Advertisers Today Face Tough Choices, but Options for Targeting Consumers Abound

    Advertisers are faced with daunting new realities when considering the various media they might use to get their messages across. Traditional media are losing control over their audiences. That means that advertisers can no longer feel secure that their ads on TV, on the radio or in print are going to receive mindshare. Gone are the days when television and radio programmers enjoyed captive audiences over a handful of networks, people who happily sat through ad after ad, or planned their schedules around favorite shows. Consumers, especially consumers in younger demographics, now demand more and more control over what they watch, read and listen to, and thus more control over the advertising they might be exposed to.

Issues and Options Related to Control and Pricing of Entertainment Content:

•  Free, advertising-supported content versus content accessed only by paying subscribers

•  “Sponsored” content paid for by one company, as opposed to traditional content supported by a variety of advertisers

•  Illegal downloads of content versus authorized downloads that were purchased or subscribed to by the consumer

•  Paid, one-time downloads of content for permanent use, versus one-time pay-per-view, versus continuing subscription required to view

•  Portability (including the ability for a consumer to download once, and then use a file on multiple platforms and devices such as iPods)

•  Delayed viewing or listening (such as Video-on-Demand, or viewing TV programming at the consumer’s convenience via recording devices such as TiVo)

Source: Plunkett Research, Ltd.


    Nonetheless, for advertisers willing to adapt to today’s rapidly evolving environment, there is good news. Effective advertising today targets consumers based on things they are passionate about, rather than merely their tendency to watch network TV on Friday night, or their age or household income bracket. That is, the increasing range of niche media now available enables carefully crafted messages to be designed for, and delivered to, specific consumer “passionate interest groups.”

    For example, consumers who read Bon Appétit magazine (gourmet food and lifestyle coverage), watch the Food Network on cable TV and hold Platinum American Express cards are likely to respond to messages that are centered on dining and entertaining well. Obviously, a niche campaign could be created around direct mail or email to these upscale credit card holders, reinforced by print ads in the magazine (plus digital ads on the magazine’s web site) and cable TV ads on the Food Network. This is a target marketer’s dream come true. The product might be fine wines or Viking ranges, but it could just as easily be ads featuring Lexus luxury automobiles shown being used to bring home gourmet food ingredients, drive to a gourmet restaurant or arrive at the Aspen Food & Wine Festival. The campaign might be topped off with special ads on social media, or an online contest on the Epicurious gourmet foods web site (, and links to special offers, contests, how-to-cook streaming video demonstrations or useful news on the advertiser’s own web site.

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