Light at the End of the Tunnel

Light at the End of the Tunnel

It was a brutal winter. It seemed like I was driving through an unending long dark tunnel but fortunately, now I see some light up ahead. It’s certainly a welcome sight.

This seems like an appropriate metaphor for some marketing teams. Despite, herculean efforts, nothing seems to work. We rely on our education and leverage our experience, but nothing sticks. It has become abundantly clear that traditional advertising is losing its punch.

Some reasons are:

  • Consumers have developed survival instincts to insulate themselves from the bombardment of ads. But ads are here to stay and becoming ubiquitous. Consumers have developed coping mechanisms to tune them out and not be constantly interrupted.
  • Entertainment options used to be limited. At night, people watched their favorite shows on TV. Now it’s common for me to be watching one show while taping another on a different channel at the same time. Then there is Hulu and Netflix. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube demand some attention. Video games can be difficult to ignore.  All this means less focus on selling messages from marketers.
  • And when I watch recorded shows, it takes me about 44 minutes to watch a one-hour show. I fast forward through about 16 minutes of advertising. But ads generate the revenue to fund these shows that I enjoy. I feel a bit guilty but not enough to cancel my DVR subscription.
  • Some of these wounds are self-inflicted by the marketers. Every drug cannot be best-in-class and every company cannot provide the best customer service. Many such gratuitous messages fall on deaf ears.

How can marketing teams right the ship. Here are some tips:

  1. Test and improve everything regularly and proactively.
  2. Dig deep and dive deeper into numbers. Determine if the upward spike in numbers is a fortuitous blip or a bonafide trend. It is common for marketing teams to take full credit for good numbers and blame unforeseen circumstances for bad ones. Many times, the truth is just the opposite.
  3. Understand your customers better and know why they buy. I once looked at my driveway when several family members had come for a visit. Every car was a Ford. Did we all independently conclude that Ford was the best car on the market or is it just an expectation? When we buy a car, we invariably by a Ford. A marketer should know the difference.

I would welcome your thoughts on how you are adapting to changing times and keeping your marketing initiatives impactful. Brad Saeed,