Coping with Consumer Attention Deficit Disorder:

The Importance of an Integrated Media Mix to Reach a Market of Multitaskers

Last night I sat on my couch watching “Dancing with the Stars” (Team Urkel, folks!) while perusing my favorite blog on my laptop and crushing the competition during a few rounds of Words with Friends on my phone. Maybe you were reading a magazine on your Kindle while the radio played in the background. Or you were at the gym, reading the closed captioning of the news on one of the TVs while your Pandora app played from your iPhone headphones. Raise your hand if any of those scenarios sounds like you. You are a multitasker—and so are your potential customers.

More than ever consumers have simultaneous access to many forms of media. In a perfect world (read–when budget allows), an integrated media mix is crucial to any advertiser’s success. An article published in December 2011 on emarketer.com stated that the typical US adult now crams, on average, 11 hours and 33 minutes with one form or another of media (TV, radio, print, online and mobile) into every day. As the article went on to note, this is both a blessing and a curse. We now have more time to expose consumers to messaging, but we have more channels by which we need to do it.

Television remains the mecca of media. It is THE reach medium—a must in order to reach a large portion of your target audience. This is why it is usually the first recommendation we make to our clients. But other mediums can’t be ignored. Consumers are still listening to the radio on their way to work. They research and make purchases online. They continue to show increasing reliance on smartphones to act as a phone, camera, computer, mp3 player, game console and GPS system. There are even consumers who still enjoy reading the newspaper or flipping through a magazine.

There is a schmorgasboard of advertising options and a multitude of reason to use any and all of them. If at all possible media campaigns should mirror consumer media trends—at least in some fashion. If advertisers cannot afford to reach consumers through all channels, two or more mediums should be considered to increase the reach and frequency of messaging. A nation of multitaskers have made it practically impossible for any advertiser to put all of their advertising dollars into one basket. If they do, they run the risk of losing a majority of consumers when they were tweeting on their phone about the TV show they were watching while they were shopping online.