Thursday, July 5, 2012
"Nobody reads ads. People read what's interesting. Sometimes it's an ad." Famed advertising copywriter Howard Gossage's timeless words serve as a guiding reminder to those of us who create messages, and to clients who pay agencies to shape them.
Advertising is interruption. We are the distraction between pages of Entertainment Weekly, the banner ad above the compelling online news story, the commercial before the wrap-up on CSI. No one seeks our messaging, but we must find interested recipients nonetheless.
The key is in being meaningful and relevant, no matter where your message runs. Too often, advertisers respond with the wrong solutions: Be louder. Get attention no matter what it takes or costs. But these solutions only build consumer resentment and resistance.
When in doubt, remember Gossage: Stand for something. Be clear.
But most of all, be interesting.
Posted by 3 at 04:35 PM | Post a comment
Friday, March 16, 2012
We often find ourselves in an interesting business contradiction: recommending that our clients not advertise. This happens for many reasons, but it is usually when clients are just getting started or are creating a new offering. It is always because we don’t believe that we can achieve the desired results. If you’re not sure if you’re ready, here’s a short list to consider.
Don’t spend money on advertising when:
Your product, service or idea is not ready for prime time:
We’ve been asked to create campaigns for software that hasn’t been tested, services that are outside a client's expertise, and even products that don’t yet exist. It comes down to this: If you want people to pay you for something, or take interest, make sure what you are offering will benefit them – now. If you want to succeed in the long-run, it has to work for people as promised.
You’re not ready for the interaction:
If you aren’t ready to manage the sales process, wait until you are before you begin a campaign. This means that someone is answering the phone, your site is ready to take orders and/or your sales staff is ready to sell. Nothing will kill a campaign launch faster than disappointed customers who are having trouble doing what you are asking them to do: pay you money. In this era of open communication, a few bad interactions can stop your sales cold.
You don’t have enough resources to do it right:
A campaign is a delicate thing. It is generally planned from the ground up and includes multiple integrated marketing elements that are designed to work together, creating the synergy that is required for a successful campaign. Don’t start with a comprehensive plan and then decide to just cut back. You might think you are simply saving money by cutting some of the tactics, but you might be cutting all of the synergy. Better to wait and do it right, or start planning your tactics over with a realistic budget, in order to make sure what you are able to do creates the synergy you need for it to work.
The success of a campaign depends entirely on what you are offering, how you are interacting with potential customers and your ability to make a campaign greater than its parts.
And when you're ready – go.
Posted by 3 at 11:04 AM | Post a comment
Thursday, January 5, 2012
A post we wrote previously that's worth sharing again –
All great business leaders know that in order to succeed in business, you have to lead or be first: First to market, first in technology, first in product development. And to be successful in communications, you have to be aware and understand some other fundamental “firsts.”
There is no way to emphasize this enough – businesses that lose sight of their customers, fail. Sometimes this is attributed to “market changes” but what actually changes is people. (More importantly, the people who are buying your product.) You do not determine if your business succeeds or fails, people do. Never lose sight of this fundamental fact or you too will wonder, ”how can we be shrinking when we have such a great product?” When you develop your communications, know and understand who needs to act to bring you success. Get to know this person as an individual before you begin creating your communications campaign.
Once you know your target “person,” figure out how you are going to improve his or her life. Will you provide more time for them to spend with their family, let them keep more of their money, or make an unpleasant experience enjoyable? And keep this in mind: this isn’t what your product or service can do, it’s how you make your target’s life better, whether it be big or small. It’s not your product, it’s their benefit. (Our favorite metaphor for this is that people aren’t buying drills, they are buying the holes.)
Even great businesses lose sight of the simple, undeniable fact that a first impression can’t be taken back and is so foundational. So, don’t rush it. Before an important presentation, most of us are concerned that our appearance, information, and everything we want to communicate is spot on. We know that this first presentation will define how we will be perceived for a long time. But surprisingly, people don’t put this same thought and foresight into communications that may be seen by thousands of people. Just make sure you do the same planning before you craft your communications. Is the message simple, meaningful and truthful? Does it look and feel like you? Make it your own and make it great. Don’t copy others or just slap it together. If you’ve put your target first and understand your benefits, this won’t be as difficult as you think.
Being first in your business requires being first in many aspects of your business. So what are your firsts?
Posted by 3 at 06:39 PM | Post a comment
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