Thursday, October 15, 2009

Getting the Message Right

What do you want to say about your business when you are looking to attract customers?

Many times advertisers err by trying to tell as much as they can about their product and end up presenting what becomes a dry, mini-brochure. Not only is a list of your product’s attributes boring, it is soon forgotten.

Who do you think your potential customer is?

“Everybody,” of course. Well, not really.

Here is a classic case where two wrongs do not make a right. You can’t be all things to all people. Moreover, you will never get their attention if you try to overwhelm them with every detail about your business in a world where the average person sees thousands of messages a day – and ignores the vast majority of them.

Don’t let your message get ignored. Before you produce your next ad or campaign, get focused on the task by starting with four basic questions:

1. Who are you talking to? It’s not everybody. Get as detailed as you can with this. “Women, 35 plus, who like to read, dine, and spend time shopping at gardening stores.” Even if you own a shoe store, try to find out what your audience does when they aren’t buying shoes. This kind of information goes a long way in helping the folks who build your ads to craft them in a meaningful, interesting, engaging way.

2. What is the one thing you want them to remember after seeing or hearing your ad? There might be a dozen factors that contribute to the story, but what is the big picture fact you want them to believe? This is not as simple as “AT ABC we make the best XYZ.” First, it’s not believable, and second, you probably aren’t the only one who can say it. Hyperbole (best, fastest, lowest priced, biggest size, most enjoyable) are rarely things you would buy into, so don’t expect potential customers to buy into it when you say it. Give them something meaningful.

3. What makes number 2 true? If you cannot answer this in a significant way, then choose another number 2. However, this does not give you license to list every nut and bolt that makes your product. This is where you tell people why they should believe what you just said in number 2.

4. What is mandatory? These are the things like addresses, phone numbers, logos, and legal disclaimers if needed. Keep this as simple as possible. If you’re doing a broadcast ad, if the audience remembers your name and what it stands for (your brand) then you accomplished more than most. Don’t confuse them with phone numbers, street addresses and feel good information unless it is pertinent. If it’s a print ad, by all means tell them where you are – brick and mortar, on the web, by phone, by mail, or all of these.

If you will answer these four questions thoutfully and give this to the folks who put your advertising together, you will go a long way in helping them do a better job.

If you don’t have a professional helping you with the task of making you messages, perhaps you should consider one. Marketing is much too important to do halfway.

So be smart. Get focused. Get the message right. Get the audience to respond.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What’s your story?

Do your ads tell a story? They should.

Think about the ads you like and you’ll probably notice they all have one thing in common – they all tell a story.

They have a beginning that sets up a narrative that gives the reader, viewer, listener a reason to keep going to get to the resolution of the story. The hero prevails. So should you.

The resolution is your offer - your promise. What are you giving your audience that satisfies their needs, their wants or their desires?

If you can’t tell a story to lead a prospect to a buying decision, then critically evaluate your message and if need be, start over and craft a compelling message that will drive customers to your door before you spend another dime on advertising.

You Have a story. Tell it. Tell it in an interesting, provocative way and you’ll reap the benefits you are looking for. Tell a story that motivates the buyer to take you up on your next great offer. Then reap the rewards.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Who are you?

Say you were going to describe your brand as a car model, which car brand or model would your brand be? A Mercedes? A Ford?

If your brand were a person, who would it be? James Bond? Martha Stewart? Joe the Plumber?

What kind of clothes would your brand wear? Calvin Klein? Levis? Tommy Bahama or Old Navy?

Where does your brand dine? Where does it vacation? What is its favorite drink?

As an exercise, try making your brand a person in your mind and describe those things above and any others you can think of. Do the same with competition.

If possible, see if you can get other random people to answer the same things about you and your competition. Not just your friends, because you want to hear what they honestly think. You may find out their ideas about you is different from what you think about yourself.

An easy exercise that just might reveal some valuable insights about your brand and that of your rivals.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Importance of Your Brand Promise

Whatever you decide that your brand is going to represent, you must diligently deliver that promise every time to every customer. You will never see a return customer if you fail to deliver what they expect the first time – every time.

Therefore, do not take your brand development casually. You will be rewarded if you spend the time, effort and money if needed to gather all the information possible about the perception or your product or service in the marketplace and that of your competition.

If you need to change the perception, do it, but make sure it is something you can provide. When you do, your chances of success will multiply and you brand image will prosper, which is the most valuable asset you have in the marketplace.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Importance of Experience for Effective Advertising

People do not buy products. They buy experiences. Research is your most powerful tool to discover customer likes and dislikes - their perceptions of you and your competition.

Only after you are armed with relevant research can you aim your message at logical prospects to entice them to try your product or service.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Importance of Strategic Planning in Effective Advertising

In order to initiate a meaningful Strategic Planning effort, a requisite amount of research must be done in order to ensure that all advertising expenditures are allocated in the most productive and effective manner possible.

A key component of the successful advertising strategy must be effective creative development and media implementation in order to penetrate local, regional, and national markets. Shaping brands and proper targeting of carefully crafted communications is essential to the overall profitability of the campaign..