Trylon Communications  - May 2004

Escape from Advertising

Consumers are tired of advertising. OK, maybe that’s not news to you. But their new ability to avoid your advertising through technology should be of concern. A recent survey from Yankelovich Partners finds that an overwhelming majority of consumers (69 percent) would buy technology that enables them to avoid advertising. How can a marketer break through the ad barrage and create consumer relationships in a world increasingly annoyed at advertising?

An obvious strategy is to increase emphasis on PR. While advantages such as third-party credibility are obvious, other benefits are now coming into play. According to the Yankelovich survey, consumers are increasingly concerned about new ad methods such as product placements and sponsorships.

Building brand awareness and reinforcing your message through traditional and alternative media outlets allows your company to obtain the kind of results that advertising can no longer buy. When consumers become more concerned about intrusiveness in advertising, resistance to overt messaging grows. At the same time, consumers are obtaining more information than ever from what they consider “credible” sources – Web sites, blogs, and other news outlets.

According to J. Walker Smith, president of Yankelovich Partners, companies gain a competitive advantage when they can get their messages to the public without beating them over the head with their advertising. He cites four factors to increase a brand’s chances of creating a good relationship with customers:

  • Precision: talk to the right people. How better to reach the right people than by showing up in their “trusted sources” media?

  • Relevance: make sure your message resonates. Isn’t this the key to successful PR?

  • Power: put consumers in control. When consumers “choose” to read about your company in their chosen media, they exhibit the ultimate in control.

  • Reciprocity: deliver value in all interactions. Value in PR means having a valid message – and unless your message has value, it won’t get picked up in the first place.

In a world growing increasingly cynical and proactive about advertising, the opportunities associated with alternative messaging vehicles like PR look more and more attractive.