As many of you know, advertising serves as the primary bridge between business and consumers. Advertising, in its purest form, should inform, remind, or persuade consumers to try and use goods and services that are being provided to make life better — to take care of the many different wants and needs those consumers have.
Due to the rise of the Internet and digital media, American consumers are getting a ton of information. A recent report came out saying that Americans feel informed because of all the information, contrary to much belief that "information overload" is tearing apart the social fabric as we know it.
Let's not jump to conclusions.
How many times have you been in a situation where you thought you knew what you were doing and suddenly realized that you didn't? We think that same train of thought is happening here.
Just because there is more information, and one could actually be consuming large amounts of it, doesn't make one more informed. In advertising, for example, we could lay out 10–20 different shoe ads, and very few consumers would be able to tell us the different attributes each company stands for, or the materials the shoes are made of, or even what makes them a "good shoe."
Informed? Not so much.
Our hyperdrive society believes that getting "material" out as fast as possible, as much as possible, is making people informed; that the amount of the content trumps the quality of the context.
That's why many people are so willing to skip ads. Advertising is holding to the "reminding and persuading" part of its original intent, but its informing function has been lackluster to say the least. So when we see the lack of information out there, yet people feel more informed, we are confused by the fact that not many people are pointing out this disconnect.
Now, this pseudo-counsel does not target AdLand as whole. There are some very good brands that have taken to "content marketing" (which again, is good marketing in general) and have been using quality content to draw consumers in.
Other professionals are calling it "inbound marketing," which is what marketing in this society should look like anyway.
If American consumers feel informed, well, that's great. Let's actually inform them.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.