Effective Advertising in the Changing World of Marketing

A friend who is the head of an advertising agency commented last week that one of his clients, a leading national Advertiser, considers that their branding gets distorted from advertising in newspapers. His remarks stuck to my mind and inspired me to mull over the effective advertising media in the changing world of marketing.  Though Internet is the fastest growing advertising medium and provides core benefits of cost-effectiveness and targeted advertising, the TV, radio and print media are still high impact advertising tools for effectively reaching target market for several products and services. For example, consumer packaged goods, personal care brands, grocery products, and over-the-counter drugs to name a few. 

Television has been the most used advertising medium for many years. Remember the days of few TV channels when, depending on the brand, the Ad spend was allocated between TV (60% – 70%), Print (20% – 30%) and rest to the radio for reaching 70% of the target market. Now with so many TV channels in different languages and from various countries the TV audience has become highly fragmented decreasing the effective reach for given advertising dollars. Thus TV advertising has primarily become a big budget option for large marketing companies who could afford shotgun approach to sustain required ad frequency and spread for maintaining desired effective reach. Despite higher spending on TV advertising, the probability that the audience watched the ad between channel surfing is a dogma for those Advertisers who can not afford TV Ad tracking.

Moreover, ads specially too many ads during commercial breaks inculcates negative feelings and alienate viewers, making it daunting to develop positive attitude and desired behaviour for the advertised product and services. Loads of creativity, higher frequency and targeted approach are imperative to “connect” with audience and create positive brand recall. Ad avoidance is rampant in current TV viewers because TV is considered an entertainment medium and ads are taken as interruptions. This has been the same for many years; however with new technology, it is possible to avoid ads with pay-per-view, TIVO and cable TV options.

Similarly Radio is listened for entertainment and ads are generally considered interruptions. Broadcasting regulations recommends up to 7% advertising in a radio program, however, there are many channels that far exceed the recommendation in order to expedite their ROI, which is akin to killing the goose for getting all the golden eggs sooner. This approach is not beneficial for advertisers and Radio stations in the long run. People are paying more to buy satellite radios to avoid commercials. Satellite radio with clear reception and nominal advertising time has become a standard feature in many new cars.

Radio listener-ship is highly fragmented as well with so many channels and many more radio programs in different languages. It requires a savvy media planner to select most relevant radio programs, adapt the ad accordingly and then put systems in place to effectively monitor advertising in those programs. Fragmented audience along with inherent short life span of audio-only radio ads necessitates higher ad frequency compared to other advertising media. Radio spots, however, are less costly and do not require huge Ad spend compared to other media for similar exposure.

Newspapers readership is less fragmented; newspaper and print ads have longer shelf life or life span than TV and radio commercials and are not considered interruptive.

Generally, newspaper markets tend to be Oligopolistic, with few newspapers commanding major market share due to customer (reader) loyalty. It is not unique for newspapers to have more than 50% market share. Many readers form habit of reading and trusting a particular newspaper and stay with it for a long time making newspaper readership less fragmented. This works well for media planners, as they allocate ad insertions to major newspapers in relevant demographics for optimizing reach and efficient monitoring.

Newspaper ads have longer life span as readers spend time on editorial and get to notice ads besides it for more than 30 seconds. And if the Ad is done creatively with a distinct focal point, attention grabbing image and copy, it engages readers for longer time period yielding higher share of mind and brand recall. Print advertising is highly effective for delivering call-to-action messages. It provides due time to readers to note the contact details, refer back and act on it, as required. This convenience facilitates higher response to call-to-action ads.

Furthermore, newspaper ads are not interruptive. People actually await newspapers to get the flyers and look for ads for sales, new products and seasonal discounts. The circulation department gets calls for early delivery of the newspaper on weekends so people can know what’s on sale in Wal-Mart and Grocery stores and plan their shopping.

It is not the intent here to select one advertising medium over other. Mostly, it is prudent to use a combination of media to maximize effective reach, increase share of mind and connect with target market in order to develop positive attitude and desired behaviour. A caveat here – besides media planning, it requires market research, creativity, consistency and immaculate execution of plans to influence attitudes and behaviour.  Based on the above, however, print and newspaper advertising has the strength and potential to be an integral part of any marketing campaign, either as a lead or support medium. Many advertisers have come back full circle to maintain presence in print media. An advertiser who ignores print media / newspapers does it on his own peril. 

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About Fazal Siddiqi
Fazal Siddiqi Writes on current marketing, branding, communications, diversity and socio-economic opportunities & challenges. He lives in Canada and works for OPAL Marketing Group.

4 Responses to Effective Advertising in the Changing World of Marketing

  1. IMRAN MAHBOOB says:

    Hi Fazal, good article specially in regards to current problem which Marketers are facing in today’s world. The crux which I thought would be to be selective about medium choice & it can only happen if one tends to know the target consumers (insights).
    In order to add to effective advertising in changing world; Digital medium is on growth & Companies are getting good response out of it.
    Cheers, keep sharing good ideas.

    Question Details:
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    Effective Advertising in the changing world of Marketing

  2. Anu Parmar says:

    Fazal,

    Interesting to read your thoughts on advertising, traditional media and the challenges marketers face. The problems you outline are eternal for all marketers and I think, will continue to be so. Media channels and communication are changing at the ‘speed of a click’ and global consumer profiles are changing even faster – at the ‘speed of thought’. So, I guess, marketers will always face this challenge – that’s not a bad thing, because challenges fuel the creative force – the secret behind every marketer’s success.

    Your article did leave me hanging though on three points!

    1. “….advertiser considers that their branding gets distorted from advertising in newspapers….”. I wanted to know more about how and why – and whether you agreed with his observation. This was an important thread of thought that warranted more discussion because preserving brand identity in the right media is critical for effective marketing, but I wasn’t too sure why, in this case, it was distorted. I wanted the author to explore the relationship between ‘branding impact and media channels’ which was in fact, the catalyst for this article. I’ve seen some TV ads that totally distort familiar brands and eventually get pulled off air.

    2. The article primarily talks about ad frequency in various media and its impact on advertisers as well as consumer receptivity. I was wanting to know more about its impact on the burgeoning ‘new media’ channels – internet, Web 2.0 etc…

    3. At the end of the article, I was trying to relate it to the opening statement about ‘brand distortion’ and ideas on how to avoid it……

    …..but you left me hanging ! 

    Congratulations on your Blog venture.
    Anu

  3. Fazal Siddiqi says:

    Anu,

    Thanks for commenting on my article on Effective Advertising in the changing world of Marketing. You have highlighted highly pertinent points.

    This article was written in response to a remark in a general discussion, in which I did not seek more details. I thought and wrote from the perspective of completely ignoring a particular advertising medium. However, I agree that it would have been useful to touch upon possible distortation of branding in print media, if any.

    I did briefly discuss the importance of the Internet then moved on to focus on offline advertising media, as it still command major share of Ad spend for most of the products categories.

    Best Regards,

  4. Omer Azeem says:

    Hi Fazal,
    Just read your interesting thoughts (late though, but was directed to your blog after going through some old linkedin questions). However, you thoughts have tempted me to comment.
    I can see Anu’s valid (also agree) points and your response too.
    I have worked in media strategy/planning during my first job, but not focused on it anymore.

    1 – when it comes to channel selection / media mix, the most important aspect I would consider is “if a particular channel ‘actively’ involves & engages my consumer and makes a connection or ‘passively’ interacts with them” – now, am not sure what is the primariy communication target for your client who made the comment. to me, his comments’ validation will depend on his brand(s) and knowing his side of reasons? e.g., Wal-Mart tactical campaigns will definiely get lots of response & involvement in NPs, but “Barbie” may not …. etc. etc.

    2 – Moving on to proliferation in the media scene … we can see that over the last few years, TV as well as Print (NP & Mag) have been losing consumption to internet/digital, especially among the younger generation … and if we particularly talk about the NP, to me the basic need of an NP is to “provide information” which also holds valid for ads in NPs … and the way today’s consumers are spending their time online, they are clearly more engaged with online with immense information resource at their disposal.

    3 – However, I still feel that NP as a communication channel still holds its importance – but again talking about the comment “branding gets distorted” may have some strong reasoning at the client side??? (between you & your client …)

    Cheers,

    Omer Azeem

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