Articles Tagged with advertising

Guaranteed sleep remedies

Some words and phrases are used so much in marketing, advertising and public relations that they have lost their original power.
New is an obvious one, but enhanced, improved and innovative have also become almost meaningless. How often do official enquiries conclude that “lessons have been learnt”, only for organisations to make the same mistakes again?
Often our response can be to turn off, stop listening and, if we’re trapped in a conference or presentation, even nod off to sleep.
This creates a challenge when marketing products and services, especially when you do have a genuinely new or improved product and your audience has become immune to hyperbole.
What can you do? One answer is to aim for a balance of fresh, upbeat messages that reflect your products realistically. Use language itself to create a lively atmosphere by developing an active voice (eg saying you do something rather than that it was done to you), by cutting out unnecessary words and avoiding clichés.
While it’s harder work than using safe but tired words and phrases, the extra effort can produce messages that really are exciting, grab the attention of customers and persuade them to buy. When they’re enjoying themselves people can be readier to listen your message and take it in. They’ll certainly be more responsive than if they were asleep.

Some words and phrases are used so much in marketing, advertising and public relations that they have lost their original power.

New is an obvious one, but enhanced, improved and innovative have also become almost meaningless. How often do official enquiries conclude that “lessons have been learnt”, only for organisations to make the same mistakes again?

When we feel we’ve heard it all before, our response can be to turn off, stop listening and, if we’re trapped in a conference or presentation, even nod off to sleep.

This creates a challenge when marketing products and services, especially when you do have a genuinely new or improved product and your audience has become immune to hyperbole.

What can you do? One answer is to aim for a balance of fresh, upbeat messages that reflect your products realistically. Use language itself to create a lively atmosphere by developing an active voice (eg saying you do something rather than that it was done to you), by cutting out unnecessary words and avoiding clichés.

While it’s harder work than using safe but tired words and phrases, the extra effort can produce messages that really are exciting, grab the attention of customers and persuade them to buy. When they’re enjoying themselves, people can be readier to pay attention to your message and take it in.

They’ll certainly be more responsive than if they were asleep.

 

Prove it!

It’s good to be able to believe what we read and see, but experience teaches us not to trust everything. In the world of marketing, advertising and PR, colours can often appear brighter, flavours more tempting and experiences more exciting than in the real world or so it seems . . . until we make a reality check.

Do airline adverts match up to the experience of being squeezed into a Smarties tube? Do car adverts reflect those notorious intermittent faults that main dealers can’t track even with their hi-tech diagnostics programs? Does this year’s new toothpaste taste any different from the new toothpaste of last year and every year before that?

Have to make a quick cynicism adjustment here. Ah, that’s better.

But is it really possible to create promotional material that is genuine, truly representative of the product or service and still interesting enough to excite customers?

Yes, although sometimes advertisers can get too close to their products. After the market research, the product development and design, the brand creation, it can be difficult not to get excited. After all, if you don’t believe in your product, why should your customers? But it’s important to remember that your product could be just one of a dozen, hundreds or thousands of similar products on the market.

Just saying a product is exciting, innovative or better won’t make it any of these. If you want to say it’s better, faster, more efficient, then prove it. Give real examples backed by data. Get customers to test it and give their opinions. If they say it is better, that’s great.

Does it matter? Will anyone notice? They probably will and customers don’t like to be tricked, deceived or misled, even if you genuinely believe your product beats all the competition. Both you and your customers are likely to have greater confidence in your product when you back up your claims and it could even give you an edge over competitors whose claims are vague and unproven.

So if you make a claim for a product, prove it.

 

Choosing communications providers

Whatever supermarkets say, each one has different strengths and weaknesses and not one of them ever offers precisely what we want. It’s the same with communications and marketing providers.

When you want a specific communications job done, it’s best to select someone who either has existing expertise in that field or can demonstrate the capability to do that type of work. Just like the supermarkets, some providers are better at some things than they are at others.

When you’re selecting a copywriter, look at what type of work they specialise in: advertising, online content, print magazines, public relations, corporate communications or consumer material. Each one requires a specific approach and not all copywriters will be capable of handling them all, although some will.

It’s useful to see samples of the work that a copywriter has produced to help decide whether you want them to write your copy. It’s not the most important thing, as you also need to develop a good working relationship with a writer. Also, just because they have no experience of a particular type of work, doesn’t mean that they won’t be good at it. If you want a versatile writer who can write for different media, the relationship and overall ability could be more important.

On the other hand, if a writer feels out of their depth or is not confident about a certain type of work, they shouldn’t take it on.

All this applies to other providers, including graphic designers and web site developers.

The best result is to find communications providers you can trust to come up with effective material that will meet your objectives.

After our last blog, have you checked your communications to see if everything is up to date?

z2zine tomorrow: Understanding the numbers game

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Measuring your communications success

So we’ve developed a communications plan and are putting it into practice by working towards long-term goals and taking short-term actions daily, but how do we know if anything’s working?

Like anything we do in business, it’s essential to measure success, especially where we’re putting a lot of time or money into an activity.

Our business plan will suggest appropriate targets to us, but we have to work out how to tell if we are meeting these.

There are many different ways of measuring the success of communications. One of the simplest is to ask people, such as asking customers how they found out about your company or product. You can do this in person or on the phone or develop a more comprehensive survey for people to fill in.

You can also develop specific response mechanisms so that customers respond with a unique code printed in an advert (letting you know they saw that advert) or access a special web page so you can count how many responses your activity generated. While simply measuring increases in responses or sales tells you that your communications are working, it won’t tell you why it’s working or which activities work better than others. If you advertise in three publications, it’s useful to know which one generates a bigger response as you might wish to increase your advertising in that one and stop advertising in the other two. You can use this in any form of communication, not just for advertising and marketing.

By discovering what works best, you can focus on successful methods and stop or improve less productive activities. Your planning and use of communications will become more sophisticated and you will get more value from your communications budget.

After our last blog, are you taking action every day?

z2zine next Monday: Realistic communication objectives

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