In the world of marketing - and life - the struggle is always the same.
To stay relevant.
Back in the day the equation to accomplish this was likely same as it is today, but the factors are constantly shifting. For example, when folks, farmers and cowboys clamoured around a soapbox to hear about some magical hair tonic or whooping cough elixir, few people had expendible cash and even fewer people had hair maintenance as a top priority in their life. (Cowboys carried six-shooters back then for a reason.)
Now, when people gather 'round a television or pop open a laptop, they are very much in the same state of engagement as back in the Wild, Wild West. Plus, they know better. They has access to instant experts to tell (or sway) them away or toward whatever new tonic or elixir you are trying to pitch.
For me, personally, this entire equation is thrown out the window as soon as one thing happens.
Here is how it goes:
Me: My baby is acting like she is sick.
Doctor: We can try a little of this, a little of that, maybe this and maybe that.
Me: Oh. Really? Is that good? Is that safe? I read on the internet....
Doctor: Of course. I'm the doctor. I'm the expert.
Me: Okay. (Opening wallet) Take whatever you need to make baby feel better.
I realize that, as consumers we are growing stronger and smarter with our purchasing power and web-education of illness and disease, but sometimes I am amazed at the simplicity of it all. And when I find myself in that place of wonder, doubt, helplessness and desperation, I am more than happy to let all the wisdom WebMD has to offer, all the knowledge at my fingertips and in front of my televised face fall to the wayside.