By Bill Napier - Napier Marketing Group, Inc.
This is NOT a political statement or endorsement or anything like that, it’s a plain observation with the facts.
First, we all know the pollsters got it wrong, VERY wrong because they did not go outside of their comfort zone when they interviewed people. AND most polls are conducted via telephone, yep the “land line”. That was their first mistake, how many people today actually have a land line and if they do, do they really use it? Out where I live, in the middle of nowhere in Arcadia Wisconsin, we must have one because there isn’t any cell service. With caller ID, if the caller isn’t recognized, we don’t answer. I bet this includes many of you who have landlines too. So with all those "TELEPHONE POLLS", do you think they really/truly got an accurate assessment?
Secondly, most pollsters and politicians live in a bubble or a comfort zone that is inclusive of only what they know or what they believe, sharing, and getting their knowledge with likewise believers. This is true on both sides of the political spectrum in most cases.
So, what does this have to do with Advertising & Marketing companies, simple, Geographic’s and Demographics.
Like pollsters, or political pundits, most are aggregated in high population areas for obvious reasons; talent pool, office resources, client opportunities and more. So here’s the problem, in my opinion….
They live in this bubble, creating advertising and marketing initiatives that they believe are “mainstream” based on what they “think” they know from research, focus groups, observation techniques and hopefully segmentation marketing; demographics, choices, genders, and personalities, etc. My question is….where does this all take place? My answer, probably in “The Bubble”.
When we watch TV, we DVR everything because we just don’t “get” the advertising and marketing messages. I’d say 85%+ are definitely not targeted to us. My wife and I say constantly… “What were they thinking” when they created that add. Who paid for that and why?
I’m not going to be specific with certain ads or marketing platforms, because I’m sure someone would be offended, which is exactly my point. Everything has become so sanitized and paranoid of offending someone that agencies have lost that “wild west” approach that made so many brands iconic in the 70’s -90’s. Now they think that the whole nation thinks we should accept, believe and endorse political correctness and accept certain terms and non-realities to such a degree that most Americans are now “tuning out” because they don’t accept or believe in the “bubble” messaging or positioning.
Look at the map below. You will see the clusters of blue, that voted primarily Democratic and the Red, Republican. Here are some interesting facts that you may or may not realize that lends credence to my thoughts;
Republicans won 2,600 counties in the U.S. vs Democrats who won only 500 counties. That equates to 83% of the nation’s geography and most influential ad agencies and marketing companies are located in the “blue clusters”.
What I’m trying to say, if I haven’t convinced you yet, is that agencies are probably mostly blind, or ignore the America that is shown on the map. They create ads and messages that skew towards the cities, at the expense of including the rest of America as shown.
Think about it, how many ads on TV actually-truly-realistically represent “the reality” or are they trying to pander to a perceived political position or perceived cultural belief because they only researched what they “knew” vs. what America may believe as shown on the map as to what they voted for?
The great thing about marketing today is the ability to “segment” your message to an audience, but that takes work and money to create multiple messages to multiple/segmented audiences.
It’s just easier to take the “bubble” analysis and create that one message and assume… that message will resonate with everyone…IT DOESN’T and the consequences are hurting brands tremendously by disconnecting the reality from the perception.
Remember the old adage….Does your ad play in Peoria?
Think about it before you spend those ad/marketing dollars. Who is your audience, where do they live, what do THEY believe in, what will engage them, etc? If you don’t, you’ll probably get DVR’D or worse, dismissed.
Personally, I think politics just plain suck on all levels. This is not about politics, it’s about people and how you must re-think your messaging if you want to inspire, engage, and connect with people to “buy your stuff”. Look at the map again….are you targeting them, or you?
Don’t be a pollster…be a marketer. Your clients depend on that and if all those counties in red say “you have a tail”, you should probably take a look.
ABOUT bILL nAPIER
Bill Napier has been in the Marketing Industry for over 35 years and is currently the Managing Partner at Napier Marketing Group, Inc.