18 Apr Getting Wasted
Most people loathe waste.
Especially people in the marketing and media fraternities where the wastage of money is considered a sacrilege. Yet wastage is universally acknowledged as a given. In 1911, John Wannamaker estimated 50% of his advertising budget was wasted, he just didn’t know which 50%. More than 100 years later, in 2013, Sir Martin Sorrell announced that number was now closer to 25%, which is an improvement, yet we still don’t know which 25%.
Based on learnings from neuroscience, we could argue that 100% of advertising is working. It’s just working at different levels. Advertising largely triggers and reinforces brand memories. Even a non-conscious exposure to advertising is doing something to reinforce the brand memory structure. The question is, could that money be better used in other ways to “work” harder?
At Sonder, we’re advocates of Joseph Jaffe and Maarten Albarda’s philosophy. In their book Z.E.R.O, they proposed marketers reduce their paid media 100% and suggest it should be reinvested into the sustainable creation of owned audiences using earned and owned media.
Zero spend on bought media? Seriously? Yes. Sure, the transition of investment to owned and earned isn’t going to happen overnight, neither should it. But it will happen regardless of what any one brand does or doesn’t do in the short term. Why? Because it’s being driven by people, not brands. People are finding new ways to connect (and disconnect) with brands and increasingly it’s not through traditional advertising mediums. So, “it worked last year” and “it’s what we’ve always done” simply won’t cut it.
Marketers have the eternal choice, to be followers or leaders, in this shift. The followers will sacrifice early-mover advantage for wastage. Leaders will benefit by minimising wastage of investment, maximising learnings, improving customer connections and creating better owned media ecosystems.
The question is, which are you?