Tuesday, September 11, 2007

If We Allow Viewers To Watch Advertising On Their Terms, Will They?

If you ask marketers to answer this question, they would probably hesitate. Most marketers, it seems, don’t have a lot of faith in advertising.

But, if you ask viewers this question, they might well surprise you.

No, they wouldn’t watch every commercial, obviously.

But would they watch those commercials about products, or brands, or solutions to problems that they are interested in?

Probably.

And depending on where the viewer is down the purchase funnel, they would probably watch every second of the commercial.

So, what would their terms be?

I think they would ask for two things. Number one, the advertising would have to be non-intrusive. Viewers would be allowed to come to it when they are ready.

Why do I say this?

Yankelovich did a study recently that showed that 55% of people said they “like” advertising. What they don’t like is the way that advertising is currently “marketed to them”. In other words, the way advertising intrudes on their programming and pops up online.

People know that advertising serves a function. They don’t have anything against that aspect of advertising. What they do seem to mind is being bludgeoned with TV commercials for what amounts to three years of their lives.

Can’t hardly blame them, can you?

Number two, they’d probably request that the advertising be relevant to them. The new targeting technologies will make this easier. As will the fact that if the advertising is not going to be intrusive, then it will have to be of the opt-in variety.

With opt-in advertising, the viewer determines relevance. Not the advertiser.

The result of all this? Instead of annoying 90% of the audience to reach the 10% that might be interested, it would allow the 10% that are interested to reach the advertiser.

Of course, you see the problem with the model? Apparently, the broadcast networks need 90% annoyance in order to be able to pay for their programs.

90% annoyance is what keeps the house of cards that is the broadcast industry, standing.

At least, for the moment.

But these days there are those who are spending 100% of their time to create the devices that allow people to eliminate the 90% annoyance factor.

So, the question we all need to answer is, and then what?

The curious thing is that most marketers would tell you that they would be quite successful if they could sell 10% of the people 100% of the way, rather than attempting to sell 100% of the people 10% of the way.

Which is exactly what The Digital Marketplace offers.

Of course, the media agencies will need to place the commercials where the 10% who are interested can easily find them. And then, the digital platforms will need to make them easily accessible.

From there on, it’s the responsibility of the creative agencies to deliver the 100% part, making the commercial involving and engaging enough so that the viewer will choose to stay. Common sense says that the longer a viewer chooses to be exposed to the brand message, the greater the brand’s impact will be on that individual.

The ultimate, of course, is being able to sell someone 100% of the way.

Doable? Most definitely. We're not restricted to :30 here. Since the viewer chooses to opt-in, the commercial can be as long as it remains of interest to them.

There are a handful of creative agencies that are starting to wise-up to this evolution that's occurring and accepting the value that the different data offers them. Especially, viewer time-spent data.

Knowing that viewer time-spent can be measured, these agencies are already exploring ways in which they can be held accountable for creating it. More time-spent is better than less time spent. So creating more time-spent means more money for the agency.

You could say that these agencies have already started the process of Digital MindChange.

They understand that in the digital future their job will no longer be about creating advertising for brands. Their job will be about creating time spent with the brand. Not just in the form of ads. But in all the different forms that viewers will enjoy spending time with brands.

Changes their job description somewhat, doesn’t it?

Not to mention, what we call them.

Time-spent agencies versus ad agencies? Naw, don't think so.

Engagement Engineers?

You tell me.

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