Ads reach consumers, even at high speedsMay 17 2011
By Angela Holmes, The Gazette
IOWA CITY - In the near future, your television will be so familiar with your habits, you will only see commercials that fit your needs, a University of Iowa researcher and lecturer said.
Sound far-fetched? Well, in the not-so-distant past, Facebook was just an experiment in a college dorm room. Now, it has 500 million s on users and continues to grow. Rob Rouwenhorst, 32, who teaches marketing, advertising and consumer behavior in the University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business, has seen advertising and marketing trends change drastically with new technology such as social networks, mobile devices and digital video recorders, or DVRs. But while technology has thrown off marketing, the basics remain the same, he said.
With all the bells and whistles available for marketing, businesses still have to deliver the goods, Rouwenhorst said.
'Intro to marketing hasn't changed much,' he said. 'At the end of the day, it's still about the product or service.' Rouwenhorst bought his first DVR while in graduate school in 2001, and like many viewers, zipped through the commercials.
'I was fast forwarding through all the ads,' he said. 'Some people would say you are throwing money down the drain with TV ads.' But he wondered if those zipped commercials made an impact on him. His recently completed doctoral thesis, 'Do Zipped Commercials Influence You?,' revealed some interesting results.
According to his thesis, researchers found that viewers can recall commercials zipped at 300 percent even better than those they've seen at normal speed. Viewers pay more attention to the commercial at the high speed because they don't want to fast forward through their program,
Mark Mathis, 53, partner and 'director of cool' of ME&V Advertising and Consulting in Cedar Rapids, said clients can purchase television ads for specific time slots and even specific blocks within programs.
'There is intense watching at the end of a commercial block,' he said.
While DVRs can cause hesitation among advertisers, there are other facts to consider.
For example, households that have DVRs watch more television in general, Mathis said.
And not all types of programs are recorded.
'People still like to watch sports live, they want to be part of the action,' Rouwenhorst said.
It's not just DVRs that allow consumers to skip through information, Mathis said. 'The entire cluttered environment we are in changes everything,' he said. 'We are dealing in a Twitter-type of world where everybody is communicating in shorter messages.' A 2010 study by consumer market research and analytics company Yankelovich, Inc., found that city dwellers are exposed to about 5,000 messages a day.
This bombardment of information makes a business' brand even more important, Mathis said.
A well-known logo, such as the Nike swoosh and even the Iowa Hawkeye Tiger Hawk, allows consumers to recognize an organization instantly and without audio.
'People are scanners now,' Mathis said. 'We need to be more aware and get the message out in a short amount of time.' When Mathis started in advertising 30 years ago, there were limited options to get a client's message out - primarily newspapers, television, radio and billboards.
Today, businesses need to take a holistic approach to marketing and embrace all media, he said.
Lee Belfield has advertised in a variety of mediums in his hotel and restaurant career that has spanned more than three decades. 'Historically, I have paid for TV, radio and even bus benches,' he said. 'And it's been pretty effective.' As coowner of Zins Restaurant, 227 Second Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids, his advertising preferences have changed. Zins is a small, independent restaurant that has rebuilt after flooding in 2008. 'We don't have an advertising budget,' he said. 'We have to get the message out any way we can.' The best leverage for Zins' budget is social media and tradeouts with traditional mediums like magazines and television, Belfield said.
Neither Rouwenhorst or Mathis foresee television or newspapers going away due to increased use of computers and digital devices.
'All media will remain, but there will just be more of it,' Mathis said.