Can you hear me now?
When most people hear the word “advertising,” they think of yell-and-sell commercials with loquacious spokespeople hawking mattresses and used cars. I’ve been in many social situations where people cast me a dubious eye when they ask what I do for a living and I respond, “I help clients market their products and services.” “Like those mattress guys,” they often say. Well, with all due respect to the “get a good night’s sleep” marketers of the world, yes… and no.
The reason people find yell-and-sell advertising so annoying is two-fold. Generally, those ads are poorly produced and you are subjected to the cacophonous message when you don’t care about buying a mattress. In effect, something you don’t want to hear about when you don’t want to hear about it. Certainly, the dynamic duo of annoyance.
So, this begs the question, “when does someone care about something being advertised?”
Have you ever strained your ears to pick up the latest office gossip? And, you don’t even really need the office gossip, you just really want it? The human desire to be “in the know,” rather than yelled at, can be leveraged by marketers to help make advertising more relevant.
So how can advertisers ensure that their messages are received and internalized?
Do I know you?
The first thing a marketer needs to understand is the benefit of their product and who may use it. And, the more we understand about the target audience —their day-to-day lives, behavior, likes and dislikes — the more tailored both the message and the delivery of the message can be. Think about it: Just like office gossip, even though you may find the source annoying, if you were in the market for a mattress, you might be a little more receptive to the sultan of slumber’s message.
Getting in Touch
Any advertising message has two parts: the message and when and where that message is communicated. People are fully capable of tuning out their children or a spouse that’s sitting next to them in the car. How can an advertiser hope to break through? For example, you turn on the TV to unwind after a long day and that commercial for the new SUV is just something to sit through. Even if you currently drive an SUV or would consider buying one, you can still tune it out. So when can the SUV, or any ad for that matter, mean more?
Keeping It Real….Relevant
Most messages resonate at a deeper level when there is some relevant context behind them. Context is important. For example, if you are researching a family driving vacation online and saw an ad for that new SUV, you might take a moment to look and possibly even click to learn more — because you’re thinking, how could that car enhance my family’s future experiences?
How can advertisers connect the contextual dots for their respective target audiences? There are a number of syndicated research companies, like GfK MRI and Experian/Simmons that provide third-party data on consumer media and products/service consumption habits. There’s also an advertisers’ social media audience. A marketer that’s doing a good job of “listening” can really start to learn about who might be their best audiences or targets they never considered. And what these folks are doing and liking and sharing. This is powerful stuff and is there for the harvesting.
So the next time you reach out to your target audience, remember: keep it real and relevant to them.
Mary Jo Sobotka - Chief Integrated Media Officer