I’m going to say something that might throw off a lot of you: there are times when I think old school advertising is a good idea.
Yep, the guy who preaches Facebook and Instagram and Twitter still finds value in print and TV ads. But there’s a catch. I’m not talking every old school ad form in any sense. There is a really specific strategy I want to discuss here, and it all has to do with arbitrage. The only thing I care about in marketing is the arbitrage.
I’ll give you an example to explain what I mean by the arbitrage. Facebook has started doing some TV ads, and I think they’re a great idea. For a smaller company with limited reach, TV might not be the place you want to spend your money. But a company the size of Facebook, that has reached everybody they possibly can at some level, they have two places to go for a new audience: the thirteen to fifteen age range, or much older. I’m talking seventy to ninety. They aren’t going to reach the thirteen to fifteen on TV, but take a look at the dynamics of that older demographic. See what I mean? There still may be upside there for Facebook.
And TV does have some awareness. It’s overpriced, but when you have a market cap of 225 billion, that’s a much better reason to do some TV, over someone who has 50 million. Or 5 million. Or 500,000. Get it?
This is what I mean when I say the arbitrage. You find what makes most sense for your cost, your company, and you go there. So while Facebook can justify that ad, a lot of people just can’t any more. When your target audience is teenagers and you’re talking to them on TV, who do you think is really going to see that?
Airbnb launched a print magazine a few months ago to the same criticisms. What are they thinking? Who makes print any more? But I agreed with their move. Because they could justify the cost and show the value. Airbnb has no problem with the twenty to thirty something market. But what about the forty to fifty? Sixty to seventy? Those people just might see a beautiful design and house magazine in the checkout line at a grocery store and pick it up. They might even flip through and start to realize what Airbnb is, what it can do.
You go where the audience you want is. You meet them on their level.
The idea of “going old school” can work in a variety of situations, but it has to ladder back to your KPIs, your ROIs. Just like any strategy would. I spoke recently about how I think Super Bowl ads are underpriced. I’ve also praised Warby Parker and Birch Box for opening stores.
Nothing is ever absolute. You’re never going to be all in on one strategy. It has to be a mix. And while I believe everyone has to market in the year we live in, maybe your year still includes print and TV. But you have to prove it. Figure out what is worth it for you.
Thanks for reading! Do me a solid and pass this article along to someone you think might like it. It would mean a lot to me.