As 2009 draws to a close perhaps we can start looking for some solace in 2010 in a hope that our economic downturns in the UK & US will start lifting and maybe give a lift to our pre-media industry that was hit hard by the downturn. Technology has always been a key driver in our market and it’s being driven further with consumer data mining speeding up the fast lane to support our desire to target individuals with marketing information. Some companies like the Car Phone Warehouse have used their customers’ data very well in producing tailor made, specifically targeted campaigns that are focussed around their knowledge of customers’ preferences. But what about the everyday online profiles that we generate; what about the subscriptions we pay to newspapers and magazines that collect all of that demographic information….
Yes it’s great that Joe Bloggs publishing can tell their readers and the publishing industry that 53% are male readers between the ages of 18 and 25 who earn on average £23,568 a year, yet they still send the same magazine to all of their readers! Why do that when they actually hold so much information about their subscribed users? OK, I can suffer the fact that a generic magazine needs to hit the news-stand as they will have no idea who is going to buy it, but their subscriber base could certainly be benefiting from a more focused magazine.
Are you getting my drift here? The consumer will benefit as the advertising content would be tailored to their demographic profile, the advertisers will benefit as they have a target audience for their products that actually matches who they want to sell to and the consumer reads adverts that will actually engage them rather than skip to the next article. Also media booking could be streamlined to remove the huge amount of human work and administration that goes into it. Lets take an example; for some reason we subscribe to Ideal Home, I actually love looking and reading all of the editorial about what’s available and how these average people have transformed their homes. But the advertising content is way off the mark – our family income is pretty average (well, I think it’s pretty average as we don’t live a lavish life and have very little disposable income, I know our Chancellor thinks 20k is enough for a family to live on but we who live in the real world know it isn’t) and the magazine is targeted at us average people. Yet the advertising is targeted at people who have bucket loads of cash, you know the people that can afford handmade kitchens rather than a Wickes flat pack! Yet the magazine know our demographic profile and it’s not like the technology is not available to produce these with our profiles in mind.
Now thinking about what’s happening online – again demographics seem to have been left out of the advertising equation. I login to my Yahoo or Google account and I get content-aware advertising, not consumer aware advertising. If I go to a site that is plastered with advertising (and sorry, if it’s a professional site that has had adverts added for them to gain some extra revenue then I feel it cheapens what they have on offer) the advertising is targeted on the content and not the vistors demographics…..and that’s without going into the magazines and newspapers that are now delivering digital editions.
If I took this one step further and looked at broadcast, the like of Sky & Virgin in the UK and the cable networks in the US hold so much demographic data about their viewers they could cash in with the advertising community by broadcasting adverts specific to demographic bands. They say that the adverts during the superbowl are the most expensive in the world! Now imagine the revenue the advertising companies could gain if they had adverts had a better demographic hit rate! Just think the first commercial of the first quarter this year was for Bud Light, that was aired to 114,500,000 households in the US, what percentage of those households was it actually relevant to based on their demographic profile? It could just be that a different Bud Light advert could be used for different demographics to help get the brand across, or a completely different advert say for Pepsi could be used that would more relevant to a percentage of households. Either way, again the technology is there to do this, so when will broadcasters start getting clever and cashing in?
Missed opportunities or is it what we have to look forward to?
My prediction is that in 2010 will see the start of the advertising market becoming demographically aware as they start to try and find out why their huge advertising budgets don’t bring in the sales in the volumes they used to.
Author: Gary George
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