November 2015

The future of advertising: Reaching consumers where they are


As consumers spend more of their time outside their homes, traditional advertising has had to adapt to reach consumers while they are on the move. A new category of advertising and fast-growing media, out-of-home (OOH), extends beyond the traditional billboard along the freeway and creates consumer engagement.

Looking at the role of OOH in the media mix, it has multiple benefits for a brand. It has the potential to give a brand the stature it would get in a traditional TV advertisement, be as informative as a radio advert and can help to form the brand associations a magazine would.

OOH allows for high frequency of communication with consumers across multiple creative platforms, says Dave McKenzie, managing director at BOO! Media, an alternative media solutions company.

Like a “blank canvas,” OOH creates a communication platform with urban landscapes, whether via bus shelters or coffee cups, McKenzie told finweek.

With OOH advertising bombarding consumers at every turn, such as adverts above a urinal or advertising on a café bill, McKenzie says there’s a fine line between being relevant and annoying. It comes down to being informative and creating a “symbiotic relationship” between a creative message and the platform used.

Advertisers must make the information useful to the consumer, and make sure it is relevant for the platform.

Not all outdoor advertising is clutter. “If I’m going to see 12 billboards for a 2km stretch of road, it sounds like overkill. But on the other hand, if one can manage it and do it properly then maybe it isn’t,” says McKenzie.

“People want to feel like they matter,” says Aviv Weil, Creative Strategist for Facebook sub-Saharan Africa. People often complain that advertising isn’t relevant to them and companies need to respond to this. Speaking at the Africa Digital Excellence Summit, held at the Forum in Bryanston on 15 October, Weil says that although creativity in messages is important, where you place the message is just as important.

Companies need to make their brands mean something to consumers. When it comes to online advertising, it’s not about everyone seeing the advertisement. But rather, the right people seeing the right advertisement, says Weil.

The rise of the internet means marketing has to become more customised and relevant to consumers. Social media creates personalised marketing at scale. Access to personal data means marketers can reach consumers with different, targeted messages. It is important to consider your target market as people, not as buyers. Marketers should design for people.

Digital is not a threat to OOH says McKenzie. “Those two live perfectly with one another. They are very complementary mediums.” The future of OOH is digital. This can be seen with more traditional billboards becoming digital, which is beneficial for cost management.

The next wave of innovation will look at the interactive ability of billboards and LED screens. They will be capable of facial recognition and will be able to determine the gender of the consumer in order to customise advertising. “You will have crowds of people interacting with billboards in a two-way communication,” says McKenzie.

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