Advertising has reached pandemic proportions. The number of messages one is bombarded with everyday is mind boggling. Newspaper ads, online ads, billboard ads, mobile ads, television ads and the list goes on and on. The result is that most brains adopt an ‘I don’t care’ attitude to these messages even as people struggle to keep themselves from drowning in information. And it’s not like marketers are unaware about this phenomenon. Yet, there seems to be a general reluctance to do anything to curb this information menace. But what about all the billions and billions of dollars that are being spent on advertising every year? If there was a time to rethink advertising, it is now.
The majority of advertising that happens nowadays has a distinct push element to it. The messages are constantly being shoved in the face of the customer. And before they even have a chance to process the information, the next message wrestles its way through. Little wonder then that retention (recall is not even in the picture) levels are practically non-existent. In fact, people have even begun to dislike brands because of the constant bombardment. And if retention or recall is negligible, we can’t even talk about action in the same sentence. So what can be done to correct this situation?
Apart from impulse buys, purchases generally happen when the need or want arises. So what does that mean? It means that customers should be provided information when they need it. That’s contextual marketing (I’ve covered that in an earlier post). But there’s another way. To be available at the point the customer conducts his search. And by that, I mean being present on all those channels that a potential customer might tap when the need arises. For instance, when I need to buy a new phone, I might search on Google or I might call up Yellow Pages.
While push advertising will never stop, the nature of pull advertising is one which customers find more appealing. In short, a combination of contextual, search and opt-in marketing could be a very strong way to get customers.