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Think More About What Your Advertising Does For Your Customer

Every day the average person is exposed to at least 2,000 commercial messages, maybe more. The utter ubiquity of advertising today means that you must do much more than repeatedly beat your prospective customer over the head with your next advertising campaign.

Reach and frequency are bywords with media buyers and agencies. And while you do want to reach as many customers as possible, with enough regularity that your campaign cuts through the noise in the market, you need to do much more than simply be on heavy rotation. Consumers have more options for shutting you down if what you are doing is interfering with their experience, whether this is online or in so-called traditional media. Interrupting your potential customer with pop-up ads or poorly targeted television commercials are intrusive and abrasive to consumers today, who have many other media options available to them and can easily move somewhere you are not, and will. So the question you need to ask yourself is: How can our advertising strategy do something for our customer? This is a fundamental rethinking of what most will set out to tell you. The typical strategy is to care most about what you are saying to your customer, instead of providing that customer with value that reflects on your brand and makes them more likely to engage with whatever you are selling. Value here does not mean giving them a discounted price, free swag, or the chance to win a trip, the typical low-engagement, low-hanging fruit. Value here means rewarding consumers with a special experience that they can involve themselves in and share, and which connects two or more possible customers together in that experience. Fundamentally you need to rethink what advertising actually is. Traditionally, and even in the modern digital context, it has meant trying to get your message across at whatever cost. What good advertising actually should do is look for ways to connect with your customer in meaningful and rewarding ways that create new value, new positive associations, and strategic longevity. As you rethink how to deploy your next advertising or marketing campaign, there are some fundamental things to consider :

1. Do not interrupt a potential customer and their experience with anything that does not add to that experience. This is a fundamental flaw of television advertising. You are actually getting in the way of the consumer experience. TiVo and others were invented to circumvent the annoying interruption of commercials, and people will pay top dollar to not have ads served to them. Instead, try something that complements the experience;

2. Avoid cheap online tactics like pop ups and take overs and redirects for the same reason: Unless you are adding to the experience, you are actually getting in the way of pleasure and continuity, making whatever you are promoting the most annoying offer on the planet. Consumers will just shut you off and be turned off by your offer and your brand; 3. Avoid framing your advertising and marketing objectives from your perspective; instead, put yourself in the shoes of your customer and find out what they really want. This is a fundamental shift for most companies who want to pack their advertising with what they want and desire, instead of, rightfully, the other way around. Only the experience of your customer matters for increasing engagement, sharing, and improving your sales effect; 4. Be highly targeted. Much mass media is deployed from the fire and aim philosophy, which is not only a waste of your budget, but unlikely to actually hit the target you intend. It is much more efficient and effective to highly target your potential customer segments with things like native content, downloads of rich media or other content types, and custom-made experiences based on real research into what they (not you) value. This approach helps you begin a conversation and increases the likelihood you convert a potential target into an actual customer; 5. Use research to listen to the audiences with whom you intend to engage, and use that information to craft the right kinds of value-added programs that increase meaning, enjoyment and pleasure. Be as creative as you want to be. At bottom, if you can think more like your prospective customer, you will be much more likely and successful in reaching them.

This list could go on. But the fundamental take away for anyone mounting a campaign today is this: Add rich, experiential value to what you do next; the only way to do this is to involve your potential customer in what they value, and the only way to find out what they value is to put yourself in their shoes, and tailor your advertising and outreach programs accordingly.

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