As technology continues to advance, the advertising industry is constantly presented with new marketing channels and platforms, all boasting superior capabilities for reaching audiences in targeted and cost-efficient ways. With so many choices at hand, many brands are left wondering what platforms are most important to have a presence on. Brands are trying to decipher the answers to questions such as, is print advertising dead? What’s the difference between augmented and virtual reality, and should these innovations be included in our marketing strategy?
ANDERSON interns sat down with our president, Ted Anderson, to find out his perspective on the influx of advertising options available, what channels brands should be on and how to best utilize them.
With advancing technology, how imminent is the death of print?
While print isn’t dead yet, publishers do have reason to worry. Pew Research Center has tracked the rapid decline in newspaper circulation and revenues and the correlating decline in ad spend, demonstrating how print, as a medium, is on its way out. However, it is important to note that while fewer people are reading newspapers, there are a few print formats that are still highly prevalent. In recent years, special interest magazines have seen tremendous audience growth in categories such as men’s and women’s fashion and the financial sector. Research shows that community based newspapers continue to have strong readership, most likely because they are more localized than what most news websites can deliver.
Though consumer behaviors are changing with time, the truth is that there are limits to digital media consumption. There is only so much a person wants to do on their phone and in some cases, print mediums have a better chance at reaching the right audience at the right time. The most important thing to remember is that while in the past, brands could rely on one type of media, advertising is most effective today when different mediums are layered to complement each other.
Will new technologies such as AR and VR dominate the marketing landscape in the future?
The most important thing to ask when we are introduced to new technology like [AR and VR] is, “What value is this providing to consumers?” If new technology isn’t going to provide a solution to current problems or help to make consumer experiences easier and more enjoyable, it will be hard for any new technology to take a strong hold and find a permanent place in advertising.
Augmented and virtual reality are being used for product placements, “trying out” products, providing virtual tours, and more. The possibilities are seemingly limitless, but time will tell whether or not AR/VR provides enough value to consumers to make it worth the expense of implementing into a marketing strategy. Companies should also keep in mind that AR and VR may not appeal to their particular audience and that they may need to test out these tools at smaller scales before rolling them out in campaigns.
What’s an example of a technology that didn’t stick?
A few years ago, QR codes were all the rage. ANDERSON even had them on our business cards, redirecting users to our website. But after a some time, we realized that QR codes are actually less efficient than just opening your browser and searching for our site. While an innovative concept, it was more work to download a scanner app, open it and scan the QR code, than it was to simply google our website. There’s a reason that you rarely see them nowadays.
Interestingly enough, QR codes are predicted to have a comeback in the next several years. Though they aren’t being called “QR codes” anymore–now they’re Snap codes and Spotify codes–they are finding their place again. Instead of being used in print materials, they’re now used as social tools. While their original applications in advertising weren’t well-received, it’s been reimagined to provide value to the consumer.
So what platforms should brands have a presence on?
There’s really no one answer for all brands or companies. Every brand is different, has unique factors leading to their customers purchase decisions, and budget certainly plays a role in that decision.
We work with our clients to discover how their customers find them and make their decision to buy or utilize the clients’ products or services. Understanding this “path to purchase” should give any company the insight needed to know how to target audiences that would respond to a message.
We do say that a brand’s website is the most important platform. It’s today’s storefront and the first step in most customers research and decision process. Ensuring a brand’s website is the best it can be, with clear and enticing information will help any company connect more with potential customers. After that, online search advertising, on platforms such as Google or Bing, would be a natural step for companies to take their advertising efforts. Being able to easily find a website is critical for companies, which is why having a presence on search tools can create an advantage when trying to reach consumers.
After optimizing a brand’s website and online search presence, identifying the correct target audience and budget available will help to determine the best platforms for brands to utilize. ANDERSON relies on various research tools to help inform us about consumer decisions and the mediums that they use.
What are the key things to remember when choosing which mediums to work into your strategy?
- Layer digital and print. Print and digital shouldn’t be addressed as either-or; they should work together to complement each other throughout the funnel.
- It’s all about the target audience. When evaluating channels to use in your campaign, be thoughtful about how to best reach your desired audience. Remember: you want to reach the right people with the right message at the right time.
- The message is in the medium. The way you deliver your campaign can send just as much of a message as the message itself. Brands may turn to new tech when trying to convey that they’re cutting-edge.
- Test before you invest. If you’re unsure about a new digital tactic, perform a smaller test campaign. You can track analytics to quickly see how well a channel will perform before you commit to it.