Web of Influence

It’s summer in SoCal, which means it’s sweeps time if you’re a spider. This translates to knowing that, no matter how careful you are, or what time of day, you’re bound to walk into a web somewhere.

spideryThis lil bugger was in the tree right outside our patio. I’ve seen others who have been a little more advanced in their web placement. The smarter ones are more like today’s super sophisticated, data driven banner ads. They’re building their webs above a light. They know that their target is attracted to the light, hence, putting them in a better position to punch their meal ticket.

The challenge, just like the spider who sets up shop in the place he/she thinks is best, is that no matter how much research or data, the attention of the intended target isn’t always guaranteed of being caught.

Old school advertising had a much easier time. Fewer choices meant a greater chance of hitting the right demographic. It was more like the spider who weaves its web high up in the tree where it has a chance to build a big target that most likely would be ignored, or knocked down by an unsuspecting person like…well….me.

Reaching the target today can be a challenge. Mostly because, as consumers, we have way too many choices. (Not to mention a shorter attention span. What is the latest data? If you don’t capture someone’s attention on a Web page within 15 seconds, click…they’re gone.)

We also don’t always follow the expected path. Look at Facebook. Created for college students by a college student. Because of that, makes sense to link advertising targeting the 18-24 year olds. Wrong! The largest demographic group setting up personal pages on Facebook is now the over 40 crowd. And especially women.

But it’s not just happening on the Web. it’s happening in stores. Or, in my case, an auto dealership. I went in the other day to look at a particular luxury brand’s offerings. And when I asked my old school car salesman Walter about one of their newer, smaller (and perhaps seen as more youthful and hip) vehicles, he quickly quashed my desire to look at it because I was “much too old” to be considering that vehicle.

Uh, really?

Consumers will continue to behave in ways that aren’t always expected. Which just means that advertisers will have to do like the spiders in our neighborhood. Increase the numbers. Spread out wherever they can. And if they get knocked down, rebuild as quickly as possible. (That scenario alone is what makes the Web so powerful. Immediate results show marketers what’s working, and what isn’t. And making small changes is a lot quicker than editing a print or TV ad.)

Eventually, the marketer will capture the attention of some poor, unsuspecting fly.

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1 Comment

Filed under my life in advertising

One response to “Web of Influence

  1. I love this entry. It’s terrifyingly spot-on – even down to the stupid car salesman telling you you’re “much too old” to look at, much less drive, the car you felt drawn to. FUCK HIM!!! Sadly, it’s morons like him who are in charge of making all the media buys, and hence, keeping us creatives employed. A bunch of schmoozers (haha, i said “moo”) whose only contribution to society is sitting across a restaurant table from clients and choosing between the chicken and the fish – and then turning around and selling themselves as the agency’s consumer insight experts. Bloody fookin’ eejits! (Of course, the ultimate flip-off from the universe is that I now live in a town called Media…)

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