When did advertising get so hard?

Posted: October 8, 2010 in Branding, Business, CRM, Marketing, Media, Social Media
Tags: , , , , ,

I was at SMX East Tuesday and attended a session on Facebook advertising. The experts on the panel were talking about how, in order to actually get useful results out of advertising on the world’s largest social network, they had to change their Facebook creative as often as 4-5 times a day to combat blindness, fatigue and annoyance.

Swapping out ads every few hours? Optimizing banner campaigns and paid search and websites on the fly? Managing brand reputations that can change in hours thanks to a viral video or a negative blog post?

When did advertising get so hard?

It used to be, you ran a TV spot on Must See TV and the whole world knew about your product.

It used to be, you rented a great mailing list, sent out a juicy catalog half the size of a phonebook, and watched the orders come rolling in over the phone or in the mail.

It used to be, you did your keyword research, put up a bunch of paid search ads in Google AdWords, and watched people come to your site and buy things.

It’s not like it used to be.

Advertising has gotten really tough. And it’s gotten tough because our target audiences stopped being targets and started being participants.

Now, you have to listen to them – but if you do, you can learn what you need to succeed.

Now you have to engage them – and when you do, they’ll reward you with the real version of the brand loyalty you thought you had before.

Now, you have to treat your customers like a Facebook Friend, a Twitter Follower, an engaged stakeholder – and if you don’t, they’ll find a company who does, but only after they tell everyone how shabbily you treated them. (5 years ago, if you said this to a client, they would have called you crazy and shown you the door.)

The bad news is that there are more channels, more touchpoints, and more tools than ever before, and they’re labor intensive, difficult to quantify, and constantly changing. (Just keeping up with the changes to Google is a full time job!)

The good news is that there are more channels, more touchpoints, and more tools than ever before at our disposal to change the way we relate to our customers.

So can someone please explain to me why, rather than change their methods to get the most advantage out of these newly engaged and empowered customers, so many advertisers are just trying to find a way to make the new mediums work like the old ones?

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Comments
  1. marketini says:

    Hi Jlsimons,
    Thanks for the post. The SMX East sounds like it was a very worthwhile event. I think the current advertising credo is “play to play”, replacing the old “pay to play.” The advertisers who are going against that to try and make new mediums work like old ones are probably getting very frustrated at spinning their wheels and spending too much money on social media campaigns with low ROI.

    • jlsimons says:

      And thanks for your comment, Marketini. I love “play to play.” And you’re right about it. Media channels will still happily take your money if you try to “pay to play” but the fact is, throwing money at a problem these days has marginal ROI compared to doing the legwork to make real connections. Not that social media doesn’t cost money, or that many of the most successful social media campaigns aren’t also multi-channel, with some traditional media support, but rather that the real cost of social media is the time you spend engaging with people who want to be engaged with you.

  2. Jeffrey Lee says:

    Parkinson’s Law – Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. (copy/pasted from Wikipedia).

    You’ve got to admire these guys for creating jobs for Millennials though.

    • jlsimons says:

      Jeffrey Lee (wow, that feels weird… I’ve seen plenty of other Jeffrey Simons but never a Jeffrey Lee til now), thanks for the interesting insight. I didn’t actually connect that, but you’re right: many of the social media interaction slots are being filled by millennials who live and breath this stuff, or are so junior they get stuck with the scut work. Of course, that’s how they’ll earn their relevance and move up, so it’s all just part of the circle of life.

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