The problem with TV advertising

It is too sexy!

When you look at the output on your television they are annoying and intrusive. To a marketing manager, or an executive though, the process of creating the ad is like living a little slice of Hollywood magic. It is sexy, and it is fun, and it can make you feel like a movie executive.

Additionally, if your senior management think marketing and advertising are the same thing (and most of them do), TV advertising seems safe to them as they have experienced it. Their experience is that they notice the ads on TV, and that TV ads can be so appealing that entire shows are dedicated to showing the best ads. The reality is that the attention they receive does not mean that they are effective, but this matters less than you would think. The mental perception that TV advertising works is hard to counter even with logic and data.

The reality for marketing managers is that a marketing campaign can be easier to sell to executives if it includes TV. “If we take this TV package with NBC you will get to appear on the Apprentice and talk to Donald Trump about our company.” is a very compelling pitch to a CEO. Stroking the pride of an executive in this way can also be a very good way to get advancement in a company regardless of any measurable outcome.

All this is why the downturn economy might cause some companies (the less smart ones) to focus more on TV than other advertising mediums. The question for them is not about the dollar cost, but rather the risk in the investment. Rightly or wrongly TV is often seen as low risk advertising spend. It is human nature to be more comfortable with things that are familiar to us, and things that our peers are doing.

Todd’s post earlier today on his discussion with an F500 marketer was brilliant. It was great to see an example of a marketing manager that takes their job seriously and looks for ways to improve the effectiveness of their campaigns. These people are not as rare as my earlier comments might suggest, but it is still good to see them in action. It was also a perfect example of how the podcasting space needs to sell itself to media buyers, clearly and concisely laying out the benefits of the media and then backing it up with hard, defendable data.

If you are a marketing manager that wants to include podcasting in your proposals, what can you do? There is nothing that you can do to replicate the glamour factor of TV, but you can change the executives perception of the risk. As I said earlier, part of the internal risk calculation people make is their familiarity. If you can get your executives actually listening to podcasts they will quickly become comfortable with them and the advertising will be easier to propose.

Here are a selection of podcasts that have great business content that will really appeal to your executives as a starting point. There are so many more as well that I have not had time to listen to myself.

Manager tools – EVERY manager should listen to this podcast [iTunes Subscribe]
The Economist which also has an audio word for word subscription of the magazine [RSS Subscribe]
Slate Big Money A newcomer that shows some promise [iTunes Subscribe]
WSJ Your Money Matters Every exec has a stock portfolio they are worried about [iTunes Subscribe]
TimesOnline Business Ideas Examines how other exec’s have changed markets [iTunes Subscribe]

If they are at all interested in tech make sure they add GNC as well. :)