Retailers are asking, “Why do people buy from my competitors without even giving us a chance?” And I reply, “They gave you a chance. They just didn’t physically come to your store.”
Customers carry instant access to all the knowledge of the world in their pockets. They no longer have to visit stores or even call them on the phone to compare prices and research their options.
Why would a customer drive to a store to get expert guidance when better, faster, more objective guidance is instantly available online?
You can argue, if you like, that the information your advertiser provides is far superior to the information available online. And you might even be right. But customers are looking for information immediately. They’re looking for information right this second. They gave your client a chance when they went online. That website just didn’t volunteer what they wanted.
If your client’s answer to your listener’s query had been available online, Google would likely have directed them to it.
“Advertising is a tax you pay for not being remarkable.”
There are three keys to being remarkable:
1: Correctly anticipate the customer’s desire.
Is your client doing this? Are they customer-sensitive, or are they struggling to sell what they’re convinced people ought to buy “if we could only make them understand”? If you have a client who says, “You need to help me educate the public,” tell your client that radio can drive the customer to their website, but “education” is best done online. I tried to educate the public until I finally realized that it was never going to work. Save yourself and your client the heartbreak. Get on board with what your customer wants.
2: Satisfy the customer’s desire. Hold nothing back.
Win big. When a client says they are “competitive,” that means their offer is virtually indistinguishable from the offers made by their competitors. Is your client in the game to compete, or to win? It’s amazing how much better radio works when your client actually has something to say.
3: Package your offer magnetically.
A magnetic offer is impossible to ignore, even when your listener isn’t currently in the market for that product or service. A magnetic offer is sticky, repeatable, remarkable. It’s an offer that no one else has the courage to make. A magnetic offer is where word-of-mouth begins.
These are simple things, but as my friend Jeffrey Eisenberg says, “Simple isn’t always easy.”
Particularly “not easy” is this challenge of magnetic packaging.
Magnetic packaging begins with strategy. “What would the customer be delighted to hear?” Answer this question resoundingly, and you have the beginnings of a radio campaign whose results are easy to measure.
Ad strategy is more difficult to teach than ad copy.
Strategy is determining what a customer would like to hear.
Copy is deciding how best to say it.
Impact in advertising is 80 percent strategy, 20 percent copy. This makes it nearly impossible for good copy to compensate for weak strategy.
We create failure when we pretend that creativity can overcome the fact that our advertiser has nothing to say.
Morris Hite said it sharply enough to pop a balloon: “If an ad campaign is built around a weak idea — or, as is so often the case, no idea at all — I don’t give a damn how good the execution is, it’s going to fail. If you have a good selling idea, your secretary can write your ad for you.”
The most annoying creatures on earth are those smug little weasels who preach that the secret of successful advertising is to isolate the media that reaches the right customer. In effect, these weasels are selling a treasure map. “The reason you haven’t found the treasure,” they say, “is because you’ve been digging in all the wrong places.”
But the treasure isn’t buried at all. It’s in the pockets and purses of everyone you see. And if your client offers these people something they’d rather have than their treasure, they’ll hand your client that treasure with a smile and say, “Thank you.” And then they’ll tell all their friends that they should give your client some treasure, too.
Want to know a secret? The media that delivers the message is the least important part of the advertising equation. When the message is right, any media will work. When the message is wrong, no media will.
During the decade when I lived in hotel rooms and taught advertising in 50 cities a year, my least favorite moment was when an advertiser would follow me into the bathroom during a break and casually lean over to say, “Mr. Williams, I’m in the [INSERT CATEGORY HERE] business. How do you suggest I advertise? Is it TV? Is it radio? Is it the Internet?”
This happened to me a lot more often than you might think.
How would you have answered?