A while ago I was talking to the business owner of a medium sized Florists – she has shops in three separate locations – and she was saying how disheartened she was by the results she was getting with her advertising…
She also said how very disappointed she was with her existing marketing agency because their current advertising was actually generating LESS response than before… despite assurances from the agency to the contrary.
She told me how she had always used advertising to generate business, and while it was sometimes a bit hit and miss, she did feel that this time she was actually taking some pretty major steps back.
She was clearly more than a little worried by it all, so I offered to take a look at her ads for her, to see if there was anything I could suggest that might help. You could almost see the weight lift from her shoulders. She thanked me and said she would post me copies of the last few ads she had been using.
Sure enough, the following day, a large A4 envelope arrived in the post, which was stuffed full of copies of the adverts she had been using (looked more like the full 8 years worth rather than just the last “few”), but I could see the problem almost straight away…
… there was NOTHING compelling about them – they were all based on “Institutional Advertising”, and by that I mean advertising that doesn’t directly ask for an instant response.
The marketing agency had been creating adverts just like anybody else’s.
If you are not sure of the type of ad I mean, just take a moment and flick through any Business Directory… you’ll see HUNDREDS of samples of this type of ad – an example on pretty much every page!
Now if you are looking at building your brand and you are simply trying to build “brand awareness” then this type of advertising might be exactly what you are looking for, but building the image of your business won’t in itself bring in the sales.
There may well have been a time when having an advert which is focused on your business might have generated sales, but those days have long gone – just look at the results people are getting – poor, if at all.
But people are so much more careful than they were about how, where and with who they spend their money. No longer is it enough just to tell people you are there and hope they will buy from you.
What a lot of business owners don’t seem to realise – and it’s a harsh reality – is that the majority of your customers, clients and prospects really DON’T CARE about you, your business or what you sell – so any “brand awareness” or image advertising you do – unless you have EXTREMELY deep pockets – will be totally wasted.
You see, the point that gets missed (and which is a revelation for most people when they ‘get it’) is that people are only interested in the RESULTS they get from using your product or service, NOT the actual product or service that you offer.
They are looking for a SOLUTION to their problem(s).
Is brand and reputation important? – of course it is – but it shouldn’t be the FOCUS of your marketing…
… your focus should be on what your customers, clients and prospects actually WANT and NEED, NOT on what your company is called or how long you have been established. These points are important, but further down the relationship-road.
If you have the deep marketing pockets of the likes of McDonalds, Nike, Coca-Cola etc., then brand awareness promotion and brand building may well be effective, but for the average business – regardless of size – it doesn’t actually work.
What I find sad is that there is a large proportion of marketing agencies who still insist on taking their clients down the ‘brand awareness’ route, rather than focusing on the response they can get from the end reader.
Anyhow… ask yourself, which would you prefer…
- Advertising that generates sales almost immediately, or
- Adverts which build up your brand in the hope that sometime in the future, when the they are in need of your product or service, your prospective customer will remember you amongst all of the other advertisers who have bombarded them, and then when they are ready to buy – even if they have remembered you – that they will decide to buy from you?
I don’t really think there is a choice…
Successful marketing is ALL about the client and NOT about the business.
You need to focus your marketing on the answers to the questions about WHY people buy your type of product or service – what is/are the problem(s) that your product or service solves for them? What can you offer that will take that problem away from them? What will be the benefit to the client once that problem is removed?
That’s what makes a difference to the response you get.
But if you are still not convinced, then consider this…
What is the purpose of your ad?
… To look pretty and get your logo out there?
… Or is it to generate business, to get people calling you to buy from you?
I suspect for most heart-led people who genuinely want to help their clients.
So you should think of your advert as your sales person sitting down in front of the prospect – as John E Kennedy was famously quoted as saying, “advertising is salesmanship in print.”
Now if you accept that, what would they be saying to the prospect to get their interest, to build their desire and get them to a point of saying “yes”?
Would they be saying “Hi, my name’s Peter from XYZ Ltd and we’ve been established since 1988, and we offer A, B and C and you can call me if you decide you might like some of what we have to offer…”
Or would you be more inclined to say, “Hi, my name’s Peter… What seems to be your problem?… Perhaps there is something I can offer that can help?”
It’s well known that people only buy from people after they have gone through the know-like-trust barrier, but which approach do you think will start building that all important relationship?
I know which approach I’ve found the most effective…
Focus on what they want, and the solutions to their most common problems and concerns, and you can’t help but generate response to your advertising and other marketing.
If you would like to share any of your personal experiences, observations or the results you’ve achieved using these or similar tips, please leave your comments and/or thoughts below. I always love to hear from you:
If you would like to find out how you can improve your marketing, advertising or businesses processes, then I have a limited number of business health checks available here Business Health Check