You don’t have to look very hard here in San Francisco to see gold mining’s influence. During the Gold Rush of 1849 hundreds of thousands of men, and some intrepid women, came to San Francisco seeking their fortune. What they found, when they reached the gold fields, was back-breaking work. A miner used a pan to sift through many hundreds of pounds of silt and gravel to find a flake or two of gold. Curious how so little has changed.
But isn’t online advertising already effective? Online marketing has the demand fulfillment side of the equation figured out. Google, optimized landing pages, and ecommerce sites all know how to capture and efficiently fulfill demand when it shows up. But, what about demand creation?
Online advertising has not proved itself effective at creating demand. In reality, we are planning and buying online media, and developing ads, using the same tools and techniques as have been employed by traditional media since the 1960s. The result is tons of wasted circulation, tons of silt and gravel, to find a few flecks of gold.
In another post, Effective Online Advertising – The Secrets Revealed, I wrote about the direct marketing mantra, “Get the right message, to the right person, at the right time.” Behavioral Targeting is a rough attempt to achieve this but, charitably, it accomplishes one out of three. Behavioral Targeting introduces the gravel sluice to the gold mining process. Now, with slightly less effort, the miner can process a lot more silt and gravel in an hour.
Online marketers need to embrace this challenge and put their considerable talent and creativity into solving the demand creation challenge. Give a consumer a relevant message, when they are open to it, and you will have an impact. Until you do this, you and your pan will continue to sift through the leavings of the strip mine up the river.
- Start with metrics. Don’t use “clicks” as your measure for success if the objective is demand creation. Interaction, changes in awareness and related search activity are better metrics.
- Rethink your approach to the ads. Spend the money for Rich Media ads designed to foster interaction. This will improve message delivery, help you understand what message is resonating with heavy users and what media channels are reaching them efficiently.