Many of today’s crackvertisers will find themselves on the short end of the stick when traffic costs begin to outweigh their returns. And it doesn’t end there. While marketers and media outlets desperately cling to old models and others frantically try to find a new model that works, customers become harder to reach. To make matters worse, prospects proactively ignore marketing. Ouch.
To be sure, media fragmentation is taking its toll. TiVo, iPods, hundreds of cable TV channels, satellite television and radio, podcasting, Web sites, consumer-generated media, even video games cut people’s time and attention into thousands of fragments. Marketers have a harder time reaching large population segments. They continually spend more to reach fewer people. They used to reach the masses with buys on three TV networks; now, they must buy on several stations to approximate the same reach.
Customers’ buying contexts have changed as communication has accelerated and information proliferates. Moving faster than ever: word-of-mouth advertising and “badvertising.” Bad news about your business or your company’s failure to live up to advertising claims cancel out any image-control advertising. Even great advertising can’t serve as a smokescreen for poor merchandise selection and dismal customer service. Slick catalogs and marketing claims can’t detract from failings in customer relationship management or help customer lifetime value, for example. You can fool a lot of people once, but it’s much harder to do it twice.
Customers have more control than ever: more choices, more information. Yet companies still try to spoon-feed the public a flavorless, neutral, old-time ad campaign. The only difference is that they’ve transferred more of those ads online. Then marketers are confused when people ignore it or spit it out.
It’s unsettling how little some companies have changed their marketing outlook in spite of the new media landscape. They mistake using new media for taking a new marketing approach. They misunderstand the nature of new media vehicles like SEM and how customers behave differently because of them.