Do we have too much time on our hands?
There has been a monumental increase in the number of advertising and
marketing impressions tossed into the marketplace.
A dramatic change. And charge. Upward.
Let's look at the last dozen or so years;
... the Internet / World Wide Web has become a part of life
... E-mail marketing began in earnest (if it replaces the fax as a
marketing tool, it will do so in spades)
... cell phones became common place, expanding telecommunications in
... hand-held just about everything is now a fact
... "automatic" everything entered from all angles
... production techniques grew to where one of something, or millions
of the same, can be generated, at a profit
... there are more magazines each year than the year before
... television is now 24/7/365, with literally hundreds of channels
... radio is AM/FM and now on the web, more stations than ever before,
... signage is coming at us from inside/outside/every side, and
... computers have not eliminated paper - they've caused us to create
When technology expands, so do the messages it sends to the marketplace.
Although you may disagree with these numbers, you'll most likely agree
with the direction;
- the average American sees/hears 3000+ advertising, PR, marketing,
merchandising, sales promotion & direct marketing messages every
day - a combined number from all media (meaning TV, radio, newspapers,
magazines, direct mail, newsletters, telephone, E-Mail, WWW, outdoor,
take-ones, displays & on and on and on)
- specifically, the average American mail box gets about 150 pieces
of direct mail each month, plus regular first class mail
- every business day 20 million outbound telemarketing "sales
& service" calls are made, plus personal calls
- using all media, 270 billion store coupons are delivered every year
to consumer households across America - 3% get redeemed
- those surfing the Internet are exposed to 950 banner or other "pure"
advertising messages every day
- and, the "free world" pays for all of this ... it costs
more than $220 billion per year to get these contacts to you, into your
store, your exhibit, your office, your marketplace ... into your hands
and eyes, and mine.
Some call this overload. Too much aimed at too few too often. I disagree.
In fact, I'm not at all certain we don't have too much time on our hands.
What in the world do I mean?
It's simple. The American way of life was attacked in September 2001.
This isn't the first time that has happened. WWII was about freedom of
choice. With "good guys" and "bad guys" on both sides.
What is clear about that "last great war" is that one side definitely
had it better than the other. And the other guys did not like that.
What happened in September was the same. And very, very different. It
wasn't good guys against bad guys. No, specific people were not the target.
Instead, the target was a way of life. A way of doing business. A way
of living. The attack was a bit of philosophy.
What is clear in this writers mind is the other guys are jealous of what
we've got. And since they can't have it, don't have any idea how to get
it, they attack it. As bad. And true or false, right or wrong, in the
name of a cause or religion or philosophy.
Never have I understood the phrase "Holy War". Seems to be
an oxymoron. Whether it was the Crusades of the 12th Century, a time 2000
years ago, or something in the last 100 years. In fact, war does not make
sense - and never did.
Okay, all this aside. Where am I going with the title of this article,
it's part with marketing and sales, and the selection of media? Well,
it is my belief we have no more to do than our fathers, grandmothers or
ancestors from centuries back. Oh, it is different - not more.
My great grandmothers washed their clothes by hand. Frequently in a stream
close to their home. It was a time project. My mother washed the family
clothes in an "upright" machine with a "ringer". Not
much different, except the water came into the house. Today I wash clothes
in a box that does everything while I'm doing something else. So I have
more time to do more things. Like you, I make use of that time.
There are scores of similar examples. Transportation provides many. So
does communication. Sometimes we call more "an opportunity".
The cliche is we are living in a time scarce world. Wrong. Flat out not
true. There is just as much time for you and me as there was for those
building the pyramids in Egypt. Ditto the construction works on the Panama
Canal just a century ago.
No, I am not trying to be cute. What I'm "defending" is marketing
and advertising. Which have brought us a way of life not before equaled.
Anywhere at anytime by any body of people. No matter their location in
this world, their race, their religion. We Americans have it better than
any other peoples on planet earth. And one of the key reasons is we have
My comfort level in sharing these thoughts is based on visiting a few
spots on the globe. 164 countries since 1972. Every year someplace - sometimes
25 some places within 12 months. What I've learned is we do not have a
lock on good ideas or brains. Nor thinking or ideas. Creativity is available
everywhere. And hard work is a staple in more places than any one person
can count. What we do have that no one else has is choice. Brought to
us by marketing and advertising.
Everyone knows Coca Cola is the world's most recognized icon. It is true
the Coke logo has been seen by more people than the symbol of any single
religion. Based on this fact is my simple Coca Cola Principle;
Repetition Builds Your Reputation.
If there is anyone who has filled our world with their message it is
Coke. And the other top 100 / 500 / 1000 / 5000 business and consumer
advertisers / marketers worldwide. Bless them. Bless them all. Without
their efforts to bring their message to everyone everywhere, we in America
would not be worth attacking.
A recent article in a key marketing magazine made this statement;
Time's Scarcity = Attention's Value; therefore, no one
pays attention to marketing and advertising anymore.
Nonsense. Reminds me of a quote from the baseball philosopher, Yogi Berra.
He was asked about a famous New York night spot. Yogi said; "No one
goes there any more - it's always so crowded". Want to run that one
by me again?
So, with all the time available to us, with all the conveniences, all
the devices offering us more choice, better ways to do things, new ways
(not always better) to do what we're already doing, with all the opportunities
we have - America would not be America without marketing and advertising
and sales to give us the story. Let's give a cheer for choice.