Media and The Message | Greg Hoyos

Today, marketers don’t know where our audiences are and we thrash about on social media, sprinkling superficial messages here and there to reach them.

50 THINGS I’VE LEARNED IN 50 YEARS OF MARKETING

#11

By Greg Hoyos

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday April 5, 2017 – Back in the 1960s, Marshall McLuhan shocked the marketing world by pointing out that the way we receive messages advertisements is more important than the ad message itself.

TV is not radio, he said. The telephone is a unique medium. And print is something else again. (Not long ago, receiving a telegram instantly meant “bad news”, even before you opened it.)

It was a message that we didn’t really want to hear. We preferred to assume that the creativity of our ads in mass media were all we needed.

Although McLuhan was talking about messages of all kinds, his insight is particularly apt for marketers. Today, marketers don’t know where our audiences are and we thrash about on social media, sprinkling superficial messages here and there to reach them. But social media themselves are less and less effective in a world of fake news and delete buttons.
(I get so many bulk emails for products I would never, ever use, it’s shocking.)

The truth is that different audiences give varying importance to various media, and we should assess which ones would work best for our project. We shouldn’t simply reach for Google ads, Facebook or Twitter messages and think “ok, I’ve ticked that box”.

More than ever, research into which media people find most reliable for which products is vital – but it’s not being done.

Stop and think for a moment. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes, then decide which media are best. That’s the route to success. Long live McLuhan.

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Greg Hoyos is founder and chairman at GHA DDB. He started his first regional ad agency in 1970; has won five CLIOs (including the 1979 Worldwide Copywriting statue) and numerous Caribbean ADDYs; and is the author of ‘Marketing and Demand’ and ‘A History of Marketing in 32 Objects’. He can be reached at (246) 234-4110 or greg@greghoyos.com