Ten Heretical Thoughts About Advertising

September 25, 2014 8:21 pm


1) There is no such thing as an advertising audience anymore. Attention has been permanently scattered to the four winds. This will only get worse.

2) Yet, advertising continues to work.  Because its true purpose is to either:
a) let the world know something exists; or
b) remind the world something exists.T his is the only meaningful overlap of the venn diagram of  marketer and consumer need, but it is more than enough.

3) “Engagement” is and always has been almost entirely a myth.

4) For many big categories in marketing, a click on a banner ad is no more relevant than someone getting out of their car on I-95 to hug a billboard. The people who do that are weird, and they don’t necessarily do it because they are truly interested in buying something.

5) Once a consumer knows (or has been reminded) that something exists, advertising no longer plays a major role.

6) If it is not a considered purchase, the consumer will buy whatever he or she feels (not thinks) is good. If it IS a considered purchase, the consumer will look at multiple sources that are NOT obviously advertising to make a decision. Reviews are more important than ever. See heresy #9, below.

7) A major role of advertising *after* purchase is to reassure consumers that they have made the right choice and to talk about it. Post-purchase ad exposure today is arguably more important than ever and is emphatically NOT a waste.

8) We have to remind people something exists very, very often if we expect them to remember it. Consumers have permanent ADD now.

9) The most important marketing activity today is to get the PRODUCT right. If you have it wrong, you can’t fix it in advertising anymore.You can only fix it through distribution, by not allowing better competitors on the shelf.

10) A heuristic: if something was 100% true about marketing  communications in 1985 it is almost certainly less true today and may now be 100% false. Do you agree? Disagree? Why?

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