Marketeers are idiots

There seems to be some discussion on TechMeme about a research report just released by Burst Media. The report describes the behavior of consumers watching on-line video and their perception to advertisement placements within it. Research results, can we call it results since Burst media isn’t exactly an independent research firm, show that a) people love on-line video, especially for entertainment and b) they hate advertisement and in half of the cases abandon watching the video all together.

Astonishing conclusions. We watch video’s to be entertained, wow, didn’t know that. Everyone citing the research says that it finally shows consumers aren’t interested in advertisement placements in on-line video. Yet another unexpected result. We have seen this all before folks. And people have taken adequate measures against it. It’s called the remote control, and dvd recorder. The setting? Old fashioned regular TV broadcasts which are interrupted by fairly useless ads all the time. But as they provide the TV watcher no value whatsoever, he zaps away to another channel. This is exactly what happens on-line too. The situation or human behavior isn’t any different really. Advertisement within on-line video’s do not provide the user any value, so he zaps away from them. It is sort off pathetic really. The user walks away from advertisement on TV, let’s harass him some more on-line.

I wonder what the average marketeer does when he comes home after a long day of work and turns on the TV or watches some on-line video’s. Do you think he is sticking around with all the commercial breaks. No way. But he is getting payed to think that consumers like his commercial interruptions and that they dare not zap away from his sponsored message. Marketeers are idiots, and I don’t mean you of course, but the guy from that other company.

Does that mean there is no room for commercial messages or advertisement on-line? Of course not. But marketeers need to stop thinking that they can run ineffective tricks from old media in the “new” on-line world hoping they will be more successful there. Think again. There is one constant factor in the new world that was already there in the old world. It is the consumer. Human behavior doesn’t change that much simply because it is now on-line. If they didn’t like your message before, they won’t like it now either. The rules haven’t changed, just the equipment and the playing conditions.

Marketeers need to start thinking about new ways to get customers involvement. Instead of broadcasting a message they need to think about customer engagement (I like that term much better than brand engagement), customer experiences, and customer value.  Forget about bannering, cpm, and other fairly irrelevant metrics to measure the success of a campaign. Think about how you can deliver your customer an experience he or she won’t forget. Think about how you can start interacting with your customers in ways you can’t in the physical world. Think about delivering true value to your customer.

These simple, yet really hard to achieve, goals can never be met by bannering or pre-roll video advertisement. You and your advertisement are standing in the way of the desire of the customer to watch that video. Yes, you are getting attention, but it is negative, not positive. But if you understand the things that are important to your customer, then a new world of opportunities opens up. You can deliver him the content he wants, in the detail he needs it. Think vertical instead of horizontal. Think micro instead of macro. Think targeted instead of large. Think social instead of a-social. Think content, not banners. Let your customers interact, they love it. Try to interact with them too, and do this every day, with respect, sincerity, and with no other intention than to help and to provide the customer with value.  Ask yourself a simple question, how do I want to get treated by a company that provides me services? Make sure you do better than that. Read blogs or books from people that have smart things to say about that.

Tara Hunt writes wonderful things about Social Capital, perhaps translated into the respect you need to earn to engage with consumers. Try the link below for a video presentation she did last year in the Netherlands.

Or read this post by Rolf Skyberg from eBay, talking about customer engagement.

There are so many opportunities the on-line world can provide marketeers to get in touch with their customers. But they need to understand human behavior first. Get a grip and quit harassing us with “sponsored” messages that do not provide me any value.


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This entry was posted in Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Value, on-line video advertisement, Rolf Skyberg, social capital, Tara Hunt, web 2.0 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Marketeers are idiots

  1. Tristan Owen says:

    Hi Alexander, picked up on this post via, South Africa’s social bookmarking site. While I agree with your thoughts on pre-roll’s, I would argue that providing the consumer with a choice would at least provide some sort of value. Given that ads can be targeted in sophisticated ways to the audience they are intended for, the consumer is still able to ‘interact’ with the advertisement in any way they choose, ie, watch it, click-through or close and move on. I think the content of the ad itself then becomes important as it must engage and entertain in the first place. I’ve seen overlays achieve this successfully, do you think there is scope for this ‘value’ in pre-rolls?

  2. Alexander van Elsas says:

    Hi @Tristan. Personally I do not believe in bannering or advertisement on-line, UNLESS the commercial message in itself provides the user some value. The easy example would be that if I am searching for information on a new car, then car advertisments on the side of the page might provide me value. If on the other hand the commercial message does not have such a clear link to the context I’m acting in and doesn’t provide me value, it is a waist of ad money spent and a harassment for the user. The obvious example here would be that I want to be entertained by watching a fun video, and then get the “this video is sponsored by..” message.
    If I am surfing on a site where I can find information on live concerts of my favorite bands, and a brand engages (not banners) with me there, then the engagement itself might be valuable again. So context, content, action, engagement, value are all important things to look for when you want to reach your customer. You only want to give a customer a choice if there is something valuable for him to chose. “Allowing” him to ignore your message is really asking for negative attention, instead of providing him value. But don’t worry, people have become really good at ignoring useless commercial messages. Its a difficult job, being a marketeer 😉

  3. Bryan Woods says:

    Alexander, with all due respect I think you’re referring to “advertisers,” not “marketers.”
    Not saying marketers are always better, but in this climate, a “marketer” is not a person who typically buys ad space. We leave that to the 80 year old dinosaurs at the ad agencies. Marketers exist to “analyze” the diminishing returns of ad buys and figure out ways to increase brand/product awareness in different ways. So if your post was called “Advertisers are Idiots,” I’d whole-heartedly agree. But marketers do exactly what you’re calling for.

  4. @Brian, I have worked all my life with marketeers. The number of marketeers that actually have met a customer, really understand their needs (and I mean not from reading a research report) can be counted one one hand. This gets worse on the Internet. They buy ad space but don’t understand the customer, leaving that over to the advertisement agency. But it’s the responsibility of the marketer in the end. Most of them tend to think in product specs or worse, in product features. And then rationalize that the customer needs these features. I see this behavior across many industries. Maybe I meet the wrong people, but I doubt it 😉

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