Saturday, February 16, 2013

Is The Consumer In Charge Or Not?

In a piece written the other day, the author suggests that “Of all the silly, naïve marketing notions that have accompanied the growth of the Internet, the most pervasive and foolhardy is the idea that the ‘consumer is now in charge’.”

His premise is that the consumer today has less control than ever.

His logic is based on the fact that consumers are now inundated with more advertising and messaging than ever.

He concludes by saying “Only the delusional and credulous can really believe that the “consumer is now in charge.”

So, call me delusional.

If you look at the data, ads on Facebook have a click through rate of around 5 in 10,000.  If advertisers were in such control, wouldn’t this rate be higher?

Yes, advertising is pervasive in the online and offline world.

And yet, it also pervasively ignored by most consumers.

Which is why the most effective online advertising is still search.

Search is initiated by the consumer.

Initiation is a form of control.

Search isn’t about reach.  It’s about depth.  It’s about being able to dig deeper into a brand then ever before possible. 

Control is having the ability to check the credibility of any brand’s messaging almost immediately.

This shifts the balance of power.

It doesn’t change the amount of advertising that consumers need to put up with.  But it does change the amount of advertising that’s effective.

Those claiming that pervasiveness of advertising is a sign of advertisers remaining in control are missing the point.

Control isn’t about how much advertising is sent out.

It’s about how much is taken in.

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