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Don’t forget your consumer

No one likes advertising.

My kids tell me this every day, despite what Dad does to earn a living. They complain constantly about how commercials are interrupting their favorite shows and lament not being able to fast forward live TV.

Five minutes later though, they are demanding that Mom and I get them what they just spent 30 seconds learning about. It could have been a new batch of slime (now with glitter!) or that hover board the kid down the street has.

Either way, they NEED the product and can’t go on living without it, despite learning about it for the first time less than a minute ago.

Placement matters

Maybe this sounds familiar, and you might even be able to relate to it as both a marketer, and also as a consumer. When the message being delivered is relevant to the audience receiving it, it can be powerful and very positive. On the flip side, when the message is deemed to be irrelevant, in the way and obstructive, it is also powerful, just not how the advertiser intended.

With the rise of Conscious Consumerism and Advertising Activism, as discussed earlier this week in MediaPost by Steven Rosenbaum, the value exchange that is the core of the advertising is more important than ever.

“The era of brands sitting on the sidelines is over. Every ad placement is now an endorsement, and building a brand story of social engagement and responsibility isn’t optional. As consumers become more conscious of how brands align themselves with issues, dollars and loyalty will follow.”

Back to basics: connecting with the consumer

Today, consumers have infinite choices, but the content producers competing for these fragmented impressions are more focused on monetizing their content than on the consumer experience.

We love our 30-second spot because it tells our story using sight, sound, motion and emotion, something that our display banner can’t do. The publisher wants our spot because they can charge 3x as much for it as they would a display banner. What we aren’t thinking about is what the consumer wants, especially as a value exchange for the content.

Through this shortsightedness we are training consumers to not accept the digital value exchanges that had long been agreed to within television, radio and print. Put up with 5 minutes of ads for 25 minutes of content. Pay $1.99 for the magazine with 20 pages of ads instead of $5.99 for the ad-free version.

Successful brands and publishers are and will need to remove themselves from the center and focus on the consumer’s needs, wants and desires first. Disrupters like Netflix and Amazon who provide consumers with a customized and unique experience based solely on what they care about will win. And as opposed to the past, these two (and others) don’t want any part of our value exchange. They are happy to cut out the marketing middleman.

The good news is that while the writing is on the wall, marketers have a chance to partner with producers and provide what Netflix and Amazon are giving their customers without a subscription charge.

It is easy right now for consumers to spend $10 a month for Netflix and Amazon, but as that list grows (HBOGO, Hulu, ESPN+, Spotify, The Athletic, etc.) these so-called skinny bundles will not be so skinny and cash-strapped consumers still looking for content will be more willing to accept relevant advertising in the value exchange equation.

This is how we prefer to work with both client partners and publisher partners, looking through the consumer lens first and working together to develop a solution that builds loyalty through shared values.

And, we’d love to chat if this approach is what your brand needs. Shoot us a line at to learn more.

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