Seven Advertising Insights for the New Year

A Holiday Newsletter for Your Clients

By Published on .

Dana Severson
Dana Severson
So 2010 is rearing it's head and that can only mean one thing. OK, it can mean a whole lot of things, but for some, it means that it's time to reflect on the lessons learned from 2009 and begin looking ahead to what's in store for 2000 & 10. (Like that? Just trying out something new, feel free to steal it.) Full disclosure: I'm not a planner, I'm more of a dreamer, so this has always been an excruciatingly painful process for me. Rather than fight the boredom of this dreadful process, I tend to take different approaches each year to make it more fun. But, this year, I've chosen to skip reflecting on my own lessons learned (yes, you can do it to, just say pass), and focus on sharing some helpful marketing thoughts/insights with clients.

When it's all said and done, it'll be kind of like one of those family holiday letters, only, this one is for advertisers. For full effect, we'll cheese it up with a red and green color scheme and decorative holiday-esque frames around the photos. Awesome.

Before we seal the letters with a kiss, I wanted to share these thoughts with all of you:

1. Social networking is only a good idea if you are going to be social. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a social media "guru" by any stretch of my imagination. However, it's obvious to anyone who has a Facebook account that unless you're having conversations, you're not being social.

2. Just because newspapers are failing doesn't mean that print media is dead. Numerous studies have proven it. That said, forget the research. If you want real proof that print media is still alive, just look at the collection of magazines on coffee tables and in bathrooms at your next get-together. Or, better yet, consider your own relationship with your favorite magazine. Magazines are shuttering because advertisers are spending less. It's not, I repeat, NOT because readers stopped reading them.

3. For the reasons I just mentioned, do not eliminate print from your advertising plans. I'm generalizing here, but for the most part, rates are cheaper and there's less competition for the reader's attention between the covers. In other words, your ROI is going to be much greater.

4. The over-analysis of online advertising is detrimental to the concept of branding. Keep in mind, the measurement of success from your online advertising efforts doesn't always have to come in the form of clicks. Don't worry Mr. Client, it's not your fault, you've been misled. Ad networks have trained you to believe that the only value in online advertising is conversions. This is not true.

5. With that in mind, banner advertising is becoming increasing less effective (both in terms of brand exposure and conversions). Focus on online campaigns that engage, entertain and inform. In other words, branded content is an idea you should be exploring. And, by branded content, I don't mean sponsored blog posts. Those are nothing more than a banner ad made of words. Rather, think of engaging/entertaining the reader first, advertising second.

6. For once, green-light the third concept. You know, the one that's outside your comfort zone. This is the campaign that will more than likely drive the greatest results. Why? Because we know what we are doing and we just want you to trust our judgment on this -- just once. You won't be sorry.

7. And lastly, for god's sake, NO MORE BUDGET CUTS. OK, that was just some wishful thinking, but please do consider it.

If you have any insights of your own that you'd like to share, by all means do so. Maybe they'll make the letter.

Born with a large forehead and natural ability to develop outrageously absurd ideas, Dana Severson was immediately drawn to the advertising industry at a very early age. Growing up, he'd often get caught sipping a three-finger apple juice (disguised as cognac), smoking candy cigarettes, dressed like his favorite superhero, David Ogilvy. Fast forward a few decades, and we find Dana getting paid to develop outrageously absurd ideas at his advertising firm, Idea Heroes and downing three-shot espressos. Dana is an active blogger and is known to post random advertising concepts on Twitter. He is available for sideshow demonstrations and Bill Bernbach impersonations.
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