Have you heard that advertising is dead?

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Well, it’s a lie. Advertising is alive and well (albeit with a little less clout than it used to have)

So why do people say advertising is dead? Here are the main reasons:

1.      Advertising isn’t targeted

Advertising can be a bit of a scatter gun approach; very hit and miss, in fact John Wanamaker hit the nail on the head when he said; “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”. Marketing has become a lot more sophisticated it’s no longer necessary to waste half your budget.

2.       Advertising is a money pit

So naturally advertising is costly, if you want to do it well. One ad, in one magazine, one time is not going to work. Advertising messages need to be reinforced, repetition is used in advertising as a way to keep a brand or product in the forefront of consumer’s minds as it builds brand familiarity. This compounds the cost of advertising and is the main reason that I recommend that if you don’t have the budget for an advertising campaign over a period of time there is no point advertising. You’ll get a better return on your money if you use it on below the line channel such as social media, content marketing, email marketing etc.

3.       Advertising is one way communication

Advertising  messages tend to be product focused one-way messages in which we marketers tell you what we have to say as opposed to what you might want to hear.  Seth Godin also calls this ‘interruption’, marketing  which interrupts someone’s flow of activity e.g. a TV ad that interrupts a program that you’re watching, a banner ad that takes over your whole computer screen when you’re trying to read something useful etc.

I agree with all the above, the truth is due to the budget required advertising often isn’t an option for many small businesses.  In fact if you want to know more about the above and learn about more cost effective marketing methods I highly recommend you read The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott and Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers by Seth Godin.

However inspite of these reasons I still believe that advertising has a place in the marketing mix for some businesses and can be the best marketing option in some instances, for the following reasons:

1.       If a product has mass market appeal 

If you sell a product that appeals to a large number of the population e.g. laptops, shoes, food etc. then advertising is one of the best marketing methods to reach a large number of people in a short space of time. Although the overall cost tends to be high the actual cost per person that will likely see the ad tends to be lower than a lot of other channels.

2.       If you need a quick win  advertising is often your best bet 

If you are advertising an event or a flash sale for instance advertising is often the quickest and most effective way to get the message out

3.       Advertising has become more sophisticated and measurable 

Thanks to tools like Google Analytics John Wanamaker’s quote at the beginning of this post is no longer true, it’s now possible to tell exactly which part of the budget is being wasted. This makes advertising a lot more affordable and cost effective than it used to be.

So with all that said this week I’ll be starting a new series telling you more about why advertising is alive and well and how you can advertise your product or service. I’ll be touching on topics such as Native Advertising, Second screen and mobile advertising, Digital Out of Home (DOOH) advertising, social media advertising and more, so stop by later this week and as always feel free to leave your thoughts and comments.

Speak soon,

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