Effective Advertising Part 4: Innovative Distribution

Initially, part 4 was going to discuss the innovative tactics and distribution that ultimately lead to an effective marketing campaign. However, given this element’s vital importance, the topic was separated into two distinguished editions of, “Innovative Distribution” & “New Age Strategy & Tactics.”

As the above explains, before the specific methods of creative strategy & tactics are elaborated, it’s important for any potential advertiser to understand how these methods came to be efficiently ideal. Part 4 of this series will briefly explain where the transition officially set sail, and how it continues to pick up speed in open water.

When it comes to marketing, success is no different than that of finding success for any basic business. Discretion is mentioned and emphasized numerous times throughout this series, but another element that is likely just as, if not more vital is innovation.

Marketing and advertising tactics are constantly transitioning along with the world we live in just like any other industry. In fact, since the digital era has taken off, marketing has probably seen the most innovation of any industry.

You can’t apply marketing tactics that were optimal ten years ago to a marketing campaign in 2019, it just won’t see a ideal results. Nostalgia is a great marketing tool, but not when it comes to innovating, transitioning, and distributing messages within the marketing world of 2019.

This edition could honestly be a 15 page report, but considering everyone reading this has lives, and would like a more generic summary of what exactly does it mean to innovate and play to new age marketing tactics, that’s what this post will aim to clarify.

The emphasized importance of subtlety doesn’t evaporate in this scenario, but because our media is no longer distributed by a handful of methods (traditional TV, newspapers, magazines, etc.), advertisers have transitioned so effectively into the digital age that it’s almost like their presence was evident since day one.

The Initial Shift

We’ll start with basic advertising distribution. Essentially, these methods are the straight forward ads you might see on while watching a video online, or perhaps in a sidebar as you read an article. These tactics have ultimately replaced standard television & print advertising.

“So you’re saying people no longer watch television?”

No hypothetical reader, that’s not what I’m saying at all. People watch just as much television as ever before, people no longer watch live television.

This all started around a decade ago when the DVR was first introduced. People would record their favorite programs, and have the ability to watch at their leisure, and most importantly fast forward through commercials.

It was at this time, networks would adjust Nielsen ratings by the DVR viewership so advertisers could get a better feel for what kind of audience is really tuning into a program.

“But wait, how can advertisers reach an audience if they’re intent is to fast forward through commercials?”

Ahhh, you’re right. One could say the DVR was the beginning of a downward spiral of traditional cable & network advertising. Advertisers realized this, and no longer cared about the DVR numbers networks reported, as they understood the audience was going to fast forward through the commercials anyway.

Remember how I pointed out the most difficult challenge of advertising in part 1 of this series? Stating the vital importance of trying to relay a message with a format that hides it’s purpose; an ad.

A decade ago people read traditional newspapers and subscribed to print magazines. At around the same time, a little resource known as the internet emerged as a rapidly growing portal of online news, information, and more.

“So people don’t read newspapers or magazines anymore?”

No, of course they do! They no longer deal with the hassle of a print newspapers or magazines because they can not only get all of this information online, but they can also find it from various sources rather than the one or two subscribed newspaper or magazine that was delivered by your neighborhood paperboy or mailman.

Adjusting Accordingly

I think many of you see where this headed. While traditional TV and print media has fallen, streaming, digital news, and global access to the internet has swiftly taken it’s place.

With it, a sharp marketing transition that is now seen as the only optimal method of advertising. Netflix became the key streaming experiment that forced all others to follow. Traditional cable providers have tumbled since networks such as ABC, CBS, ESPN, HBO, etc. now have established their own streaming apps to provide viewers access to their content.

Newspapers have reluctantly shifted focus to online subscriptions and digital based content to appease their audiences.

Social media has provided advertisers an entire new playing field that not only allows easy ad curation, but analytics programs provided to target key audiences, and follow the efficiency of a given ad.

YouTube does not only provide an outlet for creators to post content, but they’ve developed an entire new media giant that entails monetization, branding, advertising, and channel setup & monitoring.

Hulu, at one time a free service that offered a vast majority of television reruns, now offers original shows, and tier levels to accommodate advertisers.

Amazon, at one time an online shopping resource, now offers a prime service that includes it’s own streaming service. With it, a wide variety of movies, shows, and original content.

The list can go on, as Disney, Apple, ESPN, and many more have all made initial footprints to establish themselves in the rapidly growing digital age.

Digital Streaming

The new form of television, otherwise known as digital streaming. While social media outlets such as YouTube & Facebook can be included in this category, I’m going to identify outlets as such under social media tactics.

Advertisers now rely heavily on the digital streaming world to reach their audiences. Ironically, the most successful streaming giant, Netflix does not have advertisements on it’s platform, so Netflix isn’t accounted for when discussing digital streaming tactics as such.

It’s pretty simple really, digital streaming is the new television, so how do advertisers reach an audience effectively? The same way they would reach an audience over a decade ago on traditional cable, create a commercial.

This transition is likely the most straight forward transition marketing has seen, as it simply replaces an already effective method identically. I’m going to use Hulu as the focal example, as they had a larger impact on the digital streaming transition than many people realize.

A simple example would be utilizing streaming services such as hulu. Hulu initially provided a free service that allowed audiences to stream content (mostly reruns). How did Hulu provide such a useful & popular service for free?

While Hulu itself was once a free service, that doesn’t mean it was free of ads. Hulu made it’s mission to become as popular and reputable as possible by offering a free service. People flocked to that service because of the value they received, meanwhile, advertisers were paying Hulu for a 30 second slot before various pieces of content were streamed.

Bare in mind, Hulu was still providing a service people craved, on-demand content.

Remember, the DVR was a big reason traditional television was no longer of vital importance to advertisers, as audiences would simply fast forward through them. What Hulu did not only revolutionized how ads were presented, but they’re the ones who pioneered the advertising digital streaming shift.

If audiences were given an option to fast forward or skip advertisements, they would, so Hulu presented viewers with a format that disallowed any form of fast forwarding or skipping through ads, but coincidingly still offered the on-demand content free of charge, so the general population didn’t mind watching an ad or two (eventually that number gradually increased).

Advertisers instantly realized that formats such as these catered to their needs far better than live television. It wasn’t soon after that networks would allow viewers to watch it’s content on their very own streaming service, but with this exact format intact.

It became clear what was more valuable in marketing terms, utilize a service that forces the audience to watch an ad (commercial) rather than choose a live television program that offered no such assurance.

Hulu later enforced an even friendlier marketing outlet by not only making the service a premium service, but offering tier levels that allowed them to persistently run with an engorged format.

These tiers were not based off of content (which is how many services conducted business), but off the premise of how many ads a viewer would be forced to watch… As one who appreciates clever marketing, I simply say… Genius.

What Does It All Mean?

In laments terms, it means advertisers have found even more effective ways to market and get a specific message to it’s audience. Part 5 of this series will examine a variety of methods, tactics, and strategies currently utilized, with most of these tactics coinciding with the first and biggest challenge of any marketing campaign, create something that is already seen as a nuisance or bothersome, an effective advertisement.

Part 5 will go in-depth, as well as clarify some of the most current & focused methods in marketing today:

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