An Honest Appeal for Native Marketing
Controversy, ethics, intrusion, uncertainty. Effectiveness, innovation, art.
In 2015, as native advertising techniques began to come into their own as one of the dominant forces of modern marketing, in tandem came criticism and doubt. As with anything, a swell in popularity comes with some consequence, and with all the questions and concerns, it is time to give our honest appeal for the profound effectiveness and magnanimity of native marketing.
Native ads were born in the hopes of catching the attention of people as individuals rather than demographics. Not by numbers but by emotion, forgoing labels for humanity. A song rather than a jingle, a story rather than an ad. Those individuals that act on emotion, thought, and desire cannot be sold on something with anything less than feeling, by connection, by appeal of sentimental warmth. Native advertising sells the one being marketed as much as it sells any product. You want to find a way to market to the individual, to those who the precision of consumer data surveying and collection doesn’t capture well. Before we market to someone else, we have to market to ourselves. Ad men have been doing that for decades, but in a way that treats the consumer just as that- the consumer. The native movement doesn’t forget that word, but remembers always to pair it with what it actually means. Who are we- if we are that elusive 23 year-old male demographic who only want what they had before the last thing of its kind broke? Or if we are intellectuals, whose need for real quality dwells in the automatically polemic and refuses to accept anything unasked for?
As it has been said, people don’t fall in love with brands, they fall in love with stories. They say people don’t really fall in love with things themselves, either, only the idea of the thing. We could take either, because we sell both. Ideas, stories, conceptual connections with an individual’s personal narrative. It’s cultural integration, the societal appeal.
Not only an appeal, but the appeal. The appeal that we forget the traditional incursion and interruption, the sound and the fury of traditional means. An appeal for the idea that advertising at its core is putting something somewhere to be seen, and that of all the things people see, they will always try and buy what’s best of it. What’s best is native marketing, simply because of the word “native”. Native could be any word like internal, or homogenous, or identical, or uniform- but its really means homegrown. It means belonging. And isn’t it the best way to put something somewhere- to put it where it belongs?
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