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Yesterday while driving to work I found myself singing the Mavis Discount Tire song with the radio.  Later I heard the familiar voice of the Winthrop University Hospital announcer. My friends Mike Welch and Jack Schultheis handle that advertising, but even so, I immediately knew it was Winthrop from the music and voice.

Radio is still a powerful ad medium.  It’s a unique way, at a reasonable cost, to condition consumers to listen, associate and remember. When working on North Shore-LIJ Health System years ago, I used lots of radio to extent the TV work.  It worked brilliantly.

But while singing the Mavis Discount Tire radio song I wondered if it was a reason to buy?

I reckoned consciously I knew the price is right, thanks to the name, but with the web and search so prevalent is name awareness enough to tip the scales?  Has the ability to simply slip a phone from my pocket and say “best tire prices near me” changed the formula for advertising?   

Search changes everything in marketing. The first page web experience is critical. We “twitch to buy” today. Radio needs to recognize and account for this.

My kids are in their twenties. Both have two phones. When they sing the discount tire song are they Google searching for other tire stores? You bet they are.





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There was an article today in the New York Times by Stephanie Clifford about new ad serving technology supported by real-time bidding, allowing ads to be served based on keywords and cookied behavior.  Supposedly everything takes place in milliseconds — before the page even load. (Is it me or are page loads getting slower and slower?  Thanks ads. Thanks beefy Web 2.0 apps.)

It stands to reason that as this technology matures a good deal of these immediate, personalized ads will be price-based. And how do marketers lower prices?  By cutting margins elsewhere, meaning brand advertising budgets, etc.  Fast forward a year or two and think about all the low-cost, challenger brand/no brand, tailored ads filling up your screens. Likely, you will have bitten on a price ad or two and had a poor experience and now avoid these ads altogether. Your avoidance behavior may be similar to that toward telemarketers.  And it’s too bad because as the behavioral modeling grows it has an opportunity to be an important selling mechanism.

But initially it will be price, price, price!  A word of caution marketers: Don’t fall into the price war — web ad bidding war.  It will be hard to get out of. And some of your accelerator pedals might stick. Peace!

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