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STRATEGIC MARKETING TIPS From Business Marketing Impact

How To Develop Advertising That Really Works

BY TERRY L. PENNINGTON, CBC

Creating effective advertising is more difficult today than it was in the past. There are several reasons why and every single one of them affects the results of even good work.

One limiter is the sheer competition for your attention. Back in the ‘70s people were exposed to as many as 20,000 promotion impressions every single day. Today I understand that figure is estimated as high as 26,000+.

Subliminal Repression is its Defense

Such a volume is beyond the brain’s ability to process and still perform all of the other functions it handles. Consequently, everyone’s brain practices what is called Subliminal Repression, which excludes the majority of the messages it receives, retaining only a select few.

Another limiter is the fact that it is estimated that approximately 65% of all Americans suffer from some form of learning disorder. Even college graduates are plagued with this malady.

How can you overcome these odds?

In order to develop effective advertising it is necessary to understand what the Ad’s primary mission is. It should accomplish four things which are: inform, persuade, and remind or reinforce a purchase decision. The ad should effectively communicate the brand’s distinctive value.

Further, it should be copy/concept tested to ensure that it:

  • Grabs attention
  • Generates interest
  • Establishes confidence
  • Stimulates action
Benefit from your Competitors Efforts

Before your fingers hit the keyboard, it’s a good idea to review what the competition is doing to see if their ads address these axioms. Look for copy tone, specific or implied claims, a unique selling proposition, the products presentation, use of color and the over-all quality level of the visual.

There is No Success in Sameness

Note what each of the competitors say and what they don’t say. Look for Believability, not Blah. Don’t be surprised if you discover a great deal of sameness in their presenta-tions. Lots of Creatives find there is safety in sameness.

You will be left with a distinct impression regarding each ad’s persona. Try taking some drafting tape and put them all up on a wall. It will certainly put their individual characteristics on display. The leaders will stand out and the me toos can’t hide.

The Good Stuff Will Stop You Cold

When I put them all up for review, each ad gets categorized into three groups. The first group is: Wow, I Wish I’d Done That--the second group is the Not Bad, But Not Good Either and the third of course, is The Just Plain Yuck group. You will probably find that the Wow stack isn’t very large--Not when you start applying the principles detailed in the beginning of this piece.

Every company would like it’s advertising to hit the apex or at least be included in the Recall Seeing and Reading surveys. But very few get there.

Homework, Effort and Guts

Most advertising lacks impact. Very little of it stands out and demands attention. Why? Because creating effective advertising takes hard work, courage, discipline, creativity and a comprehensive understanding of the media to be used as well as an indepth understanding of the product. You can only push the envelope successfully if you know the rules.

Advertising that works is painstakingly crafted to capture the target’s attention. A strong graphic presentation supported with a dramatic or provocative headline will create awareness. It will stop your prospects dead in their tracks compelling them to read the copy.

Therein lies the rub as the great Bard said

If the first lines of your copy don’t support your graphics and headline you will lose them faster than the two seconds it took to attract them. This is the age of I want it all and I want it now-and don’t try to sell me!

Be Bold, Be Different, Be Successful

Contrary to popular belief, simply running full page four or more color bleeds or spreads won’t assure you of parity when it comes to reader interest. So, use a guerilla warfare approach. Do your homework and hit them where they live. It will pay off big in interest and response. If the majority of the ads in the top three target market publications are four color, full page or more --opt for Black &White--or maybe two insertions or even a series of fractional ads.

Be Daring not Boring

Make sure your headline and graphics presentations stand out. You will be pleased with the results if you do. What you will achieve is intrusiveness into the reader’s awareness--after all, that is or should be your objective. Achieving a sustained share of the reader’s awareness generates maximum response.

Good Advertising Achieves it’s Goals

Copy/Concept research indicates that advertising literally has 2 seconds to capture a prospect’s attention. Keeping it requires compelling copy.

The first sentence has to draw them into the rest of the body copy. If it doesn’t, kiss the reader goodbye. But if it does, you’ve got a good chance to achieve Readership Recall, generate an inquiry or sell some product.

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