Sharing Is Caring


My parents are baby boomers. They still refer to recording television programs as “taping.” They are now getting into the world of texting, and doing pretty well. They are also on “the Facebook,” but that is not going so well. My mother overposts, overshares, and overlikes everything that hits her feed. She takes every quiz, and makes a point of letting everyone know the results.

The changing media landscape has no age limit, however, and most baby boomers are adapting. Apple TV and Twitter aren’t just for the millennials of the world, and linear TV is less vital to content consumption. Social media is speeding the transition; Nielsen now measures tweets and hashtags, and the numbers are just as important to advertisers as the number of people watching.

Data has become just as important to advertisers. Cross-referencing viewers of The Big Bang Theory on TBS with their shopping habits and Facebook posts allows brands to promote products on a granular level. And this is never more important than during the holiday season.

More and more people are using smartphones to find deals and download coupons while they are shopping, if they aren’t shopping directly from their devices. With that activity linked to social media accounts, the deals are broadcast to their followers and friends, spreading the effect of marketing. The direct response advertiser has done this for years with the help of old reliable 800 numbers, but not at the level marketers operate today.

DR has continued to evolve with the media landscape. As search and display advertising became the norm, direct selling has become the way of the world. Think about all those times you’ve clicked on a banner ad for a car company or a clothing store. Those clicks were tracked, and took you directly to sites advertised. You may have made the purchase or been classified as a lead, but that real-time response is direct response.

Social media has evolved, too. Chat rooms have morphed into online communities where people share their cat pictures, argue with strangers in the comments sections, or share their innermost thoughts in 140 characters or less. Advertisers now have the option of sponsored tweets and posts, while Instagram has an outlet for product photos—and all of it can be classified as direct response.

As many strides as social media has made, there’s still a lot to be said for linear TV, where DR marketers put their efforts into overdrive during the holidays. As more products hit the shelves, those looking for deals might come across a product or two that may fit their gift-giving needs. Advertising on Twitter can help as well, since many walking among us live-tweet their every move, and they can share the deals.

When it comes to TV, November and December are the biggest moneymakers of the year. On the cable side, there are plenty of programs that will bring eyeballs to the sets. ABC Family’s “25 Days of Christmas” is the way to go if you have a family-friendly product to advertise. If you have a male-skewing product, ESPN’s Monday Night Football will have some of the largest cable audiences of the year. With WWE Entertainment on USA, equally rough-and-tumble election coverage on the news outlets, and original programming on AMC, there will be something for everyone.

Network broadcasters will offer just as much value as cable, and in some cases, more. Live sports are a huge viewership booster, and sports enthusiasts will be overjoyed with Thanksgiving NFL games and Christmas NBA games. And let’s not forget the kids, who will be watching perennial favorites such as A Charlie Brown Christmas and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas on CBS and ABC, respectively.

The holidays offer an entirely different media landscape than when I was young, much less when my parents were growing up. But with baby boomers quickly picking up on mobile and social media, the doors are opening for advertisers. Now, if I could only get Mom off “the Facebook,” the world would be right again.

Eddie Wilders is vice president of research and analytics of Lockard & Wechsler Direct in Irvington, N.Y. “Like” Lockard & Wechsler on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @lwdirect.

Photo by YakobchukOlena/iStockPhoto.com