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Ads With Legs (2012-2013) was an award-winning blog I created for The Press of Atlantic City. It offered timely and creative information to local advertisers from Press staff as well as some outside experts. This archive is a collection of my posts.
In an new booklet called What Business Are You In?, media consultants Paul Kurnit and Steve Lance give a quick 50-page overview of what most businesses need to know to start a sensible marketing plan. Many businesses ask “what media should I be in?” The answer on page 29 states: “Your communication plan should identify the vehicles and platforms that will best connect with your consumer… How can you best reach your consumer multiple times in multiple ways at multiple times of day that will inspire multiple sales opportunities and occasions?” In case you missed it, the key word is “multiple.” In advertising this is frequently called “Frequency,” and is often overlooked by small- and medium-sized businesses. Ad studies show that consumers need to be “touched” several times to integrate a message into their psyches. One quarter-page ad run four times is more powerful than one full-page ad, because of frequency. This is not to denigrate full-page ads. Size does matter, and one full-page ad run four times is more powerful than both a quarter-page ad run four times, or a full-page ad run one time. This is not just a print formula. It’s an ad formula. For instance, one 30-second spot on radio is more likely to not only be heard, but remembered if it’s run multiple times either over a day, week, or month. It's the reason you'll sometimes hear one 30-second ad run twice in the same minute. We know people hear without listening, listen without retaining, and only retain after a message breaks through to their brains after multiple repeats. As our mothers long suspected, things really do go in one ear and out the other. The goal of effective advertising is to get the message stuck in a brain before it exits out the other ear. When considering an ad campaign, frequency can’t be discussed frequently enough. It’s what makes one message into multiple messages and multiplies the effectiveness of any ad campaign. Even famous Superbowl TV commercials don’t run once. They just get their debut at the Superbowl and then, if they don't bomb with the public, are the start of a usually much longer campaign. The Walk-Away: A step is not a walk. One ad is not a campaign. To get anywhere in advertising, make sure your ads aren’t just one step forward, but a true walk toward getting you the results you want.
What do business locations and advertising have in common? Both, if chosen and used carefully, bring the two elements of visibility and traffic to foster business growth. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) generally have an easier time understanding the importance of location and visibility in choosing real estate than they do with choosing advertising, but the principles are the same. A business that can’t easily be found loses traffic – both planned and serendipitous. If a trip to a business is planned, and it’s too hard to find the location, a consumer can simply give up. And if the location is not easily seen from main roads, a business can lose impulse traffic from those just passing by. The same holds true for business advertising regardless of medium. For instance, outdoor bulletins on unlit billboards can’t be seen at night and the extra fee for billboards with lighting is likely worth the expense in added visibility for evening hours particularly during winter months. On TV, ads positioned at 2AM or even 2PM have far less visibility than ads positioned during prime time or news hours. In newspapers, ads positioned on key editorial pages and designed large enough to dominate share of space gain much higher visibility than ads that are smaller and stacked with other ads. There are different ad positions for higher visibility and targeted to specific audience based on your advertising objectives. The key to ad visibility is clarity and not making a consumer choose between viewing your ad or someone else's. It’s the reason that half billboards (where two advertisers each take one half of a billboard) are never recommended. Motorists barely have time to read one ad while speeding by at 60 mph, much less two. The Walk-away: One key to advertising success is to insure that ad placement gives you a great location for consumers to see you and that the ad is positioned in such a way as to be clearly visible without fighting with other ads for consumer attention.