If an ad is placed in the media and no one sees it (is it still an ad)?

If an ad is placed in the media and no one sees it (is it still an ad)?

I work in the marketing industry – I have been doing this work for years.

Every day I counsel clients on their marketing and advertising options, and help them develop strategies to reach their desired target audiences.

But in the last little while I have started to realize something that is just now affecting those conversations with clients…

I, personally, haven’t heard or seen a local ad in months:

  • I get my TV from a satellite carrier and from Netflix.
  • I get my radio from Sirius (Hits 1, The Bridge and ClsVinyl – you rock!)
  • I get my print news online – without having to get past annoying pay walls.

I am by no means part of the young, technologically savvy demographic that you would assume has changed their media habits. And no one in advertising would consider me to be an early adopter. I am, in fact, the opposite – an individual that takes time to review the options and to make a change.

As such, I am not part of the “plugged in” generation, and yet, I am effectively cut-off from the local ad community (the only local ad content I get would be through my twitter feed).

And while I understand we are only at the tipping point in this process, I also am by no means the only one making this transition – in my age category or in any other age category. In fact, recent research suggests that it is getting increasingly difficult to reach target audiences using strategies that only use traditional media vehicles.

Yet clients and agencies continue to push these options because they are “tried and true”. It is easier to develop tools for mediums that we are comfortable with, than it is to create tools for vehicles that the consumer is actually using. Those same groups will throw stats at clients, indicating that the new media is not proven and does not perform – holding these options to higher standards than they hold their own vehicles.

I find myself becoming increasingly disengaged from traditional media, and I am certainly not the only one. As a result, I believe that the challenge for marketers will be to at least consider incorporating new ways of reaching their audience into their overall marketing mix.  Let’s be clear here – I am not advocating the complete elimination of traditional media options from the marketing plan – as I have been accused of in the past. I am merely recommending that newer media options need to be considered for their relevance in the overall marketing plan.

As marketers we can no longer default to the easy and the old. Today the challenge is to be effective. And how effective can you be if the audience isn’t where you are buying?