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Business: Marketing Column

Nostalgia Is Hurting Your Business

Published on Monday, March 13, 2017 | 5:49 pm

I come from a very traditional family. In fact, back in college, my dad and I would – on most days – grab newspapers and coffee from the same convenience store a block away from campus and spend mornings in silence catching up on yesterday’s news. Fast forward a few years later and albeit I believe we still buy “the paper,” we now spend days on our phones.

That was a long time ago and a lot has changed, but some things still remain the same. I still prefer my coffee harsh, at 160 degrees and sweet, but I now prefer my news updated and presented to me at anytime, anywhere and at my convenience.

It didn’t really occur to me that I stopped wanting to read the paper at one point. It was just a gradual occurrence that happened over time. It reminded me of the shift from VHS tapes to DVDs and then physical mediums to Netflix. At one point during this transition, we never really put any thought into our VHS tapes (or maybe even Betamax tapes) in the attic or storage locker, we just found a more convenient solution and moved on.

The Internet Conundrum and the Convenience Continuum
Humans are fickle creatures and although it has been proven time and time again that we are resistant to change, we seem to gradually progress from one idea to another in the most nonchalant ways imaginable.

The growth of the Internet has made everything convenient for us and we’ve been feeding on this convenience like a pack of mad dogs with Amazon Prime, videos on demand and online versions of the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine and even National Geographic.

However, for many entrepreneurs (and I am guilty of this,) we have never really stopped and thought about the customer’s convenience. Yes, I’m saying it: we only think about ourselves.

The harsh truth is that, though we, ourselves, are adapting to living in a more glocalized world with the advent of the Internet, have stopped thinking about how our customers are perceiving us online. The Internet is a place where almost everyone is in at all times. Have we ever stopped to think about how we’re actually reaching them?

The Decline in Print Advertising
A column on the Wall Street Journal predicted that global spending on print ads in newspapers was expected to decline by 8.7% in 2016. In fact, if we were to look at statistics from the same source – which as we all know grew into prominence as a printed newspaper – we find other alarming statistics about the rate of change we’re experiencing.

From 2001 to 2017, the share of newspapers in the ad market has shifted has downright plummeted. However, surprisingly enough, ads in digital mediums have skyrocketed more than tenfold in the same period of time. In fact, now only nine percent of ad spending goes to newspapers with 33.3% going to online advertising campaigns. You don’t need a statistician to realize that online ad revenues have already overtaken newspaper ads in less than 15 years and have tripled their control in the ad market.

Facebook marketing, digital marketing agencies and phrases such as SEO keywords are becoming the norm when discussing online marketing because people are spending time online!

The Wake Up Call
Marketing and ad campaigns are absolutely essential. A Gartner study states that, “companies spent on average 10.2% of their annual 2014 revenue on overall marketing.” Apple spends roughly seven percent of their revenue on marketing, and it’s absolutely tantamount to realize that a business cycle can’t be a business a cycle if you can’t sell.

However, the question here is: are you spending your resources wisely?

You can always create the perfect product in a lifetime, but you won’t benefit in three lifetimes if people don’t buy it and use it.

How Nostalgia Can Kill Your Business
This doesn’t mean that print media is dead or will be completely eliminated in the next couple of years. It’s a medium that still has to be used and still serves its function. However, the real reason that print media is dying and online media and ad campaigns are steadily growing is the reach. More people are spending time online and a lot of businesses are taking advantage of that.

What I still find hard to believe is that though most of our “potential clients” are online we still haven’t made the significant adjustments to reach out to them. We readily spend thousands of dollars in print advertising knowing that it is not the most efficient medium, yet we don’t bother spending a dollar – lest a minute – thinking about reaching out to them in their place of convenience.

Maybe we can blame the nostalgia of designing a print ad and waiting for it to be printed so that we can keep the “piece of tree” in a metal filing cabinet to gather dust in the office. However, it’s definitely time we’ve had to face the music, it’s hard to keep dancing with the same moves when the DJ has already changed the music…

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