Monthly Archives: August 2009

Intelligence in advertising

in 2006, $400 billion was spent on advertising worldwide. Most of this budget went on traditional media like television, radio and print. Companies with billions in advertising budget make sure that their message reaches as big a population as possible. On traditional medium, spending is directly proportional to reach and frequency. It is like using an amplifier and reaching as many people as frequently as possible.

But what if you don’t have (or want to) spend billions in doing this? That’s where intelligence in advertising kicks in. The factors like who, what, when, where and how starts playing a bigger role. Note that it starts playing a bigger role…doesn’t matter how big your marketing budget is, these do come in picture, but when it is small, they sit on the driver’s seat.

When we talk about intelligence in advertising, a couple points are considered most important. First, using proper targeting. You don’t have to reach everyone everywhere. If you are selling office supplies, you don’t have to bother homemakers and retired citizens. When you are selling dorm room goodies you know who your target audience is and return to school is probably the best time to reach them. The idea is to reach the right people at the right time using the right message and the right medium.

Second thing to consider when designing intelligent advertising is new media. If traditional media is all about shouting (one-way), new media is all about talking (two-way). If on traditional media budget is directly proportional to reach and frequency, on new media intelligence is directly proportional to influence and impact. Using new media you can form a bond with your customers. Using social media, you can understand what your customers want. You can make them feel valued, have a healthy dialog and take in their input. The idea is to have a conversation instead of a campaign, because campaigns start and end,but conversations go on forever.

What can’t be outsourced?

Outsourcing the right thing to the right vendor can make you a leaner and better operating business. But an important question to ask here is what can and cannot be outsourced? Call centers, software development, design, testing, advertising…well it depends. Each one of these can be outsourced, but that depends on what you want your brand to be known about.

Whatever you want your brand to be known about cannot be outsourced. If you want to make your brand to be known about customer service, you cannot outsource customer service. If you want your brand to be known about great design, you got to have design in-house. If creative advertisements is what your brand is all about, outsource something else and keep that in-house.

We outsource something for a couple of reasons. First, to save cost. If your brand is known for something, you don’t have to (and you should not try to) aggressively save cost in that domain. There are plenty of opportunities to cut costs or eliminate cost centers which can be better managed by outsourcing. This brings us to the second reason for outsourcing something. It’s to use the expertise of the company to which you are outsourcing the job. Now applying it back to what you are outsourcing, if you want your brand to be known about something, you are better off developing expertise in that domain as compared to outsourcing it. On the other hand, if you have a back office, it is a good idea to outsource it to someone for whom it is the front office and leverage their expertise.