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From Talking At You To Talking With You: Why Traditional Advertising Is Dead

Truth in Advertising

It might sound surprising, but experts are calling this the post-advertising age. In America, children become consumers at a very young age, and through adulthood, media saturation is hard to avoid. But that exposure could be having an opposite effect from the one it intended. The death knell for traditional advertising has come as a result of a few different factors, but mostly digital technology and the increasingly cynical and discerning mindset of customers. Forrester research claims that telemarketing is down 50 percent, and spending on print ads is down over 75 percent in 2012. It’s also becoming increasingly difficult to reach consumers with television commercials. What are the viable alternatives to these old-fashioned advertising methods? Businesses not only have to change their mediums, they also have to change the way they talk to people.

1. The Death of the Passive Consumer

Gone are the days when individuals or families sat in front of the television and watched hours of programs and commercials, passively receiving ads and product information, Today, media consumption is diverse and interactive, and and you don’t have to be at home on the couch to access it. Smartphones, tablets, game consoles, and laptops can do everything a television can do and more, because they inspire a two-way discussion and make it easier than ever for customers to shop around. The pressure is on businesses to stand out in a market full of DVRs and short attention spans, where it’s easy to fast forward or simply avoid ads that don’t succeed at reaching out to you.

2. Social Media and Advertising

By 2014, businesses are expected to double how much they spend on social media advertising to around $14 billion a year. Nearly 60 percent of this advertising is on Facebook, the most popular social media site in the world. But reaching out to consumers through Facebook results in an entirely different experience than advertising of the past. Like buttons, friend requests, and the ability to directly communicate with a business means customers can be directly and personally involved with the brands and products they support, and those brands and products can engage them in new ways. This is a new world for advertisers, and the legal ramifications of targeted advertising, ads on smartphone apps, and other personalization are still being worked out. But the trends are definitely clear.


3. The Effect of Recession

Economic downturns are not new in America, but the combination of an onslaught of new technology and the worst recession since the Great Depression has changed not only advertising mediums, but advertising philosophies. Businesses are not necessarily drastically reducing the amount they spend on ads, but they are focused more on making every dollar count. Retail sales are barely beginning to recover after years of record lows, and frivolous spending still seems like a thing of the past. Technology is working with that change. A study by Nielsen says that fewer than half of people still find television and print ads credible, while around 60 percent find company websites and emails credible. But the most credible of all? Word of mouth. Over 70 percent trust online reviews and 92 percent trust recommendations from friends and family.

Businesses face an interesting challenge in how to promote brand awareness in a technological age that makes it easier and easier for customers to disregard you. The only real choice is to approach the customer on their level, and instead of distracting them with expensive ads, you can prove the value behind them.

Writer Stacy Hilliard is a full-time blogger for business sites. Interested in growing your business? You may be interested in earning an mba from a reputable school such as Northeastern University.

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Karen Alton is a blogger who writes articles on dating. At Chicago STD testing centers you can be tested and know it will be safe and the results kept confidential. Know the status of your health before starting a dating relationship.

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