There is No Such Thing as the Internet
“Wine is still wine from the barrel, to the bottle, to the glass”
Radio does not exist. Television does not exist. Pandora, billboards, podcasts and direct mail? They do not exist.
Entertainment. Communication. Persuasion. Those are the only things that exist. People consume information though a medium called “newspaper” or “Twitter,” but it is merely a vessel. Wine is still wine from the barrel, to the bottle, to the glass (flask, coffee mug, mason jar, etc.).
Modern media and advertising is easily seduced by the “tactics”(which shiny thingy to use). Tactics are meaningless without a strategy. Should I be on Facebook? Do I need to figure out Snapchat? Do I apply 43% of my ad budget to TV? Which radio station has the most listeners? Hello cart… Your horse is 2 miles behind you.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” said Alice.
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
Lewis Carroll – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
For an advertiser, the way they work is only moderately relevant. There are techniques to consider when dealing with graphics, aural communication, or printed word. But, it doesn’t much matter absent a strategy. The strategy is the flag on the mountain. Never take your eye off it. But, until you know where the flag is, choosing between a golf cart, submarine, or rocket is irrelevant.
For both the content provider and the advertiser you only have 3 tools at your disposal, irrespective of the medium:
- Entertainment: Be more interesting than what I am engaged in right now. Sway me away from the myriad of other interesting things I can choose.
- Communication: Tell me something. Make me feel something. Convey an idea that I have never considered before. Speak to me in my language about something that is important and meaningful to me.
- Persuasion Change my mind. Provoke me. Motivate me to take an action. Enchant me. Seduce me. Build an unbreakable bond between us, and I will follow you anywhere.
Howard Gossage, mid-century ad man known as the Socrates of San Francisco, was keen to say “…nobody reads ads. They read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an ad.”
There is no such thing as radio. There are things that interest us, and sometimes it’s on the radio. Blogs do not work because we are craving words coming from a website. They work when they are interesting. Instagram is a horrible platform for advertisers. Unless the image is more interesting than the ones around it. Is Facebook the thing for you? Sure… if you can get my attention(entertain me), communicate an idea, and persuade me to follow you.
None of it matters, unless you have a strategy. “If you don’t know where you are going,” Lewis Carroll said, “any road will get you there.”
Radio stations compete with radio stations, newspapers compete with newspapers, and Pandora competes with Spotify. What they don’t know is that they are all competing for my interest. If ya ain’t interesting… ya ain’t gettin’ the keys to my attention.
Discover what makes you special. Be damn proud of it. Charge forth in the most interesting way you can. I follow what is interesting… sometimes, it’s you.