Why Waste Your Marketing Dollars

May 2, 2013

Over the past couple of nights while driving home here in Charlotte, I noticed a plane circling over-head.   The plane was pulling a banner ad promoting a marketing-businessman-paper-plane website for a business here in Charlotte that sells wine, beer and spirits.  I’m not sure what prompted the owner to think that this was a good ROI for his or her marketing dollars.  Sure they were getting a low cost per impression compared to other forms of marketing but is it really going to make people walk through the doors and buy?  I don’t believe the advertising is effective for four reasons

1. Inability to Measure Marketing Effectiveness

How do you determine the effectiveness of your marketing dollars if you cannot measure how many visitors it attracts or more importantly if it results in sales.  If the customer spent $1,000 for one hour of advertising, do they know how many leads and sales were generated.  Do they ask every customer why they came in and note what the customer purchased so they can calculate the increased traffic and increased sales from the aerial banner advertising ?  Billboards, outdoor posters, advertising on taxi cabs, buses are often similarly designed, promoting a brand or website with no clear call to action, offer or way to track performance.  Many of these marketing channels can run a business several thousand to tens of thousand dollars per month.  As a direct accountable marketer, measuring performance of a marketing campaign is vital to determine if your marketing is working and its effectiveness for meeting your marketing goals.

2. No Call To Action

A banner being pulled by a plane has very limited real estate for a marketing message.  Most times it includes a company name or website with a very brief tagline – if that.  How do you relay a call to action or your Unique Selling Points via a banner ad?  When spending your marketing dollars there should always be a goal for moving the customer through the buying cycle.  The marketing message should have a clear call to action and pathway for moving the customer along the buying cycle.  When spending money on marketing the goal for each marketing dollar spent should be tied to some actionable CTA to move the buyer through the buying process. .

3. Timing

The plane was circling overhead on a Monday night.  Most people on a Monday commuting home from work are not thinking about the best place to go and purchase their adult beverages.   It is the beginning of the week and are most likely thinking about what they have to do when they get home, meals that have to be to prepared, what activities they need to take their children to and the other priorities of the week.  How many of the people will remember some distant plane flying overhead pulling a banner ad with a website address.  If somehow they do remember seeing a plane pulling a aerial banner, will they actually remember the marketing message on the banner four to five days later?

4. No Chance at Follow-up

The banner ad like many Superbowl ads, billboard ads and other branding advertising do  not use a platform and offer whereby a database exchange can take place.  You provide something of value to the prospective customer in exchange for their contact information.  The exchange of data, allows you to capture the contact information that is vital for you to do follow-up marketing.  Once captured, you can set the prospective clients up in your database and trigger an automated marketing campaign designed to move them through the buying cycle.

Better Alternatives for Your Marketing Dollars

In conclusion when you invest your marketing dollars you want to:

  1. Understand and define your buyer personas first and foremost.  Each marketing piece and marketing message should be constructed with your buyers in mind.  What will appeal to them?  What are their needs, wants and desires?  What are the pain points you are helping them solve? Where do they go and seek information about the problem they are solving?  What do they like to do in their free time?   For most people its not a plane circling over head pulling a banner.
  2. Define your Unique Selling Points.  What distinguishes you from your competitors?  What is your WOW factor to blow away the competition?  How have you innovated your product or process to enhance your customer’s experience?  If their is no compelling USP then you will be competing on price only.
  3. Determine your Platform and Offers.  What offers will use in order for a prospective client give up their contact information and where do you buyers go to seek this information and where can you make this database exchange?
  4. Determine your Marketing Arsenal.  What tools will use to do follow-up marketing.  Any of the tools from the marketing arsenal should be considered carefully and with your buyer personas in mind.  Because a medium is in-vogue does not make it the right vehicle to use.  Some people may prefer emails to text messaging, it could be a highly targeted direct mail marketing piece to a medical doctor.  Based on the buyer personas you developed you should be able to best determine in what form your targeted prospective customers prefers to receive information.
  5. Marketing Automation, automate, automate, automate.  Once you establish the vehicle and tools from the marketing arsenal, you want to automate the whole process.  When customers receive a message, how often do they receive a message and in what form.  With the technology and tools available today automating the process will set in place a sure method system for educating and moving your clients along through the buying cycle.  You will attract more visitors, convert those visitors to leads, close more leads and finally delight your clients to where they become raving fans.

Don’t fall into the trap this company did by purchasing advertising based on how many eyeballs will see your product or service.  It sounds good…a low cost per impression but your marketing dollars are too valuable to waste.  You want to invest in direct accountable marketing where you can measure results.  This allows you to determine a campaigns effectiveness and reallocate resources to your marketing that is giving your the greatest ROI.

Michael Beauchemin

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Certified Inbound Marketing Consultant committed to helping businesses grow sales through measurable, accountable marketing metrics.
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