As I was walking through Times Square today I couldn’t help but realize how heavily we are inundated with advertising in all of its forms. I know this is a very obvious feeling in a place like Times Square but in my opinion it wasn’t just the obvious billboards. What is the point of advertising in such a cluttered market? Everyone is vying for the same peoples’ attention using the same medium and it is just overwhelming and oversaturated.
The same mediums were used by every business: billboards (whether lighted, attached to buildings or in the pedestrian walkways), through audio or people shouting at you to take coupons from their hands. I understand the effort here, but isn’t this mostly wasted? This feels like it’s just too much. Most people are already overwhelmed, do they need someone throwing coupons in their face? Is that going to make you want to go see the play or stand up comedian?
Is it possible that this is ego at work? I personally think so, I can imagine that there are many businesses fighting for the strongest presence in every city, why not New York City. There is no way that this is the best way to spend money to convert customers. There are much better, less expensive options. How about something disruptive?
I spent 2 full days walking over 20 miles around Manhattan in an attempt to find just one disruptive form of advertising. Besides the usual New York architecture and lighting for the Holidays, I didn’t see anything that really blew me away. I was unable to find one thing that I did not “expect”. I would contest that this is because there are so many “inside the box” thinking large corporations doing all of the advertising. They just stick with the norm, which is spending a fortune on a medium that is overwhelming and goes mostly unnoticed. This is the safe bet, why take a chance if what you’ve been doing forever has been working?
This is a tremendous opportunity for small businesses. What a blessing it is to be a small business in today's world. As a small business, we have the ability to do many things that a large corporation cannot justify. Imagine that the large corporation is a cruise ship and a small business is a dinghy. The cruise ship sounds nice unless you have to turn around in a canal. A small business can turn around and make adjustments to the necessary places easier and faster, with much lower costs.
Small businesses also have the ability to create and foster relationships. It is so difficult for a large corporation to have to have a personal relationship with their customer. In my opinion this is more important than any advertising that you could ever do. I still believe in fun, unique disruptive ideas and I’m on a quest to find some and I’ll report back when I do.
I encourage everyone to get into reading, it can be life changing. Here is a small reading list of some that I’ve enjoyed to get you started: https://www.promotionsguy.com/ryan-s-favorite-reads
I’m writing tips each week for people aspiring to improve. These are not industry related but they generally have something to do with growing as a person or growing a business. My intention is to help others grow while growing myself. My book recommendation this week is “Growth Hacker Marketing” by Ryan Holiday.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss something, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.