r2i traditional advertising dead Gone are the days of creative directors, copywriters and ad directors thinking up the next best headline to grab the customer’s attention and convince them to make a purchase. Advertising doesn’t change minds anymore. Consumers are too overwhelmed; and if they’re not overwhelmed, they are numb to the messaging, graphics, animated ads, jingles, offers and celebrity spokespeople. Media channels—online and offline—create sensory overload turning customers away and causing them to filter out the noise. The younger generation, the most sought after audience, avoids traditional media all together—they won’t be found in front of a TV or with a newspaper in their hands. Advertising used to be about creating a big idea and promoting that idea in as many places as possible to drive sales. Big ideas needed lots of media channels to be effective and by their very nature would create a one-time connection if it was that good of an idea. But with digital, big ideas die fast. They can’t keep up with the short attention spans of digital consumers and they can’t provide the long-term, daily connection or value that consumers need to remain loyal. And even advertising that isn’t designed around a big idea, traditionally has still been at the masses, “at” being the operative word. Advertising “at” people doesn’t drive sales. No doubt, something that is big, and fun and loud might catch someone’s attention; it might raise awareness. But an ad that doesn’t offer education, value, or benefits will not only not drive sales, it will deter customers. So what is the future of advertising?

Competing with Trust & Admiration Networks

r2i traditional advertising dead Consumers 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 Marketing

Today’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): Image Sources:

About the author: Natalie Staines

Natalie Staines is Director of Marketing at R2i and is passionate about digital marketing, storytelling and running. She writes about trends in marketing, best practices and the cool things her colleagues do to connect R2i’s clients with their customers online. In addition to blogging, Natalie juggles a diverse content calendar, events and promotion of R2i’s full breadth of search, social, analytics and technology services. If you can’t find her behind a device, she’s likely off in a pair of Nikes chasing down a PR (personal record that is, not press release, though she does that too).

Stay in the loop

Join over 52,000 marketers in staying up-to-date on the latest industry and R2i news.
arc contact image arc contact image

Ready to drive results?

Contact us today to learn how you can create and evolve digital solutions that connect customer experiences for driving unprecedented impact.

Contact Us