Why Ad Strategies Need Media Diversity: A case against silver bullets

Keep your ad strategy diversified

Ad campaigns are complex beasts.

Marketing analysts, creative teams, media buyers, and a long list of other ad players can spend weeks or even months preparing a 30 second TV spot. They identify personas, hold focus groups, and work through dozens of drafts of creative concepts with hard-to-please stakeholders.

I wish I could say I have a silver bullet that takes all the complexity out of advertising. I don’t. I’m sorry to disappoint. In fact, the thesis of this post is that there isn’t a cure-all, especially when it comes to advertising mediums.

No single medium can satisfy most ad campaigns

It might seem logical, but we forget it every time a shiny new medium comes along. We believe that we have a simple solution to all our ad problems in front of us. Sometimes it takes us years to remember that it’s not that simple.

For the last decade, that shiny medium has been digital. Digital promised the ad world targetability by demographics and psychographics. It promised attribution data, fully programmatic platforms, and had a simple currency and…–the list goes on. Many advertisers saw this as their silver bullet. They reallocated large portions of their ad budgets to digital and trusted they would get what they wanted. Many of them were, and continue to be, disappointed as studies begin to show that the reach, targetability, and other promises of digital aren’t as magical as advertisers had once believed them to be.

I don’t share this to bash digital. I simply use it as an example for the point I’m trying to make, which is that advertisers have to resist the temptation to put all their eggs (or even most of them) in one basket. Digital has its strengths and will have a place in nearly every ad campaign. But don’t overestimate its role and effectiveness. Direct mail, outdoor, TV, and other mediums have their place in ad strategy, depending on the goals of the campaign.

Addressable will be revolutionary, but it won’t be a silver bullet

Now let me bring this to addressable TV. It’s shiny. It’s on its way to changing the whole advertising landscape. Believe me, as an addressable TV company we at Sorenson Media look for every opportunity to shout about it. But we’re not delusional. Addressable TV won’t solve all your advertising problems. It won’t be a silver bullet.

Should advertisers change their ad strategy to include a hefty addressable TV line in their 2018 budgets? Definitely. Should they pull all their money out of digital, spot TV, and other mediums, put it in addressable, and expect it to solve all their ad needs? No.

In many cases, addressable will be a better option than digital has been, but campaign strategies will still call for digital, too. In many TV advertising cases, addressable TV will work better than traditional ad spots. With addressable, you get to advertise on linear, premium content previously available to only traditional TV ad spots. And on top of that, you get the data-rich targetability previously available to only digital and mobile. Even then, traditional ad spots will have their place to reach some goals in some campaigns. This happens when a campaign has a very broad audience (e.g., certain CPG brands, some consumer electronics, some food and beverage, political messages, etc.).

Be smart about your ad strategy

Ad strategy can look a lot like investing in the stock market, where a medium resembles a stock. For most, the key to consistent results is diversification. If you’ve met disappointment investing heavily in digital, then diversify. Don’t leave digital entirely, but start moving to addressable TV in 2018, if you haven’t already. Call me a biased analyst, but I’ve seen what addressable can do and you don’t want to miss out on it. It will have the power to reach and impact an audience better than any other medium. Again, will it solve all your ad needs? No. Just like any other medium, it will have its place. You’ll still need digital and outdoor, and sometimes radio to reach pieces of your target audience you couldn’t reach with addressable. Or your campaign strategy will simply call for more impressions in more than one medium. So, stay diverse and stay true to the needs of your campaign.

Sam Petersen
Sam Petersen
Content Marketing Manager
Sam is a conflicted marketer. He loves being creative, but also thrives on numbers and analytics. Sam has worked in several messaging-focused roles during his career, including journalism, PR, product marketing, and now, content marketing. When he's not stewing over his conflictual identity, he heads to the mountains to hike, ski, run, etc.