When forming advertising strategy, regardless of the good, service, or idea, the center subject of the campaign must be the consumer. If we do not take into account their wants and needs, then the ad is bound to fail.
That much is clear.
In what way should the consumer take center stage? In several circles — including ours, to a point — the WIIFM (What's in it for me?) reigns top of mind. It is true; consumers are a selfish bunch and will only approach a brand if there is something that benefits them.
But there's more to that. Why does the consumer look to engage with brands? If the public is so done with the amount of advertising and the money-first culture of Corporate America, surely consumers can find other ways to gather information and satisfy their needs themselves. We would like to wager that consumers still want to feel needed and special. Of course they are interested in what brands are offering, especially if the brand tells them that the product was created because that consumer needed it. The company doesn't want just any consumer, no; they want you as a consumer.
Mass-personalization (or customization) can be a difficult task, but it is not impossible. Devising ad campaigns that celebrate the personalities of the consumers that your brand wants can be powerful. You'll get what Ken Blanchard calls "raving fans" because you are tackling exactly what the consumer is looking for.
Isn't that the goal? AdLand supports businesses that create great products through letting people know they're out there. The least we can do is make the consumer feel a little special too.
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.
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