We’re two thirds of the way through our twelve-part series on causes of advertising failure. So far, we’ve covered advertising failures such as the desire for instant gratification, creating ads not campaigns, business owner knows best, and four other insightful topics every small business owner and smart marketer should be conscious of.
Better Late Than Never?
Moving right along, we’ve arrived at advertising failure number eight: late week schedules. Essentially, this failure speaks to advertisers that focus on advertising late in the week, running their ads mainly Thursday through Saturday. While it’s not a bad idea to advertise during these days, you’re competing with the masses looking to grab consumer attention just before they go shopping. Instead of battling all the clutter, why not have a nice, quiet chat all alone with your audience each Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday?
This advertising misstep mainly speaks to retailer and car dealer habits. They’ve abided by these unwritten rules that state it’s best to target customers right before they go out shopping — seeking out people that are ready to buy. However, these advertisers are completely misunderstanding the concept of branding — leading us to our next big point. It takes time and many conversations with your prospective buyer before they are ready to pull the trigger. Plant a seed early on, and nurture that relationship until your audience is ready to buy.
Before we move forward, let’s take a look at hall of famers: Nike, Patagonia, Aaker, and Lazarus — these four branding gurus are all titans in the marketing industry, and have shared six brand-building best practices with Forbes. We wanted to reiterate them here as a reminder of why it’s so critical to keep branding in mind when you advertise.
Speaking about these best practices are Prophet’s Vice Chairman David Aaker, Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia, Trevor Edwards, President of Nike and Shelly Lazarus, Chairman Emeritus of Ogilvy & Mather. All four icons were honored and inducted earlier this year at the NY AMA Hall of Fame. Below are the six brand-building best practices they believe that no business should ignore:
Customer Obsession - Specifically as it relates to building incredibly relevant brands. With innovative new technology, we’re now able to reach, targets and engage customers across multiple platforms, and in a unique and completely customizable way. It’s imperative to engage your customers as an individual. Trevor Edwards from Nike agreed, stressing that this is the core fuel of the Nike brand. They don’t just focus on the superstar athlete, but the ordinary person who is just trying to do their best at their chosen sport. Nike’s ability to widen the spectrum of “athletes within all of us” started with a deep understanding of their audience, and continues to power Nike, its brand building, and innovation efforts.
Values-Driven, Purpose-Led - “I am not sure why I am here, I am not a marketer. Marketing is easy at Patagonia. We just tell people who we are, and the rest just works” said Yvon, founder of outerwear giant Patagonia. While it’s not that easy for every brand, he shares that being true to your values and what you believe in will ultimately lead to building a company and brand that will find its audience of like-minded customers.
Emotional Content - David Aaker, Vice President and Chairman of Prophet, a global brand and marketing consultancy spoke to this concept stating that “consumers couldn’t care less about the facts you want to tell…you need to cloak your facts and attributes in stories.” Which brings us to point number four.
Signature Stories - Aaker coined this term. And he reminded the audience of Jared at Subway and his 200 pound weight loss journey. He challenged the audience to remember any of the nutritional values of Subway subs, but the only thing everyone remembered was Jared. The story reminded them that eating at Subway might be a more healthful choice than eating at a traditional fast food restaurant.
Gorgeous Ideas - This is the continuous need to innovate in order to produce great ideas. Trevor from Nike spoke to this point observing that people exercised with their ear buds and then went home and logged their workout. The team realized they needed to connect the two. Consumers want to engage with ideas that resonate with them, solve problems, and stir their emotional imagination.
Relevance Rules - This is the king of them all. Everything you do is pointless unless you have the right message, idea, content, or product/service that resonates with the audience you’re trying to win over. When you create a strong, relevant brand and relentlessly build it over time, by default you make the competition virtually irrelevant.
You have your advertisement, and you're all set, except for one little detail. Now you have to get it out there, and show it to the buying public. That means buying media; so what timeframe is most effective for your business? Here are some tips for scheduling your advertising:
Consistency - According to Salesforce.com, it takes 6 to 8 touches to generate a viable sales lead. Today’s consumers conduct more independent research and take more convincing before they’re sold on your brand. That’s why the buyer’s journey may differ from one consumer to the next, and the most effective way to reach your target demographic is to be consistent with your advertising.
Rate Reductions - Many media outlets tend to have rate spikes later in the week because of clients who will only run late week schedules. As a simple supply and demand result, the prices generally go up later in the week. As a way to mitigate these high rates, you can run ads earlier in the week and excuse yourself completely from all the loud offers and sales during the weekend. Or, what we highly suggest — buy frequency. Most media will offer discounts for purchasing advertisements all at once. Consider buying media for your entire campaign in one fell swoop. That’ll save you big dollars!
Food Facts - For independent grocers, the numbers are in your favor! Run your promotions between Mondays and Wednesdays when 34% of Millennials are grocery shopping. It saves you advertising money, and allows you to target a key segment that has close to $600 billion dollars in annual spending power. Moreover, coupons in print and online are good ways to bring in married millennials.
Sell From the Inside, Out - Make sure your staff enjoy working at your company, and your advertising can’t miss. If they don’t — and your customer service is subpar and doesn’t match your ad’s promise — then it doesn’t matter how great the ad is, or how much money you throw at it, your ads are going to give your business a split personality.
Listen to the Wizard of Ads - Author Roy H. Williams always asks why you would want to compete with all the loud and cluttered offers over the weekend when you could be talking to your customers before AND when they need you.
The Early Bird Gets the Warm
Our memories are formed from images, but here’s the kicker — they’re not formed from images we’ve seen with our eyes, but from the images we have seen in the imagination. For your ads to be effective, they will need to be remembered when your prospective buyer has a need for what you’ve advertised. Do you know how to make your advertisements memorable, or are you foolishly trying to schedule your ads to the exact moment of the customer’s need? Tell the customer WHY and wait for WHEN. Give up on the need to predict their precise moment of need.
We know that advertising is everywhere. It’s even made its way to airplane trays, parking meters and bathroom stalls. The media landscape is more polluted than it’s ever been, and one could compare weekend advertisements to an over-packed house on Hoarders. As a consumer yourself, you know this to be true — with incredible amounts of messages consumers, are bombarded with on a daily basis, why not speak to you potential customers during a lighter advertising day? You’ll not only save precious marketing dollars, but you’ll get more attention from them.
Check back next week when we continue our series on advertising failures with #9 - Over-Targeting.
The 12 Causes of Advertising Failure courtesy of Roy H. Williams , author of The Wizard of Ads & Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads.