Advertising is overrated

Many CEOs and Marketers accept the fact that the effectiveness of conventional advertisement is debatable. One of the biggest issues with the conventional advertising methodology is that they follow spray and pray policy. All of us have been cursing the advertisements on the TV which keep interrupting our favorite programs. When was the last time you checked out the print media or TV for product information?

Why these guys don’t get it? Huge amounts of money are being spent and for what purpose?

This needs to change. The target customer profile may say that they watch TV soaps. But they watch the soap, not advertisements. For them your promotion is an irritant or a break in which they can attend to other chores around the house. While many scientific studies have been done and concluded that repeated exposure to information helps in recall when required, one fundamental assumption is that the person must be interested in the information. If I like a song and I listen to it enough number of times, I will be able to pick up the lyrics and the tune. The key is willingness to be exposed to this information.

Today’s customers are suffering from information overload. Even if the media agency comes up with a cute or interesting campaign, people watch it for the creativity and entertainment value and not so much for the product benefits. I love the zuzu characters created for Vodafone campaign. But that did not make me shift from Airtel.

Customers need the products and the purchase related information when they need it. That is why JustDial and other online classifieds are such a convenience. We have a huge number of web sites and other such channels where people can go and find what they need , when they need. And these channels are much cheaper than the conventional media.

Another opportunity is for the products which need to be demonstrated and that is where Naptol and QVC are doing well. These products are promoted only through TV demonstrations and these brands have positioned themselves as providers of innovative products which attracts dedicated viewership.

Where does this leave us? Large retailers have already started spreading themselves with multiple outlets and each of these outlets themselves are very prominent landmarks. They don’t need regular and costly advertising channels. This brings out the viability of conventional media channels which are anyway struggling for survival.

What should marketers do now? The market is nicely getting fragmented based on every possible parameter. Best examples are Linkedin and Meetup. If I am selling a cloud solution to companies, I just have to get into the related groups and build awareness there about my brand and products. It does not make sense for me to post ads in General. This feature is yet to be adopted by Linkedin as I see every possible advertisement when I login even where I am not the target buyer or decision maker.

About Sridhar Chakravarthi M 4 Articles
Flt.Lt. M. Sridhar Chakravarthi has been mentoring startups since 2007. He is a national coordinator for Indian Startups Network and a volunteering mentor at Bharat Yuva Shakti Trust. He also mentors startups in Africa through Grow Movement. Feel free to reach him at [email protected]

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