Reverse Advertising: Avoiding the Advertising Death Spiral

Internet Marketingon December 16th, 2010No Comments

Marketers have been bemoaning the rising problems with traditional advertising for years. Marty Neumeier, author of Zag: The Number One Strategy of High-Performance Brands and The Brand Gap, describes the “advertising death spiral” during which consumers filter out advertising because it’s not relevant to their current task. In turn, advertisers get louder, causing consumers to filter more and advertisers to yell even louder. (This filters occurs both online and offline)

Marketer Seth Godin, in his book, Permission Marketing, calls the traditional advertising methods of blasting a scattershot message to a large group of people (through such channels as radio and TV ads) who may or may not be intended in your product “interruption advertising.” But what’s the alternative?

The answer: let your potential customers tell you what they are looking for. This way, you won’t interrupt your potential audience from the task they’re focusing in order to get their attention. Instead, what you have to offer is crucial to their current task. Search provides results that are relevant to the activity in progress and searchers are filtering out everything else to concentrate on that. You won’t have to fight for the viewer’s attention and convince them they need a product (and all the while risk the advertising death spiral). Instead, you can focus on convincing this purchase-ready group that they should buy your product.

Danny Sullivan, one of the first search engine industry experts, calls the process of acquisition from search “reverse advertising.” You simply find out what the members of your target audience are looking for, and then meet their needs and wait for them to come to you. Someone typing [fuel efficient cars] into a Google search box is much more likely to be considering purchasing a car than someone who’s sitting on the couch watching The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Related posts:

  1. The Difference between Organic and Paid Results
  2. How Search Has Changed Marketing
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