In “What If Everything We Knew About Marketing and Advertising Until Now Was An Anomaly?” Mitch Joel speculates, “Maybe Web 2.0 and Social Media is ushering in not only a new way for Marketers to think about how Consumers engage with Advertising, but it is the beginning of the “real” way in which businesses will connect with their Consumers.”
I think this is a simplistic view of the current chapter in the evolution of marketing communications (marcom). Granted, consumers can now have a more prominent voice than ever in the making or breaking of a brand, but all the blogging, online customer reviews and amateur commercials on YouTube only amount to a greater volume of one type of marcom known as “word-of-mouth.”
Word-of-mouth has always been part of a successful marcom mix, and the fact that there’s now more of it, and more dialog between company and customer, doesn’t signify that traditional forms of marcom, from Super Bowl ads to junk mail, are going away anytime soon.
Ad spending is certainly shifting, but spending on “one-way” media — print, radio, TV and direct mail — is showing no signs of dropping off as Web 2.0 activity picks up. That’s because the audience is still there and traditional marcom is still far more effective than social media during two critical phases of the marketing persuasion process: getting the attention of and generating interest among the greatest numbers of prospects. This is the specific function of advertising, and why many successful campaigns are known more for their entertainment value than their factual content.
Traditional media also packs far more impact, in a “medium is the message” way. If Move-On.org’s full page “General Betray Us” ad in the NY Times (dreadful as it was) had instead been a front-page blog on the Huffington Post, it would only have received the attention of other bloggers. Ho hum.
Mitch is overly exuberant when he says: “In watching Consumers leverage real power to share their insights, voice and passions, I can’t help but feel like this is just beginning and we’re entering into – what will become – how Marketing, Advertising and Communications was truly meant to connect.”
In fact, consumers have always had the ultimate power over marketers by voting with their pocketbooks. One of the principles advertisers live by is that the most a great ad campaign can do for a bad product is to get people to try it once.
And then they tell their friends…