A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
I consider myself a brave and unyielding advertising hunter. I watch, listen to, engage with, and critique advertising as much as I can. Of course the majority of Americans, especially in our socially-charged Internet era, are truly advertising adverse. I believe it is because an overwhelming amount of advertising lacks teeth, is absent of substance, truant of consumer relevancy, and becomes innocuous among the sea of content running through our busy cloud-based minds.
Consider these statistics and ask yourself, what were the last 3 advertisements you saw across any medium, especially on television, which are the most expensive. Can't remember? Well then you are in very good company:
1. 200 million out of 310 million consumers are registered on the "do not call phone list" according to the FTC, July 2011.
2. According to Guardian Research from August 2012, 86% of TV viewers skipped on air advertisements.
3. The EPA.gov in November 2011 said 44% of all direct mail pieces are never opened, simply discarded as trash.
4. According to PowerReviews February 2102, 79% of online shoppers spend 50% of their time researching products for specific feature details before they decide to purchase.
There are hundreds of statistics that reveal consumers wanting, demanding and pining for properly revealed and relevant brands and products; that they are exhausted with lackluster ad messaging; that indeed special interest publications, special interest programming and information warrants huge fan ratings, and careful targeting considerations. In those highly relevant environments, statistics prove again and again that consumers read advertisements intently, more than the offered editorial, more than the entertaining show or researched information itself.
These basic advertising tenants, to hunt where those who have the need and the means to engage, is true for legacy advertising as well as for our new reverse engineered social networking chores. You know: to hunt for fertile brand and product social groups, to listen and take notes intently, to join the group to eventually reveal who, what, where and just why you represent a profitable engagement for potential buyers.
So, let us agree to a set of highly effective advertising principles; hunting chores to ensure our ability to deliver profitable ROI, and the creation of new margin pools based upon creating effective and efficient consumer demand:
1. Hunt alongside and with consumers. When you run with the wolves acceptance is warranted and given. You, your brand, your products and intentions become one with the already trusted pack.
2. Core down and heavy up on your most important and profitable consumer pack based upon where they hunt for product and brand knowledge. In essence narrowcast do not broadcast your messages, to ensure highest returns, greatest market impact and opportunity.
3. Within your most fertile selling environments: be big in size, be colorful in scope, to grab attention and be differentiated to stand out, all with heavy consistency and frequency.
4. The goal of each and every advertising engagement must be to gain consumers' attention, interest, conviction, desire, and to close them. Close them on wanting your product and brand, close them to take action ASAP.
5. Please be direct in your advertising messaging. Skip the nonsensical metaphors, skip the boring silliness, skip the lack of relevancy. Tell them what you have, sell them why they need it, convince them you're better than your competitors. Motivate them to diligently hunt for your brand and products.
6. Be creative in the language of consumer relevancy designed to drive ROI. Trust me, it is easy and intellectually cheap for an ad agency to be irrationally creative. Rational creativity that causes consumer demand and builds a pack of hungry buying consumers is by definition profitable ROI.
7. Hire only a hungry, caring, market vested advertising agency. One you do not have to retrain on your products, brand and market place but rather a marketing team that has competed against you successfully in the market and earned the right for your business through proven sales results.
And yes, of course the argument can be made that if a TV advertisement causes a consumer to research for more product information then the very expensive TV ad messaging has succeeded. Only problem with that theory is while searching for real juicy, product-centric, relevant information about your product, consumers run smack into your competitor's hungry and highly-relevant advertisements, which both distracts your potential consumer's mission and destroys your mission when the purchase is realized and granted to your competition.
If you are a market-making wolf, prove it competitively by acting, running, jumping and howling like the lead wolf. This way those hunting for the very best leadership product will find you, recognize you, appreciate you, and indeed run with you and your product/brand pack. Too many market competitors, based on weak and irrelevant advertising appear to be wolves in sheep's clothing. Some have excellent, highly-competitive products and associated brand, however, somehow allow their messaging, their communications, their advertising to dress up in sheep's clothing to be profit slaughtered through competitive disadvantage.
A wolf in sheep's clothing just like an irrelevant advertisement; is full of mis-directions and metaphoric blather. Reality? No one has actually seen a wolf in sheep's clothing but we have unfortunately all seen and witnessed poorly stated and limp-wristed product and brand advertisements seemingly in sheep's clothing followed by the largest museum of failed products, failed intentions, failed market opportunity.
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