Competing with Trust & Admiration NetworksConsumers put more than 60% of their trust in earned media and peer-to-peer recommendations over ads when it comes to making buying decisions. Advertising is effective in building awareness and getting new products on the radar of buyers. But, as more consumers demand ad-free content, and rely more and more on peer-to-peer networks to make purchasing decisions, brands will need to find a new way to connect with their consumers, especially those that have adopted new technology. Rather than delivering buzz words and calls-to-action, brands will need to take on the role of a trusted peer to help customers confirm their buying decision. We have entered a world where the media channel is no longer the center of the marketing universe; we are now in a customer-centered world. Instead of advertising to sell, brands need to evolve their advertising so that it helps customers solve problems 365 days a year. Brands can become connected and serve as connectors—connect the brand with customers and connect customers to each other. When consumers turn to their peers for advice, it is to validate their choice or to get real-world feedback on a product or service. Ads inherently do not provide real-world feedback, with a few rare exceptions, so when an ad can provide educational value it can help a brand start to earn a role inside of a customer’s network.
Interactive Content MarketingToday’s consumers don’t want to be sold to. They do want to learn and be entertained. And they do want to experience content of their choosing on their preferred platform. Rather than deliver integrated marketing (this is expected), brands will evolve to publish interactive content. Consumers already pay to customize their individual channels—social, digital radio, digital TV, email, mobile subscriptions—so why not put them in control of the branded content you have to offer? In 1994, Wired magazine predicted the rise of customized TV commercials in which consumers would be able to hand-select the commercials they watch and the type of offers they receive. What they forgot to predict was the death of TV. Even with putting the customer in control and investing in the customized content marketing consumers expect, there remains the challenge of reaching younger generations who increasingly have the most buying power. Traditional advertising will not work. Brands need to use all the new media channels available to their consumers—mobile, video games, augmented reality, social media and email—to deliver interactive, valuable content. It’s not advertising. It’s problem-solving, educating, and connecting. It is being there not just at the first opportunity, but consistently and with transparency. Sources who agree with us that advertising is dead (or at least changing significantly):
- Copyblogger: Traditional Advertising is Truly Dead
- Fast Company: The End of Advertising as We Know It—And What to Do Now
- News24: The Death of Advertising
- Wired: Is Advertising Dead?
- Mark Lewis: The Future of Advertising: The Death of Advertising