Friday, February 22, 2008

The New Media Drumbeat Continues

Buzz throughout the industry yesterday was about the ANA/Forrester study that shows marketers increasingly skeptical about the impact of television advertising on their brands. What caught my eye was the top three headlines in Marketing Charts. Each is significant, but their presence, one after the other on a single day, was powerful.
According to Advertising Age:

Sixty-two percent of marketers believe traditional TV ads have become less effective during the last two years. Given that belief, it's no surprise that close to half of them already have experimented with other ad formats that work with digital video recorders or video-on-demand programs. And more than 50% of marketers reported that when half of all TV households use DVRs, they will cut spending on TV advertising by 12%.

Looking at the report on purchase influence by BIGresearch (available for download on their Top Line Findings page) we see clear evidence of continuing gains by new media over traditional between December 2006 and 2007.

In the electronics category:

•Instant messaging and blogging showed the greatest increase for all adults 18 and over. The increase in purchase influence was greatest among African-American adults and least among Hispanics.
•Broadcast TV and cable TV were the biggest losers. That was true across Caucasians and Hispanics with African Americans reporting the greatest decline in purchase influence from TV. Hispanics showed an inexplicably large decrease in decline of purchase influence from direct mail.

Ditto for media influence on car and truck purchases. The same pattern of decrease in the impact of television and increase in new media applies. Instant messaging and blogging are gaining influence among all 3 groups. Web radio shows a huge increase in impact among African-Americans, with video on cell phones showing a decrease among Caucasians. One assumes that the sample sizes were relatively small for both web radio and video on cell phones. Newspaper continues its slow but seemingly inexorable slide among all groups but actually showed an increase in influence on car and truck purchases among Hispanics and African-Americans. The third headline speaks to the growth of newspaper websites at the expense of their print parents.

The theme doesn’t change—new media continue their growth trajectory. The details are fascinating in the study that looks at ethnic groups, just as it is in studies that look at other segments.

The message for marketers is also unchanged but increasingly urgent. They must learn to reach consumers by new media, and there aren’t yet many rules of the road. Experimenting with better ways to reach your own target audiences is the only way to go.
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