As I enthusiastically pitched the latest, coolest, online marketing product, my client cut me short: "I sell a dull product. Nobody will click on a banner to read more about it. People buy it because they need it, and when they don’t need it they don’t want to know anything more about it."
The core benefit on online media is engagement. But what happens when your client is selling a dull product and true engagement is unlikely?
For many, there is another category of dull products getting a lot of attention these days—presidential candidates. With many contests extremely close, it is often not the engaged, well informed voter who decides elections but rather the undecided, unengaged swing voter who might see all candidates as very dull.
That is why we see a curious pattern of media spending. While all candidates are using the Internet to raise money and engage their base of voters, the vast bulk of the outgoing media spend is on television because it is a "push" media.
According to eMarketer on those undecided voters:
"Generally speaking these are the typical targets who are difficult to reach using the Internet. That’s why in this political season, 50-80% of ad budgets are going into television, whereas only 1-2% of political ad budgets are spent online. It’s not to say the candidates are not using the Internet to their huge advantage, Barack Obama’s amazing online funding machine has proved to be the key advantage to his success. But when it comes to reaching out towards the uninterested, the uninvolved, and the even bored participants, very often traditional media there’s a big advantage over the newer online ones.”
If your advertiser’s product is very dull, put the "engagement" talk on the back burner and talk about the virtues of “push” media. Push media succeeds in these situations because viewing the ads is not voluntary. When you are selling very dull products forget about "permission marketing" you need to recommend "push." Now share the story, stated above, about the presidential race. Now sell the push media you have, Print media, television, and radio are "push media." For online media sell e-blasts, which “push” a message to a target audience’s inbox.
Estimates as to how much has been spent so far this year online on political campaigns (not much):