A very serious letter to all Businessmen-everywhere!
The advertising world continues to retain a mind-boggling belief in its own superiority despite this being eroded daily by the publication of facts stating that advertising does not work!
Neither the Internet nor traditional media have been proven to be effective – in fact the very opposite.
Eric Clemons, Professor of Operations & Information Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, argues that the Internet shatters all form of advertising. “The problem is not the medium, the problem is the message and the fact that it is not trusted, not wanted and not needed.”
There are three problems with advertising, in whatever form, whether broadcast or online. 1) Consumers do not trust advertising 2) Consumers do not want to view advertising and, most importantly, 3) Consumers do not need advertising.
Additionally Max Creamer of AdAge questions the whole notion of advertising on the Web. He maintains the internet is user controlled and users revolt at the sight of advertising.
At least with on-line advertising there’s so much supply, and so much proof that it’s not very effective. So the Web’s big problem isn’t click-throughs. Of course they’re low. The problem is that click-throughs are all it has!
There is no doubt that the world has changed but we continue to apply the same old (and normally ineffective) practices of Marketing and Advertising!
And the truth is if we want (and need) Advertising and Marketing to enter the 21st Century we must get past this lazy, dangerous, ideology of reach,frequency and creativity plus an unhealthy fascination with Social Media , then perhaps we can strengthen our businesses … and maybe, maybe, we can change the world.
Yet the insanity of modern methods persists! I heard a positively horrendous marketing story the other day which poses the question does Marketing known at all what it is supposed to be doing?
It would appear that customers of NatWest consistently tell the bank that they are not at all that interested in receiving interest on their money. That, at least, is the opinion of an unidentified spokeswoman for the state-owned lender, which this week decided to stop paying interest on most current accounts. NatWest’s faintly Orwellian analysis concluded with the statement that customers prefer “quality of service” to the payment of interest. Seeing that customers receive neither from their bank! I cannot remember a single occasion when I received anything approaching good service, more often than not the service was poor, sometimes it was appalling, occasionally it reach the giddy depths of mediocrity, but it has never come anywhere near good. It would appear that the best analogy is a pickpocket who as already stolen your wallet but, unsatisfied, comes back for your loose change as well!
All these horror stories would disappear almost overnight if agencies would apply Interactive Communication to their communications, but until they decide to become honest with themselves, with their clients and, more importantly, with their customers, they never will. Sod their customers, sod their Clients, they are making far too much money with the hugely flawed system right now thank you very much, and yes….sod ethics!
Let is reflect upon the word “communication” because that is where all our troubles began!
Despite all this rhetoric there is no evidence yet that advertising agencies, or the marketing departments of Clients understand the meaning of the word “communications.”
And herein lies the real problem, the complete lack of understanding as to what the communication process is all about.
Sending a message by itself isn’t sufficient to create an act of communication; there needs to be a response to a message as well. To illustrate this point, think of a radio station broadcasting late at night without a single listener tuned in.
You don’t have to argue about trees falling in an empty forest to agree that no communication has occurred here. In the same way, when you have a speaker talking to one or more people who aren’t listening, there is no communication taking place.
For communication to take place, you must have a message sender and a message receiver and the two sides must talk to each other to understand what the other is thinking/doing.
Advertising occurs when a group becomes too large for all members to contribute. One aspect of advertising is an unequal amount of “speaking”. Advertisers deliver their information to the mass audience, with limited opportunities, if any, for feedback.
The audience, therefore, is unable to talk back in a two-way conversation the way they might in a small group setting and as a result, do not feel involved, do not feel that the message has relevance to them as an individual.
Advertising views communication as something one person “does” to others. In this linear communication model, communication is like giving an injection: a sender encodes ideas and feeling into some sort of message and then injects them by means of a channel (TV, Newspapers, radio, etc).
Despite its simplicity, the linear view of communication isn’t completely accurate. For one thing it makes the questionable assumption that all communication involves encoding.
A more obvious problem of the linear model is its suggestion that communication flows in one direction, from sender to receiver. However, most types of communication, especially the interpersonal variety, are two-way exchanges. To put it differently, advertising’s linear view ignores the fact that receivers react to messages by sending messages of their own. And if the message sender is not listening in turn…?