Just Asking

Free e-circulation, RSS and even Google alerts have eroded consumer relationships with the daily newspaper, quickly relegating the medium to a retail landfill at a cost that remains constant. Cell-phone advertising. It’s cute, colorful, tiny and incredibly annoying. As more people start to get it, more people will start to hate it. And just wait until they start sending you a ring-back tone to remind you that you’ve received an ad, er, message. When you see someone throwing their cell phone onto the subway tracks, you’ll know why. Yesterday my 8-year-old received a credit card offer that requested his “immediate attention” on the envelope. In our opt-in, do-not-call, junk-mail filter world, sending wasteful, landfill-filling paper seems without value on many levels. There is potential to waste significant money in emerging media. In the rush to be part of the latest trend, some marketers are jumping in without proper matching of media to target, or understanding the need to tailor message content and format with a new medium.

If you were to develop a campaign targeted at small business professionals, vertical print alternatives and direct response may provide the best results, while TV . . . may be cost prohibitive and thus overrated. In other words, it really depends on the advertiser’s audience. Viral, because it’s not a medium and clients think it is. All they’re really saying is that they want it to be really good.

Advertisers intent on looking for tangible ROI and measurable value will have trouble finding it through print ads. I still believe that it provides a nice branding platform on which to prop up sales and it’s also perhaps the “prettiest” of all media. But audiences are occupied with so many types of media that finding and remembering a print ad amongst a jungle of paper is getting tougher. Online. It isn’t putting your ad campaign up on the Web. It is putting as much effort, budget and attention-to-detail as you would TV or print. Then doing what only online allows—tracking and tweaking to make it even better.