The 31st Second

Saturday, Nov 29 2008

So you’ve developed a great TV spot for your brand. It’s entertaining, attention-getting, and delivers the message that you want people to remember about your company or product. Or maybe you’ve created a campaign of print ads, beautifully crafted to summarize your primary point of differentiation. But now what? Is that all there is?

There is an old rule of marketing that says people need to be aware before they consider, and consider before they buy. Television and print are great tools for generating awareness. But for many consumers to really consider a product today, they need the richness of information that can’t be delivered in30 seconds or in a few printed lines. Such encounters with a brand are fleeting. To really engage and begin to form a relationship with consumers – to give them the tools that they needs to consider your brand – a greater depth of information and interaction is required.

That’s where interactive media takes over. It’s the 31st second of your TV spot. It’s the following sentence of your print ad. It’s the next point of contact that many prospective buyers will have with your brand. Whether it is on your own web site, or on the broader internet in places like online reviews, content sharing sites, discussion forums or blogs, the web is where many will spend the most amount of time and effort considering if your product is right for them. That means your advertising isn’t the end of your brand’s marketing efforts anymore (if it ever was). There is lot more time that a consumer can spend getting to know your brand, and the place where they will spend that time is online.

But often it seems like marketers and their ad agencies focus the majority of their time and resources on that first 30 seconds or on that first headline, largely neglecting the additional time that consumers will spend seeking further information online. So while that first encounter is important to help generate awareness, what you do with that attention is equally important – if not more so. Because now you have them – they are interested enough to learn more. Relationships aren’t built on first impressions, they only begin there. Your job isn’t done after the spot ends or once they turn the page. Really, it’s just beginning.

So keep developing TV spots and print ads. For generating awareness, they are hard to beat. But as an advertiser, you need to begin to give much more importance – and devote a lot more of your marketing resources – to keeping consumers engaged AFTER you have their attention. If you don’t plan for the time that that consumers will spend trying to get to know you, you’ll lose them to a brand who knows how to build a relationship after the first impression.

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