Is TV Advertising for You?Posted 5/15/2007
By Bob Cooper
TV really is a remarkable media. I can tell you from first-hand experience that it can reach a lot of people, it can build credibility, and it can actually drive down the cost of your other advertising programs.
Not only does it have extraordinary reach, but it's also what advertising people like to refer to as an "intrusive" media. Let me explain. Imagine someone is sitting in their living room; they have their TV on, and your ad comes on the screen. Even if they're not looking at the screen at that very moment, they - as well as anyone else in reach of the audio - will be influenced by your ad. With print media, if people don't pick up the newspaper or magazine that contains your ad, that ad will never reach them, let alone influence them.
Here's another benefit of TV ads. When you put together a good campaign, you'll get a better response to all of your other media. Why? Because TV builds name awareness and credibility so that when people see your print ads, directory ads, etc., they'll say, "I know that company! I've seen their commercials on TV!" So when considering TV or measuring its performance, pay close attention to any change in the results you get with your other marketing programs; you'll be more than likely surprised by the results. By the way, for those of you who feel that the only way to advertise is with "Call to Action" ads such as limited time specials, I'd like to remind you that the American Association of Advertising Agencies has discovered that "Name awareness" advertising is just as effective as Call to Action campaigns.
Should you advertise on TV? Even though many of our clients here at Elite have had great success with TV, there is no simple answer to that question. But what I can provide you with are the key points you need to consider when making your decision. Just make sure you carefully consider each of the following points. Don't let your emotions outweigh your better judgment. If you decide to advertise on TV, then make a commitment to follow through.
No. 1: Identify who your target market is, where those people are and how to best reach them. This is where most shop owners get into trouble. They may be reaching a lot of people with their ads, but more often than not, they're the wrong people. For example, let's say you are going to target female customers who are in the middle to upper-middle income bracket. And let's say you want to find the ladies who drive a lot, have good credit worthiness and who understand the value in performing maintenance. In this case, their viewing habits may very well be prime-time news, educational programming, family programming, investment channels and certain food channels. If you invest in sports programming, game shows and more, you may reach a lot of people, but not the targeted female audience you are looking for. So don't let an ad agency, cable or broadcast company or anyone else try to impress you with "reach" or "frequency" numbers. Remember: It's not how many people or households you reach that count - it's who you reach.
No. 2: Have a clear, to-the-point message describing who you are and why viewers should choose you over all of your competitors. Rather than trying to sell the viewer on price, maintenance, brakes and more, you need to sell them on you! Ideally, when the commercial ends, the viewers should be telling themselves that regardless of the service they may need, you should be their service provider. What we recommend to all of our clients at Elite is they have a meeting with all of their employees and ask for their input as to why they feel customers should choose your facility. Not only will you pick up some gems in this exercise, but it will re-sell your employees on your company, and it will let them know that you really do value their input.
No. 3: Once you know who your target customers are and why they should choose you, discuss your objectives with a reputable ad agency. In addition to discussing the budget you'll need to establish to effectively reach your target market, you'll need to decide how much you should invest in producing your ads. Don't forget, your ad may very well be scheduled to air right behind a commercial for a global company that has invested a million dollars in production. When that happens, it can turn a mediocre commercial into an embarrassing waste of money. So make sure you invest wisely.
No. 4: When story-boarding your commercials, remember that image is everything and people love to look at people! Make sure you use the right people, the right settings and the right vehicles! And don't hesitate to use professional actors and actresses! I've hired many of them over the years, and I can tell you from first-hand experience, they are surprisingly affordable, and also talented. Where do you find these people? Local actor and actress alliances are where I typically turn. Post on their Web sites, and you'll get the leads you're looking for.
No. 5: Consider what we at Elite call "piggy-back" marketing. This is where you include one of your more recognized commercial or fleet accounts in one of your ads. As an example, in one of your commercials they're seen giving a testimonial, and the viewer sees one of their vehicles in the scene as well. This provides great publicity for this account and a great third-party endorsement for you.
No. 6: When shooting your commercials, make sure you shoot a number of clips all on the same day. The weather is with you, and you already have the production crew on location. This will allow all of your commercials to have continuity in appearance. Don't forget to take a lot of high quality still photos too! You can use them as reinforcement in all of your other media.
No. 7: Look into co-op programs that may be available from your oil companies, part suppliers, etc. Having them engaged in your campaign can not only bring down your net cost, it can add powerful third-party credibility to your company.
No. 8: Make sure all your people who pick up the phone are well-trained. Not only do they need to meet the professional expectations that have been set by your campaign, but lost telephone leads will distort the true result of your TV ad campaigns and cost you a fortune at the same time.
No. 9: Track each and every lead and analyze your results weekly. Otherwise, with any advertising program you use, you'll be wasting a fortune. At Elite we encourage all of our clients to ask each first-time customer (even if they have a coupon in their hand) "May I ask who referred you to us?" Our reasoning is simple. It not only sends a message to the customer that our clients get a lot of referrals, but we want our clients to know what motivated their customers to contact them. If they were motivated by the commercials that they've seen on TV, then they will tell you.
No. 10: Lastly, never replace one of your ads just because you think it's getting "stale" and people are tired of seeing it. The only time an ad should be pulled is when it's not producing good results. I've ran some ads for up to two years with remarkable success.
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