How many logos, ads and marketing messages do you see each day? According to the American Marketing Association and the IE School of Human Sciences and Technology, it’s 10,000 brand messages day. That seems impossible. However, next time you step foot in a convenience store or grocery store, think about how many logos and package designs you see luring you to buy. With multi-tasking on multiple screens the number is growing every year. Creative advertising that compels your audience isn’t an option if you want to rise above the noise.

Who Has Your Attention?
Let’s make it personal: When was the last time an advertisement motivated you to click, call, shop or stop what you are doing and act on what the advertisement or advertiser asked you to do? If you think about it, you may say “not that often” or “never.” Yet according to Statista, the US will spend an estimated 218 billion dollars spent in media this year.

Why does it matter? Because no matter who you are, you have competition vying for your customer’s time, attention and dollars. You have to break through the clutter and penetrate the mind and heart of your customer to get them to do something. You may want them to click on your site, visit your store, call your office, make an appointment for an estimate or just like your Facebook page. But here’s the bottom line: if your audience doesn’t do something—even if it’s just remembering your brand over another when they decide to purchase—then your advertising and media dollars are wasted.

Level Up: Making a Difference in the Bottom Line

Businesses close every day because they lost touch with their customers and were not able to communicate their brand’s value clearly enough to get and maintain consistent customers. Brands like Payless, Radio Shack, The Limited, Nokia, Borders, Compaq, EF Hutton and more have filed for Chapter 11, closed locations or vanished. Even Wheaties is reported to be dying a slow death and may not be on cereal shelves much longer. How can we “Eat Our Wheaties” when there are no Wheaties to eat?

When awareness meets motivation you usually get movement. So, let’s look at what you CAN DO to get your customers’ attention, create desire and keep the sales cycle in motion.

Before we start, one needs to know that your product or service can deliver on what you promote. You can count on the fact that people who call Geico will get a FREE quote in 15 minutes or less to see if they can save 15% or more on car insurance. If they regularly took 30 minutes, you would be seeing memes on Facebook every other day. Your creative can get new customers to purchase and re-ignite existing satisfied customers to come back, but one bad experience can send a shockwave of bad reviews and hurt response overall. In fact, Google research reports that “46% of people say THEY WOULD NOT PURCHASE again from a brand again if they had an interruptive mobile experience.” So once your creative does its job, then your product or service and customer experience needs to pull the load.

In advertising and marketing, your creative is a starting point to all this. You have to get potential customers to your site, or to call or to visit your store. So, the message you give your customers about your brand that connects you to them is critical. You can have a good mix of media, but if your message falls flat it can hurt you quickly. It is why Pepsi pulled the Kendall Jenner campaign. The response was so negative that Esquire Magazine reported it as “almost surreal in its thoughtlessness.” You don’t want that to happen to you. So here are some ways to develop creative that moves the needle and motivates people to try and buy from you.

Step 1: Think of your target customer and what is important to them.

“Sell the problem you solve. Not the product you sell.”
Many times, companies are so focused internally with sales volume, awards and industry jargon that it’s easy to forget what’s in it for their customer. Leo Burnett said, “Don’t tell me how good you make, tell me how good it makes me when I use it.”

Bad creative is filled with words, visuals and terms that leave customers confused, in the dark and disconnected. Mary Beech, the Chief Marketing Officer of a famous fashion designer in New York, says it best, “All too often, we get so wrapped up in the message we’re trying to send that we end up with tunnel vision and forget that the best marketing isn’t about the brand; it’s about the customer.”

Great marketing is becoming customer centric in thinking, communicating and calls to action. In the past two years Google reports that “Mobile searches for “do I need”—like “how much do I need to retire?”—have grown 65%. Mobile searches for “should I”—like “what laptop should I buy?”—have grown over 65%. And searches for “can I”—like “Can I buy a seat for my dog on an airplane”—have grown over 85%!

To develop customer-centric creative and language, start with thinking and writing down the things that are most important to your customer when they buy your product or service. It may be that you save them time, save them money or make them look or feel a certain way. Or “what problem are you solving for them”? Are you helping them have more free time, looking or feeling better about themselves, their lifestyle or their future. Are you helping them potentially avoid loss or pain? When you pinpoint the problems, you solve then you can begin to craft a message that gives them the solution you provide. You may also consider the emotions they are feeling when they are in the decision-making process for purchasing. If it’s a large purchase, then you will need to build case for them being able to trust you more than your competitors. This is where reviews and testimonials become very helpful in building trust and creating comfort.

Step 2: Create a sense of urgency strategy.

People tend to procrastinate, get distracted and fail to act. Jim Rohn said it well: “Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.” If you want to develop creative advertising that actually gets people to respond, you need to think of ways to get your audience to respond now while you have their attention. David Ogilvy said, “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.” So, you want to make sure that your offer is a genuine offer and makes your customer feel like they will really be missing out if they don’t take advantage of your offer now! Furniture stores take advantage of extra time off to shop by creating holiday sales that feature buy one get one free offers, percent off and free delivery during certain sale times. Limited time offers, risk-free trials or limited supply deals (“while supplies last”) are good reasons for consumers to act. Make your offers specific and don’t be afraid to define your offer dates. Terms like these can help when you want to see response that you can measure:

  • This weekend only
  • Three days 30% off sale
  • There are not many left—only 8 at this special price
  • Free shipping for today only
  • Our best offer yet
  • Act now and save 50%
  • Don’t miss out

Step 3: Tell your customers exactly what you want them to do.

Many ads are entertaining and have beautiful visual content. Ads can be funny, unique and overall aesthetically pleasing. But you see these ads and either don’t know what you are supposed to do, why you are supposed do it, or how you need to respond.

So, give your consumer direct instructions on how you would like them to respond. You may tell them to visit your website, come to your location, call for a free estimate or sign up for a newsletter. Make it clear, make it specific and make it a response you can measure.

Step 4: Give prospective customers specific ways to connect with you where they will get the most positive experience.

We ran a radio campaign for an auto leasing company. They requested that the ads run Monday through Saturday. The only problem was that the radio spots asked people to call in and get a free quote on the type of car they wanted to lease. On Saturdays, the sales people were usually busy handling other customers and treated the radio callers fairly rudely or were short with them. First time prospective customers got a really bad experience when they responded.

We have had campaigns send customers to a website where the lead forms were never followed up on and worked with companies that let their entire sales staff off at lunch. Guess what happened to leads that called in from national ads during lunch? They got a voicemail or phones just rang.

When you are crafting your message, answer this question for yourself, “What is going to happen when someone responds? Will their experience be positive and make them want to continue a relationship with you that leads them toward a sale or conversion?” If you can answer “yes, absolutely” then that’s exactly what you want to promote.

The best example of this is how Amazon “limits friction,” making it easy for customers to buy. “Amazon maintains an obsessive focus on removing every pain point from the buying process.” They have patented one-click ordering. That’s the world your customers now live in. Convenient, fast, friendly and almost limitless options. Work your creative to deliver on the most positive experience your customer can have. Prove to them it’s worth the time they invested to respond to your advertising. Only then will your advertising build a solid foundation for your success—both now and in the future.