The only people who care about advertising are the people who work in advertising'.

So says George Parker in Confessions of a Mad Man. Imagine, you are a marketer. For weeks you have worked hard to create the campaign of the year. Day and night this has controlled your life. You come home after a hard day's work and plop down on the sofa next to your partner to watch your favourite programme. During the commercial break, the commercial you worked on, your commercial, comes on TV! You jump in the air, 'what a brilliant commercial'. Unfortunately, next to you on the couch, you don't see much happening. Your partner is quietly scrolling through Instagram. Your partner just sees another commercial. This, is the Media Industry Bias.

Media Industry Bias (introduced a year ago by Validators introduced) refers to the concept that someone working in the media industry often looks at marketing and advertising in a different way to a typical consumer. Just as a gardener looks at maintaining a garden differently, a dentist looks at your teeth differently or an ICT professional looks at solving the problems with your home office laptop differently.

Consumers are too busy for brands
This Media Industry Bias stems from a misinterpretation of how consumers think. Consumers are very busy, with work, hobbies, the family, friends and housework. Consumers are especially not busy with advertising or brands. Even if we don't do it on purpose, it all happens to us (media people). Two important, almost unconscious psychological principles underlie this: availability bias and confirmation bias.

Brands play a bigger role in marketer's brain
The availability bias plays a big role. This is a bias where more recent and important events are remembered more easily. Here the difference between a marketer and a consumer becomes even more clear. A marketing professional has an above-average interest in brands, after all it is his or her job. That is why brands play a bigger role in the brain. A consumer, on the other hand, attaches less value to brands. As a result, brands play a lesser role in the consumer's brain and they are less concerned with them.

Then the confirmation bias. As the name suggests, this is the tendency for people to interpret information in such a way that it confirms previous beliefs. This explains that euphoric moment when watching your commercial on TV, while it leaves your partner cold. The consumer misses the lead-up to the commercial and does not have the prior conviction that you, as a marketer, do. You have been involved from the beginning, you have seen different versions of scripts, storyboards or a big idea. For the consumer, this is the first and only version among many other commercials.

Involve the consumer
The Media Industry Bias reveals a mechanism that is not intentional. Bart Massa, Business Manager at Validators: 'You can compare it to the answer you get when you ask whether someone thinks he is a good driver. 95% of motorists will say they drive better than average. Which, of course, cannot be right. We don't do it on purpose, but even within our field of expertise, overestimation is an issue. On top of that, consumers are generally not involved with brands or advertising. Therefore, always involve the consumer. Do not develop only for a specific target group, but involve this group in the development. This way you avoid unpleasant surprises afterwards.

Bart speaks together with Jelmer Wit on NIMA Marketing Dayon 16 June in De Fabrique. This column was published on 2 June on MarketingTribune.

Bart Massa

Bart Massa

Business Manager