RIP Advertising?

In June last year, Maurice Saatchi, (of Scratchi and Scratchi fame – co-founder of the agency remembered for its promotions of the formidable Mrs T) created a right old storm in …

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29th March 2007 at 7:56 pm

In June last year, Maurice Saatchi, (of Scratchi and Scratchi fame – co-founder of the agency remembered for its promotions of the formidable Mrs T) created a right old storm in a teacup by declaring that ‘Advertising is Dead’.

The luvvies of the advertising and media world went mental, and a backlash began – the waves of which are only just settling down (67 million results on Google for ‘the death of advertising’).

Mr Saatchi, bless him, was actually on his own campaign trail, seeking to launch a new product/concept called ‘one word equity’. And if the adage that all publicity is good publicity is thought to be true, he was incredibly successful.

But hype to one side, advertising does seem to have had its day. The reason is simple. Advertising is expensive. And as more and more media ‘channels’ become available,  whether these are digital tv channels, marketing via mobile phones, by podcast, video podcast, websites, blogsites etc, the chances of your message actually reaching your target customer appear to get slimmer and slimmer. Add into the equation the fact that your average customer is increasingly immune to the messages of paid-for advertising and it’s unsurprising that the revenues made by traditional media are on the wane.

But what does all this mean for your average small business, because lets face it, few of us have the budget required to roll out a £ multi-million advertising campaign anyway?

The lessons to be learned are pretty straightforward. Before you commit to any advertising spend, think twice and ask the key question.  Is this media going to deliver my message to potential customers? Is my message geared to prompt the action (response) I need, to make sure this expensive piece of my marketing mix pays for itself? Are there new/different and more ingenious ways of getting my message in front of my customer? If you’re in any doubt about whether advertising space will deliver, don’t do it and maybe take a leaf out of Maurice’s book – put yourself in the limelight, be a bit controversial and get yourself some coverage by that route instead!

Sara Scott

Sara is a marketing specialist with a wealth of on-line and traditional experience. With award winning credentials as an advertising writer, her career also spans the disciplines of planning and strategy for both B2B and consumer clients. Having worked for one of the the UK's biggest non-London agencies, Sara now works on a consultancy basis for clients large and small. http://www.smallbizpod.co.uk/blog

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