After months of frustration over excessively high cable bills, my roommate and I finally made the big move last week to switch cable providers. I can’t say that this didn’t accompany itself with higher than average stress levels, but our efforts were successful, and we’ve managed to save nearly $30 a month each! While we weren’t quite ready to cut the cord, there’s a strong possibility that we’ll eventually abandon cable altogether.
As my roommate and I familiarized ourselves with the new user interface, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the DVR fast forward feature is far more efficient than the one we had previously. With this new capability at the touch of our fingertips, we don’t have to watch a single commercial if we don’t want to. If it weren’t for my roommate, who works for a large advertising agency on a prominent car account, I might never see a commercial on cable television ever again!
This “opt out” trend for ads doesn’t just extend to cable companies. Music streaming sites, like Spotify, allow you to pay a small fee each month to eliminate advertisements altogether. Even Google has jumped on board; Google Contributor encourages web users to “contribute” a certain amount each month to “enjoy a lighter ad experience.”
While this new age of media is empowering the consumer, traditional advertising must adapt or die. With the ability to ‘opt out’ of commercials and advertising, there’s never been more critical time for companies to viscerally understand their consumers. Brands will need to get creative with their advertising, crafting an authentic experience that aligns with their target market in a way that doesn’t disrupt the entertainment experience.
Here are three strategies a brand can use to survive in today’s advertising landscape:
1. Build In Incentives
Companies can incentivize consumers to expose themselves to advertisements, which gives the consumer a sense of choice and creates a stronger link between the ad and the entertainment experience. Online rewards company Swagbucks has adopted this model with considerable success, and many streaming services now give the consumer the ability to choose their ad experience.
2. Become Essential
Companies will need to learn how to integrate the exposure of new products and services into consumers’ everyday lives and rituals. Perhaps this means increased advertising on the products we use everyday in our home, or maybe this means more strategic product placement into the television shows consumers already watch.
3. Partner for a Cause + Get Social
By pairing a charitable motivation with structured social media involvement, brands can effectively shift audience perception and generate authentic engagement online. One needs only to look at the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to understand how far marketing dollars can go when launching a campaign around Corporate Social Responsibility.
It’s ironic to think that the very entities that once fed the advertising industry are the same platforms now costing it losses, but as consumer habits evolve, so should marketing efforts. The brands that truly understand these new media consumption habits, and the habits of the consumers who buy their products, will enjoy considerable success and brand loyalty. The brands that stick with traditional ads? I don’t know about you, but I’ll be making good use of my new fast forward button.