10 Oct Turning ads into sales: Context is king
It’s estimated that the typical customer is bombarded with more than 3,000 advertisements each day. So it’s not surprising that consumers are ignoring all but the most relevant ones.
Marketers used to view advertising and mass media as one-in-the-same. A good ad campaign typically meant blasting the same ad across mass media as often as possible. A successful campaign was one that reached a huge audience several times.
Jay Townley, president of Bike Marketer, a company that helps bike retailers increase their sales through direct response marketing, said the rules have changed for marketers. Like many industries, he said advertising has entered a realm of mass-customization.
“What marketers are learning is that traditional, institutional advertising just isn’t effective anymore,” Townley said. “Marketing efforts need to be consumer-centric. They need to focus on the needs of the individual. You need to recognize the different needs that customers have and provide them with a well-tailored, customized message.”
The Internet is the perfect place for companies to personalize marketing efforts. According to a recent study at Ball State University (http://www.bsu.edu/cmd/article/0,,36599–,00.html), individuals spend more time with the computer than any other medium, with the single exception of the TV. This includes online activities such as Web, e-mail or instant messaging and offline desktop software. That provides companies with an opportunity to target customers based on the Web pages they visit. It also allows savvy marketers to provide customized content based their online behavior.
Those that take advantage of personalizing their online communications will find themselves at an advantage – at present, 60% of online retailers don’t use personalization on their site or in communications.
Personalization begins by knowing the target market, its subgroups, and the differing needs among target group members. When developing a website for a refractive surgery clinic, we identified three dominant groups within the target market: individuals considering refractive surgery for the first time; individuals trying to identify the right type of refractive surgery for themselves; and those ready for refractive surgery.
We met the needs of each group by dividing the site into three areas. A “What is refractive surgery?” section provided the first group with basic information. A self-assessment tool and “What’s the latest?” section provided the second group with help making their decision. And a “Why choose us?” section was provided for customers that were ready to buy.
When individuals subscribe to a newsletter or website, they provide marketers with an opportunity to gain personal information that can be used to improve marketing efforts. For example, a bike store that asked subscribers what type of biking they’re interested in when they sign up, can provide a more personalized newsletter than one that only collects an e-mail address.
Whether at home, at work, in the car or elsewhere, media are almost always with us, often in many forms at the same time.
Marketers can make better use of offline media by using well-tailored messages in well-targeted locations:
• Direct mail – When it comes to personalization, direct mail can be almost as effective as the Internet. A good direct mail campaign requires a good list. Instead of sending the same direct mail piece to all customers, consider their individual interests and try to come up with smaller campaigns targeted at special interests within your customer base.
• Broadcast – If you’re considering radio or TV, select spots based on the programming, not just the station. Think about cable stations and programming that are likely to attract your customers. Purchase time on those channels from your local cable affiliate. Look for opportunities to sponsor programs that attract your target market.
• Print – Don’t depend on a single ad to appeal to everyone within your target market. Consider using three or four different ads that are targeted at different segments of your target market.
• Billboards – Consider the wide range of billboard alternatives that exist beyond typical outdoor billboard. You can advertise in a variety of locations: buses, bus shelters, airports, sports venues, movie theatres and dozens of other places. Consider non-traditional outdoor advertising tactics such chalkings, static-clings, wild postings, and sidewalk decals. Pay close attention to the locations where ads appear and how timing may influence the effectiveness of your ad.
According to the BSU study, 56.9% of all media exposures take place in the home, 21.1% takes place at work, 8.3% in the car and 13.7% in other locations.
Most successful businesses understand that only a limited number of people will buy their products or services. The task then becomes determining, as closely as possible, exactly who those people are, and ‘targeting’ the business’s marketing efforts and dollars toward them. Thus, effective marketing is based on context – the ability to understanding your customers, where they are in the buying process, and what information will motivate them toward a purchase.
Savvy marketers use better-targeted and better-tailored messages.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. (WTN). WTN, LLC accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.