Hey Advertisers, Let’s Stop Lighting Money On Fire!

If you find yourself involved in a marketing/advertising role, you will soon realize it can take a lot of time and effort to develop and maintain a rewarding campaign, especially one that coincides with your intended audience. Over the years, I have seen countless advertisers heave buckets of cash right down the ol’ toilet. And if losing money wasn’t horrific enough, many of those advertisers damaged their brand.

To attempt at preserving those precious marketing dollars, I wanted to share some insider pointers from “behind the curtain”. Obviously, there are a few exceptions to these rules, but these suggestions will guide you towards success most of the time.

Here are some strong suggestions & tidbits you may not have known:

1. Trusting the wrong media rep- Many of the largest radio stations, newspapers, cable TV providers and Out of Home corporations have an incalculable amount of employee turnover.

New account reps go through some sort of introductory mini training period and are released into action, ready to provide expertise. Huh? Is it possible these folks are now experts prepared to offer consult services? The odds of this working are super slim. I have witnessed trusting prospects referring to these green newbies as “experts”, leaving me wanting to scream “Murder. “

When you are researching a particular advertising medium, ask your assigned rep for all the backup behind the presentation, who else was involved in the design, and most of all, the “WHY” behind the research etc. When your media schedule is presented, go over all the intricate details with a fine tooth comb, since dates are often incorrect, frequencies are light, reach is exaggerated and more.

While I was on the other side, marketing departments would provide tools that would make us cringe. So in summary: If you begin to see a media rep sweat under investigation, RUN BABY RUN. Remember, it takes years to design an effective media buy, understand audience behavior, analyze reach and frequency metrics and comprehend all the intricacies that comprise a targeted campaign.

2. Add Ons- Just as you ask for a free breakfast voucher at a hotel, you can request “Value-Add” promotional items. Let’s say you are purchasing TV advertising on cable TV. Each network has new programs for the upcoming season that will be advertised, building up audience awareness.

Networks produce cross-channel 20-second teaser spots, leaving a ten-second blank canvas for your message. Think of this as a “brought to you by” style commercial. Don’t expect anyone to rush to offer you these spots, but demand them. Now, you are negotiating like the pros. The size of your buy will determine how many freebie spots you may potentially receive. “Don’t ask, don’t get!”

3. Impressions alone will not do the trick- It is wonderful to get your advertising message placed in front of thousands of eyeballs, however without a witty call to action and clever content, prospects will consider your ads noise and neglect them. Think of the thousands of marketing messages that are placed in front of you daily. 99.9% will be forgotten within seconds.

4. Blueprint- How you never build a building without an architectural blueprint, neither should anyone purchase any advertising campaign without a marketing system, strategy or plan.

It is human nature to crave results immediately, but as we all know, positive results come to those who have patience. Yes, brainstorming, thinking through all the obstacles, paying attention to trends, evaluating competitive data and negotiating with vendors is time-consuming, but in the long run, it produces the desired outcome.

5. Creativity — When you visit Facebook, you find yourself cyber stalking your friends, commenting on political videos and teasing people about their cat.When you log on to Twitter, you share news, follow a celebrity or research a trending subject. Different platforms offer different purposes. Although advertisers fall in love with their new contest or employee group picture, the goal is to match the content to the context. Avoid taking the same creative campaigns and placing them across all your choice platforms. You certainly wouldn’t expect to speak Japanese in Mexico and expect the locals to connect, would you?

6. Social Media- Yes, your 15-year-old nephew spends way too much time on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. However, placing him in charge of your social media marketing is truly weak. Take the word social off, and you still have media. This means one to one communication with your ideal customer. Engagement takes intelligence, business acumen, marketing expertise and more. Simply cutting and pasting photos into a platform is not a social media strategy. To score your goal, don’t bother counting likes on your Facebook page, but communicate consistently “ON-BRAND” and professionally. Here is a quick self-evaluation. Log on to one of your social media platforms. Are customers sharing your content, commenting, engaging with the campaign and most importantly, purchasing?

7. One Size Does Not Fits All — If your customer base is comprised of millennials, gen -Y’s, baby boomers and seniors, make sure the creative content resonates with their interests and desires. Too many advertisers create one message for all their customers. When was the last time you saw a 23-year-old sipping cognac to some Dean Martin tunes?

8. It’s Not About You! — On average, your customers do not listen to your music, watch your favorite TV programs, eat the same food or dress exactly like you do, therefore using your personal tastes is not the preferred measurement guide to direct your advertising selections. Google allows you to survey people with numerous filters for as little as one dollar per survey. There is no excuse anymore, for not knowing all about your ideal customer, and what their preferences are.

9. Been a month and ready to terminate?- There was one thing your account rep informed you about not quitting too early is on point. 95% of your prospects are not in the market for your product or service, as you are reading this article. Therefore, running a campaign for one month and staring at a quiet phone is not an ideal measurement. It takes a series of consistent months in a row for prospects to pay attention, recognize and remember you. Stay the course or don’t start at all.

10. Asking For The Order Too Quickly- The best brands develop relationships with their customers, by furnishing them with bits of treasure, (VALUE) before saying “buy my stuff”. There is a lot of brilliance to this, as guilt is one of the strong emotional tools for increasing sales.

If you found value in this article, sharing it with a friend would thrill me to no end.

Happy Branding. Don Tolep -Creative Business Strategist -OGK Creative

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