Visit any British high street, and there’s a fair chance you’ll be looking at the same selection of retailers as at any other. Chains and franchises have grown in size and number over the past three decades, whereas many single-store operations have shut up shop. On the surface, it may seem the chains have homogenised high streets and forced independent retailers out of business. But can this be embraced as a simple cause-and-effect, or are shoppers more loyal to the bigger brands? And is there any point to small, independent retailers beyond satisfying our collective nostalgia?
Marketing And Advertising
In 2009, the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers published figures indicating that the UK had become the first major economy where advertisers spent more on internet advertising than on television advertising. The statistics underpinning the report, as is often the case, are somewhat open to interpretation, but they did show that TV’s place as the dominant advertising sector, held for over 50 years, was being significantly eroded by the rise of online advertising in just a decade.
The timing of this report was significant. While online ad spend had been charging upward, the economic downturn let to a drought in TV ads. Since then, TV has begun to stumble back onto its feet, but so far it seems there’s no abating online’s growth.
What does this mean for television as a medium? What are broadcasters and media buyers doing to defend their revenue? And how will this affect us viewers?
The line between what constitutes the provision of a product or service and what constitutes marketing is eroding, particularly online. At the same time, we can expect to see a further evolution in what is commonly labelled “user experience”. In the product or service design process, it is common to have a team dedicated to plotting out the user journey, and steering the development of that project from the users’ perspective. Of course, it is a healthy discipline to have people focussed on usability, but I believe the exact remit of this is likely to swing, if it hasn’t already.