Where is advertising now, and where is it going?
Advertising is more complicated than it used to be. In the innocent days of the 70’s and 80’s you could easily reach large audiences, both locally and nationally, through traditional advertising. Those days are long gone and an examination of the advertising playing field looks like a big pile of incomprehensible choice. Let’s sort through it a bit, by separating advertising into two categories: online advertising and offline advertising.
To use the term online advertising, or “new-media advertising” makes it sound so simple. Yet it is complicated and constantly evolving. What you have figured out today will most likely be ineffective, outdated, or highly evolved a year from today. Google rules the roost with its pay-per-click Adwords model. Even though paid search advertising is up, I think that will change over the next year. Independent social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn will gain importance and spending share because of their ability to target more specifically by lifestyle and demographic.
Pay Per Click Advertising
Admitedly, I am not a big fan of online advertising. I know of a few local businesses who drive traffic to their website with Google Adwords, and others who feel it has been a waste of money. To do well with pay-per-click advertising you have to be on your game and constantly pay attention. You also need a website that is built to convert pay-per-click traffic into customers. So before you launch a campaign, invest time and money into a website and landing pages that naturally lead visitors into a sales funnel. I also recommend spending some time educating yourself or hire a company that specializes in paid search advertising.
Social Network Advertising
As for advertising on social networks I’ve personally achieved mixed results and nothing that could be considered gangbusters. That doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. Facebook has a simple, easy-to-understand advertising interface and allows you to control your budget. You can experiment with a limited budget and test response rates. But just as in paid search advertising, have a landing site that is built to convert visitors into prospects. Some common techniques are to use Facebook advertising to gain Facebook page likes, or obtain email addresses through newsletter subscriptions.
Free Online Advertising
More effective, I think, are Google’s free tools such as Google Places and getting listed in Google’s local 7-pack. You can attract more website traffic through local search results and do it with less money. With a few tweaks to the website and an update to his Google Places page, one local client shot to the top of local search results for sprinkler repair. His phone has been ringing all summer.
Also known as traditional advertising, you will hear many marketers declare its death. This is not so, of course. Things rarely die, they evolve. I personally use traditional advertising for local clients with excellent results, specifically for brand enhancement. So where is Traditional advertising evolving?
Television and Cable
I believe we are moving toward an on-demand entertainment model where we won’t be bound by network/provider schedules. Anything you want to see, you will be able to see when you want to see it, and where you want to see it. I don’t know what that means for the visual media such as broadcast TV and Cable. With the advent of DVR and on-demand entertainment, local advertising will mostly go away in the visual media. You may see broadcast and cable go to a programming schedule of teasers or promos on air, while making their money via subscriptions and forced advertising through internet delivery of some sort. This is pretty bad news for local television stations and cable outlets who have little to no local programming to re-sell.
Local radio stations will not be immune to on-demand entertainment. When internet access becomes widely available in cars and every entertainment device, listeners will be able to call up any song or program they want to hear at any time. Local radio stations will have to evolve, or surrender even more of their small piece of the advertising pie.
Outdoor – Billboards
The industry is positively evolving. You will see more digital billboards pop up in your community. For location and event advertising billboards can be a good choice. But the drawback for billboards is that they can be very expensive to gain significant market reach
I believe you will see direct mail evolve as the traditional advertising medium of choice. It’s relatively inexpensive, plus you can somewhat control who receives your message, and when and where they receive it. Use a commercial mailing house to help you find the right mailing list and reduce your postage costs.
Your Evolution in Advertising
Are you evolving with advertising? If you are doing what you’ve always done, you will eventually start falling behind the curve. Try new mediums and new channels. Keep pace with changes and mix it up. What’s working or not for you?
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