Friday, May 1, 2009

By listening closely to consumers, brands can transcend and transact

Show Some Respect...

Many are biding their time by tinkering with what didn't work last year. Case in point: If you think of advertising today, the "Shamwow," dancing cowboys and "You've Just Won" banner ads seem to dominate—very stupid sells, I would argue. The message to consumers has become increasingly disrespectful and is the ad businesses' equivalent to the current panic selling happening in the stock market. Fear makes us act, even if the action isn't logical.

The concept of "listening" has made it beyond conversations within ARF meetings. Case in point: our First Lady is taking a "Listening Tour" around America. Listening is finally getting the respect it deserves, for good reason. True listening allows marketers to adjust messages to make them relevant and, yes, respectful to the consumer. And listening to consumers has never been more important, since their needs and priorities change constantly. Last year's media plan might as well be 100 years old. Brand loyalty declines due to lack of relevance; a direct result of not listening.

So how do we achieve Respect Marketing when budgets and CPM are shrinking? Instead of letting these conditions turn consumer conversations into brash, unwanted, one-way pitches, we need to really stop and listen to our consumers today. Is the message or program that we're offering respectful and of value? Are we adjusting our actions and messages to tap into core human needs? Are we appealing to consumers' desires to do good, win, connect with others and express themselves? Or even more simply, would anyone like to see this?

In the end, it's not about the size of our ad budgets or CPM rates. And it's certainly not about repeating last year's mistakes again and again. It's about listening and respecting the changing consumer by participating in their conversation. In doing so, you create a customer for life who will continue to return to your site or buy your product.

By respecting consumers, you are instilling in them a desire to reward marketers and publishers with their loyalty and, ultimately, their dollars.

Written by Peter Daboll is CEO of Bunchball. Posted on behalf of Bunchball.

No comments: