Advertising: A Question of Balance

Opportunities for advertisers are everywhere. Time and space are becoming increasingly irrelevant, with access to and consumption of media now omnipresent. Whilst this is a blessing for brands, the temptation to attempt an increase in engagement and visibility through blanket coverage can inflict wounds that are difficult to recover from. A nimbler, balanced approach is needed.

We recently trained the lens on how TV advertising is the ultimate team player, a medium that improves the performance of other medias supplementing it. Yet, this week is about the caveat that accompanies this new trend of cross-platform campaigning. More than ever, brands are under pressure to engage customers in new, multidimensional ways. Thing is, not all engagement is of the good, positive variety.

A Tale of Unrequited Love

Many an adolescent will have learnt this hard lesson already, but at the risk of exhuming previously repressed anxieties, let’s set the scene: you’re an adolescent with dreams. One of those dreams is to meet a girl or boy and fall in love. N’aww.

You identify the perfect beau and set about formulating a plan of action. You buy new clothes; invest in the sharpest pair of loafers Clarkes sell for under £30; remodel your hair with some wet-look gel. You then spend some time admiring your crush from afar, refining your USPs.

After a period of shadow-lurking, you pluck up the courage to make your grand gesture – usually a mumbled hello in the cafeteria. She politely responds with disinterest. Knocked back but determined to succeed, you decide to flood every sight and sound she experiences with, well, you. You seek to catch her attention with uncharacteristically flamboyant behaviour. You leave love notes in her locker that promise the world. You send flowers to her house with a vague, scrawled message.

It all comes to a head in the pouring rain: you, imploring her to see sense, stand outside her front door – James Blunt’s ‘You’re Beautiful' crackling from your iPhone. You scarper as the guy in the year above with the big reputation pulls up to take her on a date. You run away, and what’s worse, you’re an inconvenience.

Why are we sharing this (completely fictional) story with you? Well, substitute our adolescent protagonist for an SME and you have a blueprint for how to alienate potential customers with over-saturation.

Rethinking the Approach

With so many marketing options now available to advertisers and so many opportunities to engage, the importance of striking a balance is paramount. On one side of the scales, you have a business that floods TV, social media, outdoor and press with marketing content too thinly spread, too inconsistent,  and too invasive to be effective. On the other side you have the company that doesn’t advertise enough – pinning their marketing around the hope that social media activity will generate word-of-mouth, before they disappear into the ether.

Without a well thought-out plan, unleashing hoards of TV spots, social media posts and online ads are likely to succeed in annoying your customers, and that’s about it. A strategy based on shoving your brand name down people’s throats without any absorbing marketing content is akin to our adolescent friend chasing after his young love and shouting his name repeatedly, all in the hope she’ll begin to like the sound of it and turn around. Chances are, she’ll run a mile.

Instead, businesses navigating their way through the 21
st century advertising landscape need a core strategy; an accountable, focused plan based on rich consumer, competitor and sector analysis. They need strong, creative content that educates, entertains and informs. They need a balance of reach and frequency, provided through a combination of brand awareness and direct response. They need a primary medium that’s effectively supported by additional medias as part of a cohesive strategy.

TV’s the Perfect Wingman

Guerillascope has repeatedly witnessed the benefits of implementing targeted TV advertising campaigns that can reach specific audience groups by channel, time of day, programme and region of the UK. This means your business is only communicating with the viewers central to your business model, ensuring greater relevancy and lower waste. TV is the perfect media to base a campaign around: it remains the most influential platform and its popularity refuses to wane, with the average adult watching 45 TV ads and 2 hours 35 minutes of commercial television a day last year. Additionally, incremental audiences can be engaged with strategic activity on supplementary medias with distinct strengths of their own, as we have previously discussed.

Ultimately, it’s essential to remember that a customer isn’t merely a metric; they’re the heart of your business, and potentially the best marketing tools a brand can have. An individual that engages with and believes in what you stand for will probably talk about it enthusiastically with others, influencing the perceptions of friends and bringing free leads in. However, in order for this to happen, the customer must be given a reason to believe. They need to trust in you and what it is you’re doing, but you cannot achieve this without introducing yourself first.

If we were to hand out sage advice to our hypothetical, lovelorn teenage friend, we’d tell him to invest in a nice shirt; engage them with interesting conversation; select your moments carefully; listen to advice; be imaginative; be yourself. Interestingly, swap the shirt for a targeted TV campaign, and the advice for small businesses in the UK would be surprisingly similar.