forum for free advice directly from the consumer.  That’s right, unpaid consultants providing the type of feedback that I might provide for a fee.

The web allows open participation from anyone. Many popular brands have taken to the web to ask for innovative ideas, new programs and suggestions for new product ideas, flavours or branding ideas. User registration allows for the collection of consumer data on a grand scale, that later drives a targeted e-mail campaign and  Voting lines where consumers can select to establish or kill a product line. Some companies release viral ads direct to consumers for their comments before they hit other forms of media broadcast.  There are even companies who openly solicit free advice on their packaging, their promotions, seek “green” advice and openly source new technologies and ideas, that might never have occurred to them inside the corporate fortress.

Alas, the best advice is not always the free advice. In a recent article in Advertising Age, the opening line reads

“Dear consumer, Your 15 minutes are over. You suck.”

Many brands are finding that consultants are still the go-to people for business solutions and professional advice. Despite the glut of cost-free ideas, you often get what you pay for. Smart companies follow the business rule, sell your strengths and buy your weaknesses. The age of consultants is far from over, in fact with the business spectrum changing daily, I think it may just be moving to a higher level, with specialization of consultants into smaller areas of expertise.

Tell us about your consumer feedback.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Leave a comment

Filed under advertising, Branding, Jeff Bowman, Managing, Marketing, Online marketing, Sales, social media

The really thin market

By Stephen Rhodes

A friend of mine and former colleague in the newspaper world used to train advertising sales people in the value of repetitive advertising, a concept he called The Thin Market, not to be confused with a thin market in the financial marketplace.

cash-reg-for-thin-mktWhen I met Dan Gaynor, he was a former trainer with the Thomson Newspaper empire. He later went on to be a Publisher of several daily newspapers. He developed this “thin market” training program and rolled it out coast to coast in Canada during the early 90s, the last recession.

The thin market says there are consumers ready to buy your product or service every minute of every day in your town, your country and, in this global marketplace, even worldwide. And even in a recesssion.

Dan’s program brought the notion and importance of branding to small daily newspapers struggling to keep advertisers engaged in a slumping economy. The message to advertisers -go small but go every day because someone is always poised to buy.

Strong brands with good market share always survive. Be poised and ready every day and don’t forget the thin market. Keep marketing.

Dan is now President at Gaynor Consulting Inc.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Leave a comment

Filed under Sales, Stephen Rhodes

Dinosaur or dynamo?

newspaperBy Stephen Rhodes

Much is being written about the decline of newspapers in recent weeks.

Time wrote a story recently that predicted the 10 major newspapers most likely to fold or shut their print operations and only publish online. See  http://tinyurl.com/cduxxr

Declining advertising revenues are forcing newspapers to make dramatic cuts. Couple that with declining readership and competition online and elsewhere and it’s tempting to predict the end of an industry. Of course, they said that about radio when television emerged on the scene in the 1950s.

The Internet has eclipsed broadcast as the best vehicle to offer fast news and information but print is still the best place to go to get in-depth analysis and well-researched investigative stories.

Not all newspapers will survive this recession, but the demise of this industry is a long way off.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Leave a comment

Filed under Marketing, Stephen Rhodes, Uncategorized