Advertising works. Even if you swear it doesn’t have any effect on you, you’re most likely wrong!
Companies spend millions of dollars every year in Australia on their advertising campaigns. From television spots, radio airtime, direct mail outs of flyers and brochures to putting up a stand at a trade show at the Gold Coast convention centre. All of these advertising avenues bring customers through the door to spend their money.
Every one of these activities is analysed and companies know exactly what type of return they can expect from each one. If there was no return from these marketing activities, the businesses would soon stop spending their money on them and find another way to sell their products and services.
But they don’t. Because advertising definitely works.
The best advertisements don’t inspire you to rush out and buy a new car this very moment. They leave the idea about that cool car. The ad is on the television 4 times during your favourite TV show. Sometimes you watch it. Sometimes you hear it as you get up and make yourself a coffee. Other times you ignore it completely as you rush off to do a chore or make a call in the ad break.
By the time you see the advertisement for the 20th time later in the week, you watch that snazzy little car zip into that little car space and drive around the winding mountain road and you think nice!
Then when you see a billboard on the Gold Coast later in the month advertising the same car, you are reminded of its cool features. Since you are driving in your beat up car, you think gee, I’d like one of those that can reverse park all on its own!
6 months later when your own car finally gives up the ghost you might just head off to the dealer of the car that you saw all those months ago in that advertising campaign. And you might not even realise that you were influenced by it. It will probably seem like your own idea by this time – you’ve always wanted a car that can do its own reverse parking haven’t you?
Studies have proven that memorable colours, jingles and events capture people attention and influence their buying decisions. Take any child who watches a lot of television to the supermarket and ask them which brand of a particular product they think you should buy. Very often the response will be ‘we should buy this one because the advertisement says such-and-such and here, let me sing you the song!’
Almost everyone in Australia knows the ‘Happy Little Vegemites’ song. That’s advertising leaving a long term impression on us. A catchy jingle, cute black and white ads with rosy cheeks coloured up nicely to catch our attention. How can we resist? (You’re remembering that ad right now aren’t you?)
Think of the best Super Bowl advertisements. Giant corporations don’t make those amazing ads for their own entertainment. They spend millions on the production of the ad and more millions getting themselves a spot on the telecast of the big game. They make the ads memorable and sometimes controversial to get people talking about them for weeks afterwards.
Then they send the best of those ads out into the world to continue advertising their products. On Australia’s Gold Coast, it’s not uncommon to see a movie in a cinema and have the previews include advertisements that were first aired at the Super Bowl. You can’t get much further away than Australia, but still the ads show there in movie cinemas and on television screens.
And then there are the television programs that occasionally air showing the most interesting/controversial/funniest TV advertisements of all time. In Australia these seem to air every two years or so. Imagine the extra push your company receives when viewers are exposed to the advertisement years later. That kind of product placement is truly priceless if you can create a memorable enough ad.
Many of the people who claim not to be influenced by advertising are the same ones who will happily sit in on a Saturday night on the Gold Coast and watch a one hour programme of the best ads of all time! That’s the power that advertising has.
So how exactly can you get advertising to work for you in the same way?
Maybe you don’t have amazing budgets to throw around like those big corporations do. Perhaps you are just starting out and need to find sensible ways to get your message heard.
You can still harness the same power of their advertising techniques. You just need to start out a bit smaller!
- Have a company create a memorable jingle for your business. Radio stations often offer this service as part of their advertising package. They have staff to make jingles and have all the recording equipment on hand so it’s easy enough for them to make it happen. It’s a good idea to have several to choose from. The jingle you choose doesn’t have to be the nicest. It sometimes doesn’t hurt to have an annoying jingle or catchphrase. People remember things that really irk them!
- Repetition is the key. Repeated TV advertising or radio messages in a certain time slot. The same message repeated in the local Gold Coast newspapers and in mail box flyers. Even a giant billboard or two on the Pacific Motorway will help reinforce your message.
- Printed advertising materials could be your best friend. They are inexpensive to produce and have delivered. You can regularly get the message out to your potential customers without breaking the bank.
- Ensure your company branding is included in all advertising streams. The same message should be carried across all mediums to enforce the repetition aspect of advertising.
- Invoke feelings in your audience with your advertising message. If you don’t have the skills to do this consider employing staff who do, or outsource this task to an advertising agency.
- If one approach doesn’t work try another. Advertising can be a little hit and miss. Keep trying until you get your message right.
Starting off small doesn’t have to be a disadvantage. You have the option of giving your customers personalised service and even discussing your ads with them when they come to your business. Big business has the data to prove that advertising works. You may have to spend a little time collecting your own data to convince you that it will work for you too!
Remember it’s not the actual advertisement that will matter to people. It’s the impression that you manage to leave, the feelings that you provoke and the idea that your customer will have about your product. If you want to sell a product or service you really need to make your customer feel something about it.