I am a big fan of the hit TV series Mad Men. What intrigues me most about the show is the window it provides into the advertising world of Madison Avenue in the 1960's. Then it was relatively easy to reach the masses with an advertising message. A print campaign (in newspapers and magazines) combined with some TV ads would ensure your product could be introduced to most Americans.
Every day, we are getting further removed from that world. Last week, Richard Shear on his Package Unseen blog shared the dramatic impact this shift has had. Citing a new Nielson/Bases study that was reported in Ad Age, Shear discusses the awareness shift from TV to the retail store for new product information. In a survey conducted across six major industrialized countries (including the U.S.) the retail store beat TV as an awareness driver for new products by a 50% to 36% margin.
What does this all mean? It means that your product packaging is actually becoming more important. I believe this trend will continue upwards. We have such a fractured media environment these days, with people spending less time watching TV, reading newspapers and magazines and listening to the radio, that it is difficult to get the message out about a new product. Consequently, consumers are spending more time in the retail store reading labels and learning about the products.
So now, more than ever, you need high impact packaging. Your product label is likely the single most important advertising message you will ever create. If you are trying to place your product in retail stores and you are still printing your product labels on your own cheap inkjet printer it is time for a rethink. With digital label printing, high quality product labels are within the reach of even very small companies.
The advertising executives on Mad Men would simply not recognize the media world of today. But they would appreciate the importance of product packaging. It was important in the 1960's and it is even more important today. Don't sell your product short. Make high quality product labels and packaging a priority. Your future business success may depend on it.