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No Body's Listening Anymore - The Monolithic Blocks of Eyeballs Are Gone

Feb 10, 2008
Get ready. It's a whole new world and it's basically this...No one is paying attention any more. There's a marketing crisis in our digital economy that every business owner or manager must adapt to.

The ever-present marketing messages are creating this marketing crisis. Consider these facts. Noted in The Marketing Crisis That Money Won't Solve by Seth Godin, each of us is being literally bombarded by as much as four hours of media messages every day. Some 17,000 new grocery products are advertised every year. Thousands of dollars of advertisements are mailed directly to your door. With the advent of cable television we now have hundreds of channels, most working around the clock to get your attention. In addition, now satellite radio is following the same route.

Of course this doesn't mention brand names on clothes, bumper stickers, sporting events and sports venues, your local paper, and, of course, those "pop-ups" on the WEB.

It's getting harder and harder to find a little peace and quiet.

This fragmentation of the media is making your marketing choices more difficult and more important at the same time. It changes the company/client balance of power by diluting the impact of your message. It empowers the individuals who seek out what they want, when and how they want it. However, it also creates many new opportunities at the same time.

Your business needs exposure. Most of the time that exposure costs big money if you want to break through the clutter...all the while leading to more clutter. It's a "catch-22" no matter how you look at it. The more we spend, the less it works...the less it works, the more we spend.

Over the last 30 years, advertisers have increased ad spending, increased the noise level of their ads, and generally found new ways to interrupt your customer's day.

The almost universal audience assembled by network TV has been fragmented. In the 1960s, an advertiser could reach 80 percent of its market with an ad aired on three networks or their affiliates in local markets. Today, that same ad will have to run on a hundred channels to have a prayer. This forces marketers to play an endless game of audience hide-and-seek.

The overall theme of the 54th annual marketing conference of The Conference Board was this upheaval in traditional marketing and today's biggest marketing challenge - cutting through the clutter.

A recent study by the Wall Street firm of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. points out that narrowcast media will grow at 13.5 percent a year through 2010. Meanwhile, traditional mass media will lag behind the GDP (projected at 5.7 percent) and grow at only 3.5 percent. By 2010 marketers will spend more for advertising via "new technologies" ($22.5 billion) than in so-called mainstream network TV ($19.1 billion).

That's all because traditional, and now fragmented, mass marketing approaches - TV ads, trade show booths, junk mail, et al - are losing their effectiveness. There's a new paradigm that marketers have to recognize and it's called "Consumer Enablement."

Specialized publications, customized information, peer-proof testimonials, and the Internet are quickly proving how well they work...often in combination with each other.

There are three dynamics governing marketing in the postmodern digital world economy. Successful marketers today must: (1) change their focus to customer retention and relationship building, (2) make the move from mass marketing to "micromarketing," and (3) understand that "image is NOT reality".
About the Author
Tom Dwyer is a former senior executive at one of the largest interactive marketing agencies and now spends his time consulting with businesses and organizations on all aspects of business life. Visit Tom at http://www.talkinwithtommyd.com
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