Fifty years ago, there were two choices.
American families had one television, no remotes, and the family watched TV together. On weeknights, there were two choices for news. Either you were a loyal Walter Cronkite watcher or you preferred the Huntley-Brinkley news program, along with its accompanying Beethoven’s 9th Symphony send off over the closing credits. Sunday night, there were two choices. Families chose The Ed Sullivan Show or they chose The FBI. The family watched together. Sponsors who wanted to leverage the near ubiquity of television, as the medium of choice for families with purchasing power, had two choices—Ed or FBI.
Fast-forward 50 years to 2018. Hundreds of channels, multiple competing entertainment and social media platforms, and multiple TV’s with their dreaded remote controls, operated by hand or even by voice. Decision-making and purchasing power is decentralized within family units. Sponsors harness the power of “big data.” They choose new media, product placement, social engagement, celebrity endorsement, GPS-based consumer real-time ad-serving, and all manner of “smart” marketing channels to reach elusive consumers with the right message at the right time. So, a lot has changed…but there still are two choices. At the key instant in time, can you link your key marketing message with something compelling to that consumer, or do you let your message fade into the clutter of information overload?