Is television advertising dying?

One blogger that I read frequently, Rich Meyer, raised an interesting point in his most recent post about DTC marketers needing to cut spending on television advertising. That post raises an interesting implication: is television advertising dying?

Television is a one-way medium. It throws your message out in front of many people at once in the hopes that enough will see it and be convinced to buy your product. The more people who can see it (ie, the higher the TV ratings), the more expensive it is to advertise.

But people are increasingly learning about products from other customers, specifically nowadays through online media that allows customers to express their own thoughts and provide feedback. Customers are no longer dependent on what the company says in advertising and what the news media reports. And as Meyer notes, new technologies such as DVRs. mobile devices, and the posting of TV shows online (via services like Hulu) are further reducing the number of people who see television ads. Therefore, marketers have less incentive to devote their advertising budget to TV advertising.

But is TV advertising really dying? I’m not convinced. There will always be very highly-watched TV broadcasts (such as the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards) where advertising can produce customers, even if they’re being driven to your business more by the creativeness or absurdity of your ad than by the product those ads are trying to sell. And when your product’s target audience is lower on the social technographics ladder, you’ll still need to use television. An example of the latter is elections; most voters tend to be older and get their information about candidates from TV, so advertising aggressively on TV is a must.

But Meyer is right that TV advertising should probably be a smaller part of your marketing budget. You need to determine just how much smaller based on who you’re serving. One set of marketing strategies certainly does not fit all.

2 Responses to Is television advertising dying?

  1. It is definitely changing, but not dying. Companies and agencies will have to modify placement, although maybe not the message. We’re a Kansas City website design company, and we’ve been advising clients to get involved in social media for a couple of years. The key word is “involved.” TV doesn’t offer that, but it is still extremely useful to companies wanting to reach a mass audience.

  2. Krista says:

    Great point, Josh. Not to belabor on more death this week, but perhaps advertising is going the way of other forms of media these days– it’s evolving as consumers change the way they prefer to receive information. One-way communications are less prevalent as consumers find opportunities for dialogue via social media and other online outlets with brands. The demand for traditional Madison Ave advertising (no offense Don Draper!) is changing much like the demand for traditional news, but I doubt it will altogether disappear.

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