The average consumer sees up to 10,000 advertisements per day. Superhuman minds couldn’t even comprehend all of that information, much less use it to rethink their purchasing patterns. Despite the overabundance of marketing messages out there, marketing still remains highly effective and profitable when done right. The question, then, is how do you do it right?
It’s not easy to rise above the absolute deluge of advertisements. Consumers are better than ever at tuning out ads that are too promotional, yet an ad that doesn’t get the fundamental message of the product across is ultimately ineffective. Ads that are too long or complicated lose viewer interest, but those that are too short might not trigger any interest to begin with.
It’s impossible to know for certain what will and won’t appeal to consumers, but that doesn’t mean you need to try to cover every possible base. People respond to strong, directed messages from brands. Knowing exactly what that message should be — and how it should be delivered — is a bit more difficult.
What Makes Marketing Work?
Creating marketing materials that strike the perfect balance is never easy. There may be no secret formula for creating the perfect ads, but there are certain qualities that can help your message stand out from the crowd.
1. Walk the talk.
Only 42 percent of Americans trust businesses, yet trust in a brand is the second most common reason consumers buy what they buy. If businesses want to tap into the power of consumer trust, they need to do more than just make pretty ads. People want to see brands backing up their messaging with action.
Sanja Komljenovic, founder and CEO of ONA Creative, has taken on clients like Snapchat and Nike, but she hasn’t done it with traditional messaging. Komljenovic believes in powerful messages, even if that means narrowing appeal. It might seem scary or risky to invest in a campaign of bold messaging, but strong branding now often pays off later.
“If you want to have a mission-driven brand,” says Komljenovic, “you have to be willing to take the risk and understand you will not be everything to everyone, but you will be something special to the people that matter to you – your target consumer.” Companies like Patagonia or Nike that throw themselves behind their messaging might alienate consumers here and there, but they’re also generating huge amounts of appeal for their core customer base.
2. Respond to the moment.
Different styles of marketing campaigns have been effective for different reasons at different times, but the best ads are almost always perfectly of their time. Think about Apple’s famous “1984” advertisement — it effectively captured the moment of exciting smaller companies taking a chunk out of the older, “grayer” IBM’s business.
Not every ad can be a zeitgeist, but people are far more likely to respond to marketing that speaks to their life at that moment than ads that seem dated or out of touch. Assess what’s going on in the moment, and look for ways your brand can respond to that energy.
Making the moment work for your brand, though, is a delicate balance. Take, for example, the large number of companies that rebranded their social media for Pride month. While some of this branding was successful, some of it sparked potentially damaging backlash. Every move you make when trying to appeal to current trends needs to be carefully considered; there’s a fine line between appearing sincere and appearing to pander when it comes to moment-based marketing.
3. Make ads valuable.
DVR and streaming services have greatly reduced the power of television commercials, and browser-based ad blockers are more common than ever. How is it possible to get your ads noticed? One way is by not making them look like ads.
Think about ways you can provide a product or service that also promotes your brand. One good example of this is IKEA’s 2012 Moving Day campaign in Montréal. July 1 is the most popular day to move apartments in the city, so IKEA trucks drove the streets of Montréal dropping off free branded moving boxes. By promoting its company through a means that actually mattered to people, IKEA entered the good graces of thousands of movers that day. It’s not hard to guess which company first came to mind when it was time to buy furniture for a new apartment.
Developing useful free tools or services for consumers is a great way to gain prospects’ trust without too much effort. Find something people want, and give it to them — there’s no better way to earn appreciation.
The old ways of advertising simply aren’t working as well as they used to. If your brand wants to stay above the fray, you need to be intentional and innovative with your messaging. Cutting through the noise can put your brand a cut ahead of the competition in the long run.