I can still sing the jingles that accompanied the advertisements of my childhood. I must have been about six when these ditties made me crave AlkaSeltzer, Chesterfields and seeing the USA in my Chevrolet. Now, we condition ourselves to be immune from the noise of marketing: the intrusions of banners, billboards and things that flash in neon or rich text. We pay rental fees to Tivo so we can fast forward through the ads from sponsors who pay for our alleged broadcast entertainment. Those advertisers are smartening up that the efficacy is gone and the cost to place a spot is inane.
Advertising and marketing slogans have become ineffective, unwanted background blurs. Visual ads are aesthetic intrusions like graffiti on a beutiful statue. Still, companies spend billions to hook housewives into thinking they'll be more attractive with cleaner floors; kids think will be cooler with peers if they drink the right Cola; and dad's will enjoy erupting testosterone if their weed killer works fastest.
Marketing stuff just doesn’t work the way it used to. PR releases, crammed with hyperbolizing adjectives and false claims meet cynical editorial eyes before landing in wastebaskets. Politicians are further distanced from constituencies as they emote marketing speak that sounds unlike the people we know and trust. Marketers keep escalating: The less people buy the crap, the louder the marketers shout. Look at how online ads progressed. When we became immune to banners, pop ups were developed; when we turned a blind eye, sound was added.
Blogging’s fountainheads say marketing is about conversations. If it has proved nothing else so far, blogging shows that people respond better to lowered voices spoken in credible tones. Because conversations are effective, it seems to me the dynamic will spread to other marketing media. People listen better and longer when you just talk to them and listen back. Advertisers miss this point so far. They think “interactive” means click to buy. But over time, they will adapt, because conversations are more effective than advertising.
It seems to me one of blogging’s many greatest promises is in “conversational marketing,” and its use will make advertising and public relations more effective. More important it will make us all happier prospects and customers.
At least I hope so.