Advertising’s Final Mile

Online shopping’s biggest barrier is sometimes called the ‘final mile’ – – and like a long bridge that has an unfinished gap, an otherwise great online retailer fails if it can’t get the goods all the way to your front door.

bridge

The same applies to traditional media, where either the message, or the call-to-action, or both, can be bungled.

This ancient reminder for marketers is to remember to keep the audience in mind when crafting your message. It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear.

I am referring today to very old-school media — radio and outdoor. To be effective, they need to make the message or benefit simple and clear, and effectively tell the listener or viewer how they can take action.   Too many advertisers fail this simple test.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Radio – – if nothing else, it MUST say where you can go for more information!

Too many radio forget you can’t see what they’re saying or write things down – – you can only listen and hope you got it right. “Hey, I’m driving, I’m texting and don’t have a freaking free hand right now!”  Radio doesn’t have a pause or rewind function.

kars4kids

  • On their expansion in the US, Cartridge World leveraged radio heavily. Unfortunately the company executive that did the voiceover pronounced the company name something like ‘krtrgwrl”. OK at corporate HQ but useless to someone who never heard the name before.
  • Everyone’s favorite, Kars 4 Kids, runs radio spots that have the dual threat of ubiquity and annoyance – – and yet they assume you know that their URL has a ‘4’ and not ‘for’.  Not helpful in allowing people to find them.  If you do find them, you may find their mission a little surprising.
  • URL watchouts: Using an unfamiliar name that may be difficult for the listener to spell (e.g. Shlotzskys); using shorthand like ‘U’ for ‘You’; using sound-alikes (‘C’, ‘See’, ‘Sea’) that aren’t clear; using dashes or underscores; using numbers (use the numeral or spell it out?).

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 3.41.49 PM

  • Location watchouts: using a street address (‘1060 W. Addison Street’) rather than a more easily remembered location (‘Wrigley Field’).

wrigley

Net, just remember that your listener doesn’t know you, can’t write stuff down, and so make it as easy as possible to take away a key benefit and how to reach you.

Outdoor – – this is where even more heinous communication crimes occur. Particularly on expressways, where presumably the intended viewer is driving fast, hopefully paying attention to the road, but probably also still texting.

In any case, there are only a few fleeting seconds to grab their attention. So make it simple, make the type big, and get out of they way.

The following examples either have an unidentifiable offering, are unreadable, have impossible to read contact info, or a combination of the above.

billboard 1motelcandy billboardbad billboard

If you are contemplating outdoor, do a flashcard test to see if a colleague can get the point in a few seconds.

And – – watch your spelling!

spelling billboardspelling billboard 2spelling billboard 3

This is the final post of 2017.  Next year The Armchair MBA will offer a series of tips on how to spot scurrilous email scams, based on a carefully curated collection of several hundred emails with bad intentions!

Happy New Year!

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