1) Advertising is a lot easy to get right than you may think
2) You need to make sure you target a very specific person when putting your ad campaigns together
3) You need to pick a medium that is likely to be consumed by that person (the amount of people is less important than the ‘fit’)
4) You need to advertise consistently
5) You’ll need to spend money to make it work. No one wants ‘cheap’ anything, much less advertising
And so on to Part 2. In some ways the more important. But don’t ever stray from your specific target. Diluting the ad, the message or the targeting is a sure-fire way to make sure it doesn’t work. Before we can go on, we need to answer another question.
What type of advertising do you want to run? I don’t mean what media do you want to put it in. There are basically two types:
a) Direct Response – When you are asking a customer (or potential customer) to do something. Like buy from you, or visit your web page or ‘like’ you on Facebook or whatever
b) Awareness Advertising – Clever marketing types often describe this as ‘Branding’.
The thing is, most of my customers ask for ‘branding’ because they understand it is crucial for their business, but then measure the results as if it were ‘direct response’. The conversation I have with my clients goes something like this:
Me: What type of advertising are you interested in running?
Client: We need to raise awareness of our business, we need to build our brand.
Me: OK, great. How are you going to measure the success of this campaign?
Client: By how many units I sell / how many people ring up / how much data we capture
Me: Right, let’s have a little chat….
The thing is, anytime the answer to that question is ‘how many’ anything, then you are in direct response territory. You will need to provide your customer, your target market, with a powerful reason to come and do business with you. Or visit your website or whatever.
A lot of people are buying awareness campaigns, with awareness type messages, and expecting a direct response. If you can afford it, buy both awareness and direct response, if money is tight or you need to prove the campaign will work, buy direct response.
The Difference between Direct Response and Awareness
Awareness can be low-level, and long-term. Direct Response is usually short term and high impact
Awareness talks about the business personality, or the advantages of buying from a business. Awareness is nice and fluffy and aimed at building relationships.
Direct Response is BUY IT NOW advertising.
Where it goes wrong
You can quickly see where the problems come from. Running low-frequency ads, or ads too small to attract lots of attention, and typically without a clear and compelling reason to go and do business results in ads that don’t work. At least ads that don’t appear to work. They most likely so work, just not in the way they were expected to work.
The ads will have been read, or listened too, or watched, but not actually requiring some action, or even worse, not giving a strong enough reason to respond to them, they have been largely ignored.
Hinting about what a good bunch or people you are to do business with is not sufficient reason to make most people get up off their sofas and buy from you. That usually requires some kind of incentive. Money talks. So money off, or ‘buy one get one free’ messages and the like are the most effective.
You can however also use your unique position, or a uniqueness of your product or service as an offer too.
Its all in the delivery
In todays fast paced, action packed, information dense modern world, commercial messages are often lost. Worse, they are often actively ignored by sophisticated consumers. The only way around this is to offer some sort of value in your commercial messages themselves. Make them entertaining, creative and memorable. Short cuts to this can include:
Celebrity endorsement – Getting someone famous to immediately create attributes for your brand or product by aligning themselves to it
Using humour – Funny ads usually do extremely well. But be careful, it’s really hard to be funny in ads. There has been a recent trend to hiring comedians such as Jonny Vegas or the brilliant Chris Addison for this reason.
Music – Creating or using an already popular piece of music to promote your business is a sure fire way to both ‘cut through’ and create ads that are memorable.
Shock value – Often used these days, off the wall, shouty, or downright annoying ads are deliberately commissioned in order to create ‘talkability’
It can be very difficult to translate your ‘buy from us’ message, into a value driven proposition for your target market AND make it entertaining. This is one of the reasons so many brands opt for gentle and non intrusive awareness advertising. This is a cop-out. It needs hard work and application to get the message right. And usually, as described in part 1, a decent ad budget.
One more thing
Awareness advertising, or banding is supremely powerful. Thats why huge mega corporations spend billions on it. When it comes to building trust, creating relationships or standing out and pre selling your customer before they are ready to buy it is unbeatable. But it can be hard to justify if you have limited budget and need to see results.
There’s an old saying in advertising, National advertising sells the ‘what’, local advertising sells the ‘where’.
Unless you can afford to don’t advertise the merits of the brands you sell and why they are right for your customers. All you need to do is tell people where they can buy them. And give your customers a reason as to why they should buy it from YOU specifically.
The Golden Rule
Above all else: Aim the ad at one person, and ask them to do one thing. Keep it simple. As my great friend and mentor in these matters Mike Bersin taught me; one BIG reason is better than lots of little ones.
So what do you think? Any thing to add? leave a comment below or tweet me on @radiojaja