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Evangelism, Word-of-Mouth and Passion is the Next Evolution of Advertising Research

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A couple weeks ago, I introduced to readers the idea that there is an irreversible progression of advertising messaging away from the 100-year tradition of mass reach and building awareness and toward an emphasis on achieving and maintaining consumer trust and passion. (Jack Myers' Five Emerging Principles for Redefining Advertising and Marketing Effectiveness)

Advertising agency executives with responsibility for creative output are loathe to accept metrics around emotional connections, as Publicis Chairman Maurice Levy reinforced recently in comments at the Monaco Media Forum. But Levy and his colleagues will have no choice but to accept new measures of advertising effectiveness in the future. While search engine marketing, direct marketing techniques and sales promotion are measurable based on absolute performance, marketers will also require new insights on how media advertising helps to engender passion toward products and services – not just interest or even purchase intent. (See Holy Grail)

Set-top box and TiVo data assure that the role of commercial creativity will be applied to television commercials in the near future. Data from emerging research company TRA seeks to directly connect advertising to shopper loyalty card purchases on a household specific basis.

In addition to standard research currencies defining the traditional advertising levels of Awareness, Interest, Retention, Persuasion and Motivation, new metrics and tools will arise that will redefine marketing communications based on the new consumerist economy and spur industry growth for another 200 years.

Myers Five Emerging Principles for Redefining Advertising and Marketing Effectiveness

Established Principles PLUS Emerging Principles

  1. Generate Awareness = 1. Establish Relevance
  2. Create Interest = 2. Define Differentiation
  3. Establish Message Retention = 3. Conform to Patterns and Rituals
  4. Convince and Persuade = 4. Establish and Maintain Trust
  5. Drive Motivation = 5. Engender Passion

Rather than position these as self-contained and differentiated approaches to advertising value, it is more appropriate to consider established and emerging principles as redundant and overlapping.

Awareness = Relevance
Consumers must judge an advertised product or service to be relevant in order for that product/service to register in their conscious, aka awareness -- a measure that researchers have defined through old-fashioned recall research.

Interest Requires Differentiation
For consumers to become actively interested in purchasing or even learning more about a product/service, its messaging will need to clearly differentiate it from its competitors. Whether that differentiation is based on price, quality, geography or other considerations, advertising will need to clearly communicate a differentiated positioning strategy.

Retention Requires that Consumers Clearly Perceive the Product/Service
Retention has also been measured in old-fashioned ways: how long do consumers remember a message after it has been communicated – and how recently does the message need to be repeated for it to have a meaningful impact. In the future, new measures will focus, as explained by BBDO president Andrew Robertson, on whether consumers can perceive the product or services fitting into the patterns and rituals they maintain throughout their lives.

Trust is Essential to Convince Wary Consumers
Once advertising establishes the unique points of differentiation and the relevance of the product/service to the lives of target consumers, a wary public will consider whether or not the advertiser can be trusted and if they can safely make a purchase decision with confidence the promise of the advertising will be fulfilled. Convincing and persuading consumers requires that consumer trust be established; continued purchase requires that trust be maintained.

The Ultimate Goal for Marketing is Passion and Active Evangelism
A brand is defined by differentiation, relevance, effectively communicated messages and fulfilled expectations. Brand equity is lost when there is a loss of trust. But the final goal of advertising – which in the past has been solely based on the actual purchase – now has an even more fully evolved goal. Consumer advocacy – the desire to be a public proponent and evangelist for a product or service – is defined by the passion consumers have for products and services. Passion goes beyond actual purchase decisions and reflects a proactive decision to seek to convince others to consumer the product as well.

Marketers, creative agencies and all those involved in the creative process across all media and entertainment must begin thinking beyond traditional research metrics and traditional measures of success. They must begin evolving their strategies to move beyond reach and even beyond direct consumer actions – whether those actions be clicks or purchases. The next generation of communications will focus on passion – defined by word-of-mouth, blogs, evangelism, conversational marketing, and other forms of advocacy.

Jack Myers writes, speaks and consults on marketing, advertising and media sales strategies. He can be contacted at

To communicate with or to be contacted by the executives and/or companies mentioned in this column, link to the JackMyers Connection Hotline.


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