Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Does the Audience HATE Advertising/Marketing?

We often ask this question in various forms as we do perceptual research and it usually comes up - THEY HATE IT. It's also a big point as we compete with Satellite and Internet stations that have no commercials or very few in the mix. But, marketing and commercials are everywhere. You can't even walk through supermarket and stare at the floor without seeing billboards for all kinds of products. Signage is everywhere, commercials pop up all the time on you computer, they are tucked into movies, and of course they are on our radio stations. Hopefully enough of them to pay the bills and make a decent buck in the end.

I recently ran across a local article on a couple of Notre Dame professors who have been tracking the public's sentiments towards marketing for around 25 years - since the late 80s. They devised a questionnaire and have been polling around 1,500 consumers by mail and tracking their sentiments towards all the marketing. The report is called the Index of Consumer Sentiment of Marketing - ICSM. Professors John Gaski and Michael Etzel have published the survey every year. It's sort of like the University of Michigan's Economic Consumer Index which is watched closely by Wall Street and the Government to track how positive or negative we feel about the economy - only this survey tracks only marketing.

Over the years the survey actually points to a 20% improvement in positive sentiments towards marketing. There have been some ups and downs. In the late 80s as Regan cut taxes the sentiment improved, but fell in the famous Black Friday in 88. Over the 1st Gulf War the sentiments declined a little, but as we got into the dot com boom the feelings towards marketing improved. The fear after 9/11 pulled up the negative side, but as we recovered it's been slowly growing more positive over the last few years. When we feel secure with our wallets marketing takes less of a negative spin.

What really pushes the negative button in their surveys are false claims, too many disclaimers, bad service whey you buy the product, and truly annoying content. While we are receiving more marketing messages from every direction the negatives come more from the content and delivery on the promises made than it does on the frequency.

In the end what really drives negatives in marketing is bad commercials.

You can read more about the ICSM here.

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