Marketing, Advertising & Branding

5 Simple Steps to Multiply Your Advertising’s Effectiveness

ImageThe secret to advertising that brings result is actually no secret at all. It has been known, written about and implemented for over a century now. It is because most don’t want to find out or even if they have, flout the very basic of the principles that there is so much wastage in advertising.

Here are 5 very simple things that can help your advertising get the results that you want from it. To make it easy for you to remember I call it the AGPTS formula or Audience, Goal, Promise, Trust, Simple method

  1. Audience: Whom are you talking to in your advertising? Never start writing an ad without having a clear picture of the kind of person you want should notice the ad. The best kind of communication is personal; so try and have an image of a real person in your mind, whom you are supposedly addressing in your ad.
  2. Goal: Now imagine that person does see your advertisement, what exactly would you want her to do: make a call, visit your showroom or remember your brand the next time she’s at the supermarket. You’ll be surprised how even seasoned advertisers miss this most important step many a times. This is your call to action. Tell her very specifically what to do, don’t assume she will do it.
  3. Promise: So you want her to make a call, now why should she do it? What’s in it for her? This is the one most important benefit you are promising her that your product or service offers. Be very clear on this and state it in terms of a benefit for her, not a feature that your product has.
  4. Trust: Any promise is only as good as the credibility it has. Why should she believe your product could deliver the benefit you promised in the step above. Talk about the certification, award or ingredient that makes your promise believable.
  5. Simple: Advertising has been found to be most effective when it is easy to understand. In an over-communicated world no one has the time to decipher the complexities of your advertisement. It has to be instantaneously understandable by most of your audience. Creatives tend to flounder on this step. They would want to include symbolism and artistry in their creation. But your audience hasn’t picked up the newspaper for advertising; at the best of the times it is an intrusion.

Sounds very simple, right? Pick up any newspaper or magazine and the number of ads that flout these simple tenets will surprise you.

Next time you create an ad for your business or client, just follow these 5 simple guidelines and see the response grow manifold.

Advertisements

Stop Wasting That Money on Advertising

Customer Experience

I was recently looking around to buying a new car. As I started making enquires and visiting showrooms something became clear to me. Most of the humungous amounts of money being ploughed into advertising was literally going down the drain. The reason – abysmal dealer experience.

Having spent the better part of my life in advertising, this got me thinking. If this was the case with a high involvement product like a car, the situation in other product categories was bound to be far worse.

Haven’t you had the same experience whether it was a laptop, a washing machine or that expensive jacket you were buying? And doesn’t the experience get a zillion times worse when trying to make a complaint or wanting something repaired?

What am I driving at?

Some simple marketing truths. Discovered from this experience:

  1. There’s no way advertising can compensate for poor customer experience.
  2. Better to plug the leak of advertising monies totally till you can ensure the customer experience is absolutely exhilarating.
  3. Make sure every consumer touch point; be it her phone call being answered, the website she’s browsing, the sales person she’s dealing with, the showroom ambience she’s immersed in, is superlative. Even at the cost of curtailing the advertising budget and pumping it into the experiential arena (and when an advertising guy says this, its just got to carry weight.).
  4. Considering the extremely high cost of generating each enquiry today, much more needs to be spent on giving the customer an experience they’d look forward to & tom-tom about all over town.

360 degrees What this really means in simple terms is; as human beings we still   believe what a friend rather than what advertising tells us. So make sure that friend has a good thing to say about your restaurant or store. No amount of killer advertising can salvage a poor experience. Advertising is never ever going to be a substitute for how you were made to feel at the ‘moment of truth’.

In an ideal world there will be superlative product, backed by superlative customer experience, brought alive by superlative advertising. Advertising alone is of little help. And remember, that’s an advertising guy telling you this.

Brand it, or Forget it!

He gets down from his Pulsar, swaggers into college in a pair of crushed Levis jeans and Benetton Tee shirt, atop a pair of just do it Nike shoes and swashes his iPhone furiously thumbing a status update.

Welcome to the Gen-X’s college today, a far cry from the college of yester years where Fashion Street cheese cotton shirt atop any old pair of trousers was good enough and only those who came from the crème-de-la-crème of society would putter in on a Luna, for the rest of us cycles were quite ok.

Brands are as ubiquitous as the number of two wheelers one sees parked in our colleges today. They seem to define our very existence, giving us our identity and personality. Life without brands is impossible to imagine, it would be akin to loosing one’s very identity.

Yet, branding still seems to be an enigma for most marketers and also their waterloo.

“That many brands fail to reach their potential or maintain their equity is neither surprising nor puzzling …The real curiosity may be that strong brands exist at all…” – David Aaker

Coming from one of the most respected authorities on Brand Management the above statement has to be taken seriously.

With the cost of launching new brands reaching stratospheric heights and only a fraction of the hundreds launched every year surviving, the issue does require all some serious rethink.

Once upon a time technological innovation or superiority was a sure ticket to success. Today, fresh entrants and virtual novices have access to the same technology that was a preserve of only established giants earlier. Technology therefore fails to offer a long-term competitive advantage. The ever-shrinking product life cycles further aggravate this problem.

The answer to this puzzle, which is becoming more and more complex by the day, seems to lie only in strengthening the relationship between the brand and its’ customer. Which takes us into the realms of Branding.

Many a marketing pundits have indicated that a strong brand is probably the only real long-term competitive advantage that a company has. It is the only guarantee that a business will continue to enjoy a customer franchise over a sustained period of time. The most hardened of the skeptics have also grudgingly acknowledged this when faced with hard research and financial data supporting this fact.

Landor Associates conducted a study on 23 leading brands, i.e. brands that were number one in their respective categories in 1920s. It was sobering to note that 19 of these brands were still leaders, number ones in their categories in 1997. It had to be more than an accident for so many brands to have consistently led their packs for 75 long years, in the face of all that the competition may have done to dislodge them.

The entire philosophy and the set of activities that these companies may have undertaken to stay ahead of the pack and more importantly, be consistently relevant to the customer can together be broadly termed as Branding.

(First in a series on the subject, to be continued…)

Social Media Marketing: The Power Is Here, Are You Ready For It?

“The internet has upended how consumers engage with brands. It is transforming the economics of marketing and making obsolete many of the function’s traditional strategies and structures. For marketers the old way of doing business is unsustainable,” says David C. Edelman in the Harvard Business Review and all I can say is Amen to it.

It was indeed a nice, little controllable world for marketers, till the consumer didn’t have the power to create his/ her own communication. He could be bombarded with the one-way tirade of 30-second commercials and full-page glossy ads.

Not anymore. The communication carbine has suddenly changed hands now. And marketers are running for cover. It’s unfamiliar territory for them. It certainly is advantage consumer in round one of web 2.0 up until now.

The silver lining is that it certainly isn’t an enemy who’s got the gun; there surely is light at the end of the tunnel. The consumer’s also holds a white flag in the other hand. He too wants to have a dialogue with you. In fact it’s dialogue that social media is all about.

The first thing about this whole business of Social Media Marketing is to get ‘social’. It does require a paradigm shift in the mindset of the marketer, from a monologue he’s been so used to a real dialogue. From speaking to listening. Consumer too seeks answers, solutions & an enduring relationship.

In fact it offers the biggest opportunity, the most powerful set of channels, the strongest relationship building adhesive, the most cost-effective and above all measurable tool that businesses ever had. It is a boon for the small & medium businesses & individual entrepreneur who could never afford the atrociously priced traditional media.

It is this understanding of how Social Media Marketing can be used for both strategic brand building as well as more tactical; enquiry enhancing, sales increasing activity that we shall learn & explore as we move forward in the posts to follow.

I look forward & welcome your ideas on the topic as well as what you’d like to know.

VIA Marketing Forum invites you to a 1 hour session on ‘SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING – HOW YOUR BUSINESS CAN PROFIT FROM IT’ on Sat 5th Feb, 6:30 pm at VIA, Udyog Bhawan, Civil Lines, Nagpur. I shall be making the presentation.