Digital MarketingHow advertising has become more 'complicated' since the '70s

How advertising has become more ‘complicated’ since the ’70s

Nov 25 – Suffice it to say, the only reliable ad blockers you could get in the ’70s were closing your eyes, covering your ears, or changing the channel.

The pre-internet days of sellers trying to get consumers to buy their products were a lot less complicated than they are now, said Rick Hosmer, chief marketing officer of Klündt Hosmer, a Spokane-based advertising and web design agency. Billboards, mailings, and commercials across many television channels only serve as the predominant forms of advertising to the American audience.

Nowadays, Google search ads, personalized website display ads, web video ads, ads via streaming services and sponsored social media posts are among the many forms of digital marketing, said Hosmer, who helped form Klond Hosmer midway. That shaped the advertising industry today. Until the late eighties

“It’s not like the traditional media is gone,” Hosmer said. “We still use all of those, but now we have several platforms available for us to use. So I would say it’s a lot more complicated now than it was back then, but one thing that’s really cool now that we couldn’t do at the time is being able to Track advertising results.

While the goals of advertising have not changed, their methods of getting consumers to buy certain products or services have certainly evolved since the 1970s.

Up front are personalized digital ads based on user data to target people in specific demographics based on a variety of factors, be it their location, gender, or interests.

Mark Forehand, head of marketing at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, said precision-targeted advertising at scale wasn’t possible in the 1970s.

“Instead of the one-size-fits-all that sets up this huge brand image, it becomes a highly targeted message that sometimes relates to the brand, but is often directly related to the behavior they are trying to influence,” Blow said.

Hosmer and Nico Archer, senior vice president at Spokane-based communications agency DH, said advertisers would be wise not to ignore traditional forms of advertising despite the proliferation of digital.

Archer cited how recently targeted mailers have tested favorably across the industry because there is “less noise and less competition” among mailings. This contrasts with the dozens of email ads out there today, which people often ignore thanks to spam or marketing filters.

“Any media can be really effective,” he said. “It’s about how you use it strategically to meet your audience.”

Advertisements that fascinate tobacco products have become leftovers due to tough federal regulations and anti-smoking sentiment. Conversely, pharmaceutical and legal advertising became more prevalent after a series of US Supreme Court cases in the mid-1970s ruled in favor of protecting those subject to the First Amendment, according to the Freedom Forum Institute.

Regardless of the industry, companies face a marketing hurdle that experts say was much easier to articulate in the 1970s: consumer opinion.

Archer said consumers want their brands to be trustworthy — a broad desire that requires ethical business practices, reliable customer service, responsibility for personal data, and inclusivity.

“These are all things that, in the past, I think brands were less interested in because the relationship with the consumer was more of a top-down,” he said. “In today’s world, the consumer has more voice than ever before.”

It is common for companies to try to use this rhetoric to promote their products.

Archer said companies are looking for user-generated content, or UGC, to share across social media for people who enjoy their products. This also happens inorganically, as brands pay influencers, YouTubers, and broadcasters to advertise.

However, Hosmer said the technology has made it so that the advertiser has much less control over the messages around their product, adding that advertisers are held to a greater degree of accountability due to user feedback readily available – and possibly loud -.

“(People) may see an ad that leads them to think of an advertiser’s product, but then it is very easy for them to go directly on their phone to look for reviews,” he said. “Now, they’ll encounter potentially Google results pages where real people – not the company itself – can talk about this product and give it a three, four, and five star rating.”

Advertisers and industry experts are closely watching how platforms, online data privacy, and regulations for the use of personal data evolve in the future.

“A lot of it tends to be how people are willing to let that happen because you can prevent a lot of that, but the younger generations tend to be more open about everything in public,” Forehand said. used with advertising. “My hunch is that as the younger generations get older, you’re going to see more and more of this general reluctance toward tracking and letting people know what you’re up to — as that erodes, the ability to accurately target increases.”

For his part, Hosmer said he believes targeted advertising isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“I might be bombarded with advertisements, but it’s probably things that I’m really happy to see. I learn something, or at least have the opportunity to learn about something I’m interested in rather than things I don’t like I don’t care.”


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