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Seeing is Believing…Sometimes

January 24th, 2007

As you know, a major part of my job deals with the media and how messages are communicated within the media. Now I may not be a pop culture expert, but some of the commercials I’ve seen on TV lately have definitely got me thinking. Sometimes after seeing an ad I’m more confused about the offering than before.

Recently, Stuart Elliott wrote a column for the New York Times called “Cars on the Edge, and Other Doubts,” giving twenty different examples of just how some advertising can lead to doubts and questioning on behalf of the potential consumer.

One point that hit home the most was Elliott’s mention of how Hearst Magazine’s is trying to stay in the game with their new “special test rate” with issues costing about 50 cents each. It’s no secret that print increasingly struggles to gain a foothold in the media race. However, as one of the biggest publishers in the world enters a price war (a big no-no in Marketing 101) – will this create an uproar or a domino effect in rest of the print industry?

Whether it’s video, internet, radio, print, and everything hybrid medium in between – none of these tools will (or at least shouldn’t) disappear. Sure, industry leaders are raving about the power of “alternative” media like WOM and personal blogs to create buzz and viral campaigns. But I ask you this…where do people get their information to react to in the first place?

I sure as heck wouldn’t be writing this blog if I didn’t pick up that issue of the New York Times.

So what’s in store for 2007? We’ll all have to wait and see, but like Stuart Elliott, I have a few predictions of my own:

  1. More emphasis on cross-discipline media campaigns. You might not realize it at first glance, but I’m sure you’ve already seen it. Companies are using multiple channels –TV, radio, billboards, internet, blog, podcast – even that thing called PR — to get to YOU. Plowing ahead in 2007, I predict we’ll see even more crossover between promotions. Mitsubishi did this with their www.seewhathappens.com campaign. Another good one is Kleenex’s www.letitout.com.
  1. Advertisers will get smarter and more frugal with massive advertising budgets. Online advertising might allow us to measure the success/failure of each campaign, but it’s measuring beyond-the-click, campaigns that’ll really influence advertisers’ decisions. Like I said, it’s a multi-disciplined marketing world, and targeting from all directions is crucial.
  1. Marketers will spend more time and resources improving the customer’s experience – from start to finish. Business will continue to push the envelope to convert mundane utilitarian products into objects of desire. The best example I’ve seen of this is Michael Graves’s designer toilet brush for $5.99. Only against a backdrop of plenty, choice and abundance could people seek beautiful toilet brushes.

Targeting, people. That’s the word here. Whether it’s online, over the airwaves or in your ear, people will get their information and make their choices based on a variety of sources. And while there’s no magic-bullet media plan to follow, looking from your target outward will get you started on the right track.

Posted Under: Media & Journalism, Public Relations
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