Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thunder Bay ad rep sells by doing her homework

How do you take a small advertiser getting little response and get them to spend more in your newspaper in this economy?

This Chronicle Journal advertiser was running heavily in radio but not so much in print--only about $558 per month--because the newspaper just wasn't working for them.

So last week, Margaret Kamas, an ad rep who had participated in our course in January, decided to do something about it, with a little help from us.

First, Margaret visited the account and asked a number of questions about their products and services, competition, and target customers.

As it turns out, they were going after the university crowd interested in great pizza and beer and some unusual fun--besides video games they offer sumo wrestling, hot oil wrestling, and jousting.

As you can see on the right, we got to work, first listing why students should spend their hard earned parents' money on this place rather than another. Of course, once we made the list we proceeded to ignore it. That's because when creating an effective ad strategy, what the business is good at isn't the issue.

It's the target customer. So we made a different list, based not on what the customer was good at, or even why people go there, but on what university students actually do consider when choosing where to spend their entertainment dollars. And we listed them in order of priority.

As you can see on in the "do" list on the far right, we determined it was, in order of priority: fun, cheap alcohol, meeting people of the opposite sex their age, and perhaps a lively atmosphere.

With that to go on, the ad strategy was easy to sketch out before handing it off to the designer. We envisioned an image at the top of the ad that would grab the attention of university students interested in some entertainment.

We then followed it up with a headline that further grabbed the students in party mode.

Once we got their attention, we now needed to tune into exactly what they cared about--drinking, eating good food, sumo wrestling, jousting, etc.

Then it was just a matter of getting into enough detail that the students would be convinced that this place is actually as good as the advertiser was claiming. So we discussed more about the things to do and the quality of the food. Unfortunately, we couldn't get too much into the inexpensive beer due to legal reasons, but we did mention they were fully licensed. We then finished it off with their schedule of upcoming events.

Next, Margaret sent the sketch and copy to our overnight ad production service and got the finished ad back the next morning. During the final presentation, she first confirmed with the advertiser the reasons students choose one place rather than another to party. She then went on to explain the logic of the new strategy. The advertiser loved it, committing to an additional $2,000 per month.

As you can see, instead of just dumping the old ad through to a designer and saying "be creative", Margaret did some real homework and analysis, which paid off.

If you're an ad rep who still believes that you should leave everything having to do with spec ads up to the designer, you're taking a chance that you (and your newspaper) may not survive this recession.

Instead, consider meeting the designers halfway. If you become responsible for getting the information and sketching out the strategy, you can leave the designers to do what they do best--making things look better.

For those who have taken our Response Oriented Selling course or are members of our DesignYourAd Overnight Ad Production service, you can use this ad as a template. Just ask for ad 1080-Fun_Fact-opt2-97-V2 or select it from our gallery of effective services ads.