Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Marketing Impressions Still Matter

The current faith in our new media and new information technology tools seems uncomfortably like the faith in “smart bombs” early in the second Iraq war. The new technologies are formidable to be sure but they hardly “change everything.”

Most recently I heard that “image advertising is dead.” from a marketer who sells trade show equipment to smaller companies. For him, online search marketing is out-performing all his other marketing investments. He is a natural convert to the new faith in online media and automated lead tracking. But I was surprised to hear such a sweeping assertion from an experienced marketer.

I asked him what he drives. I didn’t even get into the fact that his product has a Xerox-like association with his category. As I suspected, he drives a German car, “a Benz,” he told me proudly.

Did clicks get you to buy that car,” I asked, “or were you persuaded to buy the car because of your belief in the value of the brand and what it symbolizes about you? Weren’t your beliefs more reinforced by impressions in brand advertising than supposed facts found on the Internet?” He had to concede that I had a point.

Impressions sell. That is why the demand for impressions is not going away.  In the marketing/media bazaar, the demand for impressions is not going to grow as fast as the demand for direct actions because the Internet, combined with new database technology, is opening up highly cost-effective opportunities for direct marketing but Internet-based direct marketing can not replace all impression advertising. In fact, the Internet also offers new ways to broadcast cheap, well-targeted impressions.

Too many marketers seem intent on throwing the impression baby out with the dirty “old media” bathwater. Some “new media experts” don’t seem to know how or why “old media” works for marketers. People don’t act immediately on every piece of information they receive. And they certainly don’t sift “rationally” through all available information to make considered purchase decisions.

We all buy (or vote or act in some way) based on subconscious processes that have evolved over millions of years to help us survive and prosper. And those emotional processes are naturally as varied as other individual and population characteristics of the human race. But impressions, the world-over, influence action.

New tools, exciting as they may be, are not the only forces of change in the competitive markets. Jonathan Salem Baskin, a provocative critic of traditional branding, makes a good case that the cumulative effect of brand advertising itself is one of the forces that has changed the environment in which we conduct marketing communications.

New tools in marketing, like “smart bombs” in war, definitely change your strategic options. But it is all too easy to get lulled into thinking that “everything has changed” and fail to face the real strategic issues in commerce, politics, and war.

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Anonymous trade show displays said...

Thanks to everyone at the convention! It was a great experience and we were delighted that it was such a great success.The style and the nature of your content is really great! Thanks

December 6, 2010 at 2:11 AM  
Blogger Roger Wilson said...

U.S. Online Display Advertising Market Delivers 22 Percent Increase in Impressions vs. Year Ago


December 7, 2010 at 4:01 PM  

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