In today's New York Times, Stuart Elliott writes about a survey conducted on behalf of the American Association of Advertising Agencies by Yankelovich. The survey shows that " ... the effectiveness of campaigns that agencies produce for marketers is deteriorating ... because negative perceptions about advertising have substantially increased." No surprise there. Advertising is a one-way street. And with forehead advertising, pop-ups, spam, direct mail and more, it has become a one-way street in a bad part of town. It's the ultimate realization, in a marketing context, of transaction economics as discussed by Shoshanna Zuboff in her book "The Support Economy." We, the advertisers, know what you, the helpless, hapless people of the world, need and so we're going to tell you about it in whatever way we find necessary to reach you in order to bring ourselves profit, regardless of whether we drive you to the brink.
Elliott writes, "The survey findings are significant because industry executives are frantically searching for ways to forge more emotional connections with fractious, and fractionated, consumers that differ from conventional methods ..." Need I bring up the "e" word? Yes, I must. If we become experiential marketers, at least in my sense of what that means, then we automatically start from the vantage point of the consumer. We figure out how to create experiences around our products that are shared. We give them the chance to opt in with us, to jump in and enjoy the ride together. It's interesting to note that 45% of the survey respondents said "the amount of advertising and marketing they were exposed to 'detracts from the experience of everyday life.'" When we focus on creating mutually beneficial experiences, we are much less likely to bombard, interrupt and annoy. It's clearly time to step back from the brink.