Marketing and advertising in the age of “banner blindness”

- Eventory Blog


Marketing and advertising in the age of “banner blindness”



Every single day we are being surrounded by million kinds of advertisement. It’s no surprise that our brain developed a means to block some of this content off. We came to live in the age of so-called “ banner blindness ” – a time when we simply ignore most of the promoting material we see. Whenever we do it on purpose or not, this became a new challenge for marketing and advertising departments. How do you make someone buy your product if their eyes are literally blind when it comes to ads?

Why did the customers suddenly lose sight?

An abridged history of outbound marketing

What is outbound marketing? Well, to put it straight – it’s the annoying lady who calls you one Sunday afternoon and tries to sell you a set of pots which you don’t really need. What do you do? If you’re polite, you say “No, thank you” and immediately end the conversation. If you’re less polite, because it’s the third phone call like that this week, you simply hang up.

Doesn’t seem nice, does it? Yet all up till the beginning of the 21st century, that was the only way of approaching a new client. From market sellers screaming their best offers out loud, through first printed magazines, posters and banners to the emergence of the new media. Can you believe that posters became so popular (and effective) in Britain that they had to be banned on property in London? And that was in 1839! What are we supposed to say today when adds are quite literally everywhere?

With the development of Google, Yahoo and mobile phones marketers gained more and more possibilities. They could now advertise their company both in the Internet and on the streets. It was already impossible to avoid all the promoted content. Not to mention the power of the Super Bowl commercials which rapidly the creators of the event became aware of. Here it was: the kingdom of advertising.

Creating a new perspective

The age of Inbound Marketing began with protests against spam and the George W. Bush’s can-spam act. Finally, it came too far. People realized that they had enough. Not only did they grew ad endurance, but also made it so much harder to get a new client. It was time for advertising to start to actually care about their target group. Thanks to the launch of social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) and Google Analytics marketers started to learn more about personalizing messages and individual approach.

However, it was only the beginning. Sure, phenomenons like SEO, online videos and e-commerce helped out a lot. But certain things just don’t change. The more common those elements get the more used to them people become. It’s inevitable. The official term “ banner blindness ” was created by Benway and Lane. It is a specific phenomenon that occurs during perusing websites. Viewers ignore all the banners/ads. Sometimes they do it consciously, sometimes not. It is also called ad blindness or banner noise.

Through many years the Internet has become the best means of advertising. Over 80% in Europe and staggering 88% of people in North America use the Internet. Basically, if you’re not on Facebook, have a website or Google ads – you don’t exist to the most of your potential customers. That shows how important the issue of banner blindness is. The threat it poses to sellers and marketers is just unmeasurable.

more events

A war started

A study in 2013 proved that 86% customers suffer from banner blindness. It is surely enough for the salesman to start to panic. I guess you may say the world of marketing began its next great war – in creating yet again new ways of attracting leads. Most popular recommendations include clever use of social media, content marketing and the placement of the banners themselves.

The inbound marketing proved itself being helpful yet again – it was perfect for the new generation of target group-focused marketers. But still, it just doesn’t seem enough. It’s pretty much doing the same thing as before, just in a more personal, more difficult way: it demanded more engagement, more thinking through. And here comes little something called engagement marketing. A strategy that focuses on customer’s experience and participation. Psychologists have long ago found that we remember better when a thing is connected to some memory or emotion in our brain. It has already been widely used by schools and universities. Why not use it for advertising?

A good experience equals lots of good memories and emotions. If the experience was, let’s say, a music festival sponsored by a well-known brand and logos of the certain company were everywhere at the event, it’s almost impossible to forget about it. To be honest, it’s nothing new – we’ve been using it for many centuries. All of the earlier mentioned social media, blogs and email campaigns can be used to engage people in evolution of your brand. Just add crowdfunding and webcasts and you have a full list of the most common engagement marketing online tools.

Not only the Internet

Offline life

It’s definitely easier to ignore things online. Just block the ads, close the window or put on some music. Here you are all ad-free! Not everybody does that but every next generation is more acquainted with computers and browsers. Adolescents know what are you doing, they’re not naive. They were raised with advertisements – probably they know all of the marketing techniques even before going to high school. The remedy is found within the other section of the Engagement Marketing – offline events. There are three most popular methods in this case.

Street marketing

First, there is street marketing whose name says it all. It’s simply promoting your product/brand in an unconventional way in public spaces. The word ‘’unconventional’’ has a very wide understanding here. Everything can promote you. Human actions, performances, road shows, customizing the street…possibilities are endless. Sounds amazing? Well, it should be. The biggest brands in the world like Sony or Nokia like to use this approach.

Youth marketing

Then, we also have youth marketing. Again the name speaks for itself. It targets people in different age groups: teens, college students, youngsters. Mostly it focuses on any person between 13 and 35. This method is crucial to the whole market – young people set the trends later adapted by other groups. They’re mostly still living at their parents’ house so they tend not to worry much about spending money. A perfect customer.

youth marketing

Have you noticed what all these tools have in common? It’s the earlier mentioned experience. And this leads us straight up to Event Marketing which may be the biggest yet-to-discover means of promotion. Usually misunderstood, often in the shadows of marketing industry, it slowly comes back, as entrepreneurs and marketers discover its potential.

Event Marketing

So, what is exactly event marketing? We’ve tackled this topic before in our blog post. If you need any further information, check it out. To summarise it here: many people think that event marketing is simply promoting a certain (usually one) event in order to sell more tickets. A bit like with music gigs. Albeit, recently, especially in Poland a new definition has come to life. Some marketers noticed the similarities between content and event marketing. They came to a deduction: event marketing should simply mean: promote your brand by creating a (series of) great event?

Aside from the term being relatively unknown in the correct form, companies and brands from all around have been using it all the time. Remember that time when Coca Cola and Spectre made a collaboration and you had to pretend you’re a secret agent and run through the mall? Or when Redbull started to sponsor parachute jumping? Yup, it’s all event marketing.

The sceptics complain about high prices and the difficulty of making a memorable event. But isn’t it the very reason why event marketing is so popular? With high price come even higher profits and once you master the ability to create great events you can enjoy your direct contact with individual clients. Other advantages come with a very clear and loud feedback from clients. You will know what you did wrong. On the flipside of the coin, if you fare well, you’ll get loyal customers who feel some emotional connection to your brand.

Wrap Up

Where there were humans, there was also business. It’s the ground rule of the civilisation. From the earliest barter up to online shopping and event marketing. A good marketer goes with the flow, carefully tracking the newest trends in his job. Let’s just say that 2018 may be the year of event marketing. In order to keep up with the world, you should get outside your comfort zone and learn more about creating events.

Would you like to know more about event marketing and all the buzz around it? Check out our series of blog posts about that and, also our brand new ebook! More content is definitely to come – make sure to be on your toes!

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