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What's Happening to TV Advertising?

Bill Nussey, Silverpop
by: Bill Nussey (@bnussey)
04 April 2006

I was at a social event the other evening speaking with a friend of mine who works in a consumer-facing business. He told me his company's online business growth had surpassed its brick-and-mortar business, but that the company was really struggling to capitalize on its online growth. He said the television-advertising budget needed to give way to a better online marketing effort.

There's been so much talk about the state of TV advertising I thought it would be worth a little research. Here's what I found:

  • 78 percent of TV advertisers feel that the medium has lost a lot of its effectiveness in the last two years, according to an Association of National Advertisers and Forrester Research survey cited in a March 30 eMarketer article.
  • Online marketing grew 23 percent last year, while TV actually fell 1.5 percent, according to a recent study by Nielsen Media Research, also cited in the eMarketer story.
  • The Internet is redefining the political landscape, and television-based political ads simply aren't as effective as they used to be, according to a great article I read in the New York Times Sunday, April 2.
Is TV advertising dead? Is TiVo killing off the original form of mass marketing?

My two cents: not by a long shot.

Take magazines and newspapers. It's always been easy to skip over the ads, but they continue to work. And what about banner ads? Many filter them out, and most ignore them, but they continue to work well. That being said, I do see two trends taking place in TV. First, the 30-second spot will have to give way to 1950s-style content sponsorships to some degree if the consumer adoption of digital video recorders (DVRs) continues at its current pace. And second, advertising in any form will no longer be enough to drive consumer preference.

The bottom line is that traditional interruptive advertising is no longer a transaction that results in a purchase. Instead, advertising is an invitation for consumers to begin a dialogue. It's a way to pique their interest and encourage them to learn more. In a world where consumers are gaining all the power, engaging in dialogue often is far better than a one-time sale. And, for those of us in the email business, consumer dialogues are best conducted online and are best driven by -- you got it -- email.




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