Are consumers too smart for traditional advertising?

According to the pundits quoted in this story at Futurity, they are.  TV viewers are no longer “captive” — they have too many ways to surf, fast-forward or DVR-skip your advertising, if you’re interested in reaching a huge audience.

So marketers for major consumer brands are increasingly turning to product placement in films and television programs, to the Web, to social media and viral tactics, to experiential and WOM strategies, to try to reach their audience.

But we’d argue there’s a different dynamic at work in how B2B marketers interact with their audience — it’s a very active, versuspassive, group.  Even when they’re leafing idly through a trade magazine, it’s usually during working hours, or at a point where their attitude and attention is engaged in “workthink.”   In many cases, they’ll be searching for solutions to issues…or they’ll file away your brand and product particulars for later recall, if they’re in your category, even if they’re not buying quite yet.

But it still mandates digital and experiential complements to that trade advertising presence.  And for SMEs, there are still “traditional” options that make sense.  Local radio and TV buys can be highly effective, especially if they’re tagged with a resounding call-to-action.

What we may see in the not-too-distant future, especially as video-0n-demand gains (especially if Apple’s “iTV” happens), is that traditional broadcasting is defunct, replaced by personalized streams.  If these are linked to your social network profile, the ads could be absolutely customized to your particular wants and preferences, which may give advertisers a leg up in reaching audiences with 30-second spots that aren’t just relevant to the viewer…but even sought out.

Mobile media formats will make the selectability even more individual.  Given the power to screen out messages they’re not interested in seeing, consumers will be able to erect some formidable walls against advertising.  Permission will be key, and gaining that permission will mandate levels of authenticity, interaction and value-to-users from brands that will be unlike anything we’ve seen before.

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