Sorry to break it to ya’. You want your organizational brand to be welcome – like a beloved family member – in communities and households. You want your brand to be like sweet Grandma Jane dropping by in the morning to make pancakes and shuffle the kids off to school with a kiss on the forehead.
But no one ACTUALLY wants to see your marketing. In reality, marketing and advertising is like your grumpy Uncle Ed, who shows up randomly, expects you to make him pancakes and needs a few bucks for the bus ride home.
That reality is true whether you’re a for-profit business or even a nonprofit promoting an amazing community mission. Marketing and advertising, by nature, is intrusive. But you can’t afford to NOT spread your organization’s message. So what do you do? There’s value in telling your story, gathering new leads, and making new connections and sales.
Let’s examine our premise again: no one wants to see your marketing. Accepting that as true, what’s the next best way to capture the attention of those whose attention doesn’t want to be captured?
To make your marketing and advertising ENGAGING and HELPFUL! To lead through nurturing and communication. Let’s break this down further:
How to Make Your Marketing & Advertising More Appealing
Look at the way you use the internet yourself for a moment. You open a blog post that you want to read, and a pop-up ad blocks your view. You look for the “X” button to close it, but it’s nowhere to be found. You think, “This is so frustrating.”
Or, you’re knee deep in a repair project, and you open a YouTube video to see how to git-er-done. You very impatiently tap your toe just waiting for the opportunity to “Skip Ad”, right?
The harsh reality is, nobody goes online with the intention of seeing advertising. Yet marketers spend billions of dollars each year trying to interrupt people’s browsing experience. (Over 90% of internet users find this annoying and even rude.) It seems like we’re paying money not to get customers, but to annoy and irritate those potential customers, right?
So let’s chat about some sure-fire ways to make your ads more relevant, helpful and effective so you waste less money, and connect more with your target audience.
Principle One: What To Say & How To Say It
For more than 20 years I’ve written and designed ads, blogs, and all other kinds of marketing content. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that you need to be clear in your messaging, and you need to communicate it in a way that captures their attention.
Some of the biggest brands have made so much content that a 30-second or 60-second TV spot is almost irrelevant to their message. Geico commercials about a little lizard helping space lords or football teams has so little to do with insurance. But the most important part of that ad is simply putting THIS message in front of people over and over: “GEICO: 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.”
You can get as creative as you want, but the most important thing is to make your message clear and simple. Some people spend a lot of time being conceptual and trying to evoke emotion. That has some value. But your message, stated simply, is the most important piece.
That’s why copywriters and creatives are valuable for your team. We’re innate idea people. We’re programmed to communicate in witty, concise ways. Creating a conceptual ad is a lot like writing a joke – think one-liner or setup and payoff. The message doesn’t have to be funny, but it has to be smart.
It has to make the viewer/reader think, “Wow, that’s clever” or “That’s interesting” or “That’s useful.” It has to make them want to know more about your product or service. It has to make them feel something positive toward your brand.
Principle Two: Who To Say It To & When To Say It
Understanding your target audience is the key. You need to know who you are talking to, their needs, and consider when and how they are going to be interacting with your message.
You don’t advertise a Lamborghini to 7-year-olds or soccer moms on their way home from school. You don’t market B2B cybersecurity services to college marketing interns.
Know your audiences (you may have multiple audiences):
- Their needs
- Their goals and objectives
- Their pain points
- How they consume content
- Where they consume content
- How they prefer to engage in a digital dialog
Find ways to speak to their demographic profile and provide that context within your messaging. In many industries – especially B2B markets – the goal isn’t to be catchy like a jingle, but rather informative and helpful. That’s where content marketing comes in, providing industry-specific insights and value that solve pain points. It nurtures an ongoing conversation via thought leadership toward an eventual decision on your products or services.
Of course, you have to consider the medium and the timing of your message. You don’t want to use the same message for a banner ad, a video ad and a social media post. You have to adapt your message to the format, the length, and the purpose of each medium.
You also have to consider when your message will be seen or heard by your audience. You don’t want to use the same message for a morning, an afternoon and an evening slot. Adjust your message to the moods, mindsets and motivations of your audience at the most opportune times.
Principle Three: Why To Say It & What You Want Them To Do
Write with a clear objective and a compelling call to action. You can’t just write something catchy or clever and hope it’ll work. You have to know why you’re writing it and EXACTLY what you want your audience to do after seeing or hearing it.
Every ad message should have a clear goal and a clear benefit for the viewer/reader. You have to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” You have to show them how your product or service can solve their problem, fulfill their desire or improve their situation. Give them a reason to care and a reason to act.
Tell them EXACTLY what THEY NEED to do next. Spell it out! You have to give them a clear and easy way to take action. You have to make it as simple and convenient as possible for them to buy your product, sign up for your service, visit your website, or whatever your desired outcome is. Make it irresistible for them to take the next step.
Stop Wasting Money on Marketing & Advertising Nobody Cares About
If you follow these three principles, you’ll be able to create marketing and advertising more relevant, effective and more profitable. You’ll stop wasting money on ads that nobody cares about, and start investing in ads that actually work.
Let’s dive a little further into the history of advertising, and how the pioneers of professional communications tackled these issues and developed winning strategies.
“Like a Good Neighbor…”
I know you know the rest. You’re singing it in your head right now. You know you’ve had a jingle or two caught in your head over the years.
Years ago, when people listened to radio as their main source of entertainment, advertisers would hire ad agencies to create catchy, memorable jingles. Everyone knew that music could create some sort of emotional connection that would make the best ad messages stick in people’s minds.
The brands that consistently presented consumers with these catchy jingles would grow stronger by building recognition and trust. Even then, nobody turned on the radio wanting to hear commercials, so ad agencies had to hire talented musicians and singers to create the jingles that consumers would maybe hum along.
Newspapers: Remember Those?
The same thing was true with newspapers. I worked as an ad designer for a small market newspaper for several years. When I first stepped into that job, I was surprised how little effort and creativity had gone into helping our advertisers actually capture attention.
Readers scanning the newspapers were looking for information that was useful and interesting. If an advertisement didn’t really catch their attention, readers didn’t even see them. There were advertisers wasting thousands of dollars on ads no one was even seeing. I’d like to think I helped to change that in my time there.
Attention Wars: Advertising in the Digital Age
Fast forward to the current challenge. Today, the “tolerance” of advertising by readers and viewers of digital media is much lower than it was when radio and newspapers were dominant media. To make matters worse, the creativity of the messaging today seems to have declined to a bland level that barely registers in the eyes – much less the hearts and minds – of consumers.
And the problem gets bigger.
According to Emilia Kirk in Forbes, “On average, people are exposed to between 6,000 and 10,000 advertisements a day. The average human brain is simply incapable of processing such a bombardment of content, which means the vast majority of ads seen are only ignored or forgotten about within seconds.”
Back to the Golden Age
We’ve come a long way from The Mad Men era. We have trackable analytics and data and information that the old ad agency men would drool over, but there is so much we can learn from the good ol’ days.
The same basic methods to develop creative messaging used in the golden age of advertising can and should be applied to the current digital platforms. Keep in mind that in many cases our goal is to capture the attention of the viewer/reader for only 3–5 seconds. To use a modern advertising example, you’re creating a social media post that a user needs to be able to see and understand what you’re offering in a glance.
Need Help With Your Marketing & Advertising? Contact Grand River Agency Today
If you need help with creating marketing and advertising that works, contact us today. At Grand River Agency, we aren’t just ad creators. We’re professional storytellers. We’re experienced copywriters and designers who can help you craft marketing messages that will capture your audience’s attention, interest and action. We can help you grow your brand, your business and your bottom line.
Don’t miss this opportunity to take your messaging to the next level. Contact us today and let us show you how we can make marketing and advertising content that truly resonates.
Vice President of Client Success, Grand River Agency
Josh is an expert multimedia professional with more than 25 years of experience in graphic design, digital media content production and community outreach. While working for several news and digital media agencies, as well as his own entrepreneurial endeavors, he has built and designed hundreds of websites and other forms of promotional content.
Josh has produced content for print, radio, TV and digital news and advertising firms. He has a keen eye for the
aesthetic, as well as a commitment to organizational visions. Josh has authored 12 books on self-improvement,
faith and career success.