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Reaching Consumers Who Tune Out Ads


Consumers are the all-important arbiters in the marketplace, choosing the messages they want to engage with while ignoring the vast majority of ad clutter, according to integrated marketing experts speaking the AdWatch: Outlook 2002 conference.

The challenge for marketers and agencies is to figure out how to reach the majority of Americans who don't care about a marketer's product or service and don't want to be pitched.

'Too many messages'

"Consumers don't want all these messages. ... There are far too many messages and the challenge is to get relevant," said David Kenny, chairman-CEO of Digitas, whose clients include Delta Airlines, AT&T Corp. and American Express.

Mr. Kenny was part of a panel speaking today at the AdWatch: Outlook 2002 conference, co-sponsored by UBS Warburg, Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR and Advertising Age.

Consumers are tuning out ad clutter, they're tired of pop-up ads. They skip ads using personal video recorders such as TiVo, watch more ad-free premium cable networks and install software to block banner ads and e-mail solicitations.

The key to finding out how to reach consumers is in understanding their behavior, said Alan Schultz, president-CEO, Valassis, a marketing services company.

Consumer choice

Marketers, Mr. Schultz said, need to deliver "messages to consumers in the medium of their choice and a medium that they'll respond to," such as print, direct mail, TV or the Internet through consumer-friendly opt-in opportunities.

"Consumers have to offer their data, it must be permission-based," Mr. Kenny said.

"We use the Web to mine data," said Cheryl Idell, president of Intermedia Advertising Group. Intermedia offers a Web site called RewardTV, which asks viewers questions about their favorite TV shows and hopefully reinforces the connection between the Internet and TV viewing. "The Internet helps continue the TV experience," Ms. Idell said.

Integrated marketing services

Marketers' demand for integrated marketing services is growing. Mr. Kenny said he believes the direct marketing business for the travel, retail and financial services categories will grow two to four times as fast as other segements. Product-based companies, such as consumer package goods and auto marketers, will need to improve how they share data with various sales channels.

Mr. Schultz said his company breaks integrated marketing down into three segments -- mass media, cluster-targeted media by demographic and geographic groups, and one-to-one methods -- and of those, one-to-one marketing via the Internet and other media will grow the most at around 20% this year.

Agencies need to do a better job of providing truly integrated marketing resources. "Media companies and agencies are forcing the customer [the marketer] to connect all the dots and deal with five different sales people," Mr. Schultz said.

 

Tobi Elkin, AdAge.com. June 25, 2002

Copyright © 2002 Crain Communications, Inc.. All rights reserved.