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(Native) Advertising Vs. Customer Service

(Native) Advertising Vs. Customer Service

Today, marketers are increasingly coming to the realization that grabbing consumers’ attention is getting harder across nearly all types of media. Print media is a dying breed, and people are avoiding print ads, they are also actively skipping through TV ads and in some case cutting the cord. Getting customers’ attention online – which was the “in” thing this past decade – is getting tougher, too. Some of the contributing factors include: the rising use of ad blockers by the customers; and these marketers getting burned on many of the scams employed by the unscrupulous websites to inflate their online traffic numbers to attract their ad dollars.

To counter the above trend, marketers feel they have the perfect solution – repackage their advertisements as useful content so that their target consumers won’t skip their messages. As a result, companies are rewriting their marketing playbooks – shifting their time and treasure from Display Advertising (creating commercials and media buys) to Native Advertising (content producers).

What is Native Advertising? “It is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.” While some marketers are blurring the line between advertising and content in the hopes of passing through the filter of what consumers actually see and read. Others are diving deeper into data and location targeting on the theory that consumes will embrace ads that they find relevant.

Marketers swear by it. “Native ads have 50% higher click-through rates than any of our [display] banner inventory,” says Sean Blankenship, chief marketing officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estates LLC, which is shifting its ad dollars from display/banner advertising to Native advertising.

The largest social platforms in the world monetize with native, in-feed ads, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. The publishing industry is quickly following suit, as companies such as Time Inc, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today, continue to introduce new advertising integrations on desktop and mobile that match both the form & function of their editorial feeds.

I talk about customer service in my posts. So, yeah, sorry to burst the bubble on Native Advertising but, let’s call them what they really are – deception. Any company that must resort to deception to sell their goods doesn’t have a product worth buying.

My problem with advertising is at a macro level. Let me give you some examples, just because I’m on a car site doesn’t mean I’m about to buy a car. So why do I have to be subjected to car ads? Because that’s what the site publisher sold the advertiser – nobody asked me. Similarly, just because I updated my status to “not single” on my Facebook page, I should not be subjected to endless “sponsored stories” or “The 10 best...” nonsense content related to weddings.

When the marketer above claims that “they have experienced 50% higher click-through rate,” does his research just measures the views, or does it also capture the measure of how pissed the consumers were when they realize they're watching a commercial? My bigger question is why can't brands simply create content people find informative to watch or read, without deception?

The thing is, websites can try to stay a step ahead of the consumers by coming up with clever gimmicks such as Native Advertising and the like but, sooner or later their jig will be up when the customers recoil and move in search of greener pastures after being subjected to a constant barrage of “Sponsored Content”.

Marketers, today, are increasingly taking liberties with material that is clearly advertising and passing it off as informative content; nothing is black and white anymore. Ads have gotten so out of control it is unbelievable. They literally invade every aspect of our lives and they do so more and more obnoxiously. So, the customers have just ignored them and altered their routines to remove these ads from their lives. Call it poetic justice that customers, who feel disrespected for so long, ultimately turn apathetic to these marketers’ solicitations.

Truth be told, when money is no object, as is the case with Fortune-500 companies, advertising is a great medium to get the word out on a new product or to reinforce their message on an existing product. But for small businesses – which operate on a shoe string budget and are always in a cash crunch, advertising is a luxury that does not deliver the promised results.  

I have mentioned this fact in my posts over and over: it costs a business five times more to attract a new customer than to hold on to their existing customer. Yet, time and again, businesses treat their customers poorly and compound their problems by wasting large sums of money on advertising. Businesses, pause for a second, and Imagine, the customer loyalty you can build simply by deploying your advertising dollars toward your customers in the form of lower prices or a loyalty program?  

To conclude, for a business, good customer service is a low hanging fruit - provide exceptional customer service, and your customers will not only become your unpaid spokespersons and spread the word about you, they will also become the agents of delivering exceptional financial windfall and unlimited goodwill.  

Image Source: exactdrive.com; cbsnews.com; wordwriterpr.com; fangdigital.com



Last Updated: 2017-10-26 19:14:42

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