The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) has released the latest episode of Marketing Dividends featuring Dr Byron Sharp, director of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute at the University of South Australia Business School.
In the episode, Sharp discusses the science behind how brands grow and asserts that we are seeing the beginnings of a re-evaluation of the role and effectiveness of digital advertising.
“The lure of precision targeting has been massively over-sold. Marketing science clearly states we need to reach all categories of buyers – the value of targeting smaller segments is actually far less effective,” he said.
“The reality is that the biggest brands in the world were built through reaching out to broader markets.”
Sharp believes the move by global and local brands to withdraw from channels like YouTube are driven more by value for money concerns than brand safety.
“We are seeing exciting developments in digital – YouTube is basically the first global TV station and Facebook’s influence is huge,” he said.
“The problem is… we’ve seen marketers throwing huge amounts of money at something that they don’t fully comprehend. The current YouTube scandal we have at the moment has given these marketers permission to pull back and say ‘Maybe they don’t know what they are buying here. Maybe we’re spending billions of dollars of shareholder money. Maybe we should be more circumspect’.”
Sharp also criticises the practice of digital players evaluating their own effectiveness.
“There is a complaint in the industry that some of the big media properties in digital essentially mark their own homework,” he said.
“This would be the equivalent of a TV station running its own ratings. Marketers were originally sold the idea that in digital there will be these fantastic trustworthy metrics. Digital was given a ‘get out of jail free’ card for too long.”
Sharp believes the biggest error that marketers make is not being front of mind with consumers often enough.
“The biggest mistake that marketers make is that they forget that they’re in a battle for [consumers’] physical and mental availability,” he said.
“Marketers think the primary issues holding their brands back are some sort of attitude problem or that their brand isn’t loved enough. In reality, consumers just aren’t thinking of the brand enough.”
The episode was hosted by MEC chief executive James Hier and Sky News anchor Helen Dalley.