There has been a lot of talk about the efficacy of advertising. It seems folks are especially questioning the “old line” stuff like direct mail, telemarketing and print advertising. I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the past several years and so I’ve developed a bit of a bias. My belief is that advertising is in a fairly steep decline in efficacy. So I have a couple of “what if’s” to share:
- What if people really are immune to ads?
- What if people mostly fast forward through your video/audio ads?
- What if people only trust peer reviews of your products and services?
- What if people are only interested in products/services they find by searching?
- What if you aren’t found when they are searching?
- What if people don’t answer unidentified incoming phone calls?
- What if your business model assumes print ads, on-line ads, cold calls are necessary — and they aren’t?
- Are you doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?
This is all very controversial and speculative these days. My sense of things is that the “younger” generations are pretty much skeptical of any ads. They have no reason to believe in or trust advertisers, and every reason not to. The only folks who are still “falling” for the misleading ads and hype are the older generation — and they are slowing down in their consumption patterns.
My point here is that I’m wondering if we are moving our “advertising money” (should we even call it that?) to the right places when it comes to developing top line revenue. Sure some of us are moving ad money to on-line modes, and some are paying attention to social media sites and pay-per-click. Yet there is mounting evidence that even the on-line ads are less effective and trending down in effectiveness. My personal belief is that we must be focusing on being found rather than pushing ads. That is a significant shift in how we think and act compared to the days when I was active in sales and marketing.
Are we shooting ourselves in the foot by continuing to push information instead of making sure people can easily pull our information? I believe we are.
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Advertising age: McKinsey Study
Bull City Mutterings: The Alarming Decline in the Effectiveness of Advertising
@BrianSolis: The Decline of Traditional Advertising
Here’s more: The Decline in Advertising Effectiveness