Advertising That Enhances the Media Experience Works

2013.4.1 Revlon

Advertising (especially digital) has earned a reputation as something interruptive, and therefore, unwanted. Selling earned the same reputation back in the days of the stereotypical fast talking salesmen.

In both circumstances, the problem was not with the medium for communicating the message – it was the message itself.

While social media has in many ways changed the world of marketing by giving everyone nearly free access and use of media, we can learn from the early days of modern marketing.

Early media professionals actually did advertising quite well – until they were tempted to do otherwise. And the same thing is playing out today with regular marketers like you and me (but of course, not specifically you and me).

We Loved Early Television Advertising

In a recent video blog Facebook advertising was compared with the early days of television.

The point made was that while Facebook users hate Sponsored Story ads, they are necessary for keeping Facebook profitable – much as hated commercial advertising did for television during its early days.

The host was making a generalization that those of us who were there know is not true.

I was around when television was getting off the ground, and we watched advertising just as eagerly as we did the Ed Sullivan and Jackie Gleason shows.

We didn’t hate commercials – we enjoyed them. Let me explain why.

First, consider that the medium of television was fresh and powerfully engaging. The entire family gathered around that one television set together, much as we virtually gather together around Facebook most evenings.

When any medium of communication is new it instantly grabs our attention, just as Facebook did – including the early ads.

From that point forward, as long as the programming is interesting and informative, we continue to eagerly consume all of it – shows and advertising alike.

The Welcomed Commercial Break

We enjoyed those television commercials in the ’60’s because we were hungry for information about new consumer products. Also, commercials gave us a break (known as a commercial break) from the regular programming.

Thus, in the early days of television, advertising was actually embraced because it improved the overall television experience. Then, something happened. The quest for more profits compromised the experience.

The same thing happened with email.

If you were around when email was new, you recall how much you loved getting an email. What has changed?

What was once welcome news has became spam – unwanted emails that not only fail to deliver valuable information, they undermined your ability to get to the good stuff. That continues to hold true today.

The reason people dislike Facebook Sponsored Stories is that while they are news, there is an implied bias. They are really native advertising – ads disguised as news. This tends to compromise the experience by being less than honest, which is a slippery slope when it comes to social marketing.

Honest Advertising Still Works

Ads are most effective when they are done well – and clearly delivered as an ad. This is why Facebook users do not mind (and in many cases welcome) ads in the sidebar – we see them as what they are – advertising.

If we want to take a break to notice the so-called Marketplace ads in the Facebook sidebar we can. If not, we can stay with the regular programming. We don’t feel we are being spammed, just marketed to.

Advertising that offers value in the form of news or entertainment has merit.

It worked in the early days of television, and it can also work on Facebook and your other social marketing channels – including email, provided it is delivered appropriately.

The game of marketing has definitely changed to one that is more social, personal, and value-oriented. Nevertheless, we can still learn from and apply some of the time-tested practices that long preceded social media.

Make your advertising so good it enhances the user experience for your audience..

Effective advertising is simple: Deliver value in an honest way, and by all means, at a reasonable frequency. 

What are your thoughts on advertising today?  Please leave a comment and share.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – Released April 15, 2013 (Wiley)

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Why Baby Boomers Understand Social Media

If you are a baby-boomer or beyond you grew up with traditional media.

You understand how traditional media works.

They provide entertainment or educational content (including the news) – and in exchange for their hard work you accept commercials and other forms of advertising.

That’s the deal.

Traditional Media

You and I were trained to endure commercials on network television.  It was the price for getting free entertainment, and occasionally some educational content.

You patiently waited through commercials to watch the Beatles or Rolling Stones perform on The Ed Sullivan Show.

It works the same way today with the newspapers and magazines that have survived.

You get the news, along with offerings of products and services that are targeted to you, based upon your demographics and location.

Traditional media may be dying, but you can learn a lot from it.

New Media

Now we have new media – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more – much, much more.

And more to come.

Would you watch television if it were 100% advertising?  Would you buy or read a newspaper or magazine that was nothing but advertising.

Of course you wouldn’t.

Media reaches out to an audience to engage it, thereby creating the opportunity for monetizing that effort.

If you want to be effective with your social media you have to understand there needs to be a reason for tuning in or subscribing.

If you want us to Like your Facebook page or subscribe to your blog feed you have to give us a reason for doing so. To accomplish that, you need to be creating valuable content that is worthy of our time and attention.

This is so basic, yet so often misunderstood.

This is how media works – including social media.

Media is a Business

Marketing and promotion in all of its forms are why media exists.  It’s why Facebook is continuously tweaking its service.

Recently, I have been reading about how many are upset about the changes with the functionality of Facebook. Why?

Evidently, they do not get that media cannot be 100% free and all about you.  Media is a business and it has to make a profit.

Facebook is making these changes to enhance their profitability.

Don’t you have a profit motive for your Facebook page and blog?  We understand and respect that – most of us anyway.

Though, to achieve profitability you have to continue to earn the attention of your audience.  You have to remember that your social media is not just about you.

We’re in this together.

As the Beatles said,

“Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you ….  tomorrow I’ll miss you … remember I’ll always be true.”

As a marketer, that’s all you want – your audience to always be with you.

Give us a reason to come back and we will.  You only have to educate, entertain, or inspire – preferably all three.

Do this and everyone gets what they want.

That’s the game.

Are you with me?

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Until tomorrow,  Jeff