Thursday 19 July 2018

Firms must get smart with their advertising mix if they want to be top with 'screenagers'

Gavin Duffy
Gavin Duffy

Gavin Duffy

Good old-fashioned 'word of mouth', once a keystone in all marketing, 'the best form of advertising' they used to say, is dead and gone. It has been replaced by 'top of mind'.

Today's consumers, particularly millennials, place no value on word of mouth. Always on their smart phones, listening to Spotify, gaming, browsing or surfing, they hardly talk or listen to one another. Today's adolescents, 'screenagers', inhabit a connected world, but feel disconnected on a human level. They engage in social media which is the masses pretending to be sociable. As technology has made geography, history, they can be in touch with people all over the planet but haven't moved from their bedroom, couch, or desk for hours and sadly remain alone and silent.

The impact of this on marketing is significant. When younger consumers give a word-of-mouth recommendation to one another that 'word' is immediately digitally challenged. They search the recommendation online where the reviews of total strangers' rate higher with young consumers than those given verbally by a close friend.

Apparently, we are no longer impressed by our circle of friends or family but take direction from bloggers, vloggers, tweeters, snappers, 'grammers', etc all of whom we now collectively call 'Influencers'.

So, if word of mouth no longer works what is 'top of mind'? If your business, brand, product or service is not at the top of people's minds then your business is in jeopardy. For example, if you operate a shoe shop and if 200 people in your locality were asked to name a local shoe shop, if at least 70pc of them don't mention your shop, then I would contend your business is likely to fail or at very best, struggle.

How do you get to be and remain top of mind with your potential customers? You must advertise. The problem is most small or medium-sized businesses spend on average of 2pc of their revenue on marketing and that's why they remain small. You won't cut through and connect with your potential customers, living their hectic lives, if you are not spending 6pc of revenue on marketing.

At my SMART Marketing seminar, I tell people, if you are going to advertise don't follow the herd and spend all your money on digital. Opt for 'blended marketing' a mix of digital and mainstream media, that is newspapers, radio, television and/or billboards as well as online advertising. The explosion in digital advertising spending in Ireland saw it overtake the combined advertising spend on all mainstream media channels in 2017. This has forced traditional media to fight back.

To compete with Facebook and Google, newspapers, radio, billboards and even television have slashed their rates. There has never been a better time to advertise in your local newspaper or on local radio if you are a local business and for national advertisers the rates today are comparable with what they were 20 years ago.

So, the smart thing to do is use a mix of digital and mainstream media to advertise your business. SMART marketing is:

S - draw up a marketing strategy to identify your potential customers and how to reach them online and on mainstream media.

M -is what message will grab the attention of your potential customers and turn them into purchasers?

A - is advertise that message on both traditional media and online.

However, you must do it R - regularly, remember repetition builds reputation.

The challenge is keeping your advertising consistent but always fresh, so you must always be T - for topical.

Gavin Duffy's SMART marketing seminar is at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, on Tuesday July 17 For details see: gavinduffyandassociates.com

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