Saturday, April 25, 2009

45,000 TV Spots Per Person

That’s the annual average number of 30 second-equivalent ads the average adult is exposed to after 5.5 hours a day on average of TV viewing time. (This time Nielson funded researchers to follow viewers around to be sure rather than relying on self-reporting.)

And that doesn’t count exposure to ads during 100 or so minutes of daily listening to the radio or nearly an hour of reading newspapers or two hours a day on the internet, or an hour of email, all of which can include ads. It also doesn’t include nearly a half hour a day of reading magazines, or what you see in retail stores and malls, on the sides of buses and trucks, or in movie theaters prior to watching feature films.

People unfamiliar with marketing are easy to spot. They inevitably push for TV ad campaigns without having a clue about the dilemmas inherent for deploying this one component of marketing increasingly termed “paid media” (advertising) versus “earned media” (PR.). People are increasingly bombarded and overladened with marketing messages. And targeting smaller market segments can be even more complex.

Marketing is all about measurable results. TV as a medium is complex even for huge advertisers who can buy thousands of spots, pounded repeated over long stretches of time. Because even then, if the ad really works too well, it often overshadows the product, like my current favorite to the left.

Finding the right blend of marketing is difficult, especially when budgets are small and targets are narrow, but dispersed. Each element has to be carefully calibrated to specific objectives, to targeted audiences and very measurable results. There are times when advertising has its place in that blend.

If you hear someone oversimplify a problem with “let's just run some AAAYYYAAADDES! Chances are they 1) don’t have a clue about how marketing works and 2) don’t have to be accountable for the results.

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